Congress enacted the Copyright Act in 1976 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998. The later was required as preparation for the ratification of the World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty on digital copyright and to update the quickly aging American copyright legislation in light of the introduction of the Internet.
Within the pieces of legislation concerning Copyright, there are several sections that deal with the main issues of copyright:
- Integrity of copyright management information (Sec 1202, DMCA 1998)
- Fair use (US Code, Title 17, Sec 107)
The Section deals with copyright information and essentially establishes its sanctity through the following subsections,
(a) Prohibits providing or distributing of false copyright management information.
(b) Prohibits the intentional removal or alteration of this information without authority. It also bars the dissemination of CMI or copies of works, knowing that the CMI has been removed or altered without authority. And,
(c) identifies what constitutes information that is used to manage the copyright of a work. This includes information about the work, the author, the copyright owner, and in certain cases the performer, writer, director or the work as well as the terms and conditions for use of the work.
Copyright law has traditionally been viewed as a balance between the rights of copyright owners to profit from their creativity and the interests of society to learn from and build upon their works. To reach this end, the fair use doctrine was developed through a "substantial number of court decisions over the years" and became codified as law in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976.
The concept of Fair Use eliminates the need to obtain permission or pay royalties for "purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, and research." In order to establish what constitutes an infringement and what would be considered fair use the legislation provides four considerations...
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