The following guide comes from Iranian independent guitarist Salim Ghazi Saeedi, who last month discovered his music being sold illegally on myfreemp3.eu. That was the start of a self-education process.
As a musician, I have found many DMCA take-down cases going to great lengths of complexity. So in the following diagram I have shared my experience to help others in the process. At the end I have also provided comments about some steps. It would be great if you share your opinions or experiences with me and I will update the procedure if needed. And of course I will not forget to mention your name and your kind assistance!
I also want to thank Paul Resnikoff at digitalmusicnews.com who shared the story to one of my DMCA takedown cases and made me to think of writing this article!
[a larger, full-blown version of this diagram is here]
Please first study the diagram. Complementary comments regarding some of procedure steps follows:
A first step, and quick reference
When you confront a copyright infringement of your content in a website, the straightforward method to take the material down is to ask the website owner by standard DMCA procedure as explained in this wikiHow article: “How to Write a DMCA Take Down Request”.
Finding a website infringing your copyright
I suggest that you set up a Google Alert to search for your name or band’s name (enclosed in quotations). Then Google Alert will email you at each online coverage occurrence. This way, not only you will find out about your press coverage or fan discussions, but also infringing websites.
Who is responsible for hosting the infringing content?
At first, the content provider (website owner) and second, the hosting service provider (either free or paid). So according to various steps described in the diagram you should first try to contact the website owner itself and then the host provider. Generally in case the host provider’s service is free (like blogspot or wordpress.com, etc), they react faster.
Finding website owner’s email address
There are website owners that do not provide their address at their website. In these cases you should check whois.net or website’s domain NIC (Network Information Center) website: For “.fr” websites google “.fr NIC” i.e. www.afnic.fr or for “.eu” websites google “.eu NIC” i.e. www.eurid.eu and so on.
If whois.net or NIC website does not provide website owner’s contact address, contact their support. They usually take their customer’s identity issues seriously.
Issues regarding website owner’s email address
Confronting websites with no or non-responsive email address, you may face 4 scenarios in whois.net or other NIC host information websites:
(1) Website owner’s real email is available: That you may use for sending DMCA take down notice.
(2) Website owner has asked its host not to divulge its personal info: Instead you may find machine generated emails like email@example.com . Contacting these will notify the real owner.
(3) Hosting service uses websites like “Privacy Protect”. You may contact the owner through such 3rd party websites.
(4) There is no contact information: You may contact the host or NIC domain support to provide the information. More detailed steps are explained in the diagram.
Reporting the copyright infringement to 3rd party web service providers
One of the last resorts is to study the source code of infringing website pages. e.g. in Firefox you may right-click on the page and click “View Page Source”. You may notice that the website may have links to websites like apis.google.com or any other 3rd party web service – that may handle menus, photo galleries, search engine, etc. – engaged as website tools. In these cases you can contact these 3rd party web service providers and report.
Bear in mind that they will only take action if their web service is actually a part of showing or processing the content you are claiming for.
And the last note, sometimes it is a good idea if you follow various scenario steps explained above steps concurrently to obtain faster results. Like working on 3rd party web services and hosting providers in parallel.