The Dummy’s Guide to Issuing DMCA Notices & Removing Infringing Content…

The following guide comes from Iranian independent guitarist Salim Ghazi Saeedi, who last month discovered his music being sold illegally on  That was the start of a self-education process.

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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 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, 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 or website’s domain NIC (Network Information Center) website: For “.fr” websites google “.fr NIC” i.e.  or for “.eu” websites google “.eu NIC” i.e. and so on.

If 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 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 . 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 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.


Thank you!


8 Responses

  1. Copyright lawyer

    Wow, talk about bad advice. You can tell it comes from an artist who is not in the US, and not from someone that might know a bit better.

    Just as a little tip, when searching, you mention things like france or the EU. Problem is, the DMCA means precisely NOTHING there. In case you were unaware, the DMCA is a US-only law, that only applies inside the US.


    Second, later on you talk about 3rd party plugins, again, not covered by the law, and you could in fact be making false statements under penalty of perjury, which is a criminal offense.

    You don’t take musical advice off lawyers, do you (Imagine asking Justice Scalia on how to make your latest dubstep track sound better) so by the same token, NEVER take legal advice (such as how to do takedowns) from an artist. Especially as most haven’t the faintest clue about the law, only about what they think the law should be.

    If it were that simple, we wouldn’t need copyright lawyers.

    • label/musician

      Thanks for the completely useless post. Are you a musician or recording label with experience in this area?

      At least the OP contains some good information and suggests further research and learning more and sharing it.

      Regardless of what you think, there is more good info that actually can work (and often does, i know because i do it) in this article to remove illegal files on sites outside the US too. Contrary to what you seem to think, there are non US providers who don’t want problems with illegal content on their sites, and they take it down, and THAT is a reality on the ground.

      Of course many won’t…. which doesn’t make the OP any less useful at all.

      • Brook Rivers

        Not useless. It is accurate.

        If you were sick, would you go to a doctor or ask your friends for the cure?

        • Salim

          What is the harm if an artist sends a DMCA notice without consulting a lawyer?

    • Visitor

      “you mention things like france or the EU. Problem is, the DMCA means precisely NOTHING there”

      Not correct; most sites all over the world respect DMCA notices.

      The only exception I’m aware of is the Pirate Bay, and a few other criminal sites.

    • Salim

      Dear copyright lawyer,

      These are free steps that could work before taking the case to a laywer and if you notice, there is a box at the end of diagram reading “take the case to the court; consult a laywer”. But in practice, as an indie artist I don’t afford to pay for legal services for taking down something that I barely recieve income from it anyway.

  2. mark adamczyk

    Solid flowchart, thanks for putting it together. It looks daunting, and I suppose it is in an unmotivating way, since this is all “busy” working that has nothing to do with creating.

    As a follow-up question, I am wondering if there is any rough timeline guide for this process. As in, should a request wait 24 hours for a reply? 48? 72? 1,096? Is there any general idea–opinions welcome–on how long to wait at each junction? Is waiting a week reasonable at each step? In other words, what would the completed flow chart be expected to cover in real time? (Um, as opposed to unreal? time…) A week to a fortnight? A month to a quarter? Six months to a year? Or just anybody’s guess?