The Game Lawyer Blog

How to file a DMCA takedown notice

What do I do if someone is stealing my content?

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If you notice that someone else is stealing your content and posting it elsewhere on the web, such as videos on YouTube or articles posted on their blog, the law has set up a specific takedown process by which you must file a complaint.

If you notice that someone else is stealing your content and posting it elsewhere on the web, such as videos on YouTube or articles posted on their blog, the law has set up a specific takedown process by which you must file a complaint. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act outlines the steps that must be taken, and what they can do in response if they believe the complaint was filed in error.

The Safe Harbor:

The ISP that is hosting the infringing piece of content is most likely going to take advantage of what’s called a “safe harbor” under copyright law. This means that, even though they are technically hosting the content and violating the law, they are safe if they promise to take down the infringing content when properly notified. If they don’t take it down, they may lose their safe harbor status and be liable for any for any future violations. Because of these consequences, most ISPs, such as YouTube, will take down any content they are notified of.

The takedown process:

The address that DMCA takedown notices should be directed to is usually on an ISP’s Terms of Service document. In order to take advantage of the safe harbor, ISPs are required to post this information and their copyright policy publicly. They must also register with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is a list of all registered agents on www.copyright.gov.

In order to notify an ISP that they are hosting your content, specific information must be sent to them. This includes the following:

  • A specific description of the content that is being infringed;
  • A specific description of where the infringing content is located on their site (including a URL and a screenshot, if possible);
  • Contact information for the complaining party (you), including name, address, phone number and email address;
  • A statement of good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent or the law;
  • A statement, under penalty of perjury, that the information is accurate;
  • A statement that you are the owner of the copyright, or the authorized representative of the owner; and
  • An electronic or physical signature.

What happens next?

That person then has the option to file a DMCA counter-notice.

Once that notice is sent, the ISP must then take down the content and inform the poster of the infringing material what has happened. That person then has the option to file a DMCA counter-notice.

My next post will deal with this other side of the takedown procedure, namely what to do if you’ve received a DMCA takedown notice. Stay tuned next week. In the meantime, if you notice infringing content out there, or you have received a takedown notice that you believe is in error, feel free to contact an attorney who deals in this area for help.

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Zachary Strebeck

Attorney at Law
California game lawyer focused on providing end-to-end legal protection and legal services for video game and board game developers, as well as software and mobile app developers.
California game lawyer focused on providing end-to-end legal protection and legal services for video game and board game developers, as well as software and mobile app developers.
  • Blue Odeyssey

    Great article, it’s nice to see the intricacies of legislation applied in a modern context. It’s clear from your previous blogs that there appears to be a thin line between content and media creators. I myself am currently in the process of creating a video game news and opinion site (UK Based). You wouldn’t believe the difficulty I have had in determining what you can and can’t do in relation to imagery and footage. It’s an interesting yet thorny subject.

    • http://www.strebecklaw.com/ Zachary Strebeck

      Yes, fair use is a tricky beast. I only know about the U.S. permutation of it, so I’m not sure about how it is done in the UK. I think they recently changed it, though (correct me if I’m wrong). I will have to write about it more in the future.