Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Protecting Your Copyrighted Material and the DMCA

The Internet makes it incredibly easy for you to share your copyrighted material with other people instantly and globally.

However, the Internet also makes it easy for others to copy your material and infringe your copyright. Fortunately, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a way for you to protect your copyrighted material online.

DMCA Takedown Notice

The same rules apply whether the copyrighted material is written words, photographs, videos, or audio files.

The first step would normally be to attempt to contact the person who did the infringing and ask them to stop. Sometimes copyright infringement stems from ignorance. Some people might not be aware that they can’t simply copy your blog or article to their website; they may think as long as they say where the material came from the copying is permissible. It’s not.

It they don’t respond or you can’t find them, you can file a “DMCA Takedown Notice” with the service hosting the unauthorized use of your material.

The DMCA protects Internet service providers from being sued for copyright infringement, but only if they take prompt action to remedy an infringement once they’ve been notified. Since service providers don’t want to be sued, they’re generally responsive to such notices.

The notice must contain:

  1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
  5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
  6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

You can file a DMCA Takedown Notice on your own, but many people find it helpful to hire a copyright attorney to help them.

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