What do you do when someone copies your original content, be it an image, audio or video?
You file a DMCA complaint. Google takes these complaints very seriously and follows it up with strict actions. I have talked about the DMCA earlier, the details of which you can read in these articles:
Google has a DMCA transparency page where you can see the number of DMCA requests Google has processed. You can also enter your domain name to see how many DMCA takedown requests have been made against your domain and everything else related to it.
Even though Google tries its best to not make mistakes, there can be errors as the DMCA requests are processed by humans. In the video below, let us learn how Google processes the DMCA requests:
This is what happened to me this morning when I received an email from Google search saying:
“Notice of DMCA removal from Google Search”
That is when I investigated the issue further and discovered that there was some error for which I need to file a counter-notice.
Here is a screenshot of an actual email that I received:
None of us want to receive such emails, but if you have received one and you are not at fault, you can always submit a DMCA counter-notice to fix the issue. Also, do not take this lightly. It has been reported that DMCA can affect your search ranking:
Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, we’ve been given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online. In fact, we’re now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.
Note: Copying content, deleting it after receiving the notice, and then filing a counter-notice can have severe legal implications. Therefore, counter it only when you are not at a fault and know for sure that the DMCA notice is a mistake.
If you have received an email like I did, the best place is to click on the link in the email to file the DMCA counter-notice. You can also use this direct link from Google’s help page to file the counter-notice.
For this tutorial, I assume you have received the email and click on the link under “What you can do next” section. (See screenshot below)
This will take you to the “DMCA counter-notification form” where you can fill up all the fields. This is an easy part and you should be able to fill it up easily. The only part that would require most of your attention is “Please provide more details to justify your request“.
Depending upon the severity of your issue, you can add as many details as possible to help the reviewer assess the issue and take appropriate action.
If you ever find yourself in such a situation, the first thing to do is not panic. Evaluate the possibilities of errors on your part (including your team). If that’s not the case, grab a cup of coffee and follow the above steps to file the counter-notice.
There is a good guide on Moz blog that you can also refer to for more examples of filing the form.
Do write back and let us know if you have been slapped with a DMCA notice and how you tackled it. Look forward to seeing your comments below.
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