DMCA Guidance and Sample

DMCA Guidance

If you own a website, you could be subject to claims of copyright infringement.  In order to protect yourself against such claims, you must follow the safe harbor guidelines of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Copyright infringement occurs when a person uses the creative work of another, such as a picture or an article, without that person’s permission.  Anyone who wants to use the material of another in any way must seek the permission of the person who created the work.  Using someone else’s work without permission could subject you to copyright infringement claims.

The DMCA can shield you from certain copyright liability.  The DMCA will protect website owners when the infringing content is placed on the website by third parties (by people other than the website’s owner).  This would apply to you if you have a blog and allow others to upload content and photographs or if you subscribe to IDX where third party information is contained on your website.

If you own a website and upload infringing material yourself, you will not be protected by the DMCA.

To protect yourself against claims of copyright infringement, follow these DMCA safe harbor guidelines:

  1. You must register with the U.S. Copyright Office and designate an agent to receive notifications of claimed infringement.   The agent can be you or anyone who agrees to be the designated agent.  You can simply register by going to  and download the form, fill it out, and mail it to the address provided on the website.  The U.S. Copyright Office charges a fee to file.
  2. You must post on your website the required DMCA Notice and your designated agent’s contact information.  Please go to and click on the tab for “Legal” and go to the section titled “DMCA Notice Sample” for a sample of the DMCA Notice to post on your website.  Please be sure to include on your DMCA Notice where copyright complaints can be mailed and emailed.  Your DMCA Notice should be included in a conspicuous place on your website.  You can simply call it “DMCA Notice” and have it as a click through to the full notice statement.
  3. You must promptly remove from your website any infringing material as soon as your designated agent receives a request of the lawful copyright holder.

Copyright infringement is a very serious and costly offense.  To take full advantage of the DMCA protections, please immediately include the DMCA Notice on your website and be sure to follow all of its requirements.

DMCA Sample

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