Assume the following:

  • A website is indexed by a web archive like the wayback machine.
  • The website receives a DMCA takedown and the content is removed.

Does the web archive need to remove the saved content as well or only if the web archive receives a DMCA takedown, too?

Are there mechanisms in place to automatically remove content if the archiver detects a 451 unavailable for legal reasons HTTP status code?

  • Note that the question about if there are mechanisms in place to automatically remove content if the archiver detects a 451 status code isn't, strictly speaking, a legal question (though it could be turned into one asking if such measures would be required in any situation).
    – Ryan M
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 0:21
  • If there was a need for such measures, they would be implemented. Such measures would not be implemented if there were no such requirements.
    – dan1st
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 5:31
  • That isn't necessarily true. For a long time, the Wayback Machine obeyed robots.txt, including removing previously crawled content, despite no legal requirement to do so.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


Nothing in 17 USC 512, which includes the DMCA Safe Harbor and Takedown procedures requires an online service provider to notify others who may have made copies of content (including archive sites) claimed to be infringing that a takedown notice has been received or that access to the content has been blocked or removed.

A separate DMCA takedown could be sent to the archive site.

The internet archive honors robots.txt files set to deny access to a particular site, page, or section of a site by removing from public view all archived versions of that content. This is often done when a new owner acquires a domain and it is repurposed or put up for sale. To the best of my understanding there is no legal requirement that an archive act in this way, but the IA at least does so.

  • 3
    The Internet Archive ceased honoring robots.txt circa 2017, citing that it is often "geared toward search engine crawlers."
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 19:56

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