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Sending a DMCA Takedown Notice6:45 with Chris Zabriskie
When someone has stolen or misused your work online and all other communication attempts have failed, sending a DMCA takedown notice might be the step you want to take next.
DMCA stands for Digital Millenium Copyright Act. You can read the whole text of the law online at the Library of Congress.
Here's a sample of what a DMCA notice should look like.
Look up where to send DMCA notices United States Copyright Office's Directory of Service Provider Agents for Notification of Claims of Infringement.
Be wary of services that ask you to pay them to send DMCA notices for you. The DMCA is a law, not a government office or organization. You do what you want with your money, but sending a DMCA notice yourself is easy and can usually be done online for free.
And don't forget, the information in this video series is for educational purposes only. If you have any questions about your specific situation, contact a lawyer.
So here we are. Someone has stolen your work, 0:00 or someone's not abiding by your license terms. 0:04 That photo you posted under that Creative Commons non-commercial license on Flickr 0:07 just ended up in a website that sells shoes, 0:12 or somebody's copied a bunch of those assets you created for your Android app and are using them in their own app. 0:15 What do we do? 0:20 Well luckily enough for your wallet, going straight to a lawyer isn't the first step you have to take. 0:23 If you want to go to a lawyer, by all means do it. 0:29 You've heard me say that over and over again already. 0:32 Questions about your specific situation should be discussed with someone who does this stuff for a living. No doubt. 0:34 But let's be honest. You do have to weigh what a lawyer's going to cost against how much you would actually expect to recover 0:40 if you did try to bill or sue the people infringing your copyright. 0:46 A lawyer will be helpful, but in this case United States law has made it so that they're not your only option here. 0:50 So you see someone's stolen your stuff. 0:59 All right. Take a deep breath. Relax. Maybe go make a cup of tea. 1:01 Then come back to the computer and send them an email. 1:07 That is going to solve so many problems right away. 1:11 Find the contact information of the bad guy, as it were. 1:15 Find their Facebook or whatever, and then realize they're probably not a bad guy. 1:19 Chances are they just didn't know any better and will happily remove your stuff from their site. 1:24 People are pretty nice more often than not. 1:30 Always try to remember that when you're defending your copyright like this. 1:32 Oh dear, but you can't find their contact info now, or you've emailed them and it's been a few weeks. No answer. 1:37 It's still not even lawyer time now. 1:43 So make yourself another cup of tea then write yourself a DMCA takedown notice. 1:45 DMCA stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 1:53 It's a United States law that was passed in 1998. 1:56 It's job is to make it easier for you, the copyright holder, to remove copyrighted stuff from someone's website 2:00 who doesn't have your permission to put it there. 2:07 So we'll use a photo for this example. 2:10 Let's use my selfie from before. It's beautiful. 2:12 I find this work of art is on somebody's Tumblr, and I don't want it there. 2:15 I haven't licensed that thing for sharing it in any way, and let's face it. It's too beautiful for Tumblr. 2:18 So I'm going to go to copyright.gov, the official copyright site of the Library of Congress. 2:23 I'm going to do a quick look-up of Tumblr in their Directory of Service Provider Agents for Notification of Claims of Infringement. 2:30 It's very catchy. 2:37 There's a link to this in the teacher's notes there if you want to play along at home. 2:39 I'm just going to browse to the T section here, do a quick browser search for Tumblr. 2:42 There's a couple of them there, but just plain Tumblr is fine. 2:48 Here's all the info I need. 2:52 I haven't written my notice yet, but now I actually know who to send it to. 2:54 You can look up almost any website, media company, or hosting provider right here at copyright.gov, 2:59 just like I did for Tumblr. 3:06 Tumblr though actually makes it even easier than that on me. 3:08 A quick Google search for Tumblr DMCA turns up this page—first result. 3:13 Here's a really simple page where I can fill out a takedown notice. 3:19 Put the URL, the description of my wonderful selfie, my contact information, and so on. 3:22 Tumblr legally has to act on this, and in return they won't be held responsible for anything infringing on their site. 3:30 So naturally it's just incredibly difficult to find copyrighted material on Tumblr. 3:38 Okay, obviously I'm joking. Let's not kid ourselves. 3:43 Tumblr, YouTube, Facebook, anywhere people can upload things, there's stuff that's probably not supposed to be there, 3:46 maybe even your stuff. 3:52 Under the DMCA though, it's not Tumblr or YouTube or Facebook's job to watch every single post or video that comes in 3:55 and make sure that there's no unlicensed copyright material in it. 4:03 Over 100 hours of video—that's 100 hours—gets uploaded to YouTube every single minute. 4:07 It's impossible to police all of that in advance. 4:15 So the policing falls on the copyright owners themselves. You and me. 4:19 If you've got something you've created, and you don't want it being shared on Tumblr or wherever, 4:24 it's your job to ask for it to be removed, not Tumblrs to somehow know that you cared as much as you do. 4:29 All right. So Tumblr makes it easy to send a DMCA notice, 4:37 but say that somebody doesn't. 4:40 You've done your homework, you know where to send the notice to, 4:42 but they don't have some easy form to fill out like Tumblr. What then? 4:45 I've included a sample form—hopefully you'll never need one—in the teacher's notes, 4:50 but any DMCA notice has a few main things that need to be included. 4:54 Your name and contact information, so that's your name, your address, your email, your phone number, all of that is important, 4:59 details about the thing you want removed, and be descriptive, where your stuff actually is on the site, so that's a URL, 5:07 again be descriptive as possible. You can't just say Tumblr. 5:13 You actually have to give them a very specific web address so they can find it in the first place. 5:18 Then you have to actually include the following paragraphs word for word. 5:22 "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing 5:27 is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law." 5:35 So basically I'm serious about this, and then this paragraph. 5:40 "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner 5:46 or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." 5:54 I am really, really serious, and you have to be serious. 6:01 Sending fake or bogus DMCA takedowns is punishable by law. 6:06 Some still penalties are involved, so don't be kidding around with this stuff. 6:10 Once you've got all that written, sign your name and send it off. 6:15 It only takes a few minutes. No lawyer's required to write and send a DMCA notice. 6:19 Anybody can do it, though you're welcome to hire a lawyer if you want. 6:23 Again you may never have to send one of these. 6:27 Those polite emails are usually enough, and you may not even have to send one of those. 6:30 But if that email doesn't work, and the DMCA notice doesn't work, and you're serious enough about all of this, 6:36 by all means talk to a lawyer. 6:42
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