Copyright Management Information

Don't mess with the CMI

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Copyright management information (CMI) is information conveyed with a copyrighted work that identifies the owner and nature of that copyright. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 prohibits the removal or falsification of CMI as well as the distribution of such altered works. The Act specifically defines copyright management information as:

  • The title and other information identifying the work, including the information set forth on a notice of copyright.
  • The name of, and other identifying information about, the author of a work.
  • The name of, and other identifying information about, the copyright owner of the work, including the information set forth in a notice of copyright.¬†
  • With the exception of public performances of works by radio and television broadcast stations, the name of, and other identifying information about, a performer whose performance is fixed in a work other than an audiovisual work.
  • With the exception of public performances of works by radio and television broadcast stations, in the case of an audiovisual work, the name of, and other identifying information about, a writer, performer, or director who is credited in the audiovisual work.

In 2011, the Third Circuit determined that the CMI rules also applied to non-digital works.

EXAMPLE: A photographer's copyrighted picture of two nude radio "shock jocks" was published in the New Jersey Monthly. The radio station that employed the men scanned and posted the photo online (after removing the photo credit that ran alongside the photo  known in the trade as a "gutter credit"). The station then encouraged listeners to download the photo, modify it and resubmit the photos to the station for posting. The Third Circuit ruled that the "gutter credit" qualified as CMI and cutting it off the photo violated the DMCA. (Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group,)

by: , Attorney

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