What is the DMCA?

DMCA is the acronym for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which provides certain protections to companies which can be considered on-line service providers.  Most virtual world providers will arguably fall within the current generally accepted definition of an on-line service provider, but there are several pending litigations which may change this definition.  By complying with Section 512 of the DMCA, MMO and virtual world designers claim protection as on-line service providers.  This “safe harbor” provision is designed to shelter service providers from the copyright infringing activities of their customers and requires very specific duties and obligations.  For example, Linden Lab provides a detailed procedure for reporting copyright claims, including seven steps for filing a notification, and six separate steps for filing a counter-notification.