Use this tag for questions related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the context of open development.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a U.S. copyright law.
It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998, by an unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of online services for copyright infringement by their users.
The DMCA does offer safe harbor protection to service providers provided they comply with Section 512, including notice and takedown procedures. DMCA Takedown Notices are commonly used by copyright holders to remove copyrighted materials on the web.
The original document can be found at copyright.gov.
The DMCA is of importance to open source developers, especially if they are producing code which could be deemed to 'subvert' a DRM mechanism (such as decoding DVDs). Although it is a US law, code published in another country is available in the US and thus may place the publishers under US Jurisdiction.