How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice

Copyright infringement on the Web is so pervasive that it’s easy to resign yourself to it as a fact of life — something out of your control. When photographers send cease-and-desist letters and/or demands for payment to infringers, these are often ignored, which can be very frustrating. But there is another solution, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): you can send a takedown notice to the infringer’s ISP. Here’s how to do it.

DMCA Requirements

The DMCA states that while an ISP is not liable for transmitting information that may infringe a copyright, the ISP must remove materials from users’ Web sites that appear to constitute copyright infringement after it receives proper notice.

If you find a Web site that is using one of your images without permission, contact the hosting ISP to report the infringement. The letter you send is called a “DMCA takedown notice.” The ISP is required to make its agent’s name and address available so that you can send them notification. Your copyright does not have to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office for you to take advantage of this DMCA provision.

You can find the infringing Web site’s hosting ISP through a “who is” search at sites like Domain Tools or When you notify the ISP of infringement, your letter must meet certain requirements. Specifically, your notification must:

• Be in writing;
• Be signed by the copyright owner or agent; your electronic signature is OK;
• Identify the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed (or a list of infringements from the same site);
• Identify the material that is infringing your work;
• Include your contact info;
• State that you are complaining in “good faith;”
• State that, “under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in the notification is accurate;” and

• State that you have the right to proceed (because you are the copyright owner or the owner’s agent).

A Sample Takedown Notice

VIA Email at [email protected]

Re: Copyright Claim

To the ISP Hosting Company:

I am the copyright owner of the photograph being infringed at:

A copy of the photograph being infringed is attached to assist with its removal from the infringing website.

This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to effect removal of the above-reported infringement. I request that you immediately remove the specified posting and prevent the infringer, who is identified by its web address, from posting the infringing photograph to your servers in the future. Please be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to “expeditiously remove or disable access to” the infringing photograph upon receiving this notice. Noncompliance may result in a loss of immunity for liability under the DMCA.

I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of here is not authorized by me, the copyright holder, or the law. The information provided here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I swear under penalty of perjury that I am the copyright holder.

Please send me at the address noted below a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter.


/s/ Carolyn E. Wright

After the ISP receives the notice, it should remove the infringing materials.

Infringements are much too common these days. Fortunately, there are tools to fight them. The DMCA takedown notice is one of the more powerful ones.

[tags]copyright, photography law[/tags]

93 Responses to “How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice”

  1. Image on web-server, but not displayed

    A copyright infringer reluctantly remove my photo from displaying on his website, but by linking to the file itself (not the page), I can see that my image is still stored on his webserver.

    Do I have an rights? Can I ask the site owner or the ISP to remove it?


  2. @Duane: absolutely, such copying of your photo onto a server without your permission is infringement. Ask the site owner and/or the ISP to remove it!

    And register your photos!

  3. Don't forget that the Internet is international, for instance, European isp's are under no obligation to take down (supposedly) infringing content unless ordered by a judge. The DMCA had no meaning there.

  4. The DMCA is US law. Other countries may treat copyright infringements in the web differently. Check with your attorney for details.

  5. RFC 1036?

    What kind of gobblegook is that. Citing a 1987 Usenet spec as a response to an infringement on an http server?

    As a sysadmin, if I got that, I would just scratch my head and ignore it.

    You really should consult with a networking professional in order to present your request for action to actually make some sort of sense.

    Good luck.

  6. In regards to the question of international ISPs, it is worth noting that such companies are subject to their local law, which through the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996) and subsequently accepted/adopted/ratified by the bulk of the nations in which such servers and service providers reside, while not subject directly to the DMCA, are still subject to upholding and recognizing copyright from other nations.

    This brings the burden back to the ISP that they are bound under law to enforce copyright as their local law would apply.

    Failure to do so, leaves the ISP subject to prosecution within their home jurisdiction. While it might seem unlikely that a person in say, the United States will pursue a suit or prosecution in, for example, China, the prospect is still very real, and the consequences to the ISP could be devastating. In this example, to the tune of about $60,000 USD or actual damages (if determinable) plus potentially up to 7 years imprisonment.

    With regards to the citing of RFC 1036, this appears to be specifying the format of the cancellation message to be sent back to the complainant.

    As a SysAdmin, it would be your responsibility to take such a notice to the legal representative(s) of your organization, to determine whether this legal notice is a true and legal notice, and to determine what if any response your organization is obligated to issue.

  7. I'm finding all of your articles to be very interesting. Thanks very much!

  8. Does this apply to MP3s? Someone has lifted on of my MP3s in its entirety and posted it on another site. -RS

  9. Wow, this is great stuff and I'm glad I ran across your blog. Keep it coming!

  10. So this guy has a domain name registered in the US but has his own server in Poland, and he stole my entire web pages, took my OLD domain name and put up a site with my pages with ads for hotels and casinos in Europe. So is the company in the US liable in any way?

  11. Bravo! Practical, useful, and tough-minded advice. I have retweeted this article.

    BTW, your personal photo is badly out of focus. If you want a new one, I'd be happy to oblige!

  12. Carolyn, what can you do in the case of a website the regularly violates DMCA? The scenario is a website that posts daily pictorials of images swiped from another professional community website. I have confirmed that the copyright holders are never asked permission personally being in touch with them. The ISP has been very helpful in offering to process DMCA requests and I've been notifying copyright holders with the takedown information when I can, but isn't there something to be done when a site is a regular violator of DMCA?

  13. Dear Carolyn,
    BAck on a few comments to this post.
    In the EU we have a legislation that is really close to the DMCA takedown notice. It is call the 2000/31/CE directive.
    One poster says he has trouble with image that are not displayed on the website but is still on the web server.
    My problem is the exact opposite. A website is hotlinking a photo from an authorized website to his website. Therefore my photo is visible on his website even though he has no right to use it. Can I use the DMCA takedown procedure to have him remove this?
    Thank you.

  14. Part of the takedown notice states 'Copies of the photographs being infringed are included'... Does that mean I have to attach original copies of the images, or does a list of the URLs at which the images exist suffice?

  15. I am an artist and I have a woman in Austin using my business name that I have had for over 10 years. She is also an artist. She is hosting on MySpace and Twitter. I have contacted her via phone and just heard about this. Have not heard from her as of yet.

  16. Hi,

    I would like to know if any registrar in the world has to follow the DMCA Takedown Notice even when their company is not based in US ?


  17. Can the same notice be used for removal of copyrighted material from TV commercials or just ISPs?

    I had removed a couple of my images in a heartbeat with this notice, and I just found out an image of mine has been used for a TV commercial...


  18. I have a video that I shot on Jan 28th 2011 that I posted on my YouTube Channel that went VIRAL almost IMMEDIATELY! I have found many places where people had ripped my video from my YouTube page and reposted it as their own on both YouTube and many other sites.

    Here is my video:

    I am doing my best to protect my content as this is the first time that I have had an experience such as this.

  19. Video from Youtube can be used on any website, you are just stupid to believe that someone stole it from you !

  20. mormon: RE: "from Youtube can be used on any website, you are just stupid to believe that someone stole it from you !"

    That is incorrect. What anyone can do is use the immbed code and paste the player available from the YouTube page to repost the video in their blogs or websites without any editing and ALWAYS leading back to the Original video located on YouTube. What they CANNOT do is use software to rip the video file from the YouTube page and adit it as they wish to while removing the identity of the content owner and no linking the video back to YouTube.

    Yes, my video is ALL OVER the web in the correct way and there is no problem with those who did so correctly. What there is a problem with are those who ripped it and uploaded it to their own servers or accounts on other video hosting websites as well as on YouTube while claiming it is their own work.

  21. has copied my entire links page, including my name, email etc. The problem is that he is using an offshore ISP in Germany. Does the German government honor USA DMCA takedown notices or do they have their own?

    He posted it at

  22. What is an offshore ISP in Germany ? Which one ?

  23. The ISP is located in Germany. The following is the information going to that ISP on their abuse email notification

    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: stolen copyright material on web site
    Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 15:39:43 -0500
    From: Cathy
    To: [email protected]

    Hello. My name is Shawn Cole from the U.S.A.

    You are hosting a web site called "" that is run by a man named Paul Andrew Mitchell. The IP address is from the European Union(EU) region in Western Europe. The hostmaster is located at [email protected] I am writing to the [email protected] FOR HELP TO REMOVE MY STOLEN WEB SITE FILES.
    The web site domain was issued by to the registered owner at: and the registered owner of the domain email is : [email protected] and registered name of owner is Thomas Brown.

  24. Thanks so much for this info, I hope they respond!

  25. It is worth mentioning that the process isn't always as simple as just sending the DMCA takedown letter. While the letter may take care of the site right away, it may also begin a counter-notice process.

  26. How do you guys find out that one of your images has been stolen in the first place? Is there any easy way to search? I find it all a bit overwhelming myself and would appreciate any advice.

  27. I am dealing with a few people who stole my contents. The first one listened after I left a comment on their page about how I hold a license that does not allow copying and altering. The second one was a blogger. Commenting was not enabled. So I reported abuse at blogger and they removed it for me. The newest one has not responded at all. I bookmarked the page to see if he is taking any action. Then there is another one who kept my article title and bullet points correct, but changed the sentences in each paragraph. She is not a blogger but the owner of the site who has no address. But I used Whois to find her email address. I am going to send her a letter by using the above instructions. Lets see what she does.

  28. Hello Everyone,
    I just found out that my photos were stolen off of facebook by an individual who retaliated against me to defamed my character. I did not know my photos were taken for the whole month. It had my professional modeling images with photographer's watermark. copyrighted infringed the photos which is a serious violations. We are trying to find out who posted them on It is a horrible situation and looking into filing suit for libel and photo copygright infringement violations. You can see what it looks like here

    I'd appreciate your help in any way possible. My email is [email protected] Thank you!

  29. Do you have an example where an attorney has actually gone after someone for violating the DCMJ? If so, how much were they asking in damages?

  30. I'm not sure that I have a proper DMCA claim, so I thought I'd post here and ask your opinion of the situation.

    I was a member of a small to medium online forum. I published a list that mathematically ranked items in categories for a game. The items being ranked are, of course, property of the game's publisher but all of the work behind generating this list was my own doing. I've removed my list from this site for personal reasons, and now the admins are trying to repost this list in its entirety without my permission, pulling the data from backups, and posting it. Do you think I have a valid DMCA claim against this website?

    Thank you!

  31. An online client who contracted voice work from me has not paid for services, as per agreement. If the client uses this voice over on his website or elsewhere, do I have recourse through DMCA?

  32. I work for a large magazine publishing company in South Africa. All our international titles are currently being sold as online magazines via a European supplier. We have now found piracy sites with some of latest monthly issues. I was told by our EU supplier that I am required to send them "legal take-down notices" to remove the magazines as we are the publisher of those titles. Does anyone know how this law would affect me in South Africa, if the take-down notice need to be in a specific format / letter? Or if I can just send them a legal notice sourced of twitter for example? Any help will be appreciated.

  33. Can a DMCA notice make some take down stolen mugshot pictures of me from there website?

  34. Can a DMCA notice take down mugshots from a site who stole them and posted on there site? And if it can what kind would it be?

  35. Thank you, Carolyn. You really make my day. It's not only photographs but articles. This kind of behaviours is really annoying and.... It totally discounts our effort that we devoted to our work. What's the Google Algorithm criteria for this?
    Thank you again for your help. I definite will come back.

  36. Hi, a few weeks ago, someone stole one of my article 'How to Reap Instant Profit From Your Web Site' and republish it on his blog. when I ask him to remove it from his website, he replied that he changed the contents of the article a bit, so now its no longer belong to me. what action I can take to force him to remove the article from his blog. Thanks qammar

  37. Thanks :) Can you also tell what to send when someone has copied your copyrighted content ?

  38. @KB

    "RFC 1036?

    What kind of gobblegook is that. Citing a 1987 Usenet spec as a response to an infringement on an http server?"

    Agreed. It's gobblegook . And it has nothing to do with the requirements for a take-down notice either.

  39. @ScottBurton You should also consult a network professional before you write stuff -- what you said about RFC 1036 doesn't make any technical sense. What you suggest is the equivalent of saying that you should use the telegraph and Morse Code in order to reply to a request to remove an offending picture on a cubicle wall. Maybe you can use some other almost-depreciated standard of messaging, like smoke signals or roughly-drawn pictograms.

  40. Is this page suppose to be dark with dark text. It's very hard to read.

  41. Dear Carolyn,
    What about Trademarks? I'm familiar with the USPTO patent and trademark registration process. I'm also aware that trademarks need not be registered to be enforced. What I am unclear on is what the remediation process is for trademark violations in social media, specifically when an annonymous or unknown third party is posting the infringing material on a social media site such as YouTube. Can you use a DMCA takedown notice to compel a social media site to take down trademark infringing material? Are trademarks considered a copyright. If not, then what?
    Thanks in advance!

  42. I had a email I sent published on a blog by the person I sent it to which contained the name of a relative, even though I expressly asked them not to publish it. They even published the part that said that.

    Could I sent a DMCA notice to have it removed?

  43. I suspect a website is using some of my images without my authority. I would like them to take those images down. Do I go straight to the photoagency I think they stole them from or do I approach them directly?

    I also think I know other photographers whose images they are stealing - and subsequently profiting from as per their 'shop' page.

  44. I am not sure where you're getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or figuring out more. Thank you for fantastic info I was searching for this information for my mission.

  45. Hi Carolyn
    Thanks you so much for posting this info and the sample letter. I am an artist with an very established site. So many rip off sites are copying my images and even whole pages of my site and then just putting ads on them . its time to do something about it.

  46. Here was an excellent question, asked above, that no one ever answered. I'd like to know, too:

    Steph said:
    June 7th, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    How do you guys find out that one of your images has been stolen in the first place? Is there any easy way to search? I find it all a bit overwhelming myself and would appreciate any advice.

  47. it should also be noted that if the website is using an image of yours and GIVING CREDIT TO YOU *without* profiting in any way OR is using your images *with credit to you* in either review or parody form, it's NOT illegal and so the ISP doesn't have to remove it.

    Someone steals your art and posts it to their deviantart gallery. No credit to you is given. They might even be making a profit off it, but don't necessarily have to be. Infringes! Send that notice!


    Someone uses your art for an article discussing anatomical mistakes, credits you, and does not make money. Does not infringe! The notice will accomplish nothing.

    This is in regards to the US copyright laws, which explicitly state that if work is being distributed in part for either review or parody purposes, it's okay.

    In other words, you can't use a DMCA Takedown Notice to remove bad reviews of your work (or even mockeries of it) from the internet. Sorry, kid. The law isn't that petty.

  48. i am so happy content publishers can feel safe now
    those who copy content and scrap it must be re moved from the web

  49. Dear Carolyn: My copyrighted vinyl recording from many years ago has been played on an online radio show recently and archived where anyone can pull up the archive and listen or obviously "copy" songs off the show, too.

    I've just discovered someone has put my song on a compilation CD of rare recordings and now selling CDs and downloads on Amazon, iTunes, etc. I gave no persmission for this, I have no agreements with anyone, and certainly have not been compensated a dime from downloads, and was never contacted by this company regarding this recording.

    Does DMCA still apply since the website is the radio show's and not my personal site? Or does DMCA apply to anywhere online that one's copyrighted work is stolen, copied and sold for a profit?

    Thanks for any clarifying insight on this set of circumstances.

  50. how to get banner dcma to our website? at least our reader pay attention about this notice

  51. I do agree with all of the ideas you've presented to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. May you please extend them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  52. Also what if the duplicate content is in the comments of the article/blog post?
    Will the DMCA take down work?

  53. I need help regarding a DMCA complaint and a European host such as LeaseWeb and PRQ. I am trying to get some copyrighted photos removed and the person who uploaded them is using these European hosting providers. How do I go about handling that? They have been very uncooperative so far. Any ideas?

  54. Thank you so much for this, you have no idea what a helpful resource this was for me. Its people like you who truly make a difference.

  55. Unfortunately, most webhosts in my country (Nigeria) do not honor DMCA letters.
    They do not want to lose customers i guess.

    Google is the only way i use to try and take them off search atleast

  56. This website has a bunch of girls including me, and the admin and mods as says on the bottom of the page "are not resposible" for users uploaded content there is no way for me to email them but i want my stuff taken off there or the site shut down for good anyone have any ideas on how to do this?

  57. thanks about How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice
    very nice post,

  58. There are many free file sharing and movie download sites that advertise free movies.
    What we don't know is what impact that would have had on their masterpieces ' but there's no reason to believe it would have constrained them. To achieve this level, you need to have your work recognized publicly so that it can be purchased for its own consumption by museums and private collectors.

  59. Greetings from Idaho! I'm bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can't wait to take a look when I get home.
    I'm amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .
    . Anyways, awesome blog!

  60. Hi there!

    I've been a victim of copyright infringement as well. I'm not a photographer and I was just wondering if I could use the same example letter from your site to fight for my case.

    Two websites stole content from my former business website, including private cell number to advertise on their site. I've tried to get in touch with EVERYBODY regarding this problem at no avail.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!


  61. I have been a victim of Hunter Moore's site. I have sent him over 200 emails and he has not responded. It is ruining my reputation and I never consent to these photo's being posted. They also posted my facebook account, my name, and a photo with my school ID and where I am from. I feel it is a threat to my safety. If they are not registered Copyrighted photos, can this law still aply to me and can I still use it against the site?

  62. Some good comments - firstly someone asked about European servers and their obligations to remove the material, this is usually handled in a different approach and some do oblige and remove it from their servers. I would also suggest contacting google to have it removed from their search listings- so worst case scenario if you can't remove it from the site you can stop it getting traffic altogether.

    Alex R

  63. If I went on whois to look up the IP on the website who has posted photos of me without my consent, and it shows godaddy, is that whom I need to send the demand letter too ?

  64. ?This design is incredible! You most certainly know how to keep a
    reader entertained. Between your wit and your video, I was almost moved to get started on my
    own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Great work.

  65. Need advice...I paid a web designer a lot of money to create my website/online store. Over two years, I developed all of the content, inventory descriptions and pricing -- he simply used my info and created the website. I have since closed my business. However I have decided to re-open just my online store, only to find he sold my ENTIRE website to my competitor and only changed her name, contact info and a few words here and there!! Is this legal? Would a DMCA takedown notice work here? I am sickened.

  66. An EBay user is selling photos that are not his - copy photos of mine and others.

    Can I do a DMCA notice on EBay itself since they are providing the vehicle for this infringer?

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