This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998 law intended to encourage new forms of online expression while also giving content owners a way to protect their work.
So far, the system has more or less worked: the online world is bursting with creative compositions while copyright owners have an easy way to take down unauthorized copies of the Hunger Games.
Lately, though, DMCA’s great balancing act is under strain with an outburst of grumbling from all sides. Rights owners, for instance, grouse that infringers upload new files faster than they can issue notices to take them down.
As copyright scholar Bruce Boyden notes in a new policy paper, the legal system was designed at a time when online transmission rates were relatively slow, meaning that rights owners had a chance to prevent uploaded works from reaching a large audience. But now:
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