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My friend and I have been debating whether a DMCA takedown request technically counts as a legal document, therefore requiring a lawyer to provide legal counsel for it. I understand that you are able to write it for yourself, but are you able to write it for others without being an attorney? There doesn't seem to be much online about this.

Edit: I've been notified that this may depend on the state; I live in the state of California.

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Anyone can write such a letter, but it must be sent by the copyright holder or by the holder's attorney.

As Nate Eldridge points out in a comment, it is generally prohibited to practice law unless one has been licensed to do so and/or admitted to the bar. Sending the letter to protect your own interests, however, doesn't constitute the practice of law.

A letter written by a lawyer is more likely to be effective because the lawyer is more likely to include the necessary elements in the letter. A letter sent by the copyright holder's attorney is more likely to be effective because it shows that the copyright holder is serious. The recipient is more likely to take the letter seriously if it comes from a lawyer.

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This is another Is X Legal? question. Read my general answer here.

Don't do it. It can only get you into trouble. And no one can prove it won't.

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    I think it's pretty easy to save this question from "IXL hell". The most obvious law in California that says "Only lawyers can do X" is Business and Professions Code Section 6125: "No person shall practice law in California unless the person is an active member of the State Bar." The question then becomes: does writing a DMCA takedown letter constitute "practicing law" for the purposes of this section? – Nate Eldredge Jun 4 '16 at 14:45
  • I would suggest it is not "practicing law". All you have to do is fill out a form, don't include any false information that would be illegal to include, and send it off. It doesn't force the receiver to do anything. – gnasher729 May 27 '18 at 1:00

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