Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)
With the growth of social media use and interactive web sites, more and more businesses are inadvertently violating copyrights by using commonly shared photos or other web content. The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) was written to address such concerns. The DMCA provides a reasonable way to protect your business as long as you comply with their conditions. Under their “safe harbor” rules, you are required to register an agent, take measures to prevent infringing content on your site, and immediately remove any content when notified. Following these rules will save you from expensive fines and potential law suits.
There are organizations that seek out copyrighted materials (text or images), looking for copyright infringers…like collection agencies, they go after businesses and individuals for damages. They do this on contingency and get a percentage of whatever they can collect. They are known for filing take-down orders for web sites, and filing lawsuits for damages that would tie a web site up until whatever fee they were asking for was paid.
The development of search engines that specifically find copyright infringers allows for the inexpensive and quick locating of businesses that are often unintentionally violating copyrights. With the fees of such “collectors” being a little less than the cost to retain a lawyer to research their rights and what they should do, many company owners just pay the “collection” fees.
Recently, and importantly, in August 2012 Google quietly announced a new factor to be added to their search Quality signals. That new factor was DMCA requests, where Google will look to lower the rankings of sites with multiple valid DMCA takedown requests in the search results. You can imagine the negative impact this can have on a business!
To qualify for copyright protection you need to follow the provisions of the DMCA precisely. We have partnered with a DMCA service provider we can direct you to.