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In October 1998, Congress passed two major copyright bills, the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" [DMCA], and the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act." Moreover, the Senate ratified U.S. accession to the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties. The DMCA implements the obligations set forth in articles 11 and 12 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty [WCT] (and articles 18 and 19 of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty [WPPTI) to protect technological measures against circumvention, and to protect "copyright management information" against removal or alteration that facilitates infringement. The DMCA also includes a chapter on the liability of online service providers. That chapter's provisions in part codify judicial developments, but in other respects significantly reduce the liability of service providers for copyright infringements committed by their subscribers. Another chapter of the DMCA includes detailed amendments to the public performance right in sound recordings, entitling webcasters and certain other providers of digital radio to a statutory license for the digital transmission of recorded musical compositions. The Sonny Bono Act extends the term of copyright by twenty years, but also includes "Fairness in Music Licensing" provisions that introduce limitations on authors' exercise of their nondramatic musical public performance rights with respect to certain business establishments. Almost all the provisions examined here are extremely complicated - the fruit of intensive lobbying by a wide range of interest groups of copyright owners, on the one hand, and, particularly, users, on the other.


Intellectual Property Law | Law | Science and Technology Law