DMCA Protection in a Nutshell

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Everything You Should Know About DMCA Protection

Around 4.66 billion people use the internet daily, according to statistical research. Almost all of them encountered copyright infringement in some way, whether as a perpetrator or a victim.

The internet may seem like an open-source with content available to everyone, but that is not the case. Every image, article, or piece of music posted online was created by an actual person, and there is no excuse for using someone else’s work without proper credits.

To avoid being on either side of a copyright violation, start learning about how copyright works, what copyright laws are, and how to copyright.

This should give you a clear idea about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the protection it provides.

What Does DMCA Stand For?

The DMCA is the U.S. copyright law from 1998. It was created to regulate online copyright violations since the internet started developing rapidly.

The law resolved numerous issues regarding copyright and its internet regulation. It aligned the U.S. legislation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty of 1996.

The other important aspect was granting a viable option for online platforms to work without the risk of copyright infringement liability that their users might carry out.

How Does DMCA Protection Work?

The DMCA regulates the rights and obligations of both copyright owners and online service providers through:

  1. Safe Harbors
  2. Takedown notices

Safe Harbor

The DMCA includes a set of provisions used to protect online service providers and other internet mediators from copyright infringement liability. They are widely known as the DMCA Safe Harbors.

An online service provider has to meet certain requirements to qualify:

  • Website users select and upload the content
  • Content is passed to other users without any modification
  • The process is completely automatic, and the web host must not interfere in any way

Platforms like Twitch and YouTube can’t be sued for copyright infringement since they are offered immunity by the Safe Harbor regime, but they are obliged to handle their users’ copyright violations on their own. In other words, they are protected as long as they remove infringing content from their platforms.

If a third party—usually the copyright owner—discovers copyright infringement, they can file a takedown notice with the web host.

Takedown Notice

If you receive a takedown notice, you have to remove the content that allegedly violated the copyright. You must also respond to the notice to avoid possible penalties.

The person who posted the content can submit a counter-notice if they have proof that the violation did not occur.

What Is the DMCA Violation Penalty?

Copyright violation can result in severe financial penalties. If you take someone’s content without permission, the copyright owner can send demand letters to you in federal district court, and if they win the case, you could pay $2,500 per violation or up to $25,000 in statutory damages. This refers to civil penalties, but there are also criminal penalties that apply to DMCA violations.

It gets even worse if you get a criminal penalty—you could face jail time of up to five years and get additional fines that can be as high as $500,000.

How To Protect Your Work From Copycats

If you want to protect your content from copycats, the best course of action is to copyright your work. To register your copyright, all you need to do is:

  1. Open the U.S. Copyright Office website
  2. Register by completing the online form
  3. Type in your credit card information to pay the fees
  4. Provide a copy of the work you want to copyright

This option is much quicker than using postal services, but you can opt for that as well. If you want to go about it the more time-consuming way, you will have to disclose a physical copy of your work in an appropriate format. You can either submit it in print or on a CD.

If you’re curious about the registration fees you’ll have to pay, consult the table below:

Registrations of a Claim in an Original Work of Authorship
Online RegistrationsSingle author, same claimant, one work, not for hire$45
All other filings$65
Paper Registrations (Forms PA, SR, TX, VA, SE)$125

Can I Protect My Work Even if It Isn’t Published?

According to the U.S. Copyright Office FAQ page, your content is copyright protected even if it isn’t published. Copyright laws are even more effective in disputing infringement defense based on fair use if your creative work hasn’t been shared with the world yet.

As long as your content can be fixed in a tangible format, it will be protected by all of the applicable copyright laws.

DMCA Content Protection—What Kind of Work Isn’t Protected?

Not all creative content is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Check out the list of items that cannot be copyrighted:

  • Listings of contents and ingredients
  • Titles, words, names, slogans, short phrases
  • Concepts, principles, discoveries, and procedures
  • Familiar designs and symbols
  • Works not fixed in a tangible form (a song that hasn’t been recorded or written down, for example)

File a DMCA Takedown Notice In a Heartbeat With DoNotPay

With DoNotPay’s convenient feature, you won’t have to hire professionals to help you with copyright infringement. We will show you how to file a DMCA takedown notice in no time!

Even if you haven’t registered your creative work with the U.S. Copyright Office, DoNotPay will be able to help you just as effectively. With our assistance, you will spare yourself the hassle of googling complex vocabulary and dealing with paperwork.

To go about it the easy way, open DoNotPay in your and do the following:

  1. Click on the DMCA Takedown option
  2. Type the title of your work in the box
  3. Paste the URL where the work was originally posted
  4. Paste the URL of the page with the stolen content
  5. Confirm account info and click on the Sign and Submit button

It is an easy process, and you can file as many notices as you want. When you file DMCA takedown notices with DoNotPay, you don’t need proof of copyright ownership.

You will be able to see the results in the My Disputes tab.

You Can Accomplish Much More With DoNotPay

DoNotPay offers a safe and easy way to file a takedown notice, but that is not all we can do. We can give you the much-needed information about everything copyright-related—from how long it lasts to what the difference between a trademark and copyright is. Learn what a copyright claim is, how copyright works on YouTube, or how to copyright artwork—from a song to a script.

Browse through the copyright examples or cases of copyright infringement and get the upper hand over the content thieves!

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