Toothless or Misunderstood? Getting to Know Section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

David A. Kluft

©2015. Published in Landslide, Vol. 7, No. 3, January/February 2015, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

To some, § 512 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)1 is a lot like the South American cane toad. In the early part of the twentieth century, beetle populations were destroying sugar cane crops in parts of the United States and Australia. So, to solve that problem, thousands of cane toads were released into the wild: nearly foot-long ravenous omnivores with no natural predators, capable of exuding a venomous toxin sufficient to kill a large dog within 15 minutes. What could possibly be the downside?2 The sugar cane looks great, but where did the dog go?

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