Like an invention, the creator of original content (content, logos, music, etc) has copyright over that material. As the copyright owner, you have the exclusive right to decide who can use that material, and also who can not. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA for short) allows copyright holders to remove unauthorized uses of their copyrighted materials, and protects internet service providers who comply with the DMCA process from legal liability. The law is meant to provide a balanced process. Copyright holders are responsible for enforcing the rights they have in their work and online services have a legal incentive to honour all valid takedown requests.
Each country has a similar law that enables the removal of copyright material and processes specific to the jurisdiction that you are making a claim in. Submitting a DMCA is quite intricate and all of the pieces of a complaint must be on point otherwise it may be ignored, or worse, rejected. ISPs and global platforms receive hundreds or legitimate and questionable DMCAs a day and don’t have the time to coach brand owners through the process.
If complete, you then need to make sure that you have submitted a valid claim. For example your DMCA will generally be rejected if the content:
- Isn’t copyrightable (i.e a person’s name, the subject of a photo, branded material within a photo etc)
- Is considered to be fair use of copyrighted content – which is generally how a defending party may position their use
You want to be sure that your complaint complies with the DMCA process, is complete and is also valid. If you get any of these steps wrong a mark goes against your name which makes it more difficult to submit future DMCA complaints on a specific platform.
We encourage brand owners to use services like brandSec to submit DMCA complaints. We know the Act intimately and liaise regularly with ISPs on such issues. In addition to finding infringing websites or domains, we will also manage the DMCA process for you.