Page 5 - Minnesota Vol 8 No 6
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ment of the internet (then called the ARPANET) was funded by the De- fense Department and other agencies to share data (1969) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed a network for universities (1981). In 1991 the NSF made a version of its network publicly available, and then the number of computers connected on the internet exploded and the Wild West 2.0 came into existence.
Of course, our existing federal copyright laws governed “fair play” on the internet but now the situa- tion was di erent. Since the internet was “free,” this attitude of “freeness” extended to the content of what was transmitted and displayed. Also, the anonymity of the website owner in many cases made enforcement di - cult since it was di cult to even direct a cease and desist communication to the o ending party. Adding to the dif-  culty was the transitory nature of a
webpage where the display could be altered by a few keystrokes.
Traditional copyright enforcement proved to be too slow to be of help to copyright owners.  e Digital Millen- nium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 was enacted to deal with the special challenges of regulating digital ma- terial.  e DMCA was controversial since many claimed it gave copyright owners too much power.
 e DMCA provides a method whereby a notice (DMCA takedown) is sent against an o ending webpage because a copyright owner believes someone has posted an infringement on that webpage.  e notice is typical- ly sent to the internet service provider (ISP; seller of the domain).  e ISP is protected from liability if it complies with the takedown notice.
Other countries have been more ac-
tive in “taming” internet content such as restricting social media postings, internet searching and other commu- nications.  e European Parliament has recently passed a “Copyright Di- rective” which it claims provides more internet freedom and which a ects copyright issues. If agreed to by mem- ber states, it will take e ect two years from its publication.
Since the internet ignores politi- cal boundaries, two provisions of the Directive may have an impact in the United States. One provision makes Internet platforms liable for content that users upload.  e other is that journalists get a share of the revenue obtained by their publishers. Neither is the present situation in the U.S.
As Mark Twain once said, “Only one thing is impossible for God: to  nd any sense in any copyright law on the planet.” If only Mark Twain were around now.

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