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DMCA Takedown Provisions – How to Protect Your Copyrights Online

Author:CELEBLAWS, P.A.    Source:Original    Release time:2022-07-19 17:45    Browse volume:

With the advent of the internet, it has become increasingly simple to display and share your copyrighted works online. However, when someone else uses your copyrighted material online without your permission, you may wonder what recourse is available to you.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) addresses copyright infringement that occurs on the internet and enables copyright owners to protect their works online. In this article, we discuss what the DMCA is and outline the steps you can take to protect your copyrighted material online.


What is the DMCA?

The DMCA is an extension of US copyright law that requires websites to promptly remove infringing material. It not only protects copyright owners from infringement online, but also protects websites from being sued by a copyright owner if a website user illegitimately posts copyrighted material on their sites.


How to Protect Your Copyrights Online

If you are the owner of a copyright, or the agent of a copyright owner, you can several steps to protect your copyrighted works from infringement online.


Step 1: Send a Cease and Desist

As an initial course of action, you should contact the infringer directly. Send a cease-and-desist letter advising the infringer of your rights and requesting that he take down the infringing material. Most websites have a direct messaging feature enabling you to directly contact the infringer. In many cases, the infringer will comply with your request, and you will have successfully protected your copyright. If, however, you cannot contact the infringer directly, or the infringer does not reply to or comply with your request, you may proceed to step 2.


Step 2: Submit a DMCA Takedown Notice

The DMCA enables copyright owners to enlist the help of websites to remove the infringing material. To initiate the takedown process, send a takedown notice to the applicable website requesting that the infringing material be removed. If you are unsure of where to send your takedown notice, refer to the applicable website’s terms of service, as such will generally provide instructions on how and where to send such notices.


A takedown notice must include the following:

· Identification of (i) your copyrighted material, (ii) the infringing activity, and (iii) the location of the infringing activity (typically by providing the URL);

· A statement that you have a good faith belief that the content identified in the notice is infringing on your copyright; and

· A statement that the information you provided is accurate and you are authorized to make the complaint as the copyright owner or as the agent of the copyright owner;

· Your contact information (including email address); and

· Signature of the copyright owner or owner’s agent.


Before sending the notice though, you should ensure that the other party’s use of your copyrighted material does not qualify as fair use (link to fair use article).


After submitting a takedown notice, the online service provider will remove the infringing material and forward your complaint to the infringer alerting him of the violation. It is important to note that websites will not assess the merits of a takedown notice. Rather, they simply act as intermediaries between the claimed copyright owner and the alleged infringer.


If the infringer does not dispute that his activity was infringing, you will have successfully resolved the matter and protected your copyright. If, on the other hand, the infringer does not believe he was infringing, he may dispute your allegation of infringement by submitting a DMCA counter notice to the website. Just as a website is not required to assess the validity of a takedown notice, it's also not required to judge the merits of a counter notice (link to DMCA counter notice article).


Step 3: Responding to a DMCA Counter Notice

If the infringer submits a counter notice, the website will notify you. If you still believe that the other party infringed on your copyright, you will have 14 days to file a lawsuit against the infringer for copyright infringement. If you do not file a lawsuit within that time, the website will restore the allegedly infringing content. 

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