DMCA — What It Is and Everything You Need To Know About It

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm, is not licensed to practice law, and is not equivalent to the services of a licensed lawyer. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help, and does not offer legal services. Third party news articles mentioned on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, or the current services that we offer.

DoNotPay and the DMCA Against Copyright Infringement

Copyright laws in the United States have been around since the late 18th century. When the internet and new challenges it brought proved they’re here to stay, it was necessary to introduce new protection against copyright infringement.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) was the answer to the issues of unauthorized use of creative content that the new technology introduced at the beginning of the new millennium.

DoNotPay—the world’s first AI Consumer Champion—will teach you how the DMCA protection applies to your work, how to distinguish between copyright claims and notices, and how to copyright your content officially.

What Is the DMCA?

New technologies brought more confusion about how copyright works on the internet and gave rise to more possibilities for copyright infringement. The most relevant examples include unauthorized copying, selling, or sharing of the copyrighted content via torrenting and peer-to-peer file-sharing software.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA is a copyright law passed in 1998 with a goal to protect copyright owners and their digital content on the internet. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act examples of protection usually refer to:

  • Pictures
  • Graphics
  • Videos
  • Advertising
  • Personal or corporate profiles or biographies
  • Text
  • Games
  • Programs
  • Applications

This law provides copyright owners with efficient protection against the violation of their exclusive author’s rights, but it technically applies only to the websites hosted in the United States. Since the DMCA channels the values and rules of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), many websites outside of the U.S. honor the DMCA notices as well.

What Is the DMCA Notice?

The most important copyright protection device that resulted from the introduction of the DMCA is the DMCA takedown notice. It is a formal request issued by a copyright owner to remove digital content that was used without permission. You can send takedown notices to:

  • Companies
  • Web hosts
  • Search engines
  • Internet service providers (ISPs)

One of the best features of this copyright protection method is that you don’t need to register your work officially with the U.S. Copyright Office for the takedown notice to work. You own the copyright as soon as you create original work and fix it in a tangible or visible medium. Copyright lasts during the lifetime of the creator and extends for 70 years after their death.

The infringer has the right to file a counter-notice. In that case, the copyright owner must file a copyright infringement lawsuit within 14 days, or the ISP will restore the questionable content. You can file a lawsuit only if you previously obtained the official copyright certificate from the U.S. Copyright Office.

What Does the DMCA Notice Look Like?

While the official form doesn’t exist, to be considered legally valid, every DMCA takedown notice must include:

  • Information to help identify the infringing content—the URL where the plagiarized work is found, the title, etc.
  • URL and the title of the original content
  • Contact information of the copyright owner
  • Statement of good faith—that you have good reason to believe the infringer used the original content without your permission
  • A statement that the information you're including in your DMCA notice is true
  • Electronic or manual signature

Most companies, websites, and internet service providers have a designated DMCA agent who is in charge of handling takedown notices. You can find their contact details on the dedicated web page of the company website or by searching the DMCA Designated Agent Directory using the service’s name.

DoNotPay Creates DMCA Notices Fast and Fuss-Free

If you’re not confident in your skills when it comes to writing legally binding documents or lack knowledge of proper terminology, you don’t have to worry. DoNotPay has created an easy-to-use service that successfully marries artificial intelligence and expertise to create efficient, well-written, and custom-made takedown notices.

You will need just a few minutes to receive a valid DMCA notice that you can send to any company, web host, or internet service provider. Protecting your creative content online is easy if you follow these instructions:

  1. Set up your DoNotPay account in any
  2. Select the DMCA Takedown feature after logging in
  3. Enter the name of your work and relevant URL links
  4. Provide your contact details
  5. Finalize the process by clicking on Sign and Submit

Feel free to include any proof of ownership to make your case even stronger, but the notice will do its job even if you don’t have a way to demonstrate that the content is yours.

How To File a DMCA Takedown by Yourself

You may want to send a DMCA takedown notice on your own, in which case there would be several steps you'd need to take. The process may take a while longer than going the DoNotPay way.

If you would like to take matters in your own hands, here's who you can reach out to and what to do:

Who To ContactWhat To Say
The authorAsk them to take your content down politely via email

Send a cease and desist letter

Web host or site ownerRequest that they take down the content in question

Supply proof that the original content is yours

ISPsUse any of the available third-party providers such as to file a DMCA takedown notice
Search enginesFind a designated email address for copyright violations and complaints and send your request

Problems With the DMCA Complaints

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act can provide great protection for copyright owners, but it has encountered a great deal of criticism over the years.

One of the most common objections is the YouTube copyright claim abuse. The video-streaming giant acts as a safe harbor under the DMCA, meaning that it is not responsible when its users post infringing content.

To maintain this status, YouTube must act immediately when someone files a copyright claim through their system and remove the content without investigating the validity of the claim. Such a shoot-first policy allows for various instances of abuse, even including extortion.

Another reproach to the DMCA is that it limits the free flow of information, endangers the freedom of speech, and goes against the free use doctrine. This line of defense—commonly invoked in copyright infringement lawsuits—allows using copyrighted content in certain situations, including:

  • Teaching
  • Scholarship
  • Commentary
  • Research
  • Criticism
  • News reporting

DoNotPay Gets the Job Done

If you need more information about DMCA abuse or counter-notices, our Learning Center is the place to go. We can even provide advice in case you receive a dreaded DMCA notice yourself.

Copyright infringement is an important part of DoNotPay’s work, but our platform offers so much more. We have numerous features that make dealing with administration a piece of cake. Sign up in any and explore other ways to use DoNotPay and make your life easier.

With our help, you will be able to:

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