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Copyright Law Explained

DMCA Counter-Notice Process

After a takedown notice is sent to a service provider, the provider usually notifies the user, subscriber or other person who is responsible for engaging in the infringing activity. If that person – the alleged infringer – in good faith does not think the activity is infringing, he or she can send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) counter notice to the service provider explaining why they disagree with the copyright owner. Like the takedown notice, there are certain elements that must be contained in a DMCA counter notice. Providing false information in a counter notice is punishable under federal law, and those making false notices can be sued and held civilly liable.

After receiving a counter notice, the service provider is obligated to forward that counter notice to the person who sent the original takedown notice. Once the service provider has received a valid DMCA counter notice they must wait 10-14 days. If the copyright owner sues the alleged infringer in that time frame the material will remain down, but if no suit is filed then the service provider must re-activate or allow access to the alleged infringing activity.

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