What is a DMCA Takedown Notice and How Do You Fight One?

So, your YouTube channel has been hit with a DMCA takedown notice. Now, you’re officially living many YouTubers’ worst nightmare 😱.

DMCA, or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, went into effect in 1998 with the purpose of protecting the rights of individuals with copyrighted material published online. 

Today, this law helps protect creators like you from stolen and misused content.

Thus, a DMCA takedown occurs when the owner of copyrighted material discovers their content has been stolen and reports it to the DMCA website. If DMCA determines that the content is in fact misused, they will issue an order to remove ❌ it from its host website.

What To Do if You Receive a FALSE Takedown Notice

DMCA Takedown Notice

If you receive a copyright takedown notice, you must first determine whether the content you posted actually infringes on the creators’ rights. If you discover that you have violated copyright laws, the content will remain removed from your channel.

That being said, if you have received a DMCA takedown notice for content that is NOT 🙅‍♂️ breaking copyright infringement laws, you have the right to fight it.

Luckily, YouTube as well as DMCA guidelines require anyone who files a takedown notice to provide their name, email address, physical address, and phone number. Therefore, if you receive a false copyright strike, you can contact the striker to request a retraction.

More specifically, you can demand a copyright strike retraction in one of two ways: first, you could visit the Creator Studio and click on “Retraction” in the Copyright section; or, you could hire a lawyer to make the retraction demand via U.S. mail or email 📧.

While requests from a lawyer are usually taken seriously, if you do not get results from your retraction demand within ten business days and your content is not reinstated on YouTube, it may be time for a DMCA counter notification.

DMCA Counter Notification Process

A DMCA counter notice is a legal request 🙏 made directly to YouTube in response to a false DMCA takedown notice.

Note that, like takedowns, a DMCA counter notice is a pretty serious matter. 

For example, once you file a DMCA counter notice, you provide the copyright holder legal rights to file a federal lawsuit against you. Plus, they’ll have access to your personal information, just as you initially received theirs. 

After receiving your counter notification, the complainant will have ten days 📅 to file a lawsuit. If they do so, and provide YouTube with evidence that you have infringed upon their copyrights, your video will remain removed from the site.

On the other hand, if the accuser does not file a lawsuit, YouTube will reinstate your video!

A Word of Caution ⚠️

When it comes to DMCA takedowns and counter notices, I always recommend that my clients err on the side of caution. 

For example, in order to avoid copyright strikes to the best of your ability, you should always avoid using copyrighted material in your YouTube videos 🔑.

Of course, this isn’t always possible. At the very least, creators should be utilizing the doctrine of fair use whenever they use others’ content in their videos.

That being said, if you receive a DMCA takedown notice for either explicit or questionable use of copyrighted material, you can request a retraction, but you should very likely avoid 🛑 a counter notice.

Generally, you should only ever file a DMCA counter-notice if:

✔️ You accidentally used the content in question

✔️ You didn’t use the content in question

✔️ Your use of the copyrighted content was protected by the doctrine of fair use

Plus, be sure to consult a social media lawyer whenever you’re dealing with DMCA takedown notices

As mentioned earlier, retraction requests submitted by an attorney usually receive a more favorable outcome. Additionally, if you need to submit a counter-notification, a social media lawyer can manage the entire process for you! 

From filling out ✍️ the required information to protecting your personal data, a lawyer can be indispensable in fighting a false DMCA takedown notice.

Furthermore, if your case goes to federal court, you’re going to want proper legal protection. For example, if a false copyright strike has resulted in loss of AdSense revenue or other types of damages, a social media lawyer can fight to get your money 💰 back.

Ultimately, any YouTuber who utilizes copyrighted material in their videos should consult a social media attorney to ensure complete safety and protection against DMCA takedowns.