How to send a DMCA takedown notice
Tip: Are you sure you want the product removed? If the use doesn’t harm the integrity of your work, you may wish to ask for a backlink to your website or another form of credit instead of a takedown. However, we advise you to insist on compensation in most cases for commercial and editorial uses.
To send a DMCA takedown notice, follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Do your homework
DMCA takedowns allow you to quickly and efficiently have your content removed from a site. With that in mind, they aren’t always appropriate. Ask yourself these questions before moving forward:
- Could the use of your photo qualify as fair use? If you’re not sure, this tool can help you decide.
- Are you certain the photo is yours? Photos of landmarks might often look very similar. Even if you’re 99% sure, it never hurts to double-check.
- Would you like to take further action in this case? If the image use is commercial in nature and you wish to seek compensation, starting off with a takedown request may give the impression that removing the photo resolves the situation— this is not a good starting point for negotiation.
Step 2: Determine where to send a DMCA takedown
Designated agent (including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest): Many websites consisting primarily of user-posted content, including social media sites, list a designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office. You can look up a site and send a takedown to the contact provided, though some websites may insist you use their online form.
The site’s web host: Most web hosts respond when you send a DMCA takedown expeditiously, so this is a great place to send a takedown if you cannot find a designated agent.
Here’s a quick way to find a site’s host and contact:
- Visit the http://whois.domaintools.com/
- Enter the website’s address
- Grab the web host’s name
- Go to their website or use Google to identify an email for abuse or copyright claims
Google: You can also get any page hosting your content without permission removed from Google search results. This effectively blacklists it from the Internet and is a good solution if the web host or site owner does not comply with your request, or if you have good reason to believe they won’t. This is also a good option if you simply don’t have time to find contact details as described in the steps above.
Step 3: Draft your takedown
A DMCA takedown consists of three basic parts:
- An identification of the work being used without permission– the recipient needs to be able to identify your photo quickly (quick tip: don’t send a page with 20 thumbnails)
- An identification of the infringing use– the recipient needs to be able to identify exactly which use is infringing (be as specific as possible)
- Valid contact details for yourself and a certification that you believe the use of your work is an infringement
Here is a basic DMCA template you may use to get your photos removed from various websites.
Dear Designated Agent:
My name is [Your name].
Your website or a website that your company hosts is infringing on a copyright-protected photograph owned by myself. The original photo, entitled “[Title]”, to which I own the exclusive copyrights, is located at: [URL where you originally published the photo, if available]
The unauthorized and infringing copy is located at: [The website using your work without permission]
It is hosted at: [The exact location of the photo on the infringing site, for example https://somehostingname.com/content/rights-violation.jpg]
This letter is an official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”). I seek the removal of the infringing material referenced above.Please take note as a service provider, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires you to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receipt of this notice.
The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act grants service providers such as your company immunity from liability so long as investigate and rectify this copyright violation in a timely manner. Should your company fail to do so, it may become liable for the infringement.
Please remove and disable all access to the aforementioned copyrighted work immediately. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Step 4: Be prepared to follow-up
In some situations, the recipient requests additional contact details such as your address or more proof that the photo is yours. If you did not precisely identify your own photo or a photo used without permission, you will also likely receive an email seeking further clarification. The content poster also has the opportunity to issue a counter-notice if he or she disputes your takedown.
At Pixsy, we support artists in their right to decide when and how their work is used. If you decide you want your work removed from a particular website, send a DMCA takedown. It can be a great way to do that. We hope this quick guide helped you with the details.