What Is A DMCA Takedown Notice?

A DMCA takedown notice is an amazing tool in the arsenal of any creative business (“DMCA” stands for “Digital Millennium Copyright Act”). You can use a DMCA takedown notice to get sites that host third-party content (think Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, etc.) to remove content that infringes on your copyright. If you are a creator who has been plagued by knockoffs or other types of infringements, you should understand how a DMCA takedown notice works.

What Is A DMCA Takedown Notice?

A DMCA takedown notice is a notice that you send to a site hosting infringing content. If the site takes down the infringing content within a reasonable time after receiving a proper DMCA takedown notice, they can avoid liability. This gives these sites a huge incentive to respond quickly and vigorously to your DMCA takedown notice. A few more things to know.

  • A DMCA takedown notice is only for copyrights. You can use a DMCA takedown notice to have materials that infringe upon your copyright taken down. You cannot use a DMCA takedown notice to remove materials that infringe on trademarks or other intellectual property.
  • A DMCA takedown notice must be proper. The DMCA sets forth certain requirements for a DMCA notice to be valid. Specifically, you must provide links to your work and to the allegedly infringing work, along with a statement that you have authority to have the material removed. There are a few other things to include, as well.
  • The site owner has to take the material down in a reasonable amount of time. The DMCA requires the site owner to take down infringing content reasonably quickly – that time limit varies, but a few days or so wouldn’t be unreasonable.
  • The target can file a counter-notice. The person posting the allegedly infringing material can object to the notice and have the materials reposted if there is a reasonable legal argument to be made.

How Do You Send A DMCA Takedown Notice?

Sending a DMCA takedown notice is not particularly complicated, but it’s generally best to speak with an attorney to make sure that it is the right choice in a given situation. There might be more effective options, depending upon the circumstances. But generally, if you are sending a DMCA takedown notice it will be addressed to a website’s DMCA compliance contact.

As far as drafting the DMCA takedown notice goes, there great and not-so-great templates available online. However, our suggestion would be to use our DMCA Takedown Generator, which is available to members of the Creators’ Legal Program. You can use it to provide the information about an infringement, receive a custom letter and discuss your situation with an attorney.