What is DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)?
Protecting the numerous copyrights and trademarks linked with a brand is part of managing its reputation. Intellectual property is real and important, and with over seven billion people on the planet, there’s a significant probability that someone is attempting to steal a company’s digital assets. In circumstances when a copyright violation has been found, the party that owns the copyright can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown to both improve effective reputation management and safeguard their property.
Here are some examples of internet copyright infringement:
• Filming a movie at a theater and uploading it to the internet
• Freely downloading music, movies, or TV shows (often referred to as pirating)
• Using pictures for marketing, blog posts, and other purposes without the photographer’s permission
• Taking passages from a book and incorporating them into your own work without crediting the original author
• Using unauthorized music in your promo or video
• Using stolen software code without permission and without crediting the original author
• Without permission or consent, copying and utilizing any original work in part or in full.
What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) Purpose?
The DMCA’s implementation serves two key purposes.
First, the DMCA expanded and enhanced safeguards for digital copyrighted material. Congress accomplished this by enacting deterrent measures for potential offenders. In instance, breaking specific DMCA provisions became a criminal felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $1 million fine.
The DMCA, for example, made it a crime to circumvent technical barriers that govern access to copyrighted works, such as decrypting an encrypted work. Falsifying, deleting, or manipulating copyright management information, such as the author’s name or other identifying information, was also made a criminal violation under the DMCA.
Second, in order to keep up with the changing technological world, the DMCA modified existing copyright regulations. Because many copyrighted works are digital, they are considerably easier to reproduce and distribute fast and extensively. To better protect copyright holders, laws have to be changed to reflect this new reality.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act aims to balance copyright holders’ rights with worries that too stringent rules will stifle free expression and the dissemination of ideas. It accomplishes this by establishing a “safe harbor” for internet service providers that satisfy specific criteria. These are discussed more below.
How to Submit a DMCA Takedown Request
We discussed what material must be included in a takedown notification before. However, there are a few measures you should follow before drafting your takedown noticetic.
Preserve the Evidences of Copyright Infringement.
First, capture screenshots of the infringing material or website, since a proper DMCA takedown notice will result in the removal of the infringing material. You should keep a record of any infringing materials in order to preserve evidence for the DMCA takedown notice and, perhaps, subsequent legal proceedings.
Screenshotting your screen on a mobile device or a computer is an authorized method of preserving evidence and creating a record. Alternatively, if there are several photographs, movies, or webpages containing the infringing material, try employing preservation tools such as Visualping or Page Vault.
Determine Where the DMCA Notice Should Be Sent
Second, you must identify where to send the DMCA. To send a DMCA correctly, you must first know where to send it! You can submit your notification to the person, website, hosting or internet service provider, or website registrar who published your content.
Look for the Terms and Conditions policy on the website that is hosting the copyrighted content. Frequently, the Terms and Conditions explain the DMCA process, including who should receive the notice. To identify the relevant contact, try searching the page for “Copyright,” “DMCA,” or “Agent of Notice.” Some websites even feature an easy-to-use form that you can fill out and submit directly on the site.
The formal corporate entity to file the DMCA complaint to for some less respectable sites, such as cheater sites or public shaming sites, might be ambiguous, and you may require legal assistance to locate the relevant company.
Create the DMCA Takedown Notification
Third, you should begin crafting your takedown notice. Your DMCA notification must include all of the following items.
If you leave out or neglect one of these parts, your notification may be refused or disregarded. That implies the infringing material may remain up longer or may not be removed at all. These are technical steps that must be followed precisely.
What Should a DMCA Takedown Notice Contain?
- Contact Information: This is information on how to contact the copyright owner or their authorized representative. You should typically include your name, email address, postal address, and phone number.
- Good Faith Statement: This is a brief statement indicating you, or anyone acting on your behalf, believe the content is not authorized to be utilized.
- Identify the Work: What is the infringed-upon creative work? Is it, for example, a blog article you wrote? A image that you took? A graphic that you created?
- Infringing Content Location: Where is the content hosted? Instead of simply saying ‘Blogspot,’ give a direct link to the content. If it’s an image, make sure to give a direct link to it.
- Name and Signature: This can be an electronic signature, however it is ideal to include “/s” to establish that the notification was signed and not autofilled.
- Under penalty of perjury, a statement that all information included in the notification is correct.
DO NOT submit personal and secret information such as passport copies, driver’s license numbers, personal addresses, and so on using online takedown notification forms on unknown websites hosting your stolen content.
Common Questions regarding DMCA
What Kinds of Content Can a DMCA Takedown Notice Remove?
Original works of writing in fixed form are protected under copyright law in the United States. Traditionally, they have included items such as:
• Photos, including selfies
• Audio works such as music, podcasts, and other audio works
• Books, memos, blog posts, and other written materials
• Illustrations, designs, and art, as well as
• Computer program code
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Some items, however, cannot be copyrighted. These are discussed more below.
Because the DMCA is a US statute, it applies to all content hosted in the US. The DMCA, as a result, does not apply to content hosted outside of the United States. Outside of the United States, however, content hosts may still voluntarily comply with a DMCA takedown notice.
What Content Cannot Be Removed Using a DMCA Takedown Notice ?
In general, copyright registration does not protect items that may be discovered on one’s own. This is intended to promote free expression and the spread of ideas; if every concept or statement could be copyrighted, the world would be filled with litigation.
To that purpose, you normally cannot copyright titles, names, brief phrases, and basic, immediately identifiable designs. You cannot also copyright ideas, processes, systems, operational procedures, concepts, principles, or discoveries.
Only infringing items must be removed under the DMCA, not defamatory materials. For example, if an ex posts an unattractive photo of you on a shame website alongside false and scandalous charges about you, the DMCA may have the image removed but not the defamatory comments.
How to Contact the Host, ISP, or Search Engine ?
If contacting the author fails, the next step is to work the web host and/or search engine. Because legitimate hosting sites do not want a reputation for hosting copyrighted material, this can be a successful strategy. Many web providers and search engines have a copyright complaint email address or website set up. Of course, there’s always the option of paying a professional business to file the takedown notice; they’ll usually have a lot more knowledge and skill in this area.
They can demand the removal of the digital asset from the publisher’s online account by immediately filing a DMCA with the host. Amazon, for example, would remove a book or merchandise that was discovered to be not the account owner’s property. Similarly, website hosts can digitally remove a page and restrict it from being accessed by the public, and Google can remove it from search results.
How Long Does It Take to Get a DMCA Takedown?
Depending on the site and conditions, DMCA takedowns might take anywhere from 24 hours to six months to be fulfilled by the infringing party or ISP.
For example, if the content is hosted on a site that enables third-party user posts, such as Facebook or YouTube, the social media platform will notify the account holder and give them time to reply. When this occurs, the account holder has the option of removing the content, disputing the request, or filing a counter-notice.
Another element influencing the DMCA takedown date is the site’s busyness and the number of requests it must process. If it is a popular site, it may have a large number of pending DMCA takedowns, which might impede the process.
As previously stated, some ISPs are hesitant to react to DMCA notifications, which can cause delays or complicate the process.