How to Issue a DMCA Takedown Notice (For When People Steal Your Content)
By Jim Loxley of My Compensation: This is the first of what I hope to be a regular contribution to the Legal Circle of Trust. In this document, I will be discussing a potential work around if you are freaked out hoping for that Google Link Disavow Tool everyone is waiting for. But first, I’m pleased to have been initiated into the Circle of Legal Trust, as I work as an editor for a legal reach company in the UK, and it’s kind of cool to be in among so many US attorneys, the likes of which I am only accustomed to spending time with watching L.A Law… We are now international and growing!
I’m going to try and write a weekly article with useful information which provides the key takeaways to save you guys time. Over the past few months I’ve earned publishing rights to many legal sector authority sites, so if you have articles that are helpful to Googlers, and can help improve user online experience for injury victims, send them to me for consideration. Non Circle of Legal Trust members need not apply. Let me know if you have a treatise, review, or editorial about an important legal issue in tort law. I may even have some UK related stuff on common law issues that effect the U.S. and Canadian audience. Please ‘+1’, ‘Tweet’ and ‘Like’ any material that you see me or any other members posting as it helps us all grow in the search engines. Spending 15 minutes a week on this over time will see you a good ROI for everyone.
On with business.
What Your DMCA Takedown Notice Needs to Contain
DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright act and it’s basically a piece of legislation which means that if anyone copies your work, you can invoke it by serving a notice and they have to take the content down.
I know that Mike Ehline has been a victim of such copyright infringement, much to the detriment of his SEO. If you have links with exact match anchor text in that content, then the replication of both the content and the anchor text links therein will pull you down quicker than an mob of Glaswegian football fans.
Even if you were one of those who engaged in article sharing on Ezines, and now have articles re-shared on low authority sites that are pulling you down, you can still argue that although it may be OK to share, it is not OK to exceed the license. For example, if the article has pictures, and extra links embedded in it, or is attempting to make it look like you endorse a product or a service you don’t, then you have a great argument for a takedown. In fact, this is as close as a Google Link Disavow Tool you can get as of this date.
If you click here, there are some template forms which can be downloaded and modified with your name and the name of the offending party. Here’s a check-list of items which must be filled out on the template.
- Either a physical or electronic signature of you or someone authorised to act on your behalf to request removal of the the copyright infringement
- Identification (via the url) of the work or works which you are claiming have been copyright infringed.
- A copy of your original work (via the url) to demonstrate the fact that it is yours in the first place
- Your contact details to allow the offending party to get in touch with you should they need to
- A statement to say that you believe that the materials used is unauthorized by you, the content owner
- A statement that information in the notification form is correct and that the offending party is obliged to take it down.
All hosting service providers are obliged to appoint and register a DMCA copyright agent and it’s this person to whom the notice must be sent. Upon receipt of the notice, the ISP must first ensure that it’s complete using the checklist above and, if so, they are obliged to disabled access or remove the infringing work immediately.
The Takedown Process
- Grab a couple of screenshots of the offending site just in case a dispute arises later
- Download the stock template above ensuring that all the information discussed is filled in
- Using services such as whoishostingthis, or whoischeck to locate the hosting service providers of the website where the reference material is located.
- Now you know which hosting service providers, go to its website to get the contact information for the contact dealing with the copyright DMCA agent
- If you can’t find the information here, then go to US Copyright Office in order to see if the information is provided there
- If the two above steps leave you empty handed, send a notice to the hosting company’s abuse team
- Wait at least 72 hours to check again to see if the work has been removed
- If you’re unable to remove work via the hosting service providers, such as in the example of an uncooperative or non-US based company, then consider filing a notice with each of the major search engines. This last principle is the same and templates on filing the DMCA notice with major search engines here. You can serve the notice to Google
Although it is not a link disavow tool, it certainly can get offending pages on infringing sites taken down. Try it, you may see a bounce back.