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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Useful Links For Online DMCA Forms and More
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice - Automattic
This is the online DMCA form for a website hosted on Wordpress.com - you must be SURE that the site is on Wordpress.com, NOT Wordpress.org before you do so. Check the footer of the site for a link to wordpress.com or contact wordpress for advice.
- Report alleged copyright infringement: Blogger - Google Help
If you have found your content copied on a Blogger Blog, you can file a DMCA right here with Google - they will act very quickly!
- HubPages - Copyright Infringement
Useful in the unlikely event that you have found your own work copied right here on HubPages
- How to File DMCA Complaints for Stolen Content
Helpful advice from the HubPages Learning Center
- A Case of Dealing with Internet Copyright Infringement
One hubber's experience of the problem of copied content
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.