The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) came into being in 1998 and bought US copyright law into compliance with the World Intellectual Property Organization. The DMCA extended US copyright law to include emerging internet technologies.
The DMCA made it illegal to knowingly publish infringing copyrighted work on the internet. Publishers are not just website owners, but also Hosting Companies such as Godaddy and search engines such as Google
Although the DMCA is US Copyright Law, it works because all the major search engines are US based.
None of them will risk a law suit for copyright infringement, so the offending content is 'disabled' and in cases of repeat offending, the website can be completely 'taken down' or black-listed.
If your website content cannot be found in Google, you effectively do not have a website.
On receiving a DMCA Takedown request, most webmasters, no matter where in the world they are base, see sense and remove the stolen content.
They will not want to risk their website being removed from the search engine databases as this would seriously effect the amount of visitors to the site and effectively rendered the website useless.
However, if the webmaster refuses to comply with your request, then the search engines will.
DMCA Takedown Requests need to be formatted corrected. Different search engines specify different criteria which you need to comply with. You also need to consider whether your copyright claim falls under the the DMCA criteria of 'fair use'.
Another possible pitfall is proving ownership of the copyrighted material. Falsely and knowingly claiming copyright is a criminal offence punishable by a possible jail sentence. Use caution, the internet is awash with stories of DMCA Takedown Requests which have badly back fired leading to expensive law suits.
If you need help in putting together a professional DMCA Takedown Notice - guaranteed to work or your money back - get in touch with WebsiteCop
Writing a DMCA notice to a webmaster or website owner is generally your first port of call in the quest of getting content removed.
Getting the webmaster to agree means that the content can be removed within hours - search engines will typically take around a month.
The link below provides some useful help and advice on informal and formal DMCA requests to website owners.
If the webmaster refuses to remove the content, your next port of call is to write a DMCA request to the Hosting Company. ISPs generally comply within around 48 hours of receiving a properly formatted DMCA Takedown Notice
By using the WhoIS database it is possible to find the name and address of the company that provides the hosting space for the website. More help and advice below.
Until recently, all Google Takedown Requests had to be done by post. This is still an option but Google have now moved into the 21st century and it is now possible to file DMCA complaints online.
You will need to sign on for a Google account in order to access Google's Webmaster Tools.
Yahoo provides an online form for filing DMCA requests. They can also be done by post.
Follow the link to see an example of a properly formatted Yahoo DMCA request to download the template as a word document.
MSN provides an online form for filing DMCA requests. They can also be done by post.
Follow the link to see an example of a properly formatted MSN DMCA request to download the template as a word document.
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