Full Guide About DMCA for Publishers and Website Owners | DMCA Explained: Ways to Avoid, Handle, and Bypass
Having sufficient information about the DMCA requirements is a must for every webmaster. It’s especially relevant for owners of adult, link shortening, and movie streaming websites. So if you are running a website with unlicensed content, this article is for you.
Here we will discover the meaning of DMCA, what it means for you as a tube site owner, how to avoid DMCA takedown and bypass DMCA.
Things every website owner should know about DMCA
Definition of DMCA
To start with, let’s uncover the meaning of DMCA. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a US federal law. It stands for a quick reaction in the form of the ban to infringing content. In other words, if you have witnessed the theft of your original content, you can send a complaint to the holder of infringing materials or the hosting service, with the request to remove the content. The DMCA was enacted in 1998 as a measure of piracy prevention. Since that time media industries are protected from stealing their content.
Meaning of DMCA Takedown
The DMCA is enforced by a government agency but complainants can form a lawsuit if the offender does not take any measures. There are companies that can send delisting requests to Google after sending the DMCA notice to you.
When a website owner gets a DMCA takedown, the infringing content is removed from the site at the appeal of the third party factual content owner. A takedown notice is just a regular accusative letter of thievery of your content. It may be performed in any form as such requests are not subject to court consideration. The DMCA applies to written text, videos, music, artwork, picture, and software. According to Kinsta, the statistics behind the DMCA takedown is impressive: as of 2019 March, more than 4 billion URL requests were removed because of copyright issues!
Connection Between Google and DMCA
Most people think that sending a takedown notice to Google is easier rather than sharing the issue with someone else. Indeed, Google follows rigorous standards in this deal. If your content was removed, you would not find the infringing material at any time. As a dominant search engine, Google may be concerned about the only service to meet the DMCA. It is a misbelief! Every step of the DMCA process is equally applied to any other search engine. Google is more preferable in response to the DMCA notices because it acts faster than any other service.
It is essential for the owner of the content to regularly check the web for unauthorized use of the materials. From this point of view, you may see the term ”DMCA protected” while visiting some sites. But it sounds weird as every issue published is already verified and protected by the DMCA. This phrase may also report that the webmaster is using a copyright protection service like DMCA.com. The webmasters pay for the service to cope with takedown notices.
A DMCA scenario in the best case will take 24 hours to be settled, but usually, it lasts for 3 days. Some individual DMCA unpleasantness took months and years to resolve. This is because both sides went to court.
For general awareness, some people got arrested and sent to prison for stealing content. The court determines the person guilty and imprisons for 5 years minimum when the crime was done to get a financial reward. If it wasn’t because of the financial side, the term of imprisonment is up to 3 years. But is the DMCA really fair to both parties: accuser and accused?
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Disadvantages of DMCA for Website Owners
No matter how noble the mission of the DMCA may sound, it still hides pitfalls. Instead of preventing piracy it just blocks free expression. Let’s refute DMCA’s influence on webmasters.
Based on the study by California academics Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban, Google reported abuse of takedown notice. There were more than 57% requests made due to competition in the business area and 37% of appeals were not valid. Since then, the justice of the DMCA is subject to doubt.
Causes of DMCA Violation
There are three main causes of abuses of the DMCA. First of all, fairness in the use of the takedown for infringing content is a legal grey area and it has acquired conflicting interpretations. Thus some individual cases were treated inequitably. Moving further, the use of the DMCA was excessive and large companies had an advantage over smaller ones in copyright protection. This caused random takedowns of legitimate content like removing a music video from the real artist. And the last one, unjust testimonies do not have any consequences that provoked censorship. A legitimate content may be deleted temporarily causing financial damage to the website owner who has no right to reimbursement. Many businesses used such an unfair strategy to censor competition. Let’s consider some of the examples.
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Examples of DMCA Violation
Warner Bros requested a takedown to Google with the purpose to remove websites that would lead to infringing content but they didn’t deal with the real unfairly generated content as stated in the DMCA. Sony used to play wrong to avoid license fees on the legitimate use of their content. One web security firm deliberately used the DMCA against the critic of its services. And some of the companies just use the right of the DMCA takedown against bloggers to identify their personalities.
In addition to alleged violations of the DMCA described above, a usual takedown notice procedure makes the publisher guilty. The respondent has no right of hearing or explaining the situation before the material is removed. Moreover, any suspected material is at minimum banned for 14 days. In case the respondent wants the DMCA takedown notice to be considered in court, there is no guarantee the copyright holder will accept that. Unfortunately, some of the problematic takedown notices have got away from jurisdiction within the US itself. These facts do not justify the rightness of the DMCA. Because of that, webmasters need to know how to handle it.
Types of Website that Are Endangered Because of the DMCA
Actually, such types of websites which provide customers with free, adult, video, movie content are endangered of the DMCA. Because video-hosting websites hold countless hours of user-generated content, it is impossible to monitor every video uploaded. In that case, such websites are some way protected from the consequences of copyright infringement violations. But the services must immediately take down suspected content where noticed. If they decide not to remove the material, they may be treated as criminals. Even when webmasters do not play any role in this crime, they may be considered as participants of it. In this case, publishers will be forced to give a piece of contact information and remove the infringing content though.
DMCA Works not Only in the USA
Despite the DMCA is an American law, it spreads widely. The sites may be available for everyone but they obey the law of the country in which their services are situated. For example, you being British upload content to YouTube when YouTube’s servers are factually in the US. Thus your content will be regulated by American law, not a British one.
Tips to Avoid DMCA Notices and Prevent Takedowns
It may sound simple, but the best way to avoid DMCA notices is just never used the content generated by someone else. This applies when you are making videos with the background music – you should license it. It is possible when you are using stock videos – you should buy it or specialize it for reuse. Even if you want to show a photo you would rather pay a license fee. Otherwise, if you violate the copyright law removing the materials will be the luckiest thing for your account. Persistent seekers of truth may deal with the court demanding a financial refund. This happens even with famous video creators like Michelle Phan who was accused of copyright infringement using music in her clips.
If you are a runner on an adult tube website, you need to keep away from putting copyrighted music in the background. Except companies may take down your videos, they also may claim for monetization or even removal of your channel. It works even with small streamers\ new webmasters as the searching process follows the algorithm. Thus the detection of unauthorized content is an automatic action.
In this case, you may think of using a VPN (a virtual private network). With a few exceptions, it is legal all over the world to stay anonymous while working on the Internet. But committing illegal things will remain a violation whether you do it with the VPN or not. This option will not protect a webmaster after a VPN session.
Ways to Make Sure You’re DMCA-Compliant
Once you know how the DMCA works, you need to be sure your adult website is DMCA compliant. The procedure might sound somewhat complicated but it is better to prevent possible takedowns than waste a reputation.
The first and the most essential step is to designate a DMCA agent with the Copyright Office. Putting the DMCA compliant badge on your adult website meets with respect and trust from the viewers’ side. The process of registration with the agent is easy as a pie: sign up – log in and grab the code – put it on your website. With the DMCA agent you will not be encumbered with DMCA emails. It helps to settle the takedown cases if anything happens. Generally, such a service increases your website efficiency and saves you time and money. Moreover, it recognizes false and invalid DMCA complaints and eliminates them virtually. Dealing with the agents is completely legal as the Copyright Office permits their designation.
Once you have formed a cooperation with the DMCA agent, you need to be honest and remove all the infringing content beforehand. Actually, the DMCA doesn’t request to check every single material uploaded to your site, but the general statistics you should know.
As your site may include uploading videos by the users, you need to monitor offenders. They have 3 attempts then after the last warning, you should deny any access to your site for the offender.
Being protected by the agent does not mean you should skip checking your videos for infringing content. With the YouTube Studio, you will be able to determine whether the videos are copyrighted or not. This tool is located in the upper right corner of your YouTube homepage. However, YouTube is not able to automatically determine the infringing video. It may show your ID claims or copyright strikes but the best way to find the truth is to make research.
Ways to Check if Your Content Contains Copyright
The process of making research is the next. Once you doubt some videos’ legality you need to find when the content was actually copyrighted. Then you need to search on the Copyright Office’s website. If needed you may ask the Copyright Office to make the search for you but not free.
Making safe content is complicated. You need to be aware of everything that happens on your site so as not to get a DMCA complaint. But the truth is, your reputation may cost more than spending some time on video checking.
Methods to Handle DMCA Notice
Let’s consider the situation as you got the DMCA notice. For you, it seems like an accusation, but no one will come to your house with the handcuffs. Look over your content and if some videos infringe copyright deal with it immediately. Comply with the DMCA notice and do not repeat such a situation. You’d better monitor your content from time to time than be a thief in the eyes of DMCA. Even if you are aware you have infringing content and you hide it under some services, DMCA will eventually catch you.
If you are a new webmaster you may be unaware it was copyrighted or you just don’t make a sense of how it works. It is also possible that you wrongly identified the content as available for sharing or someone else gave you permission to publish it without being exactly an author. Or someone just claims the content that doesn’t belong to him or her. Even if it was an accident you need to remove the content before the situation gets settled. Even if you believe you have all the rights to be the owner of the content the rule is that you should take it down.
Tackling DMCA Removal Notice
In case you are not guilty there is an ownership confirmation you need to complete. The notice should contain such information: contact info of the claimant, info about the content in question, and info about the original content. If it revealed the content was really stolen and you removed it, all you need to do is notify your ISP (Internet Service Provider) as clear. Otherwise, your site will be in question for removal.
In all cases: if the content is yours or it was mistakenly uploaded, you can go straight to the complainant and explain the circumstances. It is still possible the situation was just a misunderstanding and the DMCA notice may be retracted.
Supposing the complainant responds to you poorly, thus you can use the option to file a counter-notice. It should be performed in a written way and signed by you. A counter-notice must ensure the reader that you have removed suspected material. Besides, you should prove it was not your fault. In order to get feedback, add your contact information: name, address, phone number.
This way the complainant will have to retract the DMCA notice or respond with the copyright lawsuit. When the lawsuit is started and the complainant is revealed giving false accusations, there are severe penalties. Many online service providers monitor companies who fill the DMCA notices and whether there is more than one counter-notice against a complainant. If they notice a repeated pattern of abuse, they will not be trustworthy giving future DMCA notices no longer.
What to Do if Google Banned Your Website
Another difficulty you may meet running an adult website is Google banning. It happens even if you did not violate any of the copyright rights. And the most tricky is that Google does not explain the problem and is not eager to respond to you quickly.
The procedure remains the next. Firstly send a Google reconsideration request. Add to it as many details as possible and behave honorably otherwise Google support team will not help you. Remove all junk emails as Google doesn’t like them. Verify your website and just be patient as your disgruntlement can make it worse.
Best Ways to Bypass Google DMCA Notice
On the BlackHatWorld SEO forum, people recommend doing 301 redirects in case of getting the DMCA notice. How does it work? A 301 redirect option changes the URL of your page as it pops up in search engine results which means that a page altered its location. It is a status code that automatically redirects your visitors to another designated page. Sequentially the search engines indicate that your page has moved and they update the records with the new link. The redirection process works seamlessly without error messages. Thus you will not lose traffic and rank.
There is one more useful trick you can consider while avoiding DMCA notice. Some tolerant countries are safe to host your website. Here is the list:
- The Netherlands – support free speech and user privacy.
- Luxembourg – the US-based DMCA does not interfere with webmasters with any limitations.
- Bulgaria – their government is very loyal to those who run hosting websites.
- Russia – American copyright laws are not actual for this country.
- Hong Kong – a lot of copyrighted works exist there and the country does not show any resistance to that.
- Singapore – it is a source of offshore and DMCA ignored hosts.
- Malaysia – the local government is worry-free about copyright laws.
There are also DMCA ignored hosting providers on the market. Such companies theoretically ignore DMCA notices and host illegal content. Let’s cover the best ones:
- Flaunt7 – this is a cheap DMCA ignored service located in the Netherlands. It offers solid security with no ID and verification.
- Shinjiru – with its help, you can upload any content you want. It is also possible to pay with Bitcoin for hosting and domains for total protection.
- BlueAngelHost – the service provides you with complete anonymity from Bulgaria, Russia, and the Netherlands located servers.
- ProHoster – it offers multiple websites existence and windows offshore hosting. Their site is in Russian but every part has an English matching version.
- AbeloHost – it is perfect for building an adult hosting website.
Before you get connected with the service, check out their terms in order to avoid surprises. Still, such services are not completely reliable. They will not fight for your website to protect anonymity.
And finally, we can’t say that the definition ”bypass the DMCA” is right. It rather depends on how you use it or not. As a webmaster, you can just ignore DMCA takedown. But in this case, you can lose the safe harbor of the DMCA.
We do understand the responsibility adult webmasters acquire when they host videos. That is why we want to clarify for you all the pitfalls hidden behind the words ”copyright law”. We hope that this article was read-worthy for you and now you keep track of the DMCA.