It can but it has the force of some VERY HEAVY law behind it.
Copyright protection existed long before the internet.
But it took a very long time for the neoliberal “big players” to come out rather than the earlier more decentralized online; Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Twitter, a few more.
With only a few central areas to worry about and digital fingerprinting tools maturing (compressing music to 1-bit tor fingerprinting was simple genius – I tested it for fun a few years ago and it can recognize music down to a core if the tempo stays the same) – enforcement became practical and music companies and others dove in soon afterwards.
The corporate $$$ and lawyers behind all of this is unthinkably powerful because they sit upon extremely strong existing law that has been tested and retested who knows how many times in courts long before the internet.
It is the power of law and strength and immediacy of enforcement that make DMCA possible. I don’t know of too many other things that are as powerful on an international basis as IP, at least in US, Western EU and Australia/NZ. Rest of the world could care less basically.