- Black Star Rising - http://rising.blackstar.com -

How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice

Tweet [1]

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 [2] or Whois.net [3]. 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] [4]

Re: Copyright Claim

To the ISP Hosting Company:

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

http://vividwildlife.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Nature-and-Wildlife/G0000zdS9vx4ShNg/I0000ae11ad5lbkE [5]

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]

Tweet [1]
93 Comments (Open | Close)

93 Comments To "How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice"

#1 Comment By Joanna Han On December 27, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

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.

#2 Comment By qammar On December 31, 2011 @ 6:20 am

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

#3 Comment By Jasjot On January 5, 2012 @ 5:57 am

Thanks 🙂 Can you also tell what to send when someone has copied your copyrighted content ?

#4 Comment By Fred On January 11, 2012 @ 9:37 pm


"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.

#5 Comment By snarky On March 5, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

@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.

#6 Comment By mario On April 13, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

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

#7 Comment By Texas On April 19, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

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!

#8 Comment By lovelylady On May 11, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

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?

#9 Comment By joe bloggs On May 14, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

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.

#10 Comment By Model management, Model look, model world, International Network, Attitude concept, Beauty Studio, Concept Store, Models Academy, Cafe, MODEL WORLD, Attitude, On May 22, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

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.

#11 Comment By Linda Paul On June 17, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

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.

#12 Comment By wayne archer On July 17, 2012 @ 7:28 am

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.

#13 Pingback By Tell Amazon.com to Stop eBook Scammers! | Marketing Where Technology Intersects Life On July 17, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

[...] If you’re a writer, musician, artist, or photographer, and believe that others are profiting from your work, the first step is a DMCA Takedown Notice.  This is the notice that copyright holders use to tell website owners that material on their site is being infringed on.  Attorney Carolyn E. Wright has step-by-step instructions for preparing and sending one online here.  [...]

#14 Comment By icarus On July 18, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

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.

#15 Comment By Meka On July 22, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

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

#16 Comment By ROWEST On July 31, 2012 @ 11:05 am

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.

#17 Pingback By 5 Popular Legal Errors in the Photo World « Heather Elder Represents Blog On August 1, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

[...] DMCA takedowns only protect the third-party hosts of blogs, user-generated content sites, etc. So, for example, if you make a video and someone posts it to YouTube (without your permission or a license) and YouTube takes it down when you ask, you cannot sue YouTube; however, you can sue the person who put your work up there in the first place! [...]

#18 Comment By yellowstone national park volcano On August 27, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

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

#19 Comment By MacTv Pro Download. MacTv Pro Review On September 3, 2012 @ 10:49 am

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.

#20 Pingback By Hands Off Our Content | Resourceful Mommy On September 14, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

[...] would like to direct you to the NickMom Copyright Compliance Policy.  Please also consider reading How to Send a Takedown Notice and how to fight back against blog scraping. Consider cc’ing NickMom’s webhost when [...]

#21 Pingback By Content Rules — Centsible Life On September 15, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

[...] If you have content stolen, you can request a DMCA takedown which essentially requests in writing that a site host remove your content. Legally this is the best method to have something removed. Instructions on how to do perform a DMCA are here. [...]

#22 Pingback By Quick Questions: Using Copyright « popular soda On September 17, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

[...] has a lovely infographic which explains the process. For a more detailed explanation, check out this post by Black Star Rising.       If someone is unlawfully selling hard copies of your work, [...]

#23 Comment By NKaushal On September 18, 2012 @ 3:59 am

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

#24 Pingback By Copyright Infringement: Are website owners required to remove content without a formal DMCA request? – Quora On September 20, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

[...] or not; ignorance is not a legitimate excuse.You should read up on what makes a legitimate DMCA [6]...Embed QuoteComment Loading... • Share • Embed • Just now  Add [...]

#25 Comment By JJ On September 21, 2012 @ 4:47 am

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?

#26 Comment By mz On September 25, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

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.

#27 Comment By S Briggs On October 30, 2012 @ 10:08 am

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

#28 Comment By Gabby On November 4, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

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?

#29 Pingback By Blogging and the Law: Part 2 of 2 On November 8, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

[...] for a DMCA complaint form through Google. In addition, Carolyn E. Wright of Black Star Rising has a great explanation of what is required in a takedown notice.) Generally, a WHOIS search will get you the necessary [...]

#30 Comment By johan On December 11, 2012 @ 1:46 am

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

#31 Comment By http://paulechegoyen.blogspot.com/2012_09_01_archive.html On January 1, 2013 @ 10:14 am

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.

#32 Comment By Daisy On January 24, 2013 @ 3:45 am

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!

#33 Comment By Ann On February 1, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

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!


#34 Pingback By How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice When You Find Unauthorized Use of your Art on the Internet | On February 4, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

[...] E. Wright has written an excellent article on this subject, that has been published online in Black Star Rising.  Highly [...]

#35 Comment By Steph On February 4, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

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?

#36 Pingback By How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice When You Find Unauthorized Use of your Art on the Internet | The Business Of Art LicensingThe Business Of Art Licensing On February 19, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

[...] E. Wright has written an excellent article on this subject, that has been published online in Black Star Rising.  Highly [...]

#37 Pingback By How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice When You Find Unauthorized Use of your Art on the Internet | On February 19, 2013 @ 7:28 pm

[...] E. Wright has written an excellent article on this subject, that has been published online in Black Star Rising.  Highly [...]

#38 Comment By Alex R On March 31, 2013 @ 11:56 pm

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

#39 Comment By Susan On April 11, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

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 ?

#40 Comment By iphone mileage On April 27, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

?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.

#41 Comment By Docgibb On May 3, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

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.

#42 Comment By Jim On May 19, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

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?

#43 Pingback By N i n e V o l t On May 28, 2013 @ 1:35 am

[...] Has someone infringed on your copyrighted image and used it on their website? Send them a DMCA takedown notice. Most ISPs will and have to address your takedown notice in order to protect themselves from any legal proceedings. Caroline E. Wright, a copyright attorney, has posted exactly how to do it here. [...]