Written in 1998, with the intent of protecting both copyright holders and website owners, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, quickly became a devastating problem for copyright holders. Not coincidentally, barely a year later, in 1999, Shawn Fanning launched Napster, marking the beginning of online piracy and over a decade of artist abuse.
Now, fifteen years later, most pirate sites are still operating under the protection provided by the DMCA’s Safe Harbor; a loop-hole that has enabled pirate sites to thrive in a quasi-legal gray area. A safe harbor from which online pirates claim compliance by engaging in what is commonly referred to as whack-a-mole, a process where infringing sites comply with take down notices by taking down the infringing content only to have the same content reposted almost immediately from another source.
The proposed change referred to as Stay Down strives to eliminate the safe harbor loop-hole. Copyright holders and administrators, while still responsible for policing their work, are only responsible for notifying a website operator one time. Once that is accomplished, the hosting site is now responsible for blocking the infringing content. A process that can be managed by software programs. If a service provider fails to comply they are in violation of the law.
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