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How To File A DMCA Notice

Posted by on Oct 1, 2010

It seems that I’ve had to become practiced in the art of filing DMCA notices against people who are stealing my content. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it was created to protect online content. Of course it wasn’t for those of us who blog specifically, but what you’ll find is that most hosting companies won’t do anything about a complaint of yours unless you put it into a specific form which is laid out in the Act.

I have seen where some other sites recommend going after a person through the pocket book, aka filing one with Google to get their Adsense accounts removed. However, even doing that the content stays on the site. I’d rather it not be there at all.

There’s a step by step process of information you need to file with the host. The best way I know how to figure out who the host might be is to go to GoDaddy, put the name of the domain in the name search, then when it comes up saying someone already has it there’s this link that will let you go find out who the person is. Look to the nameservers near the bottom and that will tell you. I did find there was one strange one, “domaincontrol.com”, and it turns out that means the account is hosted on GoDaddy’s servers; interesting. There’s always the possibility that someone has paid to remove most of that information, but I believe the nameservers are always there; I’ll have to confirm that.

Before you go right into the DMCA notice, you should send at least one email to the offender to give them a chance to do the right thing. I hate to say this, but so far I’ve only had one person willing to do the right thing before I had to take the next step; shame. So here you go, the steps as listed in the law, and an explanation if needed.

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

This is where you put your name.

(ii) 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.

This is where you put your original link that the material was stolen from.

(iii) 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.

This is where you put the link where your stolen material is showing.

(iv) 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.

This is all your contact information, including address and phone number and I also add the link to my domain name. One host sent me something back saying they had to have the ability to call me, which is why I know you have to add your phone number.

(v) 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.

This is where you basically write an oath of some kind saying that you know it’s your material that someone stole. Here’s what I have for mine: “Not only do I have a good faith belief, I know it is stolen content from my site, as I was the author of the post and am the owner of the blog it was taken from.”

(vi) 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 is where you write an oath of, well, honesty that you are who you say you are and fully take notice that you’re reporting someone stealing your content. Here’s mine once again: “I affirm that this statement is accurate to the best of my ability, and the proof is that all the other content on the site is stolen and scraped as well. Since I’m the complaining party, I am authorized to act on my own behalf.”

And there you go. That’s all you need, and you can send that to the contact information you find on the host’s site. Now, the same people who made me put a phone number on it also said they only accepted DMCA notices via fax; weasels. Luckily, there are a number of online sites that will let you send a free fax as long as it’s not longer than 2 pages. Or maybe you need to sign up for what’s below:


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25 Comments »

Great information, Mitch, as always. But I’m wondering how you find out someone has stolen your work in the first place. I doubt it’s happening to me, but if it did, I don’t think I’d ever know.

October 1st, 2010 | 9:49 AM
Mitch:

There’s 5 ways you can find out Charles:

1. If you see trackbacks in your comments area, always follow it back to see which article you have it on. If you have trackbacks turned off, then you’ll never see them here.

2. In your Dashboard, in the upper right you see something saying ‘incoming links’, or at least you should have it there. that means in some fashion you’re linked to those sites, either via a comment or someone writing about you or someone stealing your stuff.

3. If you look through your spam filter, many times you’ll see a trackback in there instead of a traditionally written spam. Follow it back and often it means someone has stolen your content.

4. Every once in awhile you can take a portion of your content, less than 10 words, put it between quotation marks, and search it on Google. Make sure it’s a unique sentence. Your article should come up on Google, but if another one comes up with the exact quote, you can check it to see if it’s actually been stolen from you.

5. Wait until someone else tells you. That’s what happened to me on one of them, where I wrote someone telling them I mentioned them in a post, and she came back saying she’d already been alerted that someone else had mentioned her saying the same exact thing. Weasel!

October 1st, 2010 | 10:05 AM

You can also use copyscape, I think they have a paid subscription which notifies you when it founds duplicate content(which might be stolen from your website).
By the way if you know the domain name and want to find out the nameservers you can always open command prompt (windows key+r, write cmd, press enter) then type this nslookup -type=ns http://www.domainhere.com and it should list you the nameservers.
But the easiest way to find where is hosted is to check the domain ip then go to who.is and search that ip.
Nice guide on how to file a DMCA complaint, but don’t you have to pay for one ? And I would start with the hosting company, maybe they can close or even remove that page :).

October 1st, 2010 | 11:24 AM
Mitch:

Good stuff, Alex. I went the totally free route. No, you don’t pay for a DMCA unless you’re suing someone. And I think it’s always a good thing to at least give the person a chance to remove the content before pulling out the big guns; just seems a bit more ethical.

October 1st, 2010 | 11:44 AM
Aaron:

If the offender depends on Adsense (or advertising at all) to make revenue, filing the complaint with Adsense is actually a very good way to hit them where it hurts. They get an email and sometimes postal mail even with a notice saying that ads will not be served on that content, and that if they continue, their entire account could be disabled until resolved. They do not mess around with this.. I have seen it in action myself and it works. Contacting the host might be useful as well, but they can always go find a host in a country that doesn’t care about copyright laws and then you are still left with the same problem of them having your content. I say go for the revenue stream 🙂

October 1st, 2010 | 5:57 PM
Mitch:

That’s not a bad thought, Aaron. I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, and the DMCA is pretty much the same as for the host.

October 1st, 2010 | 8:02 PM

Great share and advice Mitch. I also like your answer at Charles Gulotta question coz’ I have the same question in mind.

October 1st, 2010 | 9:43 PM
Mitch:

Thanks Ron, and always glad to help out.

October 1st, 2010 | 11:11 PM
Peter Davies:

Great advice Mitch – you are a walking online encyclopedia

October 2nd, 2010 | 1:49 AM
Mitch:

Thanks Peter, but I’m just a guy trying to get by and having way too much time to read all this stuff. lol

October 2nd, 2010 | 11:33 AM

I never filled out a DMCA form but I will bookmark your article because I know there will be a time when I have to refer back to your guide 🙂

October 2nd, 2010 | 4:20 AM
Mitch:

Good deal, Mike. I hadn’t done it before this year because people had been cooperative. Sometimes you have to wield a hammer to get things done.

October 2nd, 2010 | 11:35 AM
Patricia:

Thhanks for such detailed info Mitch. Glad you got it sorted. So far I don’t think what I am writin anyone would be interested in stealing eh lol
Patricia Perth Australia

October 2nd, 2010 | 3:30 AM
Mitch:

You never know, Pat. Just keep your eyes on trackbacks, if you start getting any, and you’ll know for sure.

October 2nd, 2010 | 11:34 AM

Yesterday night, I receive notice from DMCA, which was surprise for me. It was on my fashion blog and all the articles there are written by me. For some of my websites I outsource the articles, but for this one content is 100% original, guaranteed.

October 2nd, 2010 | 5:39 AM
Mitch:

Luckily, you can always contest it by proving that you wrote something. I have to say, though, that something I make sure of when I’m writing articles for my other sites is to write in my own voice, so to speak, so there’s no question it’s original, even on topics where the information can be found elsewhere.

October 2nd, 2010 | 11:36 AM

Hello Mitch, Hope everything coming along with you getting this settled. Keep us updated on the status.

October 2nd, 2010 | 9:15 PM
Mitch:

Karen, so far it’s worked wonders; waiting to see if my latest salvo is successful as well.

October 2nd, 2010 | 9:32 PM

Great post. Unfortunately, I’ve had to use this information already.

October 4th, 2010 | 12:06 PM
Mitch:

It happens, Nea. That’s why it’s good to have the policy in place.

October 4th, 2010 | 1:20 PM

If the offending site uses AdSense you can hit them monetarily by filling out a Google DMCA complaint online as well directly here -> http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=lr_dmca&product=adsense

Nothing worse than having them terminated by AdSense which hits them where it hurts.

April 1st, 2011 | 12:40 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Good addition, Justin. I didn’t know about that when I wrote this post, but learned of it later on and have done it from time to time.

April 1st, 2011 | 12:43 PM

great info mate 🙂 thanks for the share. but I think fetching content from rss feeds is legal as far as you provide credit to the original source of the content. 🙂 however use of copyrighted content like logos, images, files or pages in prohibited. I’m not sure.

-Ashish Patel

August 16th, 2011 | 12:57 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Actually Ashish, it’s not if you decide you don’t want it there. I had one guy try to tell me that; I had his website shut down, and he was in Mexico. Had another guy shut down that lived in Virginia; he called me late one night to apologize, saying he didn’t mean to tread on people. Thing is, all either of these folks had to do was just respond to the email.

August 16th, 2011 | 9:40 PM

I use right click disable and partial feed , to fight plagiarizing

August 17th, 2011 | 3:25 PM