The Ultimate Guide to DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)

BlogCopyrightIntellectual Property Rights    November 1, 2019
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The most common challenge creators face nowadays is a copyright infringement issue. Back in the previous years, i.e., the non-internet century, stealing or distributing someone else’s work wasn’t as easy as it is today. However, with the boom of the internet and digital age, it has become common for artists, writers, and others who publish their work online to find the same on unauthorized sites, ads, etc. DMCA is what came into the light to regulate digital media and deal with copyright challenges and issues the digital world faces.

What is DMCA?

DMCA or Digital Millennium Copyright Act is the result of a collaboration between legislators, consumer advocates, and media companies. By the mid to late 1990s, peer-to-peer file-sharing along with several other digital technologies had expedited widespread illegal access to copyrighted material. In response to this, several firms and organizations lobbied for a formal approach that could aid the copyright holders to assert their ownership rights over material illegally posted on third-party websites, and thus, have the same removed promptly. As a result of their request, a law known as DMCA was enacted in 1998 by the US government and signed by President Bill Clinton on October 28th of the same year. Alongside looking into different sorts of Copyright Infringement concerns on the digital surface, DMCA aims to balance the interests of copyright owners as well as users and reinforces penalties for offenders. DMCA, in its original form, was criticized by many scientists who believed that this would disrupt the growing IT industry. Although the Act/law was made to undergo various revisions to incorporate several exceptions following worldwide criticism, still, many countries prefer the versions of their Copyright Law, not DMCA.

What is DMCA Takedown Notice?

A DMCA takedown notice refers to the official notification to the company, ISP (internet service provider), search engine, or web host informing that they are hosting or linking to the material which infringes on a copyright. The website or company at the receiving end of this notice should promptly take down the material in question because if they don’t do so, then the ISP could forcibly remove it. Copyright content which you can prevent from infringement by sending a DMCA takedown notice encompasses:

  • Pictures posted on businesses’ official sites,
  • Written texts like books, poetry, blogs, etc.,
  • Artwork, images, photos, paintings, etc.,
  • Songs, music, or other audio files,
  • Digital software,
  • Videos.

Now, when you are aware of what is DMCA and DMCA notice, you hopefully be interested in knowing how to write this legal notice, where to send it, and more. So, get ready as this article has brought everything for you!

Is DMCA Notice Applies Only to Registered Work?

No, it is not essential to register your work before writing a DMCA takedown request. Content in tangible form turns into your Intellectual Property (IP) as soon as you create it, and DMCA is intended to ensure the protection of such IPs. Hence, you can send the DMCA notice even if your content isn’t registered. Most people post images, videos, or written content online without any registration with the copyright office, but still, they hold the exclusive rights over these materials and can send DMCA notice for any unlawful use of the same. Copyright Registration is required if you want to file a copyright infringement lawsuit. Otherwise, DMCA takedown requests work well for the protection of any unregistered material.

How to Write DMCA Takedown Notice?

In general, there is no official template to create a DMCA notice. Nevertheless, there are some specific requisites that each DMCA notice should include to be valid. Apart from providing details like the URL of site hosting copyrighted material, statistics of the infringed content, etc., identifying suspected copyright infringement, you (writer) must:

  • List all the details of the Copyright Website, i.e., original site or content.
  • State that the notice is written and filed in good faith that violation of your content had taken place.
  • Make a statement that under penalty of perjury all the information provided in the notice is correct.
  • Provide your contact information as it is a legal notice.
  • Finish it off with your electronic or physical signature.

To ensure the success of your takedown notice, you must include all the necessary details, disclosures, statements, along with formatting them accordingly. If you find it complicated or are unsure of the process, then take help from a certified IP Attorney as he/she will well handle it for you.

Where or Whom to Send DMCA Takedown Notice?

You can send your DMCA notice to almost every source involved in publishing the violated content. Nonetheless, it is better to proceed in a step-wise way. Start by providing the website’s owner (infringer) with an email asking to take your content down. People often respond to such emails positively and remove the copyrighted material from their site to avoid possible legal consequences. However, if the owner ignores your mail, then you can send a signed DMCA notice to their hosting provider. The hosting provider, if finds your request legitimate, it will immediately either take down the infringed material or disable access to the infringer’s website. You can also file your DMCA request with Google. It will help you by making the search engine to disable the infringing webpage from getting further exposure, in addition to, negatively impacting its SEO ranking.

Wrapping Up

In the present era where everything is turning digital, your content online matters a lot and can benefit you in several ways. On the other hand, if it gets infringed, you can face losses like low rankings on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), less traffic to your website, and more. So, don’t let this happen and ensure getting more and more benefits by preventing others from making profits out of the image, text, etc., that you have prepared with lots of effort. In addition to DMCA, there are many approaches to ensure the protection of your IP. You can go for any, but before proceeding, it is imperative to attain complete and precise information, which can easily be obtained by consulting either an experienced Intellectual Property Law Firm or a skilled attorney. For more visit: 

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