The Digital Media Alliance defines digital media as the “creative convergence of digital arts, science, technology and business for human expression, communication, social interaction and education.” Digital media includes image, sounds, animation, movies, videogames, performance, and any form of art which is created, produced, or displayed using a computer. Digital media has overwhelmed art and expression in all its forms. In creative environments that are ever-changing at light speed, the law often cannot keep pace.
A thicket of federal and state laws, and administrative rules and regulations, attempt to govern digital media. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DCMA”), enacted in 1998, was designed to protect against the infringement of copyrighted works. The DCMA goes beyond criminalizing copyright infringement itself. It also makes it illegal to produce and disseminate technology, devices, or services that allow unauthorized access to copyrighted works.
Another law, the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act” – commonly known as “CAN-SPAM” – was enacted in 2003 to set standards for eCommerce advertising and to authorize the Federal Trade Commission to enforce its regulations. The act also prohibits unauthorized content from being posted on an internet website being operated for a commercial purpose.
Among the various regulations set forth by the act is the requirement that marketing emails provide consumers the option to “unsubscribe” from future communications. It also governs how emails are sent – spammers are not allowed to use a false or misleading header, emails containing adult content must be clearly labeled as such, and the emails must be generated by an actual, legitimate email address. In addition to criminal penalties, CAN-SPAM allows for civil causes of action against Internet Service Providers for damages incurred as a result of receiving emails that violate the terms of the act.
Since the DCMA and CAN-SPAM Act were enacted, the Boesch Law Group has kept abreast of and participated in important cases that analyze their effect. The long-running Viacom/YouTube case covered the question of whether a website owner or host could be held liable based on “general knowledge” that its users were infringing copyright. Mr. Boesch himself recently decided as the arbitrator of a leading CAN-SPAM case between marketers and a social network.
Brent Seltzer, host of the Tech-Magazine show “DigiKnow LA,” says, “When television and movie producers invent a lawyer, what they have in mind is what Phil Boesch really is. He genuinely looks for the facts of the case, investigates the law and, perhaps even more remarkable for a litigator, he will show you reasonable alternatives to get your life back together.”
With changes in digital media and technology continuing the break-neck speed, judges, regulators and lawmakers are striving to keep up. The Boesch Law Group provides guidance and handling of both routine and high-profile matters.
Whether you are looking to protect your digital art, exploit a new digital media technology, defend your rights to free speech, self-expression and innovation, or guard the integrity of your commercial internet website, you need competent legal advice on the developing and ever-changing federal and state laws and regulations governing digital media.
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