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Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA)

The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) is a portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act known as DMCA 512 or the DMCA takedown provisions. It is a 1998 United States federal law that provided a safe harbor to online service providers (OSPs, including internet service providers) that promptly take down content if someone alleges it infringes their copyrights.

Section 512 was added to the Copyright law in Title 17 of the United States Code (Public Law No. 105-304, 112 Stat. 2860, 2877).

This provision of United States copyright law is best known for allowing copyright holders to ask that an online service provider (OSP, including ISPs) remove access to copyright infringing material if the copyrighted material is made available through the OSP. It is a powerful device for the protection of copyright on the internet for providers that are located in the United States, though many foreign providers may also respond to such requests for fear of litigation in the United States should they have any significant business interests in the U.S.

In exchange for this, the OSP gains:

  • new protection from liability to its own customers as a result of a decision to remove material.
  • clear procedures for removing and restoring material.
  • a safe harbor against copyright infringement claims, similar to the protection against non-intellectual property infringement liability provided by Section 230 the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

Customers gain through a reduced chance that works will be removed unnecessarily by an OSP which hasn’t received an infringement complaint.

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