How to send a DMCA to remove photography copyright infringement

Jan 27, 2015

Topic:  Copyright
Time Investment: 5 Minutes
Suggested Product: Ultimate Copyright Kit


In today’s world images are posted, downloaded, pinned, saved, and re-shared from all corners of the globe.  With this ability to find and use content at a mass level, it is no surprise that copyright issues have become prevalent.  In order to keep up with the complexities of growing technology, the law has responded with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to send a DMCA to remove photography copyright infringement…but first, check out this kit which will help you!

Protecting intellectual property is a real and serious necessity for business owners in this digital age.  The idea that anything posted online is “fair game” to be used by others is the result of misconceptions and misunderstanding of intellectual property laws and respect for the creators.

With our copyright infringement kit, intellectual property creators become equipped with information to protect their creations, as well as the steps and legal forms needed to defend intellectual property rights.



The DMCA is a part of United States Copyright law.  The Act was put into place in 1998 and implements two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties, as well as addresses multiple other copyright issues.  In part, it protects content that is being used without permission.  For example, if you have taken a photograph and posted it to your website, then later come across your image posted on another photographer’s website who does not have your permission to use it, under the DMCA you have a legal right to have the web hosting company take the photograph down.


A DMCA Takedown

One of the protections created by the DMCA is the DMCA Takedown Notice.  The notice is a tool for owners of copyrighted content or other content being used without permission to request that the content be removed from a website using it without permission.  This means that if your content is being used without your permission, you can initiate a DMCA Takedown Notice to have your content removed from the infringing website.  Remember that a copyright automatically arises when the work is created, therefore even if you have not registered the copyright, you can still utilize the Takedown Notice.



When to Send a DMCA Takedown

When you come across your content on a website that is using your work without permission, you have a few options on how to deal with the situation.  You can directly contact the website owner and ask them to take your work down.  This can be done informally or via a cease and desist letter.  Generally, a cease and desist letter will state what action you want taken and often include a deadline before further legal action will commence.

If you would rather take a more formal approach, you can send a DMCA Takedown Notice.  This can be done for any of your content from a blog post to a photograph and is often more successful than the first two approaches.  Some copyright owners may choose to not send a DMCA Takedown Notice if they believe that the pros outweigh the cons.  For instance, the use may create free marketing for your business that you value.  However, if you do not want the content used in such a way, then you can send a DMCA takedown request to the web hosting provider of the website infringing on your copyright.

Since the DMCA implemented two WIPO treaties, the Takedown Notice can be utilized for a web hosting provider in any country that has also implemented the WIPO treaties.  If the web hosting provider is in a country that has not implemented the treaties, you still have legal recourse, but it will likely be more difficult and costly.


How to Send a DMCA Takedown

The first step of initiating a DMCA Takedown is to determine who the notice needs to be sent to.  Making an effort to determine the appropriate person to address the notice to instead of a general email or address may expedite your takedown.  This information may often be found in the directory of agents published by the Register of Copyrights.  If the appropriate agent isn’t listed there, then you will have to perform a search such as a WHOIS lookup.

The DMCA lays out six specific items that must be included in your notice.

As described in the DMCA they are:

1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

This may seem complex, but it is important to remember to just write clearly.  It is also vital that you make the claim in good faith, otherwise you will face serious consequences.


What to Expect Next

Once a valid takedown noticed is received, the content is supposed to be taken down quickly.  Continue to check the website to ensure that it is removed.  If it is not removed, then one of two scenarios has likely occurred.  First, the person who posted the content may have disagreed, in which case you will have to negotiate an agreement or possibly sue.  Second, the hosting provider may have ignored the request, in which case you will likely have to sue to reach your goal.  In these instances, if you would like to pursue having your work taken down, you will likely need an attorney’s assistance.


Get a DMCA Template + other steps on protecting intellectual property with TheLawTog®’s Copyright Infringement Kit


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