When you receive a DMCA Takedown notice the first step is to determine the alleged copyright infringement. Once confirmed then proceed with removal of the content as listed in the notice. There are three potential parties that could receive DMCA Takedown Notices with regards to the internet:
- ISP/OSP operators The DMCA and "Safe Harbor" portion of the Copyright Act were specifically written for ISP's, OSP's and Web Hosting companies. And as such any DMCA Takedown Notice must be sent to a the appropriate "abuse@" or "DMCA@" contact for the operator.
- Website owner - Infringing party Generally the website owner / contact or person responsible for the internet account used commit the copyright violation . The website owner / contact would be the person listed as the main contact for the domain which is being accused of hosting copyrighted / "stolen" content.
- UCG Platform Owners c/o Infringing Party User Generated Content platforms/websites or apps will be in receipt of takedown notices should any users of their platform upload content not in compliance with their T&C's and without permission from the owner of the content. Often the platform owner / contact would be the person listed on the takedown notice even though the infringing party is a user within the platform. The platform is still compelled to comply wih the takedown notice regardless of their relationship with their user.
If you need help with your counter-claim please complete this form: Counter Claim Form
If you receive many takedown notices and need support. DMCA.com provides takedown and counter claim assistance. Our Compliant program also provides excellent support for any organization that receives more than 5 takedowns per month. Set up DMCA Compliant Service here: Compliant Program
If you need help submitting a DMCA Notice you can complete this form: Takedown Form
If you are not either of these two then return the takedown or forward to the appropriate contact.
If you are the appropriate contact for either examples above, be sure and look to identify the specific copyright infringement. Once confirmed then proceed with the takedown.
Three key points to highlight regarding takedown requests:
- Applying to high a level of interpretation on the request puts the ISP/OSP in direct conflict with their position and the Act which governs the takedown process. The person who requests a takedown formally swears it, that is their legally binding declaration of ownership. If they do not own the content they are guilty of perjury and can prosecuted for it. ISP's / OSP's / Web Hosts do not have the right or responsibility to arbitrate the takedown process between parties or determine whether the takedown is valid or not. They most certainly can bring judgement as to whether the Takedown request or application is suitable, appropriate or meets the criteria set out on their website.
- Although the takedown request has an immediacy which can be misused ultimately (according to the Act) the onus is on the party requesting the takedown to proceed to the next level legally by making application in a court of law. If the content is not theirs and the takedown is frivolous the maximum length of time a site could be down would be 14 days.
- A counter claim cannot be used as defense of a Takedown. In other words you cannot use a counter claim to keep content / website up. The content or website must be taken down before the counter claim can be launched.
DMCA Fast Tip
The DMCA Counter Notice/Counterclaim process occurs after the initial DMCA Take down has been completed (removal of claimed infringed content). A Counter Notice/Counterclaim cannot be used to defend against or as a defense to a Takedown Notice. A Counter Notice/Counterclaim cannot be used to delay the process of a Takedown Notice.
What should be in a DMCA Takedown Notice?
These pieces of information are needed in a DMCA Takedown:
- Infringing URL - Where on the internet (or platform like Facebook or TikTok) is your stolen content located. What is the link?
- Source URL - Where was your content located when it was stolen? If it was not online you can reference cell phone, computer, cloud storage or camera etc.
- Description of Ownership - The owner's name and if you do know how was it stolen? How is this content yours? How do you own it? Created it, bought it, copyright etc. Who is claiming ownership of the content? Who is authorized to file the DMCA Takedown Notice?
What does DMCA Notice do?
As part of the U.S. copyright law, the DMCA addresses the rights and obligations of owners of copyrighted material who believe their rights under U.S. copyright law have been infringed, particularly but not limited to, on the Internet. DMCA also addresses the rights and obligations of OSP / ISP (Internet Service Providers) on whose servers or networks the infringing material may be found. This law clearly provides a framework, called the DMCA Takedown (Section 512 (c)(3)), for a process between two parties for the request and removal of copied content found online. For more information you can visit: www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf.
If you want to learn more about DMCA Takedowns please see our other FAQ on this specific issue here What is a DMCA Takedown.
Most websites, ISP's, OSP's, hosting companies have adopted the DMCA Takedown process to handle requests for the removal of illegally hosted content on websites within their control. If you think you can use the DMCA takedown process to get your content removed. Click here to file a DMCA Takedown
Does DMCA only apply to the US?
Most countries accept the standard DMCA Takedown Notice form and process. Although the DMCA Takedown is part of US Copyright law, a DMCA Takedown Notice is often used and accepted throughout the world and not exclusive to the United States. The DMCA Takedown process described within the law is widely used throughout the world. However, many countries have their own copyright laws specifically related to the removal of content from internet service providers and site owners within their borders. Which service providers do and do not accept the standard DMCA takedown notice form and process is dynamic and constantly changing. DMCA.com professionals are aware of these constant changes and are able to convert the information submitted through the standard DMCA Takedown signup form to suit specific countries and/or service providers within the legal process they require.
How can I tell if a website uses DMCA process?
Many websites reference the DMCA.com Takedown Notice form on this website directly. If a website uses the DMCA they will usually place a reference in the footer of the website. The clickthrough should clearly state the conditions of the DMCA Takedown process. If you are unsure or the website unclear, click here to complete your takedown request: DMCA Takedown Form. Our professional team will connect your takedown request to the right website.
DMCA Takedown Testimonial
DMCA.com was able to have a takedown processed by a stubborn site after I had tried and failed myself. I couldn’t be happier with the DMCA.com team for all of the hard work they put in to resolve the case :). Thank you so much! -Matt
How can I protect my website with DMCA?
DMCA.com's first recommendation is to contact a lawyer or law firm in the legal jurisdiction of your company or website to determine what is the appropriate legal communication. DMCA.com does not offer any legal advice or specific recommendation regarding any copyright practice.
DMCA.com has two programs to help content creators, publishers and UGC platforms:
- Content Publishers or Platforms of User Generated Content (UGC) should use the DMCA Compliance program - Get Compliant - adding a compliance badge to your site instantly takes the guess work and time out of processing DMCA Takedown notices on your site.
- Content Creators and Publishers (without UGC) should use DMCA.com Protection Pro - Content Protection - it is essential to add an ownership statement to all your content. Registering and adding your content and website to this program is click through easy. There is even a Free program so getting started is easy.
If you are unsure what program is best for your situation by all means reach out and one of the DMCA.com team can provide support: Help Me Choose the right option.
Related DMCA Takedown FAQ's
- What is the DMCA Protected Badge
- What is DMCA Protection
- What is DMCA Takedowns
- What is DMCA.com
- What is DMCA Protected Certificate
- What is DMCA Website Certificate
- What is DMCA Website Status Page and Protection Certificate