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.
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 Whois.net . 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]