Report Copyright Infringement if Someone Tries To Steal Your Work!

Thanks to the internet, copyright infringement has become an everyday issue. As we share, reblog, and download various digital content, it is a matter of time when we might infringe on the rights of the original author, especially if we don’t see a copyright notice or know how copyright works in general

The United States copyright laws are confusing. If someone uses your creative work without authorization online, sifting through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) might make you feel even more lost. 

With DoNotPay’s guides, you can learn how to copyright your work, what a copyright claim is, what falls under the DMCA protection, and above all, how to report copyright infringement and protect your creative efforts. 


What Is Copyright Infringement?

As soon as you create an original piece of content, you gain exclusive rights over that intellectual property. Depending on the content type, the authors can:

  • Copy and distribute their work any way they choose, including selling, renting, leasing, etc. 
  • Display or perform the work in public
  • Create more content based on the original work

In general, copyright lasts during the lifetime of the author and for an additional 70 years. Based on Section 501 of the U.S. Copyright Law, infringement happens whenever someone engages in mentioned activities without the copyright owner’s consent. 

While there are some extenuating circumstances, it doesn’t matter what kind of creative content is in question. Copyright laws apply to:

  • Literary works like novels, poems, but also blogs and other digital text posts
  • Lyrics, sound recordings, and other music elements
  • Visual content including photos, paintings, graphic design, sculpture, etc. 
  • Motion pictures like movies, TV shows, and other audiovisual content
  • Dramatic plays, choreography, pantomime 
  • Architecture works
  • Video games, websites, apps, and other digital content

What Doesn’t Constitute Copyright Infringement?

Before you decide to report copyright infringement of your creative work, you should consider the following list of items that are not protected by copyright legislation:

  • Public domain works 
  • All works that are not fixed in a tangible medium
  • All ideas, principles, discoveries, and concepts
  • Familiar symbols, phrases, and words

The fair use doctrine allows for a certain degree of usage of copyrighted content, but the lines between fair use and infringement are blurry and decided on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, fair use applies to non-commercial and educational use, commentary, and parody.

If your case ends up in court before ruling that the fair use doctrine applies, the judge will consider these questions:

  1. How and why did the infringer use the content? 
  2. What category does the copyrighted content belong to?
  3. How much of the copyrighted content did the infringer use, and how essential is it for the whole work?
  4. Did the unauthorized use influence the copyrighted work’s potential market negatively? 

How To Report a Website for Copyright Violation

Most big social media and internet service providers (ISPs) have specialized DMCA agents who deal with copyright infringement reports and takedown notices. Some websites even include online report forms to make the process easier. 

In case you notice your content on some other website that doesn’t offer an easy way to report copyright infringement, you can send the DMCA notice to the company that hosts the offender’s website. The process usually involves these steps:

  1. Find out which hosting company you need to contact using Satori Studio
  2. Open the website of the hosting company and go to their DMCA contact page
  3. Fill out the report form and submit it

If you cannot locate the hosting company for the infringing website because it uses a content delivery network (CDN)—Cloudflare, for example—you can contact them and ask for more information because you’ve encountered a copyright violation by one of their clients. 

How To Report a Website for Copyright Infringement to Search Engines

To report infringement and send a DMCA takedown notice to search engines, you need to check if the infringing website is indexed in Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other engines. The simple way to accomplish that is to use site search by typing “site:(name of the website including the extensions)” into the search engine. 

If the website or web pages with stolen content pop up in search results, report the infringement using these links for each search engine:

Use DoNotPay To Create DMCA Notices Fast

If it’s impossible to report copyright infringement using an online form, you can send a custom-made DMCA takedown notice without consulting lawyers. The great news is that you don’t need to research legal terminology and the necessary parts each DMCA notice must have because DoNotPay can create it for you in mere moments. 

Many third-party services will handle copyright infringement cases and request hundreds of dollars for the service, but with DoNotPay, you can get a fully functional takedown notice that is appropriate for your case if you follow these steps:

  1. Set up your DoNotPay account in a web browser 
  2. Select DMCA Takedown when you log in
  3. Answer a few questions about your content and the infringement case
  4. Confirm your contact details and personal information
  5. Hit Sign and Submit 

The method we use will work even if you don’t have any special proof of ownership or if you haven’t officially registered copyright for your work. 

How To Report Copyright Infringement to the Authorities

While the United States Copyright Office keeps a record of copyrighted works and issues ownership certificates for a fee, they can’t enforce copyright laws. Copyright infringement counts as a civil matter, and if the problem escalates that far, the federal court is in charge of handling these issues. 

If the infringement includes elements of a criminal misdemeanor or felony, the institution responsible for prosecution is the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Two divisions within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) deal with crimes involving intellectual property:

  1. Cyber Division—responsible for electronic and digital works
  2. Financial Institution Fraud Unit—deals with other crimes related to intellectual property

If you wish to escalate the copyright infringement report to this level, you can:

Before proceeding with legal action, you should know that filing a copyright infringement lawsuit is possible only if you registered your creative work with the U.S. Copyright Office or plan to expedite it in the light of impending litigation. 

Additional Resources for Reporting Copyright Infringement

In this table, you can find more official resources to report piracy and copyright infringement:

Website Content Type
National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center All kinds of content 
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Music
BSA The Software Alliance Software
Motion Pictures Association (MPA) Movies

DoNotPay Doesn’t Stop at Copyright Infringement

If you have more questions about copyright infringement and related procedures, our Learning Center is a great resource where you can get more information on how to copyright a song or artwork and how to differentiate between trademark and copyright

Access our platform for any web browser you usually use, and explore our portfolio full of useful solutions to everyday bureaucratic struggles. Other DoNotPay features include: