Many clients ask how Copyright laws can be used to protect their reputation on the internet.
The Copyright Act (the Act) in Australia and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the US establish a regime to enable the owners of copyright in an image or work to send a takedown notice to the Carriage Service Provider or Internet Service Provider (ISP). The law protects some breaches of the Copyright Act by an ISP but only where they have an active policy of removing material that is in breach of the Copyright Act and is the subject of a formal takedown notice. Many people are unaware that there is no requirement for a copyright owner to register their work or image before taking advantage of the take down procedures in the Act.
Often copyright owners or their agents make direct contact with the ISP in order to report the breach and to ask for their copyright material to be removed. Their initial letter should confirm that they are the owner of the work or image (or the agent of the owner) and make it clear that their copyright has been infringed. The owner or their agent should attach and image or evidence that they own the copyright in the work. The owner or agent will need to identify the offending material and the exact location of the infringed work using one or more URL’s.
In our experience such a request is often ignored by the ISP or their response may be tardy so, if that doesn’t achieve the desired result, a formal take down notice will need to be issued. The takedown notice is prescribed by the Copyright Regulations and includes the material in the initial letter of complaint. It will confirm that the complaint is in good faith that the specified copyright material infringes the owner’s rights under the Copyright Act 1968 it must also verify that reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information and statements in the notice are accurate.
Contact our firm for details of the format for an official takedown notice.
The process can be tricky so you must speak to a legal professional before issuing a formal takedown notice.
THIS IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE AND YOU SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FROM A LEGAL PRACTITIONER BEFORE YOU ACT.