For filmmakers, musicians, authors, and artists, etc. whose work is pirated (and monetized) by online thieves, the only way to (possibly) get one’s stolen content removed is to send a DMCA notice. It’s a procedure outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law passed by Congress in October of 1998.
The legislation was intended to provide a means to protect copyright in the digital age, but also provides “safe harbor” for websites (like YouTube) that unknowingly host infringing files. The law specifies the “notice and takedown” procedure for copyright owners to use in order to request removal of their content, commonly referred to as a DMCA takedown notice. If a website owner complies with a legitimate takedown demand, “the provider is exempt from monetary liability.” Anyway, that’s how it’s supposed to work. In reality, the process is not quite so simple, nor successful.
Not only does sending out DMCA notices required a great deal of time–time that most indie content creators do not have–but often times it’s ignored entirely by pirate sites that feign compliance.
Here’s a case in point. Using Google, a rights holder was able to find numerous illegal download links to their film “The Guest House.” Next step, get them removed–but that’s easier said than done. Take a look at how many steps it took–and how many advertising obstacles (i.e. revenue for the pirate) stood in the way of sending a single DMCA notice for a single link…and–despite all that effort–days later the link (and the pirated movie) remains online and available.
Despite the fact the distributor followed all these steps and clicked past all these ads and submitted a DMCA takedown request days ago the pirated film is still streaming online. Meanwhile, this web pirate keeps making money–earning revenue thanks to brand name advertisers (like the U.S. Army?) and sex sites. The filmmaker makes ZERO. So much for the goal of protecting copyright holders in the digital age eh?