For listeners of the Smart Passive Income podcast, following is an explanation of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) compliance process you should follow if you allow users to post anything to your site or app.
- Select a DMCA Agent – Select a person to be the DMCA agent. The agent’s name, physical address, phone number, and email address will be made available to the public on your site or app and in an online database maintained by the Copyright Office. You can be the agent. If privacy is a concern, you can use a third-party agent service such as ours.
- Register The Agent. Once you’ve selected an agent, you must register the person with the Copyright Office. An agent service will do it for you. If you wish to act as the agent, these instructive videos explain how to DIY: https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/help.html
- Post A DMCA Policy – You should post a DMCA Policy on your site or app providing copyright owners with guidance on how to submit a DMCA takedown notice, the information of your agent, and your business information as required by the Copyright Office. [See the videos in step 2.] If you use a third-party agent, the service will provide you with the Policy.
- Repeat Infringer Policy – Establish and enforce a repeat infringer policy. A standard policy is to terminate the account of individuals who have received three takedown notices they did not successfully contest in a two year period.
- Comply with Takedown Notices – If your agent receives a takedown notice, you MUST pursue the following compliance timeline to maintain your immunity.
- Receipt. When your agent receives a DMCA complaint, make sure it contains the required information including the URL for the original copyrighted content, a URL for the offending content, and required statements from the copyright owner or their attorney.
- Remove Contested Content. Remove the content in question from public view. Do not delete it. Just put it in “unpublished” status so that it may not be viewed by the public.
- Notice. After taking down the content, provide notice to the person who posted it that the material has been removed pursuant to a DMCA complaint. Indicate the person has the right to file a counter-notice and may wish to speak with an attorney.
- Counter-Notice. If you receive a counter-notice, you should provide the counter-notice to the copyright owner who filed the original complaint, and inform the copyright owner that alleged infringing content will be republished in 10 to 14 days. The counter-notice should include a statement under penalty of perjury that the user has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification; the user’s name, address, and telephone number; and a statement that the user will accept service of process and consents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court.
- Republish. If you do not receive notice of a lawsuit or a court order barring the republishing of the material from either party in 10 days, go ahead and republish the content.
And there you have it. The process comes across as complicated but is rather simple once you get the hang of it.