If you are a business owner in Baltimore, Maryland, or anywhere else in the state, you likely have intellectual property as part of your business portfolio. And, you may have heard of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But, what is it and how can it help protect your business?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
In 1998, the DMCA was federally enacted to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization treaties on copyright and related rights (Title I), and create safe harbors for online service providers from liability for infringing content posted by their users (Title II). Unless your business is an OSP, Title I is applicable for Maryland businesses.
Title I grants your business exclusive rights to your digital works, like the software you create. These rights include the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display and make derivative works based on the original work. Title I also prohibits the circumvention encryption, passwords, digital watermarks, etc. And, anyone who violates the DMCA faces civil and criminal penalties.
How does this affect your Maryland business?
If you create or own digital works (websites, blogs, podcasts, e-books, online courses, etc.), you can use the DMCA to protect this IP from unauthorized copying, distribution or modification. You can also use technological measures to prevent or deter piracy, and any circumvention of those measures can also separately be a violation of the DMCA.
Is the DMCA perfect?
No. Many criticize the DMCA for both being too broad and too vague, as well as being too restrictive. Nonetheless, it gives your Maryland business a powerful tool to protect your IP online.