Heard the news of the IT minister getting blocked by Twitter due to DMCA (copyright infringement) and wondering what it is for? This article will explore the concept of DMCA takedown notices, along with the abuse of DMCA notices by filing false and bogus notices to extract money and take revenge on competitors. By the end of this article, you will get to know the process of responding to the takedown notices on various platforms like Twitter and YouTube. You will learn how to deal with these copyright trolls and big corporations trying to ruinthe careers of individual creators.
What is a DMCA notice?
DMCA takedown notices were designed to assist content owners in removing the content that they believe is infringing their content. The content here can be anything like an article on your blog, YouTube video, Instagram post, or even a photograph taken by you.
For example, If you have written an article and published it on your blog and you see some other website has copy-pasted your article. Then you can file a takedown Notice under DMCA to take down that content from the web.
The basic aim behind the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was to provide an escape route (by removing the content) at the earlier stage of Copyright infringement,so that infringement doesn’t result in a million dollars infringement suit.
Who is a service provider?
Service providers are the platforms that host the website and content like GoDaddy, WordPress, YouTube, Google, and Twitter.
Websites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have specified web forms that you can fill to file a DMCA Counter-Notice. While Other websites don’t have any such specific procedure todeal with copyright infringement disputes, you can just send them a DMCA Counter notice through Email.
Where can I find the mail id’s to send these counter-notices?
You can perform a search on WHOIS or USPTO by just typing the name of the website where the infringing content has been posted. You will get the mail id of the service provider’s designated agent for copyright claims.
Abuse of DMCA notices
Over the years, it has become quite easy for anyone to send a DMCA notice and as a result, the takedown notices are being used to take revenge on people and get their content removed from the internet. More and More people are sending fake DMCA notices to get their Competitor’s content removed from Twitter and YouTube. According to the Twitter Transparency report an approx. 10000 DMCA Takedown notices are sent to the Social media giant in a single month, out of which 33% are fake and bogus notices. On the other hand, every month, WordPress receives around 700-800 DMCA takedown notices from its users, out of which 60% are fake and bogus notices.
For example, If you are a YouTube Content creator with millions of views, your competitor might resort to this ugly practice by sending false DMCA harassments notices to YouTube and YouTube will have the responsibility by law to take your video down without waiting for your reply.
Is it possible that someone can just block my account by sending a false DMCA notice?
Yes, in some platforms like YouTube and Twitter there exists a Repeated infringer policy i.e. in case these platforms receive more than 3 strikes (notices) of copyright infringement against a user, automatically their accounts get blocked.
For example, Many copyright trolls (hackers) send a large number of fake DMCA notices to YouTube with malafide intention in a very short period say 2-3 days and as a result, their accounts get blocked without verifying that the claim was legitimate or not.
In such a case, you need to contact YouTube through the mail and tell them about the situation byestablishing the ownership and originality of your content.
How can you deal with this abuse?
If this happens to you and the notice is truly bogus, you can send the service provider a counter DMCA notice on their designated agent’s mail id.
For example, This website legalupanishad.com has copied the content from your website, then you can go to WHOIS and search for legalupanishad. After searching with the domain name (legalupanishad), the image on the right will appear.
Here, you can see that wix.com is the website host and firstname.lastname@example.org is the designated agent for copyright claims.
There is one other way of finding the designated agent, by opening the directory of designated agents on the USPTO Portal and searching for the website hostname. After searching the name, this page will appear and here you can see the mail id of the designated agent is given where you can send DMCA notices and DMCA counter-notices.
Contents of Counter-Notice
Like a DMCA Notice, a counter-notice contains certain information:
• You have to identify the removed content
• State that you have a good faith belief that the content has been misidentified
• Include your name, address, and phone number
• And at last, you have to submit to the jurisdiction of US Federal Courts
• Sign in under Penalty of perjury with your electronic signature
What happens after sending the Counter-Notice?
After receiving the counter-notice the service provider intimates the complainant (sender of DMCA notice) of the receipt of the Counter-Notice. If the complainant fails to reply in 10-14 days the service provider is liable to upload the content back from where it was taken down.
For example, If someone sends a DMCA takedown notice against your tweet, and you filed a Counter notice in response to Twitter. Now, Twitter being the service provider is liable to re-upload your content in 10-14 days, if the complainant fails to respond to your Counter-notification.
To keep your content safe you should register your work with the copyright office of your country, although it’s not required by the law it can give you an additional advantage for you to prove in the court of law that you are the rightful owner of disputed content.
If you become a target of hackers that send a large number of DMCA notices in a short period to block your account and extract money from you, you should:
• Contact your service provider (YouTube, Twitter, GoDaddy, WordPress)
• Inform them about your situation
• Establish the Ownership and originality of your content
Although DMCA notices were designed to help content creators, they are being misused by copyright trolls and big corporations to harass individual content creators by filing bogus and fake DMCA notices. Over the last few years, various service providers like Google, Twitter, and WordPress have reported a tremendous increase in takedown notices being received by them, the majority of them being false and ineffective. The only effective solution to tackle false DMCA harassment is by educating and creating awareness among the content creators about their right to file a counter-notice.
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