Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

What is the DMCA?

In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed into law the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which essentially updates copyright law for the digital environment.

Title II of the DMCA establishes certain requirements for Online Service Providers (OSP) concerning copyright infringement violations including:

  1. Registration of an agent with the U.S. Copyright Office;
  2. Development and posting of updated copyright policies;
  3. Adoption of "notice and takedown" procedures for alleged copyright infringing materials; and
  4. Accommodation and non-interference with standard technical measures utilized by copyright owners to identify and protect their works.

Under DMCA, College of Western Idaho is considered an Online Service Provider (OSP) for its students, faculty and staff.  DMCA requires the college to expeditiously respond to complaints it receives of alleged copyright infringements.  When notified, under penalty of perjury, by a copyright owner of infringing materials on a computer attached to the college network, the college will take appropriate action to block network access to the computer and notify the owner of the computer.  Network access will be restored after the infringing material is removed from the computer or within 14 days after receiving a proper counter-notification, unless the copyright owner files an action seeking a court order against the computer owner.  A second violation may result in an extended loss of access privileges to the college network.  Additionally, as an OSP, CWI may be served with a subpoena for the identity of the owner of a computer determined to contain infringing materials.  CWI will respond appropriately to the subpoena, up to and including compliance and production of the name of the computer owner.

DMCA and Peer-to-Peer (P2P)

Probably the greatest cause of copyright infringements is the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing services, such as Morpheus, BitTorrent and Limewire, for sharing music and movies. Although the use of P2P file sharing is not per se illegal, its use to share copyright protected files is.  Generally, the P2P file sharing programs install the software and automatically share downloaded files with other Internet users.  Copyright owners and their agents use automated methods to actively scan the Internet to detect computers that are illegally sharing copyrighted files.

A statutory limitation to the Copyright Act of importance to nonprofit educational institutions is Section 107, the doctrine of "fair use." Under this doctrine, limited use of copyrighted material is allowed without prior permission of the copyright owner if certain criteria are met.  Section 107 lists purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered "fair," and presents factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.  See 17 U.S.C. Section 107 for more information.

DMCA Agent

All appropriate copyright infringement notifications will be acted upon in accordance with the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  Allegations of copyright infringements related to CWI computer resources should be sent to the CWI DMCA Designated Agent:

Cheryl Wright
Vice President of Finance and Administration
6056 Birch Lane, Suite 200
Nampa, Idaho 83687
Phone: 208.562.3500
Fax: 888.562.3216
E-mail: cherylwright@cwidaho.cc
See also http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/agents/c/college_west_idaho.pdf

Contents of Copyright Infringement Notice         

According to the DMCA, a claimed infringement notification must be a written communication (email or hard copy letter) to the designated agent of a service provider.  When notifying the CWI DMCA Designated Agent of an alleged copyright infringement, the following must be provided:

  1. a physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or person authorized to act on behalf of the owner;
  2. identification of the infringed copyrighted work, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a list of works at that site;
  3. identification of the infringed material and information reasonably sufficient to permit CWI to locate the material;
  4. contact information of the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, email address;
  5. a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
  6. a statement that the information contained in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.

DMCA Notice and Takedown Procedures

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice and Takedown Procedure documents the steps to be followed when the DMCA Designated Agent for CWI receives a complaint from a copyright holder or agent of a copyright holder, hereafter referred to as the "complainant."

Complaints involving students:

A representative of the Director of Student Enrichment will meet with the student whose computer allegedly contains the information that is the subject of the complaint.  The student will be informed of the College’s Copyright, Computer Use, and DMCA/HEOA policies and asked to produce proof that they have explicit permission or license to use the material in the manner described in the complaint.

If the student does not produce the proper documentation, the student will be instructed to remove the specific material and other similar material from his or her computer.  When the student complies with this request, the student will sign a document acknowledging removal of the copyrighted material.

If the student does not comply with the request, access to the College’s computer technology infrastructure may be blocked and the issue will be referred to the Director of Student Enrichment services for appropriate disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Handbook.

Complaints involving employees:

A representative of the Human Resources Department will meet with the employee whose computer allegedly contains the information that is the subject of the complaint.  The employee will be informed of the College’s Copyright, Computer Use, and DMCA policies and asked to produce proof that they have explicit permission or license to use the material in the manner described in the complaint.

If the employee does not produce the proper documentation, the employee will be instructed to remove the specific material and other similar material from his or her computer.  When the employee complies with this request, the employee will sign a document acknowledging removal of the copyrighted material.

If the employee refuses or does not comply with the designated agent’s request, the employee’s access to or from the employee’s College’s account or computer may be blocked and the action may be referred to the Director of Human Resources and the employees supervisor for appropriate disciplinary action as outlined in the CWI Policy and Procedures Manual.

Additional Resources

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (U.S. Copyright Office) (PDF: requires a reader such as Adobe Reader)  http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/hr2281.pdf