Dustin Johnson


This Comment analyzes the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in Capitol Records, LLC v. Vimeo, LLC, 826 F.3d 78 (2d Cir. 2016). Beginning with a brief overview of the DMCA’s history, this Comment acknowledges the Second Circuit’s holding in Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube, Inc., 676 F.3d 19 (2d Cir. 2012). In Viacom, the Second Circuit set precedent with its interpretation of the knowledge requirements for safe harbor under section 512(c) of the DMCA.

In Capitol Records, the Second Circuit confirmed its holding in Viacom but missed an opportunity to adequately clarify the knowledge requirements under section 512(c) of the DMCA. The Second Circuit also overturned a district court ruling which held that the DMCA did not apply to pre-1972 sound recordings. This Comment critiques the Second Circuit’s interpretations of the DMCA while exploring the safe harbor provisions of section 512(c) and 512(m). This Comment concludes by providing recommendations for updating the DMCA to more effectively protect copyright holders by balancing their interests with those of internet service providers.