On April 12, 2010, ARL joined with other nonprofits and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in an amicus brief (PDF) in the case Viacom v. YouTube. In 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) established a vital safe harbor for online service providers such as YouTube, Craigslist, and other services that allow individuals to publish and transmit content on the Internet.
The DMCA states that service providers are not responsible for their users’ online actions in most ordinary circumstances. This safe harbor has allowed for the creation of sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter. Viacom has now sued YouTube over user-posted content on its site, claiming that YouTube cannot seek shelter under the DMCA unless YouTube implements filtering technology to police its networks on behalf of content owners. The amicus brief argues that the positions taken by Viacom would largely eliminate the utility of the DMCA’s safe harbors.