Today's Date: April 16, 2014 Search | Home | Contact | Services | Patent Attorney | Patent Search | Provisional Patent Application | Patent Application | Software Patent | Confidentiality Agreements

Sample DMCA Take Down Letter


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
Posted: July 6, 2009 @ 6:55 pm
Tell A Friend!


It just came to my attention earlier today that someone had copied an entire article from IPWatchdog.com and posted it to their own website last week.  How is it possible that anyone doesn’t realize that you just cannot do that?  More likely, it is known that you cannot do that but people do it figuring they won’t get caught.  One of the most frequent questions I would get from my former law students was “how do you ever learn that someone is infringing”" or “how would you ever know what someone it thinking?”  For those areas of law where motive matters, luckily those who are malicious also tend to be rather stupid.  While they don’t necessarily need to tell you they fired you because you are African American, female or disabled, so many people revel in their own bigotry (and stupidity) and just cannot help themselves.  That is a special kind of hate, when you cut your nose off to spite your own face.  In the intellectual property context it frequently isn’t as easy to spot infringement unless you are vigilant, search and survey what is out there at any given time.

Online copyright infringement is rampant, everyone knows that.  But did you know that there is usually a very easy solution?  If you are the owner of a copyright you can provide notice to the webhosting company that houses the infringing material, and they will almost always take action.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides protection from copyright infringement lawsuits for service providers.  This protection manifests itself in immunity from being sued for infringement, but they must take reasonable and swift action to remedy an infringement once they are notified.  Since they do not want to lose their immunity from copyright infringement, if you notify them of an ongoing infringement they will almost always order the website owner to take down the infringing material, or they will.

You must send this notice in writing to the webhosting company, which you can learn through a WHOIS lookup. You must provide at a minimum:

  1. A physical or electronic signature (i.e., /s/NAME) of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright that is allegedly infringed.
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed.
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing 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.
  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 the copyright that is allegedly infringed.

What follows is a sample letter modeled off the one I sent earlier today, which you may use if you so choose.  If you use this form you agree to the terms and conditions at the bottom of this page.


SAMPLE DMCA TAKE DOWN NOTICE

My name is INSERT NAME and I am the INSERT TITLE of INSERT COMPANY NAME.  A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.

An article was copied onto your servers without permission. The original ARTICLE/PHOTO, to which we own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at:

PROVIDE WEBSITE URL

The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:

PROVIDE WEBSITE URL

This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you.

/s/YOUR NAME

Address
City, State Zip
Phone
E-mail


TERMS & CONDITIONS OF USE: While forms are commonly used and available elsewhere around the Internet it is important to understand the limitations provided by forms. A form, by its very nature, is previously written, usually to address a typical situation. Unfortunately, in law there are few typical situations. While this form will be useful for some, the use of a form should not be viewed as a replacement for competent legal advise adapted to your particular situation. IPWatchdog, Inc. and Gene Quinn personally accept no liability if you do use this or a modified version of this Agreement.

- - - - - - - - - -

For information on this and related topics please see these archives:

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in: Business, Congress, Copyright, Gene Quinn, Internet, IP News

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

 


23 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. What? You can’t do that? Now my blog will never get updated.

  2. I served a DMCA on a web host, they seem to be complying, however now my web host tells me if they are countered they will remove MY content for 14 days!? They also said that they are not “allowed” to confront the legitimacy of the issue! So, does this mean in retaliation the offender can have MY website removed? They one they stole from??

    This doesn’t seem right!

  3. Nice site :)

    How about a sample response letter from the subscriber who is being blamed for the infringement? I believe there are certain guidelines they must follow as well.

    And perhaps another idea….requirements of the service provider to remain immune? For example, registration with their abuse agent at the copyright office, timely turnaround, and such.

  4. Matt-

    I think you are right, that would make an nice article. I will put it on the list of things to write about.

    -Gene

  5. I found my photos being used by an online “crawler” called FWIX.COM. The links to my photos go directly back to my website…but with FWIX’s window at the top.

    Curious as I am – I had a look at their T’s & C’s, and was surprised to find this paragraph in their section on on Copyright and Limited License:

    “Unless otherwise indicated in the Site, the Site and all content and other materials on the Site, including, without limitation, the Fwix logo, and all designs, text, graphics, pictures, information, data, software, sound files, other files and the selection and arrangement thereof (collectively, the “Site Materials”) are the proprietary property of Fwix or its licensors or users and are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws.”

    I couldn’t find anywhere on their site that would fall in under the catagory “unless otherwise indicated”, like a note specifying that the linked photos are the creative property of the photographer or something.

    Should I be concerned?

    – Tammy

  6. Thanks so much for the sample letter. My site is being plagued with copyright infringement lately and I was unsure how to put the letter together. Your a lifesaver :)

  7. Now what if the scenario is reversed. Someone copies YOUR article and then sends a take down notice to YOUR web host? I know you can write a counter notification letter, but during that time, your site is disabled or whatever, because of one jack-a**. Pain in the a**, and this does actually happen…

    Your thoughts on this?

  8. Adam-

    You certainly need to do a counter notification. I would also send this person’s host a DMCA takedown notice. I would also sue them if there is any way possible. This is a clear case of intentional interference with business.

    I wish I had a better answer. I would definitely also contact the Federal Trade Commission.

    -Gene

  9. Hey Gene,

    I really appreciate your article. The information you provided will help those who may undergo, or experiencing, a copyright infringement. Here’s food for thought… Although Google is pretty smart, they could see a webmaster’s original content as duplicate content and penalize his/her webpage. This can happen right after a webmaster post the original article and before it gets indexed, someone comes along and copy/paste the original content to their site that gets indexed first. That’s why I’m here. I was looking for a sample DMCA take down notice.

  10. Thanks, first time they are stealing my stuff, this will come handy!

  11. Ironically, I plagiarized this article when I sent a DMCA takedown request.

  12. Erik-

    Clever. No worries of course. You have permission to copy and past the sample notification to go after copyright infringers! I have found it to be quite effective myself.

    Best of luck to you, and thanks for reading IPWatchdog.com.

    -Gene

  13. Here lately, I have been notifying Google by completing and submitting their form when someone violates my copyrights. I don’t get it… I have a copyright box on each of my blog posts but some people just seem to ignore them. The last notification I sent to Google was some guy visiting my site and leaves me a comment with his url pointing to his Youtube video. I always get in the habit of checking a person’s url before approving a comment. Just so happens this guy steals one of images from the same post where he left a comment and puts it in his video. After notifying Google, it took a few days before they removed the video and terminated his account.

  14. Hello Mr. Quinn,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for this article and form sample you have offered. It is going to be very helpful for what looks like I’m going to have to pursue. I have seen evidence of pirated eBooks written by Christian author D.I. Telbat, whom I work with.

    Thank you again.

    Dee

  15. I have just found your website while hunting for guidance on how to go about issuing DMCA notices, and I will certainly follow your advice. Thanks so much!

    In my case, I have a photographic website (photos taken during our travels around the world). Some of the photos on my site have been made available to a travel company which organised some of our trips, and appear on their website with our permission and with our copyright notices on the photos.

    I am fairly certain (in fact, in one instance I have proof) that some of the piracy has been from that travel company’s website, rather than directly from my website (which clearly attracts a smaller number of visitors).

    I believe that I have the same right to request takedowns where the photo has been stolen from the travel company’s website, as when it has been stolen from my own website. Am I correct?

  16. Hi,

    This is a follow up to my message of about three weeks ago (listed above).

    I have so far used the sample DMCA Takedown Notice (tailored to suit) on five sites, and have had success on four (the fifth is in the Czech Republic and I’m not really sure if I’m going to get any sort of a hearing there).

    I am still in the process of tracking down the correct contact addresses (using “whois” sites to find the right contact pint is not always easy) for a few other sites.

    I am not a professional photographer but I am proud of my work. I am flattered when, occasionally, I am asked for permission to use one or more of my photos (typically by travel organisations which have arranged my travel). I have never refused such a request, nor have I ever asked for money, although I always insiste on photographer’s credit whenever my photos are used, and acknowledgement of my copyright.

    What I now realise is that the thing that upsets me most is the cavalier, selfish and uncaring way in which some organisations and individuals go about stealing what is mine. I make it abundantly clear that the photos are copyright, and I make my contact details very clear as well. But some individuals and organisations still take the “easy” route – they download the photo, remove the copyright notice using something like Photoshop, and then treat it as their own without the slightest attempt to contact me.

    This gets me mad and those folk will never, ever, have my permission to use my photos. And, to get back to the point, your guidance has given me back the feeling that I can be in control again. I am “empowered” to protect what is mine.

    Thanks again.

  17. Anyone who has a WordPress blog should install a free plugin called “Copyright Proof.” It will stop visitors from right-clicking your content to copy it. But it doesn’t prevent someone from taking a screenshot of your content or viewing your Page Source. After activating the plugin, go to settings and register with Digiprove, then click the “Copy Protect” tab. Select “Prevent right-click, select, drag, & Control key combinations” and click the display warning check box.

  18. Ok, DMCA takedown notice works on some sites/organisations.
    But how about the sites organized with servers on little islands or russia for example ? They dont care if you contact them (if they even provide a way of contact).
    Even if you can proove which one of your customers is the black sheep…There is no chance to go behind it if he lives outside your country…
    Once your product is in the wheel of piracy, you can not clean up the internet and remove all links/torrents.
    So i think there will be no solution until the complete internet is shut down ;-)

  19. Have you used http://who-hosts.com/ to identify the actual hosting service? WHOIS does not always have the full story.

  20. Gene,

    I have a question. If you draft the letter (DMCA notice) to the hosing company where a site has violated your copyrights then I would assume the hosting company would be the one to pursue if you they do not do anything about it?

    1. Who is legally responsible – the site owner – or the hosting company after that point?

    2. How does this refer to pictures? I didn’t find anything regarding pictures, bu they are part of copyright infringement if you are the owner of them?

    Thanks for your help

  21. Gene,

    I sent a dmca notice to the hosting company, who seem to be a bit confused.

    This is what they wrote back:

    Hello,

    Upon further review, we actually do not have control over content. The client is their own entity, and they control their content. We have relayed the information to the client, but without a subpena/court order we cannot take any action. We are not an ISP nor are we an OSP, and we also are not liable for content.
    Thank you

  22. Martin-

    If they owner/operate the servers they do control the content.

    My recommendation is that you formally file a copyright to cover the material in question with the U.S. Copyright Office. Then sue the hosting company for copyright infringement. If you register your copyright within 3 months the hosting company will be responsible for your attorneys fees when they lose.

    -Gene

  23. It is worth it to mention that Italy has just adopted the regulations on copyright notice and take down procedure. You can find more details on the matter in this post (http://www.gamingtechlaw.com/2013/12/italian-copyright-notice-and-take-down.html).

Leave Comment