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I'm running into problem with my content being removed from certain website through copyright notice.

The biggest problem is that I don't even know who posted DMCA notice or what copyright my post supposedly infringed upon. It was large text post talking about technology so it's very likely that DMCA notice was without any merit.

I've interacted with support of said website and only recourse they are offering is for me to file counter-notice. I obviously don't want to get into that without first at least understand what copyright I'm supposedly infringing upon.

So, is it possible to request service provider to send me DMCA takedown notice? Isn't there some part of the law that requires them to serve me with notice after post is taken down? This way I don't even know what I would be disputing in counter-notice.

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  • Counter-notice would be claiming you have not violated copyright because either you have permission to use the material or you write it yourself. Knowing what copyright is supposedly violated is absolutely unnecessary and irrelevant. Either you can post the material and know this for sure or you can't and therefore the takedown is legitimate.
    – user4657
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 6:12
  • @kape123 A Web site that you are not paying has no obligation to do anything for you. If StackExchange wanted they could delete your post without giving any reason at all.
    – Brandin
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 11:12
  • On the other hand, you can always just ask them for a copy of the DMCA notice. They might just give it to you if you ask nicely. I don't think there are either rules that they MUST or that they MUST NOT give you a copy of the notice.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 18:40

1 Answer 1

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The first question is, would you have any basis for legal action against a service provider in case they arbitrarily delete your contributions: you might, or you might not (read the terms of service, ask your lawyer). Let's assume that there is a legal reason why the provider should leave your material alone. If you are infringing copyright, the provider might also get sued for contributing to the infringement, so there is a law DMCA: 17 USC 512) that says when they are immune to such a suit. The first part of this is that a supposed copyright owner can file a take down notice with the provider, claiming that they are hosting infringing material. But under thatlaw, they must "take[] reasonable steps promptly to notify the subscriber that it has removed or disabled access to the material". Presumably they did that and inform you about the counter-notice provision (although your wording is not clear on this: saying verbatim what they notified you of would be useful).

That counter-notice requires you to identify yourself, etc. and provide

A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.

There is no point in the law requiring the provider to reveal anything about the alleged rights-holder, just the fact that the material has been taken down. The law does allow the copyright owner to subpoena requesting information identifying the alleged infringer. There is no provision whereby an alleged infringer can subpoena information about the person filing the original notice. That is because the copyright owner has to file a lawsuit against the infringer (if the infringer files a counter-notice and the owner does not file lawsuit, the material must be restored). When you get sued, you will know at that point who is suing you.

You do not need to know who the rights holder is to file a counter-notice. The law says that you have to include

A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.

Suppose for example that you illegally copied and pasted the source code for Windows 10. You can't seriously believe that you have the right to post that material, so to avoid perjury charges, you would not make such a false statement. Suppose that you copied two lines of protected source code, as examples of some technical point – then that would be fair use and not infringement. In such a case, the initial take down notice might be found to be abusive and knowingly false. There could be an intermediate situation, where you post a book that you've written and as it happens there is a graphic contained therein which is beyond the scope of fair use – but you have no idea that this is what they are talking about (maybe you think the graphic is not protected). Then perhaps you can, in good faith, state that the claim "this work infringes" is mistaken. This is where you need to talk to a lawyer, to see if you can in good faith deny infringement.

As the law currently stands, there is little burden of proof on the person filing the take down notice, until the matter is argued in court.

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  • If someone files a fraudulent notice that causes someone's work to be taken down, and the latter person suffers economic harm as a result, the eventual restoration of the work would not undo the harm suffered during its absence, and should not negate a cause of action seeking to recover such damages. As such, I would think the recipient of a takedown notice should be entitled to sufficient information about the entity filing it to allow a lawsuit to be filed against that entity.
    – supercat
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 19:16
  • I don't disagree, but Congress did not agree with that when they passed the law.
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 19:49
  • As a general matter of legal procedure, though, aren't entities filing lawsuits entitled to subpoena information from third parties which is relevant to such lawsuits in cases where Congress hasn't particularly anticipated the need for such disclosure, but hasn't forbidden it?
    – supercat
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 20:38

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