Today’s internet is polarized with an increasing number of witty scammers.
Copyright laws may legally entitle you to the exclusive ownership of your creative property, but they don’t guarantee protection for your content from being pilfered.
When your intellectual property is infringed, sending a DMCA takedown request can be your saving grace.
In this guide, we’ll explore what DMCA takedown request means, how to use it and what you can do upon discovering that someone is using your creative work without your authorization.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What You’ll Need to File DMCA Takedown Request
- How to File DMCA Takedown Request: The Basics
- How to Send a DMCA TakeDown Requests Step by Step
- More Helpful Online Content Tutorials:
- Wrapping up
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a DMCA Takedown Request?
A DMCA takedown request, also known as the DMCA takedown notice, is a tool for copyright owners to get user-uploaded materials that infringe their copyright removed from websites.
The copyright owner submits a takedown request to a service provider.
The service provider can be the website admin, the ISP, a web hosting company, or a search engine (like Google) that hosts or links to the material.
What Countries Use the DMCA Takedown Request?
DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It’s a United States copyright law that applies to sites hosted in the United States.
Copyright owners outside the US can still file DMCA takedown requests if the content is physically hosted in the United States.
Sites hosted outside the US are bound by their local copyright laws. However, many will still honor the DMCA notice to avoid legal aftermath.
Who Can File a DMCA Takedown Request?
Only two parties are authorized to send a DMCA takedown request, the original content creator and their authorized agent.
Most online creators don’t know that a DMCA request doesn’t require an online asset to be copyrighted before they can file a DMCA takedown request.
So far, you are the original creator of the content and can prove it, you can file DMCAs.
How Much Does a DMCA Request Cost?
The cost of preparing and sending a DMCA takedown request depends on your chosen option. For a simple DMCA violation, you can do it yourself.
If you have a serious case, a professionally managed DMCA takedown service can cost you as much as $199 per takedown. And this can increase depending on factors unique to your case.
How Long Does a DMCA Take?
It depends on the company that received the takedown notice. Search engines, like Google and Bing, may take up to 7 days to remove the content.
Web hosts can do it quickly in under 48 hours. Whereas, with a website owner, it can typically be as fast as under 24 hours and can sometimes drag for months.
Using an online legal service can fast-track your DMCA procedure.
What You’ll Need to File DMCA Takedown Request
Verify Copyright status
Before claiming infringement and filing a DMCA takedown request, you must confirm that you have a valid copyright to the content.
This does not mean you must register the work to have the legal right to the copyright. Rather, this indicates that you are the work’s primary author.
Copyright protection begins once an idea is committed to a tangible medium such as paper, film, or digital file.
Buying the work also grants you copyright protection. In short, to claim copyright infringement, you must be the author or rightful owner of the work in question.
Prove of Infringement
After establishing ownership, you must be able to prove the infringement by showing that the perpetrator copied your original work or duplicated a substantial portion of it without your permission.
Also, the infringer’s access to the original work must be established, and the infringing work must be compared to the original to establish infringement.
Infringing URL or Content
Lastly, you should be able to provide the URL of the infringing content and the infringed.
Where on the web is your stolen content located? Provide the exact URL of where it was stolen from and the link to the stolen content.
This may involve archiving web pages, making screenshots and even recording videos. Anything necessary to substantiate your claim is needed.
How to File DMCA Takedown Request: The Basics
According to Google’s transparency report, as of the time of writing this guide in 2023, the number of URLs requested to be delisted due to copyright issues stands at a whopping 6 billion plus URLs.
And that’s ever-increasing.
From the above, we’ve explained what DMCA means and what you’ll need to send a takedown request. You may want to ask-
When is the right time to send a DMCA takedown request?
You should file a DMCA request immediately after discovering someone is using your creative work on their website.
But before doing so, ensure your DMCA complaint is well-written and contains all necessary information.
Otherwise, it will be invalid, and the receiving website will ignore it.
Be aware. Not all types of content can be removed with a DMCA takedown notice.
The United States DMCA copyright protection covers all original, fixed-form works.
While this list is inexhaustive, some items are just not copyrightable. Generally, copyright protection does not apply to anything that can be created effortlessly.
Thus, anything achievable out of a person’s own accord, even if it appears similar, is not copyrightable.
Titles, short phrases, and basic designs are not protected by copyright. Also, you can’t file copyright infringement for ideas, concepts, principles, and processes.
Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to walk you through how to send a DMCA takedown notice.
How to Send a DMCA TakeDown Requests Step by Step
You already know what, when, where, and who can send a DMCA violation notice. What remains is how to do it. Here are the steps involved.
- Step #1: Reach out to the Site Owner
- Step #2: Preserve Proof of Infringement
- Step #3: Know Where to Send the DMCA Notice
- Step #4: Draft the DMCA Takedown Request
- Step #5: Send the DMCA Takedown Request
Step #1: Reach out to the Site Owner
Before filing an official DMCA notice, contact the website owner to notify them of the infringement.
This can save you a lot of time, effort and money. In most cases, website owners are willing to take down content that violates copyright protection once their attention is called to it.
You can look for the owner’s contact details online in the contact section on their website.
Once you find their email, here’s an email template you can use. Make sure to tweak it to your instance.
I’m [Your Name]. I work for [your company].
We’ve just discovered that your website (https://domain.com) has been using our content without authorization.
Here are some examples of our content:
https://yourdomain.com/~ [EXACT CONTENT/IMAGE LOCATION]
And here are copies on your site:
https://domain.com/~ [EXACT CONTENT/IMAGE LOCATION]
Please remove all copyrighted content belonging to [our company] immediately. Otherwise, we’ll have to proceed with filing a DMCA complaint.
We expect your cooperation. If you have any questions regarding this, let me know.
If you don’t receive a response to your email, the website owner may miss it. Thus, it’s good to try one or two more times.
Alternatively, you can contact them on social media or even via phone.
You can file an official DMCA takedown request if this approach doesn’t yield the expected outcome. Here are the steps;
Step #2: Preserve Proof of Infringement
The first step in filing a DMCA takedown request is to preserve the evidence of the infringing content or website.
This can be done by making as many screenshots of the copied elements as possible on the website.
Since an infringement notice is likely to resort to quick removal of the material and subsequent denial, you should have a record of infringing materials or content to prove your case and, if possible, for future legal proceedings.
While screenshots on computers or phones suffice in many cases of copyright violations, serious infringement cases with plenty of infringement materials may require a more reliable tool to preserve evidence.
Step #3: Know Where to Send the DMCA Notice
After compiling your infringement evidence, the next step is to find out where to send your DMCA complaints.
Typically, you can direct your DMCA request to any of the parties involved in publishing your content, be it a website admin, internet service providers, web hosting companies and even web registrars.
Of all of them, contacting the web host or internet service provider is the fastest route. So how do you find the recipient of your takedown notice?
Here are some ways:
Check the Website’s Terms and Conditions.
Look at the infringing website’s Terms and Conditions. Usually, websites T&C explain the DMCA process, including who to notify and where to direct your complaints.
Search for “Copyright,” “DMCA,” or “Agent of Notice” in the T&C to identify the right contact. Some sites even include a simple online form you can fill out immediately.
Look for The Web Host
If you can’t find who to contact by checking the website, you should try finding out the company hosting the site.
One way to do this is to use the WhoIs Domain Tool to look up the IP address of the website.
Just input the website URL and hit enter, and the domain tools will show you the website owner’s contact address and the domain’s IP address.
If that didn’t work for you, another great tool you can plug in the domain name to reveal the web host is the free WhoIs Hosting Tool by HostAdvice.
Simply inputting the domain URL reveals the hosting provider.
Whichever method you use, the goal is to find where to submit the DMCA complaints.
You may find a direct email as above. However, if all you find is a website link, you can find the domain owner using these 2 methods.
Step #4: Draft the DMCA Takedown Request
This is the most important and fairly technical aspect of DMCA notice.
Any mistake here can result in your DMCA request not being taken seriously or even disregarded, meaning your infringed content will not be taken down.
To create an effective DMCA request, there are crucial items and information your DMCA notice must include. Let’s see
What to Include in A DMCA notice?
- What is the creative work that’s being infringed? Your blog post? Your photo? Your graphic?
- Where is the infringing content hosted? Instead of saying “Blogspot or images, provide a direct link to the material.
- Statement of good faith that you, the copyright owner, do not authorize using the content.
- A statement that everything in the notice is accurate under penalty of perjury.
- Physical or electronic signature to prove that the notice was signed and not auto-filled.
- Contact Information to reach the copyright owner or authorized representative, name, email, mailing address, and phone number.
Below is a DMCA takedown request template you can customize.
Subject Line: Takedown Notice Pursuant to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998
My name is [NAME], and I’m the [POSITION] at [COMPANY].
This is a notice in accordance with Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”) requesting that you immediately cease to provide access to the following copyrighted material. A website your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) infringes on copyrighted material owned by our company.
The original [CONTENT/IMAGES], of which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at these URLs:
— [EXACT CONTENT/IMAGE LOCATION]
The unauthorized and infringing [CONTENT/IMAGES] can be found at this IP address/URLs:
— [EXACT CONTENT/IMAGE LOCATION]
My contact information is as follows:
I have good faith belief that the use of the described material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or by operation of law. The information in this notice is accurate, up to date, and I can confirm that [COMPANY] is the copyright owner.
Should you wish to discuss this further, please contact me directly.
If you are uncomfortable with this, consider hiring a professional internet attorney.
It’s not compulsory, but it guarantees a faster result and helps you avoid legal traps.
Step #5: Send the DMCA Takedown Request
Once you draft your takedown notice, the last step is to send it.
When the recipient sees your DMCA request, they can either grant, deny, counter notice, or completely disregard it.
If they file a DMCA counter-notice, you are in for a long ride. The only way to get your content removed is to use litigation.
At this point, you need an experienced internet legal practitioner to handle the case. In any other case, you may need to resend the notice.
More Helpful Online Content Tutorials:
- How to Update Website Content: Updating your existing content is a powerful way to improve SEO and requires less work. Learn how to make your old content relevant again in the detailed guide.
- How to Repurpose Content: If one of your content is performing well as a blog post, it’s likely to perform well as a video, infographic, social media post etc. This guide teaches how to repurpose content in various forms.
- How to Cite a Website: Plagiarism is a serious sin online. Do you know exactly how to cite a website to avoid it? Only a handful of writers can boast of the knowledge. Join them by following this guide.
Filing a DMCA takedown request is an effective way to protect your intellectual property and avoid copyright infringement.
To file a successful DMCA takedown request, you must be diligent and follow the right set of steps.
Every detail matters, from identifying the infringing material to proving ownership of your copyrighted work. But don’t let the process intimidate you. You have everything you need up there.
Do you find this guide helpful? You can reach out in the comment section below for further questions.