What Is a DMCA Takedown Notice?

What Is a DMCA Takedown Notice?

What the heck is a DMCA takedown? The term may sound like a wrestling move 💪, but this isn’t the case. In fact, if you’re an internet content creator or influencer 🤳, this is very important ❗️❗️❗️ for you to know. 

Let’s start with the DMCA. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, is a U.S copyright law.  It focuses on the rights and obligations🔎 of those who own copyrighted property. Sometimes, these people experience a breach in the U.S copyright law that is not always limited to online mediums. Keep in mind that even though the DMCA is a U.S. copyright law, its services are not particularly exclusive to the U.S.

Now, onto DMCA takedowns. A DMCA takedown is when online content is removed from a website or platform. This can happen at the request of the content’s owner or the owner who holds the copyright of the content. Many internet service providers and website owners carry out these takedowns. 

Does this sound like something you should know about? 🤔 If you are a content owner that needs to know more on this topic and would like to send a DMCA takedown notice, or if you’ve received one and don’t know what to do, keep reading. We will break down ✍️ the aspects of DMCA takedown notices for both sides of the equation. 

The DMCA Takedown Notice

Before a DMCA takedown occurs, the offending party generally receives a notice. The purpose of this notice is for copyright content owners to get uploaded material that breaches copyright law to be taken down from platforms without being forced to. The notice basically just requests the uploaded material to be taken down 🚫. 

Keep in mind that the notice doesn’t necessarily have to go to an individual. It can be an internet service provider 👨‍💻, website operator, web host, search engine, or any other form of an online platform.

There are a few components that should be found in a takedown notice and are required by U.S. copyright law. If these components are not ❌ found in the notice, the allegedly offending party can choose to not take down the content in question. In fact, even if these components are present, they still have the choice to refuse. However, this refusal can lead to a secondary liability with enabling copyright breaches. 

Here’s what the notice is supposed to include 💯: 

  • Clear identification of the content breach
  • A description of the breach and a link to the file
  • A statement in good faith that you believe that a breach in content has occurred
  • A statement that all information provided is correct and you are authorized to file the notice
  • Your contact information and signature.

Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice

Most online providers 👨‍💻 have a page on their site especially for this. It normally has a list of steps 📜 and the provider’s form for sending a DMCA takedown notice. 

If you can’t find the provider’s takedown form, then you will need to draft and send your notice of takedown. To find 🔎 where to send the notice, check out the U.S. copyright website. It has a DMCA agent listing with contact information 📞 for the online provider’s designated DMCA agent.

This agent is the representative that receives all notices for a certain online provider. Once the agent has received the valid notice, the takedown process can begin.

Receiving and Counter-Notices

What happens if you receive a notice of takedown for your own original content, or if you believe that you haven’t made any infringements? No worries: in most cases, a takedown notice doesn’t lead to a lawsuit 👨‍⚖️. 

It is a good idea to go through these steps if you receive a notice:

  1. Check whether the notice was a) properly sent and b ) focused on the correct information
  2. Confirm that the individual who sent the notice is the owner of the content or their legal representative ⚖️
  3. Review your content to see whether the notice has any grounds to stand on and that there is an infringement.
  4. If you believe that you are not ❌ at fault, fairly used the information, or there was an error with the takedown notice, consider filing a counter-notice.

Before you send a counter-notice, beware that doing so can lead to legal action ⚖️. Make sure that the counter-notice is justified, or you will have your content removed and possibly have your platform taken down as a result. 

The components of a counter-notice are very similar to that of a takedown notice; the only difference is that you have to include a statement of consent to jurisdiction. When sending your counter-notice, make sure that the owner has provided a method to do so. If not, then you can use the agent listing mentioned above. 

Getting Legal Assistance

If you have experienced a takedown notice that is incorrect, or if you intend to file one against another owner, it is wise to consult an attorney 👨‍💼 before proceeding. A social media attorney can assist by giving you the best advice 👌 on how to proceed with filing and responding to both notices and counter-notices. Contact 📞 us today!