The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) is a United States federal law and part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Along with the DMCA, OCILLA passed the United States Congress and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998.

OCILLA exists in order to protect online service providers from liability if their users upload infringing material onto their serves. This measure has offered a balance between the interests of copyright holders and those of online users and their hosts.

Safe harborEdit

While there are many provisions of OCILLA, the key component for internet service providers is the "safe harbor" provision, which is what shields providers from liability. This uses a "notice and takedown" provision in order to remove infringing material from a web host's service.

In the "notice and takedown" provision, a copyright owner notifies a service provider via a DMCA Takedown Notice that infringing material has been posted to their service. In order to be shielded from liability, the service provider is required to comply with all valid DMCA Takedown Notices and remove the material form their website.

Impact of SOPAEdit

In October 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced into the United States House of Representatives by Representative Lamar Smith, a Republican of Texas and the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The stated goal of the legislation is to combat online copyright infringement, particularly by foreign websites.

SOPA’s opponents contend that the bill will undermine the DMCA, specifically OCILLA, by removing the liability shield for internet service providers. Representative Robert Goodlatte, a Judiciary Committee member, has stated that he believes “it is unrealistic to think we’re going to continue to rely on the DMCA notice-and-takedown provision.”[1]

Opponents to SOPA believe that what Goodlatte has referred to, the DMCA notice-and-takedown provision, is the key element the entertainment industry is fighting against, not piracy itself.


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