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Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. If you have legal questions, please contact an attorney.


DMCA stands for "Digital Millenium Copyright Act." It is a federal law that deals with copyright infringement. A DMCA Notice is a letter that tells a website owner that a person owns the copyright a photo. A copyright is not something that you can touch. It is a right. If a person takes a photo of herself, she owns the copyright to the photo. Even if she physically hands over, texts, or emails her picture to another person, she still owns the copyright. The recipient does not own it. 

Website owners are often immune to liability for the actions of third parties on their websites because of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. However, if a victim who owns the copyright to her images submits a proper DMCA notice to a website, and it does not remove her photos or remove them "expeditiously," she may be able to sue the website for copyright infringement. Because websites don't want to be sued, they will usually comply with DMCA notices. 

If the website owner wants to ensure protection from liability after a victim submits her DMCA notice, the owner must give the poster several days to file a counterclaim. If the perpetrator files a counterclaim, he is forced out of his anonymity, because he must use his full, real name, address, and email address. At this point, the victim must show the website owner proof that she has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit within 10 days, or the website owner may restore her photos to the website. A website owner may file a counterclaim stating a "fair use" defense. What constitutes "fair use" is ultimately determined by a court.


​Before filing a lawsuit for copyright infringement, a plaintiff must register her photos with the Register of Copyright Office.



To: [revenge porn website] 

1.  This document is notification of the copyright infringement of my photos on the website, [].

2.  I am the copyright owner of the photos posted at the following links:


3.     I have not assigned or otherwise granted any rights to any third party in the contents now or previously appearing on [].

4.     I hold exclusive rights to the copyrighted materials infringed. 

5.     The infringed copyrighted work has been identified in Paragraph 2, and the information has been adequately identified to require that such material be removed or access to it be immediately disabled.

6.    I have a good faith belief that the use of the copyrighted material in this manner complained of is not authorized by the law.

7.     I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information of this Notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

[Your Name][your email address]



The Copyright Office has a directory of DMCA agents for online service providers, including websites, web hosts, search engines, social media websites, and so on. Some providers have not listed an agent with the Copyright Office. In this case, I believe that a provider opens itself up to liability for copyright infringement. 


1.   To identify the website owner, website host, domain name registrar, and, if applicable, the website's proxy server, go to


2.   If the website owner is listed, submit a DMCA notice to him.

3.   If he is anonymous, submit a DMCA notice to the proxy server.

4.   If the proxy server does not respond, send a DMCA notice to the website host. The website host may disable the website's access.

5.   If the website host does not respond, contact the domain name registrar of the website host. Tell them that the website host is ignoring your DMCA request. The registrar may terminate the domain name of the website host. 



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