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What Is a DMCA Takedown? Everything To Know About Violating DMCA

As you create and publish content on the web, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring everything you make is original. Using an image or text without proper permission can result in a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice. Conversely, if someone uses your content without your consent, you can issue a DMCA takedown to protect your property.

This page will break down everything you need to know about DMCA violations, including: 

Learn below how to issue or deal with a DMCA takedown! And, if you want more marketing and digital tips sent to your inbox, subscribe to our marketing newsletter, Revenue Weekly!

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What is a DMCA takedown?

A DMCA takedown is a legal process by which copyright holders can request the removal of infringing content from websites (including yours).

What does DMCA stand for?

DMCA, or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is a copyright law that helps remove stolen content. Content owners do not need to copyright all their content to qualify for a DMCA request. 

A DMCA notice applies only to the location of the content’s host. This means people outside the United States can file for a DMCA takedown. If a content host is outside the United States, the hosting providers are not legally obligated to honor DMCA complaints.

What happens if you get a DMCA notice?

If you receive a DMCA takedown, you will get a warning from the DMCA. Usually, you get a warning (or “strike”) for the first few infractions. Service providers will typically terminate your accounts after multiple infractions. 

However, if you knowingly and willingly post copyrighted material, you can be subject to criminal punishment and further lawsuits. 

Each ISP or web host has its own system for removing content that violates the DMCA. For example, if you post a video on Facebook with copyrighted music, they might leave the video up but remove the sound. This will happen quickly, since the DMCA protects the hosts from lawsuits if they remove the material immediately. 

If you get a DMCA notice, it will either come directly to you or through your content host. Every DMCA takedown notice contains the following items you should review:

  • Statement that the information in the DMCA notice is accurate and the person sending the DMCA notice is the owner of the content or agent of the copyright holder
  • A statement that proves the owner did not grant permission to use their work
  • Contact information for the owner of the content
  • Specifics about which portion of the work is a duplicate
  • Identification of the copyrighted work, such as the name, title, and media type
  • Signature of the owner of the work

How do I handle a DMCA takedown against me?

If you receive a DMCA takedown, your first step should be to ask yourself if you took someone else’s copyrighted material without permission. If the answer is yes, remove the content as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you may have posted content without understanding copyright law. Or, you could’ve asked permission from someone who wasn’t the original owner. Regardless of the situation, it is best to remove the content as soon as possible.

You can still receive a DMCA notice if you use an image or content correctly based on copyright law. However, as you contact the issuer to resolve the problem, it is best to remove the content until you reach an agreement. 

It is also wise to investigate every DMCA claim, as someone other than the original owner can send a DMCA notice. Whether you think the notice is a misunderstanding or someone is not being truthful, it’s always a good idea to contact whoever sent the notice and attempt to reach an agreement.

How much do DMCA notices cost?

While sending a notice is free, many choose to give a DMCA notice through certified copyright lawyers. Others choose to work directly through the DMCA through programs like the full-service takedown program or a DIY toolkit.

With the full-service takedown program, the DMCA will conduct the entire takedown notice process for you. After completing a form with all the necessary information, the DMCA team will file and send the notice. This service costs $199.

If you wish to file a DMCA notice yourself, the DMCA offers a do-it-yourself toolkit with all the information and guidance you need. This toolkit is $10.

How do I issue a DMCA takedown?

The other half of the DMCA process is filing a takedown notice after finding that someone has stolen your content. However, emailing the website owner can sometimes be faster than completing a formal process. If this doesn’t work, you should begin the process of filing a formal takedown notice by completing the following steps:

1. Find the content host

The first step in any takedown notice is to locate the person’s web host so you know where to direct your DMCA notice. You can find this by searching the IP address of the site.

2. Locate where to submit the DMCA takedown complaint

Most providers feature sections on their contact pages on the footers of their websites that say complaints or abuse. However, if you can’t find where to submit a DMCA complaint, you will want to contact a DMCA agent directly, the web host or the ISP provider. 

3. Include all necessary information in the DMCA takedown complaint

You will need to include the following information in your takedown complaint:

  • A statement that all the information is accurate
  • A statement that the copyright owner does not authorize the material use
  • Your contact information, address, phone number, and mailing address
  • The location or URL of the material you wish to take down
  • Your physical or electronic signature

4. Remove content from search engines

Once the owner or the DMCA removes the content from the site, it will usually no longer be visible on search engines. However, if the stolen content remains on search engines, you can file a complaint directly with Bing or Google. 

While this may not always remove the content from the other person’s site, it will remove it from search results, so nobody can find it. It will also ensure that duplicate content never ranks over the original.

5. Wait for the notice to go into effect

In most instances, sending a DMCA takedown notice will take around 72 hours. However, the amount of time it takes can vary depending on factors such as how fast the company can process DMCA requests and the location of the content. 

DMCA only applies to copyrighted material in the United States. Therefore, if you email a company outside the United States, they do not have to comply and may take longer to respond.

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Whether you’ve recently received a DMCA takedown notice or want to issue one to protect your content, knowing how this notice can affect your overall operations is essential. 

If you’re struggling to find original content for your website, WebFX can help. You can use our professional website copywriter and infographic design services for 100% original, compelling content to help boost sales. 

Or, if you’re worried about others stealing your current content, you can request an SEO audit and find any duplicate content so you know where to direct your DMCA takedown notice. 

To learn more about our full range of content services, complete our online contact form or call us at 888-601-5359 today!

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