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Copyright Toolkit

The DMCA (The Digital Millennium Copyright Act)

What Is It?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works.

Articles & Information About the DMCA and Exemptions
The DMCA has had some modifications over the years and has been a hot topic in regards to fair use and preservation. Some modifications seem to be useful but a lot are not. This 2008 article from Wired is a good ten year review of the law. 

2018 DMCA Section 1201 Excemptions - On October 26, 2018 the Librarian of Congress issued rules for exemptions to the DMCA. The Ohio State University has a nice page that explains in plain English what it is about. 

Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses - The EFF (Electroinc Frontier Foundation) is a proponent for user rights especially in regards to the DMCA. They also have a breakdown of the latest updates.
Additional EFF articles:

Good News on DMCA Exemptions from the Copyright Office - Center for Media & Social Impact explains how these changes benefit filmmakers, museums, and archives.

Librarian of Congress - The Librarian of Congress explains the Section 1201 Rules for Exemptions


The TEACH Act made copyright laws regarding distance learning closer to the laws provided for face-to-face classrooms though there are still important differences (especially regarding full-length audiovisual works, such as movies and documentaries). Some of these benefits include:

  • Instructors may use a wider range of works in distance learning environments.
  • Students may participate in distance learning sessions from virtually any location
  • Participants enjoy greater latitude when it comes to storing, copying and digitizing materials.

-- excerpt taken from Wikipedia --


Copyright Clearance Center brief explanation: TEACH Act

University System of Georgia: TEACH Act Guide

BYU Copyright Licensing Office: Information and Tools

University of Texas TEACH Act: Compliance Checklist

Digital Content Best Practices

 One of the most famous cases about music and copyright goes back to Metallica v. Napster in 2000. The case focused on copyright infringement, racketeering and unlawful use of digital audio interface devices.

Wikipedia: Metallica v. Napster, Inc.
Rolling Stone article with Metallica's Kirk Hammet: ‘We’re Still Right’ About Suing Napster


Public showings of movies are also subject to copyright. Permission along with money is often required to meet the needs of copyright holder. This section provides articles and links about the process.

American Libraries article on film programming for libraries: Screening Legally

Sites that offer licensing for movies:
Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
Movie Licensing USA

This site offers info about showing movies outdoors
Twilight Zone Cinema Services


Copyright Issues for Growing Digital Collections