A Guide Through the Legal Jungle Trivia Question
YouTube, owned by Google, is a popular video-sharing website where users can upload, view, and share video clips. YouTube users who often post clips from TV shows, movies and sporting events have few reservations about violating copyright. Companies such as Viacom are bringing copyright infringement actions against YouTube. Which law is YouTube using as its primary defense?
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- Audio Home Recording Act
- Computer Fraud & Abuse Act
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act
The correct answer is A. YouTube’s primary defense is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). YouTube claims “safe harbor” status, which is a DMCA protection that shields search engines, web hosts and ISPs against liability for the copyright infringement of their online visitors. Under the DMCA, copyright holders have the responsibility of informing websites like YouTube that infringing material has been posted by third parties. YouTube must then take down the infringing material. The frustration for copyright owners is that the same or a different online visitor typically re-uploads infringing material within moments.
(Thanks to Colleen Mulcrone, J.D. Candidate 2009, American University, Washington College of Law, who wrote the initial draft of this trivia question.)