What to do before sending a DMCA Takedown Notice?

U.S. Federal Law

DMCA Takedown Notice Checklist

1️⃣ Does the website hold a legally valid licence to use your copyright material?

Is it possible that your agent mistakenly issued a licence to use your copyright material on your behalf and failed to notify you?

✅ We recommend you always double-check by asking the website for a copy of its legally valid licence to use your copyright material (if they maintain they have one) before considering whether to issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown Notice.

2️⃣ Does a "Fair Use" exception apply?

"Fair Use" is a concept used in the US copyright law.

It is a much more flexible, open-ended concept and does not apply in Australia.

In Australia, we use a more limited concept called "Fair Dealing".

See this FAQ: Australian Hosted Website v. USA Hosted Website: Does where the website is hosted make a difference? to learn more about the differences between the two concepts.

The following has been extracted from the Stanford Article, Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors

The following 4 (arguably 5) factors are relevant in deciding whether the dealing is fair using a Balancing Test:

➲ The Transformative Factor: Purpose and Character of the Use,

➲ The Nature of the Copyrighted Work;

➲ Effect of the Dealing on the Potential Market/value of the work;

➲ Amount and substance copied relative to the whole; and the

➲ The "Fifth" Fair Use Factor: Are you good or bad?

3️⃣ Always ensure you obtain legal advice from a practising USA Attorney regarding whether a “Fair Use” exception will apply in your situation?

4️⃣ Double-Check the details

You will need to double-check that you have provided sufficient information to enable the Internet Service Provider's (ISP) Copyright Agent to take the required action to quickly identify + remove your copyright material:

For example

✅ The specific infringing URL(s); and

✅ A copy of your copyright material so that it can be easily identified.

If you don’t provide accurate information your Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown Notice may not achieve the desired outcome + there will most likely be delays caused by requests for further + better information.

5️⃣ Send the DMCA Takedown Notice To the Internet Service Provider's (ISP) Copyright Agent

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) will usually provide an email address for the delivery of notices.

If not, a hard copy of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown Notice can be posted to the Internet Service Provider's (ISP) nominated address.

Australian Hosted Website

For websites hosted in Australia a different process is applicable.

See Takedown Notice for Online Copyright Infringement.


This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a practising USA Attorney for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.