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Using DMCA to deal with cyberbulling
Currently, one of the most effective ways of removing unpleasant instances of cyber-bullying is by submitting a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) copyright infringement notice. We’ve found that in 70% of the cyberbullying and stalking cases we’ve dealt with, 95% have involved the cyberbully using a stolen photo of the victim. In nearly all cases that picture was taken by (ie the copyright is held by) the victim, a friend of the victim, someone in the victim’s family. The copyright holder is entitled to file a copyright infringement (DMCA) notice to the website involved, or Google directly, or both – to get the image removed and the Google search result removed.
When properly submitted by the copyright holder, these DMCA notices, in our experience, have a 90%+ success rate.
But it’s a legal form – does that mean I need an attorney, lawyer or solicitor?
The answer – if you want to – but these services cost. There are a couple of alternatives. Firstly for a no-cost DIY approach, it’s worth looking at the Chilling Effects website. Every time Google (and numerous other websites) acts on a DMCA notice and removes a search engine listing, they send a copy of the DMCA notice letter to Chilling Effects – in the name of free speech. Chilling Effects has over the years become a repository of successful and effective, lawyer drafted, DMCA notices. There are over 118,000 online currently, and all of them can be browsed and searched here: http://www.chillingeffects.org/copyright/notice.cgi . So, with a little searching, you can find a notice which matches your situation and you’ll have a good idea what text and terms to include in your own submission. There’s also a huge Q&A and FAQ section on DMCA here: http://www.chillingeffects.org/copyright/faq.cgi .
Secondly, if you’d prefer guidance, we can look at your case for a low cost and advise on how to draft the DMCA copyright infringement email. We can also search out the best person, or website to send it to – depending on your circumstances, and then we’ll send the drafted notice back to you, or the copyright holder, to submit. For more details see our page here.
Why don’t we submit this on your behalf? The simple answer is that the process moves more speedily if the copyright holder submits the complaint in person, rather than a lawyer or ‘agent’. With many large websites, particularly Google, Facebook and Twitter, submissions from the copyright holder get dealt with fast – whereas for submissions from law firms and agents (for example Reputation Management firms) the process is slow since the claims are channeled through a longer and more legal process due to the increased possibility of false claims and liabilities when third parties are involved.