DMCA Takedown Policy
Welcome to Netlify’s Guide to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, commonly known as the “DMCA.” This page is as an overview of the statute, and should not be considered as comprehensive. However, if you’ve received a DMCA takedown notice targeting a site you have hosted on Netlify or if you’re a rights-holder looking to issue such a notice, this page will hopefully help to lay out our policies for complying with it.
If you just want to submit a notice, you can skip to the end.
As with all legal matters, it is always best to consult with a professional about your specific questions or situation. We strongly encourage you to do so before taking any action that might impact your rights. This guide isn’t legal advice and shouldn’t be taken as such.
What Is the DMCA?
In order to understand the DMCA and some of the policy lines it draws, it’s helpful to learn about the reasons the act was created.
Before the DMCA, an Internet-based service provider like Netlify could be liable for copyright infringement in the United States just for hosting its users’ pictures, music, videos or code. This was true even if it had no actual knowledge of any infringing content. This was a problem, since a claim of copyright infringement for a single work can carry statutory damages of up to $150,000. With potential damages that high multiplied across millions of users, cloud-computing and user-generated content sites like YouTube, Facebook or GitHub probably never would have existed (or at least not without passing some of that cost downstream to their users).
The DMCA attempted to fix this problem by creating a so-called copyright liability “safe harbor” for internet service providers hosting allegedly infringing user-generated content. (See U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 512.) Essentially, so long as a service provider follows the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown rules, it won’t be liable for copyright infringement based on user-generated content. Because of this it is important for Netlify to maintain its DMCA safe-harbor status.
The DMCA provides two simple, straightforward procedures that all Netlify users should know about: (i) a takedown-notice procedure for copyright holders to request that content be removed; and (ii) a counter-notice procedure for users to get content reenabled when content is taken down by mistake.
DMCA takedown notices are used by copyright owners to ask Netlify to take down infringing content. If someone else is using your copyrighted content in an unauthorized manner on Netlify, you can send us a DMCA takedown notice to request that the infringing content be changed or removed.
On the other hand, counter notices can be used to correct mistakes. Maybe the person sending the takedown notice does not hold the copyright or did not realize that you have a license or made some other mistake in their takedown notice. Since Netlify usually cannot know if there has been a mistake, the DMCA counter notice allows you to let us know and ask that we put the content back up.
A. How It Works
These are the basic steps of the process:
- Copyright Owner Investigates. A copyright owner should always conduct an initial investigation to confirm both that (a) they have the right to enforce the copyright they believe is being infringed and (b) the content on Netlify is, in fact, infringing that copyright.
- Copyright Owner Sends A Notice. After conducting an investigation, a copyright owner prepares and sends a takedown notice to Netlify. If the takedown notice substantially meets certain statutory requirements (which we discuss in our how-to guide), we pass the linkit along to the affected user. Netlify believes transparency and accountability around requests for the takedown of online content is important. For that reason, Netlify may post your takedown notice at https://github.com/netlify/dmca. We may also share certain DMCA takedown notices with Lumen. Lumen, which is managed by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, collects, stores, analyzes, and publishes takedown requests that have been shared with it.
- Netlify May Ask User to Make Changes. While Netlify will expeditiously take down the affected user’s site or the allegedly infringing content, we may, at our sole discretion, provide the affected user a chance to remove the potentially infringing content first.
- User May Send A Counter Notice. We encourage users who have had content disabled to consult with a lawyer about their options. If a user believes that their content was disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification, they may send us a counter notice. As with the original notice, we will make sure that the counter notice is sufficiently detailed (as explained in the how-to guide). If it is, we may post your counter notice at https://github.com/netlify/dmca and share the counter notice with Lumen.
- Copyright Owner May File a Legal Action. If a copyright owner wishes to keep the content disabled after receiving a counter notice, they will need to file an action seeking a court order to restrain the user from engaging in infringing activity relating to the content on Netlify (and provide Netlify notice of that action). If the copyright owner does not give Netlify notice within 10-14 business days, by sending a copy of a valid legal complaint filed in a court of competent jurisdiction, Netlify will reenable the disabled site or content.
As we said above, we believe that transparency is a virtue. The public should know what content is being removed from Netlify and why. An informed public can notice and surface potential issues that would otherwise go unnoticed in an opaque system. We may post copies (redacted or otherwise) of legal notices we receive (including original notices, counter notices or retractions) at https://github.com/netlify/dmca and share the same with Lumen.
C. Free-Tier and Repeated Infringement
It is the policy of Netlify, in appropriate circumstances and in its sole discretion, to disable or terminate the accounts of free-tier users when we receive a DMCA notice, or users who repeatedly infringe upon the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of Netlify or others.
D. Submitting Notices
If you are ready to submit a notice or a counter notice: