How to Write DMCA Take Down Request for Your Copyright Content

If you have found your original content copied elsewhere online without your permission, find out how to file a DMCA take down request and get it removed!

The internet can serve many purposes, whether you are looking to run a business or simply share your thoughts with the world. Unfortunately, it is also a place where stealing other people's content is made easier than in the real world, and for a long time blatant acts of plagiarism went on unpunished. I have been trying to find out more about it because my own articles are being copied and published on other websites and, in many cases, appearing higher in search engine results than my original work.

First, Try Contacting the Website Owner

In many cases, writing to the website owner will do the trick, here is how to find the details of who owns a website and their contact details.

Go to http://whois.domaintools.com/ search and put in the website name - the results you get will look like the image below. Use the email address to contact them.

Example of Whois Search Results

This is an example of the information you would get if you put the offending website url into a http://whois.domaintools.com/ search
This is an example of the information you would get if you put the offending website url into a http://whois.domaintools.com/ search | Source

If The Website Owner Has Not Complied

Fortunately, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been put into place to provide people with a way of protecting whatever it is they post on their websites. If someone has used your content without first obtaining your permission and you wish to have it taken down (and the person who used it hasn't complied), you can actually request for the content to be removed. To do that though, it is important to know how to write a DMCA take down request for your copyright content, and here is a little guide on how to do that.

A Brief Overview of the DMCA and Take Down Requests

Before looking into how the letter itself ought to be written, it is important to explain what the DMCA is and how take down requests actually work. As mentioned above, the DMCA is an act (a federal one at that), specifically stating that owners of copyrighted content can request internet service providers to take down copyright-infringing materials.

In other words, if you have copyrighted content (virtually all of it is thanks to the Copyright Act) and someone ends up using it without your permission, it would qualify as copyright infringement, legally giving you the right to demand that the internet service provider remove it. More precisely, the DMCA states that an internet service provider is required to remove the content if they receive a legitimate take down request.

Needless to say, the DMCA also covers the topic of how to write a take down request letter, with the good news being that it's far from complicated, as you only need to follow a few simple steps and provide six main pieces of information. What follows is a guide on how you should go about writing that letter.

Identifying the Culprit and their Hosting Provider

Before you actually get down to writing the letter you will need to identify the specific URL where the copyright infringement can be seen. If it happens on a blog, you need to provide a link to the specific post(s) where your content is being used.

Once that is done, it is time to locate the internet service provider for the website. Fortunately, this can be done quite easily with the help of a "who is" search, perhaps using websites such as whois.net or betterwhois.com. All you will need to do is enter the URL of the website in the appropriate search box and you will be provided with a ton of information about the site, including the identity of their internet service provider.

Legally-speaking, a Hosting Provider is always obligated to post information in regards to an agent name and an address where you can send the take down notice. In most cases, you are going to be provided with an e-mail address as well as a physical one, giving you the ability to send the notification using whichever method you please, and there is a bit more on that subject below.

Go to http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to do your search and you will get the details of how to contact the hosting provider of the offending website (see example below).


Finding the Hosting Provider of a Website

In this example, the website is hosted by Hostgator but the search will provide a link to contact whomever is providing the hosting. Go to http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to do your search.
In this example, the website is hosted by Hostgator but the search will provide a link to contact whomever is providing the hosting. Go to http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to do your search. | Source

Actually Writing the Letter

Now that you know who to send the letter to and have the ability to clearly identify the culprit, it is time to put together that infamous take down letter. Essentially, you are going to be writing a business letter, and as was said before, there are six items you are expected to include in it which I have laid out below. Check though that the hosting provider does not provide a simple template DMCA form for you to fill in as this will have boxes for you to fill in the required information which makes the process much easier.

  1. To start things off, the notice must be done in writing and it has to contain the signature of either the one who owns the copyrighted content, or that of his/her agent. The notice can be delivered via postal or electronic mail. Should you choose the latter option, you will have to type /s/, followed by your name at the end of the notice in order to indicate your signature. Also, the letter should be addressed to the agent contact that turned up during your search for the infringing website's internet service provider.
  2. The second item you will have to include is a clear and complete list of links leading to the works being infringed on (you should already have all the links from a previous step). In addition to that, you will also need to provide your copies of the work (or as it stands, the originals) in order to help the internet service provider track down the content and insure that you are indeed its rightful owner.
  3. The third item you need to include may be small, but it is of utmost importance that it appears on the paper. You need to write a sentence which clearly states that the way in which the website is using your content is infringing upon your copyright. Basically, you need to clearly state the issue.
  4. You will also need to include your contact information, and while some say that an e-mail address is sufficient, it would be a good idea to leave something more, perhaps even your telephone number.
  5. The fifth item you need to include is a statement, one in which you say that as the complaining party, you have good faith and belief that the use of your material in the manner described hasn't been authorized by either you (the copyright owner), your agent, or the representatives of the law. If you would like to check out a template you can safely use for this phrase, have a look at section 512(c)(3) of the DMCA act; you can simply copy the example they use.
  6. Finally, there needs to be a statement which says that the information you have provided in the take down notification is completely accurate to the best of your knowledge and that, under penalty of being accused of perjury, you are authorized to act either as or on behalf of the owner who is having his/her rights allegedly infringed (no matter how obvious the case may seem, the law dictates that we are all to be considered innocent until proven guilty).


Protect Your Content, Use The DMCA Process

As you can see, writing a DMCA take down request for your copyright content is far from being something complicated; all you need to do is simply follow the instructions step-by-step and provide all the information you would logically need in this situation. As a final piece of advice, it is recommended that you keep your writing as short, simple and clear as possible; your creative writing abilities have absolutely nothing to do as to whether or not your request is considered legitimate (at worst, they can even hinder your chances). If you are ever in doubt, refer to the DMCA act, back to this article, or one of the many take down letter templates available on the internet.

More by this Author


Comments 7 comments

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 2 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Marisa, I had not considered that point so yes, I agree that it would probably be better to contact the host direct as you say. Thanks for your helpful input.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney

Great explanation of what DMCA is. Though personally, I disagree with you about contacting the website owner first, using Whois.

Any good website owner will have a "contact us" link on the website itself, which is what I use. If there isn't one, then the website owner is likely to be dishonest, and emailing him through a Whois link is very unlikely to yield results - so in that case, I go direct to the host.


Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Dreamhowl, I probably should have added that if anyone is concerned about any of their articles, a good way to check for copies is either with copyscape or by copying and pasting a random sentence from the beginning of their article into the web browser - enclose it in speech marks ("my sentence") and if your article comes up as the only one, you are probably ok, but it is worth checking with another sentence from elsewhere in the article.


Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 3 years ago from United States of America

I'm so glad you shared this information. While I cross my fingers that I won't be needing it anytime soon, now I have the resources to fix it. Voted up and useful!


Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK Author

Thank you both, Gypsy Willow & Dee aka Nonna for the positive feedback, I really appreciate it.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

What a useful hub. I know my content is being copied. Now I know i have some redress. Thank you


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 3 years ago

Thank you! This is extremely useful information. It is very frustrating when our work is stolen or compromised in some way. Excellent job and thanks for sharing.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working