The advertising of just about everything now takes place largely online. Banner ads and pop-up ads; adMob ads and re-targeting ads; ads on Google, Bing, Facebook and YouTube; on Vine and Vimeo. The ubiquity of online advertising, the frequency with which we are exposed to it, and the ease of acquiring the images and content that we encounter online create near limitless opportunities for copyright infringement, both intentional and inadvertent.
DMCA Takedown Remedies
Content, including still and video images, from your app or blog or website may appear on someone else’s website, or in a video or ad for a product or service similar to yours. Fortunately, the ease with which a copyright can be infringed online has, to some extent, been balanced by the ease with which an aggrieved party can access a remedy.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”) relieves online/Internet service providers (OSPs/ISPs, the terms are interchangeable) from liability for infringing content uploaded to their platforms. DMCA defines an OSP/ISP as “an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications”. There are thousands of ISPs in the US. A fairly comprehensive list is available on the SEARCH website at www.search.org/resources/isp-list/.
ISP Requirements for Claims of Infringement
In exchange for the safe harbor provided by DMCA, ISPs are required to create and maintain policies and a procedure to enable individuals or entities to make and pursue claims of copyright infringement. More specifically, an ISP is required to (a) provide all users with reasonable access to the ISP’s policies and procedures for addressing notices of copyright infringement; (b) notify users when their accounts can be terminated for repeated copyright violations; and (c) enable copyright owners to direct claims of infringement to the ISP for action.
When an ISP receives a claim of copyright infringement, it notifies the user with what is known as a “takedown” notice. If, upon investigation, the ISP determines that the user has infringed a copyright, it will remove the infringing material from its platform. An ISP user has a right to appeal to the ISP if it believes that it has the right to use the contested material.
Policies and procedures for addressing copyright infringement will vary across ISPs, and some are more user-friendly than others. Contact Praxis if you have questions, or would like assistance in navigating a takedown procedure.