Basics for Navigating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA")

Due to the proliferation of the internet, social media platforms, and hosting websites, online service providers have often become unwitting hosts of materials that may infringe on someone else’s copyright. Similarly, original content creators have also increasingly become targets of unwarranted DMCA takedown requests. Sometimes these removal requests are made for anti-competitive or harassment purposes by the website operator’s competitors.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor in certain circumstances for website operators, who host materials submitted by third parties that may infringe the copyrights of others. If the copyright owner provides a takedown notice in accordance with the requirements of the DMCA and the website operator complies in a timely manner with its obligations under the DMCA, it may be protected from liability for copyright infringement. Author. The website operator may adopt and publish a copyright policy to facilitate compliance with the DMCA. Here’s an example copyright policy, requesting a takedown notice that includes at least the following information:

· A detailed description of the copyrighted work that you believe is being infringed;

· A description of the location where the alleged infringing content appears;

· Your contact information (including name, address, telephone number, and email address);

· A statement that you have a good faith belief that the alleged infringing use is not authorized by you as the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;

· A statement that, under penalty of perjury, the information in the notice is accurate and that you are in fact authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner; and

An original signature of the copyright owner or someone authorized on behalf of the owner to assert copyright infringement, as well as to file the claim.

In addition to the policy, the website operator must register an agent with the United States Copyright Office.

While the above identifies a number of Internet and e-commerce law issues that affect DMCA compliance, an in-depth analysis may be required. For example, the timeliness requirement for removal has been a hot litigation topic of late. Additionally, the DMCA applies only to copyrights and does not currently provide a safe harbor for claims of patent or trademark infringement. These types of claims arising from website users can be addressed in the Terms of Use or other website agreement between the website operator and its users.

For more information, you may want to contact a DMCA attorney with experience in DMCA compliance, copyright policies, and DMCA takedown notices.

Disclaimer: As with any discussion of legal issues, this article is intended to be educational only and is not a substitute for legal advice, does not provide legal advice, or form an attorney-client relationship with the reader. Seek legal advice before making any decisions. Also, please note that this article may not be updated, so the law and circumstances may have changed by the time you’ve read this article.

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