DMCA Takedown Request Instructions
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by congress in 1998, was a major revision to the US copyright laws. One of the provisions was intended to provide a "safe harbor" for online service providers and hosting companies. These companies are not liable for copyright infringement when users post content on their servers, as long as the service provider accepts "takedown notices" from the copyright holder.
If someone copies your content and posts it on a server operated by a US service provider, you can request that the content be removed. (In many cases non-US companies will also honor takedown requests.)
The procedure is not hard, but it requires a number of steps, outlined below.
Step-by-Step DMCA Takedown Process
- Be certain that you actually own the works that have been copied, and that the copies are not covered by fair use. If you knowingly submit a false DMCA request, you can be subject to civil penalties, including monetary damages, court costs, and legal fees.
- You will need to find out how to submit a DMCA takedown request for the specific site. Major websites such as those listed at the bottom of this page have their own procedures.
You can also find a list of DMCA Agents on the US Copyright Office website. If the site itself does not have a copyright complain procedure or agent, you'll need to find the site's hosting company.
We've provided a free tool, below, that will find the hosting company for you (in most cases). Just enter the domain name of the site where the unauthorized copy appears, and click the Submit button.
Note: if the hosting company is the same as the site name (for example, Facebook.com is hosted by Facebook), that means the site operates their own servers.
- Once you identify the hosting provider, you'll need to determine the procedure for submitting a copyright complain, or the agent for submitting a takedown request. Check the hosting companies listed at the bottom of the page, and the DMCA Agents list.
- If you still can't find a contact, go to the hosting company's website and look for a way to contact them to ask about DMCA complaint procedures.
- If the website or hosting company doesn't have a process for you to follow, you'll need to submit a letter. The letter must meet the following criteria:
- It must be in writing.
- It must be signed (an electronic signature is fine)
- It must clearly identify the content that you believe to be infringing upon your copyrights.
- You must state that your complaint is being made in “good faith”
- You must also state, that “under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in the notification is accurate”
- You must state that you have legal right to take such, and further, action as the copyright owner or agent of the copyright owner.
- You must include accurate contact information (typically email address, postal address, and phone number.
You can download our sample DMCA takedown letter, and tailor it for your needs.
Aggressive Use of the DMCA Process
Often, when someone copies your work, they copy many images or pages of text. If more than one page infringes on your copyright, you can list all of the infringements in a single DMCA takedown request.
However, you can also submit a separate DMCA request for each infringing page. If you choose to do this, we suggest submitting the requests at intervals of two or three days.
Many service providers will terminate the accounts of users who get multiple takedown requests filed against them.
The table below has direct links to the DMCA takedown instructions and processes for many major service providers. If you have corrections or additions, please Contact Us.
DMCA Links for Hosting Companies
Company Not Listed?
You can find official DMCA agents for many companies and websites on the list maintained by the United States Copyright Office.
Neither the author of this document nor the operators of this website are attorneys or accountants. The information presented here should be considered a general overview. This information does not constitute legal or financial advice.