You’ve Been Pirated! How to take down Copyright Infringers with a Copyright Takedown Notice.

Your copyrighted work shows up online, but you didn’t put it there. Now how do you remove it? A takedown notice can be your solution!

A Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice must include six items, in no particular order:

  1. Your contact information or contact information of a party authorized to speak on behalf of the copyright owner or owners. A lawyer can take the hassle out of this and can perform follow-up actions, such as claiming punitive damages.
  2. Title of the copyrighted work.
  3. Location (e.g., website) of the alleged infringing item.
  4. Statement of your good faith belief that the material does not lawfully appear on the website.
  5. Statement expressing that, under penalty of perjury, the person whose contact information you are providing is indeed authorized to act for the copyright holder.
  6. Signature of the party whose contact information you are providing.

Once you have compiled your takedown notice, send it to the appropriate party. For websites, the hosting Internet Service Provider (ISP) is your takedown’s destination. We recommend that you send a hard copy of the notice by registered snail mail. Registration will ensure correct delivery to the specified location via tracking. Although it is more expensive than regular mail, registered mail is a typical recourse used with legal documents to prove delivery. Of course, keeping a copy of your letter is also a good idea.

Complete the six steps, and you have successfully initiated the protection of your copyrighted works. However, one more item is required for proper protection. Make sure the item was actually removed! If your work still appears, your lawyer will be happy to complete your path to copyright enforcement via follow-up action.

Here is a sample of an appropriate takedown letter.

You can find further information about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on the Copyright Office website: www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf (“Title II: Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation”).

Attorney Mark Levy specializes in intellectual property law. He has won many amateur moviemaking awards. John Weir is an intern for Levy and will be receiving a BS Computer Science degree. He has four years experience in collegiate teaching of MIDI.

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