DMCA clause in Terms and Conditions

01 May 2018
DMCA clause in Terms and Conditions

DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


1. About DMCA

The DMCA is only applicable for U.S. businesses. For non-US businesses, this kind of clause is usually called a Copyright Infringement clause instead.

You're required by the DMCA to respond to takedown notices and remove any content that users on created and posted on your website or app that they do not own the rights to.

Your platform or online service (which can be a website, a mobile app, a software app, and so on) can allow for user-generated content to be published and made available to the other users, either other registered users or not.

Users need to own the rights to any kind of content they share through your platform.

If the content users post through your website is copyright infringement and you receive a takedown notice from the copyright owner, you're required to respond to the take down if it meets the DMCA requirements.

2. DMCA requirements

In order for a "DMCA Take Down Notice" to be sent to you by an author (owner of copyright content) who may have found infringing content on your platform, the notification should meet the following requirements:

  • Electronic or physical signature of the copyrighted work owner (or authorized person)
  • A description of the copyrighted work, including the URL where this infringing content is available or a copy of it
  • Your contact details: email address, telephone and address
  • A statement in "good faith belief" that the work is not authorized by the copyright owner
  • A statement by you, person who sends the takedown notice, that the information you send in the notice (above information) is accurate and that you are either the copyright owner or you are authorized to act on copyright owner's behalf

You can read Copyright Law - 17 U.S.C 512(c)(3) for more information.

3. DMCA clause

A "DMCA clause" in a Terms and Conditions agreement informs copyright authors that you (your company) will respond to takedown notices and remove any infringing content if that content is copyright infringement.

In your Terms and Conditions agreement - the agreement that users should agree to when they register an account with you - specify and inform users that any content they post, create or make available through your website must be their own, i.e. they must own the rights to that content.

Usually this kind of section in most Terms and Conditions agreements is added at the Content clause, but you may also find a separate DMCA Notice clause in the agreement.

A DMCA Notice or Copyright Infringement clause would inform authors that any infringing content they have found on your platform can be taken down if it meets the requirements explained in your agreement.

500px informs account owners in their Terms of Service page that users must own the rights to the content they post on 500px:

You are the owner of all rights, including all copyrights in and to all Content you submit to the site:

To meet the requests of potential authors who found infringed content on 500px without their authorization, the Terms of Service agreement of 500px includes a Copyright Complaints clause:

Copyright Complaints in 500px Terms of Service

You can also include the "DMCA Notice" clause for informing copyright owners as a separate page, titled DMCA or Copyright, that only deals with copyright-related guidelines and rules.

A separate page for DMCA and Copyright is better if your entire website and/or mobile app is heavily reliant on user-generated content, e.g. such as YouTube, Vimeo, 500px

YouTube has this kind of page, named Copyright:

Copyright link in YouTube footer

Clicking on the "Copyright" page from YouTube leads you to a special designed page that deals with copyrighted works available through YouTube:

YouTube submit Copyright Infringement

Submitting a "DMCA Notice" to YouTube is done through a web form:

If you believe your copyright-protected work was posted on YouTube without authorization, you may submit a copyright infringement notification. These requests should only be submitted by the copyright owner or an agent authorized to act on the owner's behalf.

The fastest and easiest way to notify YouTube of alleged copyright infringement is via our webform:

Submit a copyright complaint

If you choose to request removal of content by submitting an infringement notification, please remember that you are initiating a legal process.

Do not make false claims. Misuse of this process may result in the suspension of your account or other legal consequences.

If you are a company and own exclusive rights to a large amount of content that requires regular online rights administration, you may want to apply for access to YouTube’s Content ID system or to our Content Verification Program.

We will also accept free-form copyright infringement notifications submitted by email, fax and mail.

Dropbox places a "Copyright" clause in their Terms of Service page that's used to inform authors that Dropbox will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement. It then redirects authors to the Dropbox's DMCA Policy page:

DMCA Notice in Dropbox Terms of Service

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This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.