Journal of Intellectual Property Law


Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), indirect theories of liability such as vicarious liability and contributory infringement have been inconsistently applied, leading the Copyright Office to recommend lowering the knowledge standard and increasing potential liability for Online Service Providers (OSPs). In this note, I will discuss the histories of vicarious liability and contributory infringement, which demonstrate that courts have correctly applied the standards under the DMCA. Further, through a case-study of Twitch, an up-and-coming streaming website, I will discuss how the proposed amendments drive against the policies underlying the indirect theories of liability and would destroy OSPs like Twitch. Lastly, I propose a new licensing scheme that fosters cooperation between OSPs and rightsholders and more effectively addresses the difficulty of detecting infringement online.