Deep Dive Episode 16 – Is the Newest Part of the Copyright Act Antiquated?

Regulatory Transparency Project Teleforum

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Is the Newest Part of the Copyright Act Antiquated? Unchaining Creativity and Innovation.

Nearly twenty years ago, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to combat online infringement. According to some critics, this most recent major update to the Copyright Act is one of the most outdated parts of the law. The discontent stems from the DMCA’s “notice and takedown system,” which obligates online services to take down pirated works posted by users, but only after the owner identifies the specific file at a specific location on its server. If another copy – or many other copies – of that same file pop up on the same service, each requires a new and separate notice. The authors of the DMCA likely never envisioned the speed and scale of online infringement. Last year, copyright owners sent Google well over 900 million takedown requests. Small creative businesses and individual creators find it impossible to keep up. Neither creators nor online services are satisfied with this state of affairs, although each disagrees strongly as to what to do about it. Is the DMCA an imperfect, but workable solution to a challenging problem? Or has it become outdated and impractical? What are the merits and costs of potential reforms?

This teleforum is held in conjunction with the release of a paper authored by members of the Regulatory Transparency Project's Intellectual Property working group. The paper is called “Creativity and Innovation Unchained: Why Copyright Law Must be Updated for the Digital Age by Simplifying It.” This paper, which discusses the DMCA notice and takedown issue, is available for viewing and download here.


  • Jennifer L. Pariser, Vice President of Copyright and Legal Affairs, Motion Picture Association
  • Maria Schneider, GRAMMY Award Winning Artist 
  • Mark. F. Schultz, Associate Professor of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law

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