What is DMCA and Takedown Notice Process? – Full Guide 2021
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA is often referred to when there are issues related to copyright. What exactly is the DMCA?
When it comes to security, it’s not just your website that needs protection – the content on your site is extremely vulnerable too.
To hack a site, one needs a specific skill, knowledge, and expertise to do it well and correctly. But stealing content is an effortless thing to do.
With the increasing popularity of content marketing strategies, there is no more content on the internet. Keeping the content that you write and post on your blog is one essential thing.
Safeguarding the content referred to here is to keep your content from being stolen and plagiarized by others. Stolen content can cause harm to your website in terms of SEO.
Not only plagiarism, but your content can also be stolen to do illegal things. You can check your content with Plagiarism Checker Tools. Then how do you protect your content?
The DMCA is the perfect solution for everyone who has experienced copyright infringement.
So, on this occasion, we will discuss what you can and need to do to protect your content from theft.
Besides, we will also discuss what you as a publisher must avoid not to be affected by DMCA violations and what you can do if you receive a notification or warning from the DMCA.
You can also register to the DMCA to get the DMCA badge. But before we get started, let’s first discuss what the DMCA is.
Also Read: How To Choose a Right Domain Name (12 Tips) – 2021
What is the DMCA?
The DMCA is a law from the United States that first appeared in October 1998. This law deals with the infringement of the copyright of digital works.
Not only that, but this law also covers the production or manufacture, and distribution of software used to infringe the copyright of digital works. This law also guarantees several online service providers’ safety, including internet providers, from copyright infringement penalties.
The DMCA is a law that protects your content from theft. If someone steals, plagiarizes, or even acknowledges your content as their own in any way, the DMCA can help you take it down.
Although this law can help you reclaim your intellectual property rights, the DMCA remains one of the most controversial laws because it is considered a double-edged sword.
There have been several DMCA abuse cases where large websites such as Hotfile, Megaupload, and Grooveshark have used the DMCA for their benefit.
Therefore, we will also discuss some ways you can do if you get a warning to take down content from the DMCA.
Over the past decade, the DMCA has become a procedure that bloggers, webmasters, and hosts must understand for everyone to take care of their content. Besides, they also need to know how to handle complaints or notifications when someone else sends them.
According to Google’s transparency report, the demand to remove content due to copyright is increasing rapidly.
How the DMCA works
DMCA protection can be used for various content types, including text, images, audio, and video. If you create all of the content, you certainly have full rights to this content.
Doing regular checks to see if your content is being used for illegal or stolen things is very important.
Not only that, taking steps to ensure that your content is not recognized by others and requesting that your content be returned equally important.
Suppose you discover that someone has uploaded your content to their website without your permission. In that case, you can file a DMCA takedown notice to issue a takedown warning to the Internet provider that hosts the website.
DMCA removal services help you file your notices, and some can even take down your stolen content outright for a fee.
At this point, it is essential to note that certain types of content do not fall under the DMCA umbrella. For example, when you can’t file a DMCA complaint about things like a competing name, idea, appearance, or trademark.
Not only that, the DMCA is a law that belongs to the United States – it doesn’t always work in other countries. But you don’t need to worry because some countries have laws in their respective countries that are the same or similar to the DMCA. Australia, New Zealand, India, and European countries have copyright protection laws for digital content.
Even though the laws may vary from country to country, there is still a high chance that you could request removal or downgrading of stolen content on a website whose hosting is outside the US.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to request your content to be removed from other people’s websites if your content is considered fair use.
Also Read: 7 Efficient Ways to Make High Quality Content for New Website
What is Fair Use and Safe Harbor?
There are legal mechanisms that allow some forms of limited use of your content by other entities. This is known as a fair use policy.
According to Wikipedia, Fair Use is a United States law that permits limited use of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the rights holder. Simply put, fair use allows others to take your content without your consent and use it for limited use.
For example, if you write an opinion article about anything. Then another website takes some of your content and releases a post criticizing the post you made.
So, depending on how they use your content, this use could be considered fair use, and you cannot file a DMCA because of it.
There are also some safe harbors that the DMCA provides for certain entities. These entities are typically Internet service providers, file sharing sites, and generally any websites that encourage or allow users to publish content.
Even though a safe harbor protects these service providers, they must record and reduce content deemed to violate the DMCA if they receive a warning.
Why Do We Need a DMCA?
One good reason to use a DMCA is its accessibility factor. Anyone can protect their content or data through the DMCA removal service. The process is also actually easy to follow and can usually be taken care of in no time.
The procedure itself is entirely free, so you, as the content owner, do not need to hire a lawyer or even pay court fees in case of content copyright infringement.
One of the best things about this is that even if you don’t own registered copyright, you can still apply for DMCA protection.
DMCA protection includes all types of content that can be violated online, namely digital content not contained in fair use. This includes personal data, content (images, audio, video, etc.), including software.
Keep in mind and the DMCA is a content protection method after a rights violation has occurred on your content. The DMCA is not a method of prevention. Even so, you can have an election to get a badge or DMCA emblem on your website that can serve as a warning so people will think twice before having bad intentions to steal your content.
What is the DMCA Takedown Notice?
A DMCA warning or what is known as a DMCA Takedown Notice is a document that you send to companies to notify them of violations of content on their hosting.
In this case, the companies are usually internet service providers that host sites such as Google, Yahoo, and other online providers.
There are five common elements in a takedown notice, namely:
- Name and contact information of the copyright owner
- Signature of the copyright owner – can be in digital form or physical form
- Proof of copyright ownership
- Notification and identification of infringing content
- A statement states that they believe the content is a copyright infringement, and they do not allow the content to be uploaded.
How to Register for the DMCA
To place the DMCA badge on your website or blog, you need to register at DMCA.com.
Click Sign Up at the top right corner. Then they will give you three choices, select Get A Free Badge.
On the next screen, you have to choose the type of badge you want to put on your blog. After that, you can fill in the data on the right. You only need to fill in your first name, last name, and email address. Then click Sign Up.
After that, all you have to do is copy the embed code on the right. You can still choose what kind of badge you want to match the layout theme of your website.
How to File a DMCA Takedown Notice?
After the explanation above, we will now see how you can file and issue a DMCA takedown notification. There are two options that you can do for that.
Service Provider Identification
Once you find a website that fetches your content, you should start gathering information about that website first. This includes:
- Hosting provider
- Domain registrar
- Internet service provider
- Website Owner
- Any other relevant information relating to where the content is published
To do this, you can use tools like WHOis and DomainTools to get the information you need. Taking screenshots of the stolen content is also a good idea as this can serve as evidence.
Create a Draft DMCA Takedown Notice
Once you have identified the website provider, create a draft DMCA Takedown Notice. Don’t forget to include the five elements mentioned above. If you have any doubts, there are several free templates you can use.
If you wish to write your draft, make sure you don’t forget to create a notice covering all the DMCA Takedown Notice elements. Here are the seven parts to a removal warning from the DMCA:
- Your introduction
- Explanation of why you sent a removal warning
- Attach proof of copyright
- Your signature and contact information
If you’re still unsure, DMCA.com provides you with a complete guide on drafting a DMCA takedown notice.
Contact the service provider.
Once you’ve compiled the letter, all you have to do is send a DMCA takedown notice to the internet service provider hosting the website that stole your content.
If there is no response after some time and they don’t remove the content, you can send a warning to the domain registrar.
You can also tell search engine providers like Google, Microsoft, etc., to help stop visitors from entering websites stealing your content.
Also Read: How To Spot Misleading Or Duplicate Images Online – 2021
How to Avoid the DMCA Takedown Notice?
Due to laws that can be considered flexible, you may receive DMCA warnings. There are several things you can do to avoid this possibility. Of course, the main thing is not to take other people’s content without permission.
If you have to use part of someone else’s content, make sure that their content is fair use. You can also ask the content owner for permission before you use it.
Fair use policies differ for each platform and type of content, and other factors influence specific scenarios. We recommend that you research the content if you think you may be infringing the copyright of content before using it.
What Should You Do If You Get a Takedown Notice?
Now, what if you get a DMCA alert? You may get a warning, and you feel that your content is not classified as violating any copyright. There are several things you can do.
First, carefully read the email you have received. See if they include steps you can take to file a counter-notice, if DMCA contact information is available, and if they are concerned with your entire website or just some content.
If the provider doesn’t provide you with the warning letter, you can request one by contacting their DMCA agent. This warning letter usually contains information about the infringing copyright party, the content they think you are violating, and information about the original content.
If you have received this letter, there is not much you can do except try to take the content off your website. But if you feel you have not violated your copyright, you can file a DMCA Counter-Notice. A proper counter-notice must contain the following four elements:
- Your name and contact information
- Your signature – whether digital or physical
- Identify content that is deemed violating before the content is taken down
- A statement that you feel the content is not stolen content
You can create your draft or use the templates provided to write your counter-notice. After submitting it, if the party filing the DMCA warning does not take any legal steps within ten business days, your internet service provider will have to return your content.
In this article, we have explained the DMCA protection, the procedure, and explained what you need to do to issue a takedown notification of your content duplication.
There’s not much you can do to prevent your content from being stolen, and even less to take precautions against it.
The DMCA makes it easier for content owners to deal with unauthorized use of their content by allowing them to file DMCA takedown notices with the offending party’s Internet service providers.
If you still have questions about the DMCA, you can leave a comment in the comments column below.
I hope this article helps!
Nice breakdown Vishal. I had heard of the acronym but had no idea as to what it meant. Good to know to be aware of copyright infringement.