What is DMCA ?

The DMCA is a law that basically allows a copyright holder to send a “take-down” notice to an online service provider or web host (such as eBay, or Facebook, or Youtube, Google, Pinterest) and force them to take down a photo, gif or jpeg images, jingle, song, .mov videos, illegal mp3, song lyrics, plagiarized poems, or other item of digital content that the copyright holder believes infringes their copyrights. If the online service provider follows DMCA guidelines, they get “safe harbors” from civil liability.

The DMCA is, thus, a law that helps protects digital intellectual property, in this case federal copyrighted software.  The one problem is that this law also promotes Copyright bullies who try to force take-down of content that is actually not-infringing.

What is Safe Harbor Law ?

A safe harbor law states that certain types of behavior are not considered violations as long as they fall under a given rule. Rule 10B-18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 defines safe harbor laws. As such, safe harbor laws offer protection when people show “good faith” efforts.

For example, if the law makes property owners report their land dimensions, landowners can’t receive fines if they use surveyors or a faulty measuring tool. The landowners act in good faith without knowing about inaccuracies with the measurements. Otherwise, state law can fine landowners up to $500 for each under-reported acre. The fine amount depends on the property owner’s location.

Safe harbor laws can be used in many legal areas, including:

  • Environmental laws
  • Tax laws
  • Sex trafficking laws
  • Copyright laws (as stated under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act )
  • Securities laws
  • Healthcare (the Affordable Care Act includes a safe harbor designed to make employee healthcare coverage affordable)
  • Another safe harbor provision is the IRS Special Accounting Rule. This rule enables employers to treat noncash fringe benefits provided in November or December as being offered in the following tax year.