Copyright How to Write a DMCA Takedown Notice

  1. This article will provide you with the help and information you need to create your own DMCA takedown notice to expeditiously remove materials that are an infringement of your copyright.

    Problem: Finding your "Stuff" on Other Web Sites

    On the Internet, there are many wonderful and interesting social networks and user generated content sites where all types of interesting photos, videos, music and other types of media are uploaded by users. What happens if you find that something you created - perhaps photos of your vacation in Japan - appear without your authorization on a social networking site? In the US, the government created a "safe harbor" for social networks and web sites to be absolved from secondary liability for copyright infringement, provided they abide by several rules and have an expeditious method of removing content that is pursuant to a valid takedown notice.

    To Whom do I Send the Notice?

    The first item on your agenda with regard to a DMCA takedown notice for copyright infringement would be to locate whom you need to send the notice. Yes, it seems obvious but if you send it to a general mailbox, it's possible that your content will not be removed expeditiously. If you look in the terms of use or terms of service of the web site which contains the infringing content, you should be able to locate a copyright agent. If none is listed, then you can send it to another location but you can note that this site will likely not have the benefits of the safe harbor described above. You might want to mention that, if they don't remove your content quickly and you need to sue, they could be responsible for significant damages!

    What Needs to be Included in the Notice?

    • Identification of the copyrighted work that has been allegedly infringed
    • Identification of the material(s) claimed to be infringing and sufficient information to locate them (a hyperlink, specific instructions how to access the materials - anything that provides for a method of easily finding each piece of infringing content)
    • A statement by complainant of the good faith belief that there has been no authorized usage granted by the owner, agent or law
    • Reasonably sufficient information to contact complainant (no specific requirement and suggests address, telephone number and e-mail)
    • A statement of the notice’s accuracy and, under the penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the owner
    • The physical or electronic signature of complainant/authorized person

    Sample DMCA Takedown Letter / Notice


    VIA email at isphost[at]isp.com

    Re: Takedown Notice, Copyright Infringement Claim

    To the ISP or Hosting Company:

    My name is John Doe and I am the copyright owner of the following photographs which are being hosted, displayed and made available on the web at the following hyperlinks below. This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”) to demand removal of the infringing materials. Please be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to “expeditiously remove or disable access to” the infringing photographs upon receipt of this notice and that the effect of noncompliance may result in your being liable for secondary copyright infringement.

    I have a good faith belief that use of the materials set forth below and in the manner complained of here is not authorized by me, the copyright holder, or by the law. The information provided here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I swear under penalty of perjury that I am the copyright holder.

    My current contact information is included below next to my signature and please send me a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter.

    Sincerely,

    /s/ Richard Roe, 123 Oak St., Springfield, NY 10001 | Tel. (212) 555-1212 | email: richard [at] roe.com

    List and location of infringing materials:

    Page: http://www.infringingsite.com/pictures.htm

    Images: http://www.infringingsite.com/pics/badpic1.jpg

    http://www.infringingsite.com/pics/badpic2.jpg

    http://www.infringingsite.com/pics/badpic3.jpg

    I have enclosed a screen shot of the page that contains these unauthorized photos.​

    The Counter Notice Reply to a DMCA Takedown

    While the complainant has a right to send a takedown notice under the DMCA to have content removed online, he or she should realize that this copyright action may not be at its conclusion. The person or party responsible for uploading or hosting the content has a right to reply and disagree. This formal disagreement is called a DMCA Counter Notice or put-back.
    Intellectual Property:
    DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)

    Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.

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