Copyright Management Information

Don't mess with the CMI

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 ("DMCA") prohibits the removal or falsification of CMI, as well as the distribution of such altered works. Specifically, 17 U.S. Code § 1202 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.

For example, imagine that a photographer's copyrighted picture was published in The New York Times. It was watermarked with the photographer's name and copyright year. An infringer goes onto the newspaper's website, downloads the picture, and uses software to remove the watermark. He then uses the photo on his personal website. Not only would this be basic copyright infringement, but it would also be a violation of the DMCA's prohibition on removing CMI.

CMI rules apply to both digital and non-digital works. Thus, if that same infringer literally cut and pasted the photographer's photo from The New York Times's print edition, and then scanned the photo after cutting out the attribution, this could also violate the prohibition on CMI removal.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Talk to a Intellectual Property attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you