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DMCA Counter-Notices Explained

Thu Jun 30, 2022 Intellectual Property

The term DMCA is familiar to most Amazon sellers. It stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it is a piece of legislation that aims to regulate digital media and deal with copyright infringement challenges in the digital world. Under the DMCA, platforms like Amazon are protected from liability when they remove or disable access to content on their website (like a listing) that has been reported by a copyright owner as being unlawfully used. 

The person accused of copyright infringement receives a DMCA Notice detailing what content is being claimed and who is claiming the infringement. In the case of Amazon Sellers, this may come in the form of a notice for copyright infringement violation from Amazon. The DMCA Notice is required to contain the following information:

  • The signature of the copyright owner or owner’s agent, in physical or electronic form.
  • Identification of the: (i) copyrighted work(s) infringed; (ii) the infringing activity; and (iii) the location of the infringing activity (typically by providing the URL).
  • Contact information of the notice sender, including an email address.
  • A statement that the notifier has a good faith belief that the material is not authorized by the intellectual property or copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
  • A statement that the information provided is accurate and the notifier is authorized to make the complaint on behalf of the intellectual property or copyright owner.

What To Do When You Receive A DMCA Notice

If you receive a DMCA Notice, it is important for an Amazon Seller IP lawyer to determine whether you used the content lawfully. Generally, removing the content will resolve the DMCA violation. However, the content creator does have the right to sue for damages, so receiving a DMCA notice should not be taken lightly. 

If an Amazon Seller IP lawyer determines that you did not use the content unlawfully, then they can submit a DMCA Counter-Notice. The counter-notice exists for instances when rights owners are grossly overstepping the permissions granted by their copyright to enforce claims that are not normally protected. In short, the counter-notice tells the rights owner to sue you or remove the copyright complaint. 

When Amazon receives your DMCA Counter-Notice, they are obligated to forward that counter-notice to the person who sent the original takedown notice (the DMCA Notice). If the copyright owner sues the alleged infringer (in this case you) within 10-14 days the material or listing will remain down, but if no suit is filed then Amazon must re-activate or allow access to the alleged infringing content or listing. Thus, submitting a counterclaim is risky and should be carefully considered. 

Meet With An Amazon Seller IP Lawyer At ESQgo

If you received a DMCA takedown notice and need help understanding whether a DMCA Notice is appropriate in your case, get in touch with an Amazon Seller IP lawyer at our firm. We are a firm that offers full-service intellectual property representation. Contact us to schedule a consultation.