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Digital copyrights and you

“Content is king,” or so goes the saying. To draw attention, raise awareness, and build an audience on the internet, you must produce content. But content on the internet is easy to reproduce, easy to find and, yes, easy to steal. You have the right to protect your content, and the mechanism for that protection comes from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

What is the DMCA?

The DMCA is an act of Congress passed to protect copyrights on the internet. As a general view of copyright law, the moment a person creates a piece of content, they have the copyright to it. The DMCA allows for a person to take direct action to remove content that infringes on their intellectual property.

How does the DMCA work?

DMCA requires all content hosts to maintain an individual – who can be directly contacted – that will field the content removal request. All one must do is contact that person and inform them of the violation, noting:

  • The content in violation
  • The original material
  • The filer’s contact information
  • A statement verifying that the filer’s belief that this information is true

While this information is standard, the copyright office does not maintain a standardized form for the request. Many services will claim to manage this process for a nominal fee. However, that may not be exactly necessary.

What content has protection?

All content carries the protection of copyright, including:

  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Illustrations
  • Animation

Any work of your mind is eligible for copyright protection from the moment you create it. Publication of that work is not necessary.

DMCA notices are not necessarily the first (or last) step

In many cases, a DMCA notice will effectively remove content from the internet, but a letter to the person posting it may do the same thing. It might even be a better overall choice. However, in the case of successful internet content, a takedown notice may not be enough. Certain infringement matters may go to court, and for that, you’ll need an experienced intellectual property attorney.