Taking Action:  DMCA Takedown & Responding to the Infringer of Your Work

taking action

When you discover an unauthorized use of your work on a website, there are often two separate but related steps you can take. RightsClick is designed to help you do both and to help you keep track of these actions in your already busy schedule. First, it is essential to understand the difference between the web platform hosting your work and the party who made improper use of your work—because they may not be the same.

For instance, when someone uploads infringing material to a site they don’t own or control (e.g., to YouTube) that person or business is the infringer, and the website is not generally not liable. One action we recommend against is taking your complaint straight to social media to shout at the infringing party. Instead, as the copyright owner, you may wish to take both of the following steps:

1) send a DMCA takedown notice to the hosting web platform to request removal of your material; and

2) consider legal action against the party who used and uploaded your material without permission.

Taking both actions in RightsClick begins with the Infringement Assessment in the Enforcement menu. The Infringement Assessment tool is a simple form you fill out in a few minutes that will guide you in evaluating the strength of your claim, as well as store important information you will need later. RightsClick will then generate an Assessment Summary and give you options to take immediate action, including sending a DMCA takedown notice; sending a preformatted Cease & Desist (C&D) notice to the infringer; or to initiate contact with an attorney—either one you already have, or one listed in RightsClick.

DMCA Takedown

A DMCA takedown notice only requests that the material be removed from the platform. The notice must contain certain information and truthful statements; it must come from a copyright owner or his/her lawful agent; it must be sent to the platform’s registered DMCA agent; and the platform provider is expected to comply with a valid notice. The enforcement tools in RightsClick include a preformatted DMCA notice and simple tools to help you quickly send a notice to the correct registered agent. The information entered into the Infringement Assessment tool will automatically fill out the DMCA notice for you to send to the registered agent. Plus, a calendar item will be added to your To Do list reminding you to follow up—for instance, to confirm whether the platform complied with your request.

taking action

Cease & Desist Notice

You may also choose to contact the individual or business that made unlicensed use of your work to resolve the matter. Once you identify this party, and obtain at least a valid email for them, you can take certain steps yourself to try to resolve the matter quickly (and for free!) before deciding whether to contact an attorney.

Again, the information captured in the Infringement Assessment tool can be used to generate a pre-formatted C&D email sent by you to the party who made infringing use of your work. You can choose to demand only that the use stop; demand that the use stop and that the party pay you a fee of your choosing; or state that you will allow the use for a period of time for a fee of your choosing. All three of these options are available in the built-in C&D tool.

The C&D notice is stored in your Portfolio, associated with the specific Title. The notice is sent via your email, and you keep 100% of any payment by the party who made the unauthorized use. It’s your work and your money. That’s the philosophy on which we built RightsClick!

In building these enforcement tools, our theory was that if you can respond to, say, 10 infringers in the minutes between your real working hours, and if even just a few of those parties resolve the matter by paying you, the time spent will have been more than worth the minimal effort. Also, if you wish to contact an attorney—either right away or after failing to resolve the matter through C&D—you can research and make contact with attorneys in the list we provide and then send them the Assessment Summary to get the conversation started. You can also print or download the Summary to send to any attorney of your choosing.

And, as we continue to preach from the rooftops, ALL your efforts to remedy infringements are made stronger when your work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.