Does DMCA apply for postal companies from delivering copyright infringed material?

If yes there seems to be no form to file one in case I get information of someone doing so.


1 Answer 1


Is postal service in scope of DMCA?

No. the DMCA is the implementation of an international treaty, and has the following chapters (emphasis mine):

  • [The fact that it is the WIPO treaty's implementation]
  • Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation
  • Computer Maintenance and Repair Copyright exemption
  • Miscellaneous
  • Protection of certain original designs

The DMCA amends Chapter 5 of title 17 in the shape of 17 USC 512. It only cares for digital media on the internet. It doesn't care for tangible items, and the postal service only delivers tangible items.

Secondary Issue: They don't know the contents!

Even if the DMCA could in any way be applied to postal service (It can't), there is a much larger problem: An internet provider can potentially check all the sites on his servers and remove access to them, because sites are public. However, the postal service knows only 4 things about the packages and letters they carry:

  • Delivery Adress
  • Sender Adress
  • Weight
  • Size

Only for international deliveries, a list of contents is added, and that is not for the postal service but the customs office. Postal service doesn't know what is in the box, and technically isn't even allowed to know, unless it is clear from the packaging. That is called the Secrecy of Correspondence, protected since Ex parte Jackson 96 U.S. 727 (1877)!

As a result, the Postal service is not allowed to open sealed deliveries unless there is a very specific reason from a list. USPS has postal inspectors. The list when they may open deliveries contains only 3 big items:

  • The piece of mail is undeliverable and has become "Dead Letter Mail".
    • If still unable to find who shall get it then, most contents goes to auction, correspondence and pornography are destroyed. Guns and valuables are handled differently.
  • With a warrant (there are multiple ways to obtain those).
  • The parcel is leaking a substance - There is special handling procedure for a package leaking possibly hazardous material, and that can include opening the parcel to determine the substance leaked. The sender did agree to this in the ToS of the postal service. Also note, that some liquids are illegal to be mailed, for example, alcohol.
  • What is done ifinfringing material is delivered through post tge then so? Dec 6, 2020 at 6:22
  • Post never knows what you put inside. They are not liable for your misuse of post
    – Trish
    Dec 6, 2020 at 7:53
  • Ok Thanks for answering fd. Dec 6, 2020 at 13:39
  • @ask I even added to you why they can't know the contents. However, if you send illegal copies by mail, you add an additional charge to any lawsuit: Mail Fraud.
    – Trish
    Dec 6, 2020 at 13:40
  • Well why do you think I will be doing so I amm just asking ? Dec 6, 2020 at 14:01

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