If you receive a DMCA Takedown Notice stating that you are infringing on someone’s copyright, it’s important to pay attention to what’s being alleged in the document and take immediate steps to address the issue.
The worst thing you can do is ignore or throw out the takedown notice. This is your chance to fix a problem at the earliest and easiest stage. If the copyright holder is forced to escalate their response, you could wind up in a very expensive and time-consuming copyright suit down the road. It’s in your best interest to deal with the issue now while you have plenty of options at your disposal.
What is a DMCA Takedown Notice?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted in 1998 to address new copyright issues in the age of the internet and digital media. Under the law, copyright holders can use a “DMCA Takedown Notice” as a tool to help enforce their rights against those who would use their copyrighted material without permission.
Essentially, the document serves as a formal warning for the infringer to remove the copyrighted material immediately or face further action. The notice is typically served to the internet service provider (ISP) who hosts the copyrighted materials in question, but the notice may also be sent directly to the copyright holder. The ISP will usually err on the side of caution and remove the content noted in a takedown notice so they cannot be held liable for an infringement by their users.
What Are My Options After Receiving a DMCA Takedown Notice?
If you have used content online without permission, or even accidentally (for example, in the case of sharing a picture on social media) your best option may be to remove the content as soon as possible. However, just because you remove the infringing content does not absolve you of liability for the infringement.
If the content in question is something you would rather not part with, you can also reach out to the copyright holder to try to negotiate terms of usage, such as providing credit to the copyright holder or negotiating a fee to license the copyrighted materials.
Finally, if you believe that the person sending the DMCA takedown notice is in the wrong and that you absolutely have the right to use the content in question (for example, under Fair Use or another legal exception), you can send a formal counter notice back to the person who sent you the DMCA, whether that’s your ISP or the copyright holder directly.
The Worst Mistake Is to Do Nothing at All
There have been many instances of people who ignored DMCA takedown notices thinking that the infringement was no big deal or that a copyright holder would not take the time to pursue a random person on the internet. Those same people have wound up on the receiving end of five and six-figure judgments in court over something that could have been resolved quickly and easily from the start.
If you get a DMCA takedown notice, take it seriously. However, if you have questions about how to respond, be sure to talk to a copyright attorney who can guide you through your options. If you need assistance with this process, we invite you to contact our copyright attorneys at 888-666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.