Summary: S.2037 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (05/14/1998)


Title I: WIPO Treaties Implementation

Title II: Internet Copyright Infringement Liability

Title III: Computer Maintenance or Repair

Title IV: Ephemeral Recordings; Distance Education;

Exemption for Libraries and Archives

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 - Title I: WIPO Treaties Implementation - WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998 - Amends Federal copyright law to grant copyright protection to: (1) sound recordings that were first fixed in a treaty party (a country or intergovernmental organization other than the United States that is a party to specified international copyright and other agreements); and (2) pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works incorporated in a building or other structure or an architectural work embodied in a building located in the United States or a treaty party.

Treats works published in the United States or a treaty party within 30 days after publication in a foreign nation that is not a treaty party as first published in the United States or a treaty party for purposes of conferring protection.

Provides that no works other than sound recordings shall be eligible for protection solely by virtue of U.S. adherence to the Geneva Phonograms Convention or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Revises the definition of "eligible country," for purposes of provisions regarding copyright in restored works, to include nations other than the United States that: (1) become World Trade Organization member countries after the date of enactment of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act; (2) are or become nations adhering to the Berne Convention; (3) adhere to the WIPO Copyright or Performances and Phonograms Treaties; or (4) become subject to a certain presidential proclamation of copyright restoration after such enactment date.

Includes sound recordings in the definition of "restored work" if the source country for the work is an eligible country solely by its adherence to the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

(Sec. 103) Prohibits: (1) circumvention of technological protection measures that control access to protected works; or (2) manufacturing or trafficking in technology designed to circumvent measures that control access to, or protect rights of copyright owners in, such works.

Provides exemptions to such prohibition for: (1) nonprofit libraries, archives, or educational institutions which gain access to a commercially exploited copyrighted work solely to make a good faith determination of whether to acquire such work, subject to certain conditions; (2) law enforcement and intelligence activities; and (3) purposes of achieving interoperability of computer programs.

Bars the provision or distribution of false copyright management information with the intent to induce or conceal infringement. Defines "copyright management information" as certain information, including title, name of author and copyright owner, and terms for use of the work, conveyed in connection with copies or phonorecords of a work or performances or displays, including in digital form.

Provides exemptions to such prohibition for: (1) law enforcement and intelligence activities; and (2) certain analog and digital transmissions by radio or television stations or cable systems.

Establishes civil remedies for violations regarding the circumvention of technological protection measures and copyright management information. Prescribes criminal penalties for willful violations committed for commercial advantage or private financial gain. Makes criminal penalties inapplicable to nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions. Imposes a statute of limitations on criminal proceedings.

(Sec. 105) Makes certain provisions of this title effective upon the entry into force of the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties.

Title II: Internet Copyright Infringement Liability - Internet Copyright Infringement Liability Clarification Act of 1998 - Establishes limited liability for online copyright infringement for: (1) entities offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications between points specified by a user of material of the user's choosing, without modification of the material; and (2) providers of online services or network access.

Describes specific circumstances that provide for limited liability, including cases in which material is stored on service provider systems or networks or where users are linked to an online location containing infringing materials or activity by using information location tools.

Makes liability limitations applicable only if a service provider has designated an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement by making contact information available through its service and to the Copyright Office. Sets forth requirements for such notifications.

Makes liable for damages persons who knowingly misrepresent that material or activity is infringing or that it was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification.

Absolves service providers of liability with respect to claims based on good faith disabling of access to, or removal of, material or activity claimed to be infringing regardless of whether the material or activity is ultimately determined to be infringing. Sets forth additional conditions to be met by service providers with respect to such activities that involve service subscribers.

Makes liability limitations applicable only if a service provider: (1) implements and informs subscribers of a policy for terminating subscribers who are repeat infringers; and (2) accommodates and does not interfere with certain standard technical measures used by copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works.

Describes conditions under which a court may grant injunctive relief with respect to service providers.

(Sec. 204) Directs the Register of Copyrights (Register) to report to the Congress recommendations regarding the liability of nonprofit educational institutions for copyright infringement committed with the use of computer systems for which such institutions are service providers.

Title III: Computer Maintenance or Repair - Provides that it is not a copyright infringement for the owner or lessee of a machine to make or authorize the making of a copy of a computer program solely by activation of a machine that lawfully contains an authorized copy of the program for purposes only of maintenance or repair of that machine, provided: (1) such new copy is used in no other manner and is destroyed immediately after the maintenance or repair is completed; and (2) any program or part thereof that is not necessary for machine activation is not accessed or used other than to make such new copy by activation of the machine.

Title IV: Ephemeral Recordings; Distance Education; Exemption for Libraries and Archives - Expands certain limitations on exclusive rights with respect to ephemeral recordings to authorize licensed radio or television stations to make one copy or phonorecord of a broadcast of a performance of a sound recording in a digital format on a nonsubscription basis.

(Sec. 402) Directs the Register to submit to the Congress recommendations on how to promote distance education through digital technologies while maintaining a balance between the rights of copyright owners and the needs of users.

(Sec. 403) Expands certain rights of libraries and archives to reproduce and distribute copies or phonorecords to authorize three copies or phonorecords (currently, one) to be reproduced or distributed for preservation, security, or replacement purposes. Prohibits copies or phonorecords reproduced in digital format from being distributed otherwise, or available to the public outside library or archive premises, in such format.

Considers a format to be obsolete if the machine or device necessary to render perceptible a work stored in such format is no longer manufactured or reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.