What are DMCA Violations?

According the Black’s Law Dictionary, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is:

“A 1998 federal law harmonizing United States copyright protection with international law, limiting copyright liability for Internet service providers, and expanding software owner’s’ ability to copy programs. Among many other provisions, the statute extends copyright protection to computer programs, movies, and other audiovisual works worldwide; attempts to regulate cyberspace; forbids devices whose purpose is to evade digital anti-piracy tools; and bars the production or distribution of falsified copyright-management information. The statute also limits the liability of Internet service providers against claims of direct and indirect copyright infringement based on content provided by third parties.” 17 U.S.C. §§ 1301–1332.

Amazon.com has been involved in multiple DMCA violation lawsuits. This typically occurs when an Amazon Seller is selling items without the copyrighted license. When the copyright holder discovers their copyrighted work is being sold without a license on Amazon, they often file suit against not just the seller, but Amazon as well because Amazon is the platform in which the item was being sold.

When alleging a DMCA violation, it is the plaintiff’s job to provide sufficient facts that there was a violation. In order to successfully litigate against Amazon, the plaintiff must prove Amazon had knowledge of the violations. If the plaintiffs fail to do so, then the complaint will be dismissed. That is what occurred in Chambers v. Amazon.com.1 Additionally, Amazon will be dismissed from DMCA violation claims because they are often immune from liability from third-party sellers. This is Amazon’s strongest defense whenever there is a DMCA violation that occurs with one of their sellers.

  1. Chambers v. Amazon.com Inc., 632 F. App’x 742 (4th Cir. 2015).


  • Chambers v. Amazon.com Inc., 632 F. App’x 742 (4th Cir. 2015).

The court here is determining whether the lower court erred in adopting the Magistrate’s recommendation that this case be summarily dismissed because plaintiff did not state any facts in which it could be reasonably inferred that DMCA or Copyright Act violations were present. Here, the court found that the decision adopting the magistrate’s recommendation was proper. Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to support either a Copyright or DMCA claim against defendants. Thus, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to enter an order for summary judgment.

  • Chambers v. Amazon.com Inc., Civil Action No. 3:14-cv-4890-MGL, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85367 (D.S.C. July 1, 2015).

The court here was determining whether it should adopt the decision of the Magistrate judge below and summarily dismiss this case. The court agreed with the Magistrate, and found that plaintiff’s arguments failed to cast any doubt on the findings of the Magistrate. Plaintiff’s evidence only provided evidence for plaintiff’s alleged damages. The court thus entered an order to summarily dismiss this case.

  • Chambers v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 3:14-4890-MGL-PJG, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85596 (D.S.C. Feb. 5, 2015).

The court here was determining whether to summarily dismiss this case. The court found that although it must liberally construe a pro se complaint, the plaintiff’s allegations were speculative and conclusory. Therefore, the claims were insufficient to show a violation of the Copyright Act or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the court recommended summarily dismissing the claims.

  • Corbis Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 351 F. Supp. 2d 1090, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27155, 77 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1182 (W.D. Wash. 2004).

In this case plaintiff claimed to have copyright interests in two photographs that Amazon placed on it’s website IMDb.com as well as hundreds of photographs that were being sold by vendors on Amazon without Plaintiff’s permission. Amazon is protected from liability under the DMCA for copyright infringement occurring on its third party vendor platform. O Amazon qualifies as an Internet Service Provider protected under DCMA, does not have affirmative duty to police possible infringement, but must take reasonable steps if is alerted to infringement.

  • Milo & Gabby, LLC v. Amazon.com, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149939 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 3, 2015).

Milo & Gabby sued Amazon.com for multiple infringement claims. Amazon.com motioned to dismiss claiming that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim. After a jury hearing, the court adopted the jury’s finding that Amazon.com was not liable for “offering to sell” the alleged infringing products at issue in this matter. A judgment was placed in favor of Amazon.com and all claims against Amazon.com were dismissed. Amazon is immune from liability for infringement by third-party sellers under the DMCA.