The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been around for more than a dozen years now. Some of its provisions were just weird, such as the one that established sui generis protection for boat hull designs. Others have had a skeptical reception in the courts, like the anti-circumvention provisions that forbid certain forms of hacking through technological protections for copyrighted works.
But one DMCA provision that has proved popular in both the copyright community and the courts is the notice-and-takedown procedure codified at 17 U.S.C. § 512(c). When a copyright owner finds that some Internet user has illegally posted its copyrighted content online, the notice-and-takedown procedure allows the owner to send a notice to the Internet service provider (the ISP) that hosts the material and ask that it be taken down. If the notice contains the right information, the ISP’s compliance will shield it from liability for damages it might otherwise have had to pay. (Google recently used this DMCA shield to escape liability for its YouTube subsidiary’s use of copyrighted content, as some past IP Viewpoints entries have discussed.) [...]
James Gibson, Notice and Takedown, Here and Abroad, The Media Institute (Sept. 15, 2011), available at http://www.mediainstitute.org/IPI/2011/091511.php.