Does the DMCA Apply to Non-Americans?

1 minute read

Although the DMCA is a United States federal law, its provisions will probably still affect you even if you are not a resident of the US or an American citizen.

This is because the DMCA applies to the platforms that host content (called “Online Service Providers” in the law) like Twitch and Youtube, and not to the creators who upload or stream their content to those sites. The law says that these platforms are not responsible for the copyright infringements of their users, whether American or otherwise, as long as they respond to takedown notices and implement a policy against repeat infringers.

Therefore, if the platform has any servers that reside in the US, or maintains any offices in the US, they are subject to US laws and regulations. Even non-US companies will frequently have American servers to provide those customers a faster and more reliable connection, making them subject to the DMCA too.

Many other jurisdictions also have laws similiar to the DMCA, such as Article 14 of the European Electronic Commerce Directive. So having servers entirely outside of the United States is also not a solution to escape copyright laws.

Ultimately, any mainstream site will probably be subject to the DMCA, and so all of its users, whether American or not, will be affected by the policies those platforms implement to comply with the law.