Game: Find the Valid DMCA Notice

Often times, on this site and elsewhere, we criticize hosts for their poor handling of the DMCA while chiding Webmasters and other laypeople who make mistakes while filing DMCA notices.

Though the criticism of hosts is a little more fair since they were one of the parties pushing for the notice and takedown provision, the fact remains that the DMCA notice and takedown provision is complicated and, for most people, difficult to use.

Without a good stock letter, most people find it nearly impossible to file a complete DMCA notice and most hosts provide little to no assistance with the process.

To illustrate that problem some as well as explain why hosts make mistakes with the DMCA and why so many submitted notices turn out to be invalid, I’ve decided to create a game. This game will test your knowledge of the DMCA by giving you three notices, only one of which is valid.

You have to pick the right one.

The rules and notices are below the fold so keep reading and post your answers in the comments.

The Rules

The rules are simple, there are three notices below in RTF format. They have different structures and styles but only one of them is complete. To win, all you have to do is post the correct answer in the comments and then explain, briefly, why the other two are invalid.

If you can do that first, then you win no prize at all other than my recognition and, if you wish, your link at the top of this article.

However, there are a few rules before we begin:

  1. No Cheating: Keep your eyes on your own paper. Ideally, you should be able to do this from memory. However, if you need help, all you need should be on Plagiarism Today. No searching other sites for the answer. We are all on the honor system here.
  2. No Lawyers: This is for laypeople. Sorry. That kind of advance knowledge is just cheating for this quiz.
  3. No Spam Sites: I reserve the right to not link to any site that may be spammy or inappropriate. Keep the sites clean, spam-free and appropriate for Plagiarism Today.
  4. I Didn’t Cheat Either: Both of the invalid notices have material problems with them. Since they all report the same “infringement” there are no fair use or other legal questions. There are also no issues of semantics. This should be cut and dry and the reasons are based upon the law itself, not what an individual host *might* accept. (Hint: I don’t cheat, but I do use red herrings.)
  5. Have Fun: Though not a rule, it is still important. This is a game so have fun with it, just remember it highlights an important point.

If no one guesses the answer correctly in 24 hours, I’ll post it tomorrow as part of my regular update. If this goes well, I might do similar contests on a regular basis.

Please let me know what you think.

The Notices

If you are ready to play, here are the three notices in RTF format:

DMCA Notice #1

DMCA Notice #2

DMCA Notice #3

Open up each file, take a look at them, pick out the one that is correct and explain why the other two are not.

Once again, the first person to do will be given a link at the top of this article and the eternal praise of all who read this.

Have fun and put yourself in the host’s shoes when looking at these notices. This is what they deal with every day.

Conclusions

Web hosts asked for the DMCA and were some of the biggest beneficiaries of the notice and takedown provision. It removed copyright liability from them and gave them a legal system to remove works that were infringing while removing them from the requirement to search for potential copyright violations.

Regardless, the DMCA is a difficult law to use and it is the responsibility of the host to make sure the notices they receive are valid. However, this is designed as a minor illustration to show what they are up against when reviewing such notices and what submitters are up against when trying to create one.

What is needed is a unified, binding DMCA notice that is easy to use and easy to check. This could weed out many of the errors that come with trying to use/enforce the DMCA and, when combined with hosts who are more savvy about copyright law, could prevent many of the DMCA abuses.

In the meantime though, it is problems like these that we are stuck with and left to figure out.

Good luck to everyone.

(Note: If I made a mistake, I apologize. WordPress was being difficult with uploading and it is hard to work on three separate files like that at once. I checked them before and after I uploaded so there shouldn’t be a problem, but this post turned out to be far more difficult than I thought it would be. Please accept my apologies in advance if there are any errors.)

28 Responses to Game: Find the Valid DMCA Notice

  1. Patrick says:

    I'm going with #1. #2 is missing anything saying that they are the copyright holder or a representative of the copyright holder and #3 is missing a link to where it appears on the copyright holder's website.

  2. JB says:

    Patrick,Good guess, but unfortunately that's not right. Bear in mind that I am not necessarily saying that the number choice is wrong, it could just be an issue with the reasons.Anyone else want to take a shot?

  3. Valerie says:

    This is probably a lame-o answer but I'm going to say #2 is correct because it's the only one with the "numbered points."

  4. #1 definitely aint right, since it doesn't say "I declare under the perjury laws of the United States of America that this notification is true and correct."#3 definitely ain't right, because it doesn't include a link to the source of said article.They both also include the phrase "The information in this notice is accurate, and I am either the copyright owner or I am authorize to act on behalf of the copyright owner.", which makes me iffy about if my guess is rightI would have to say #2 is correct because of that. The overall format is also much more DMCA-like.

  5. JB says:

    Jeremy,That was strange, we posted at the same time.I'll give you three a hint since you're all starting to get closer. Remember that the DMCA can be used to file a notice for any copyrighted material. It is not limited in any way.

  6. JB says:

    Jeremy,Bribery is welcomed and loved. PayPal button is to the right, I'll have the answer in your inbox is 5 minutes… :PVery good guess. Easily the best so far. But you still have at least one problem…You, as well as the other posters, are forgetting a requirement of the DMCA. And yes, I am evil…

  7. Patrick says:

    I’m going with #1. #2 is missing anything saying that they are the copyright holder or a representative of the copyright holder and #3 is missing a link to where it appears on the copyright holder’s website.

  8. JB says:

    Patrick,

    Good guess, but unfortunately that’s not right. Bear in mind that I am not necessarily saying that the number choice is wrong, it could just be an issue with the reasons.

    Anyone else want to take a shot?

  9. Valerie says:

    This is probably a lame-o answer but I’m going to say #2 is correct because it’s the only one with the “numbered points.”

  10. JB says:

    Valerie,

    I valiant effort but not the answer I’m looking for. Format doesn’t really affect the validity of the notice. It just makes it easier for me to template :)

    Most lawyers use a more traditional letter format, like the others.

    Not a lame-o guess though, perhaps not as far off as you might think…

  11. JB says:

    Valerie,

    I valiant effort but not the answer I’m looking for. Format doesn’t really affect the validity of the notice. It just makes it easier for me to template :)

    Most lawyers use a more traditional letter format, like the others.

    Not a lame-o guess though, perhaps not as far off as you might think…

  12. valerie says:

    Interesting! I thought that could have been it because when I first contacted a host a couple of months ago and ended up doing a DMCA, I was told to make sure it was in that format, with correct numbering!

    I’ll have to keep thinking :)

  13. valerie says:

    Interesting! I thought that could have been it because when I first contacted a host a couple of months ago and ended up doing a DMCA, I was told to make sure it was in that format, with correct numbering!

    I’ll have to keep thinking :)

  14. valerie says:

    It’s not about the link, it’s about being really curious as to the right answer, LOL. Here’s another guess. #1 does not have the phrase “I declare under the perjury laws of the United States of America that this notification is true and correct.” or anything like it… closer? :-D

  15. valerie says:

    It’s not about the link, it’s about being really curious as to the right answer, LOL. Here’s another guess. #1 does not have the phrase “I declare under the perjury laws of the United States of America that this notification is true and correct.” or anything like it… closer? :-D

  16. #1 definitely aint right, since it doesn’t say “I declare under the perjury laws of the United States of America that this notification is true and correct.”

    #3 definitely ain’t right, because it doesn’t include a link to the source of said article.

    They both also include the phrase “The information in this notice is accurate, and I am either the copyright owner or I am authorize to act on behalf of the copyright owner.”, which makes me iffy about if my guess is right

    I would have to say #2 is correct because of that. The overall format is also much more DMCA-like.

  17. JB says:

    Valerie,

    First, check out ChillingEffects.org for samples of DMCA notices that have been submitted. Most use a letter format. I find numbering easiest though.

    As far as your second guess, you’re much more on the right track there. That is the type of issues we’re looking at…

    Good luck!

  18. JB says:

    Valerie,

    First, check out ChillingEffects.org for samples of DMCA notices that have been submitted. Most use a letter format. I find numbering easiest though.

    As far as your second guess, you’re much more on the right track there. That is the type of issues we’re looking at…

    Good luck!

  19. JB says:

    Jeremy,

    That was strange, we posted at the same time.

    I’ll give you three a hint since you’re all starting to get closer.

    Remember that the DMCA can be used to file a notice for any copyrighted material. It is not limited in any way.

  20. Wait a second, your rules didn’t say bribery isn’t allowed….. heh… I’ll give you $20 for the answer. What do you say? :P

    Anyways, this is really hard..

    I almost have to change my answer to say #3 is correct, the DMCA takedown procedure doesn’t require you to post a link to the “original work”, since if can be used for songs, images, etc, which may not have a original URL online.

    Then #1 is incorrect because it doesn’t have anything about perjury, and #2 is incorrect because of the “You are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as the Designated Service Provider Agent to receive notifications of alleged Copyright infringement with respect to users of the Service for which you are the Designated Agent.” paragraph and possibly the fact it does include the work’s original URL (which isn’t required).

    If that’s not it then I give up :P

  21. Wait a second, your rules didn’t say bribery isn’t allowed….. heh… I’ll give you $20 for the answer. What do you say? :P

    Anyways, this is really hard..

    I almost have to change my answer to say #3 is correct, the DMCA takedown procedure doesn’t require you to post a link to the “original work”, since if can be used for songs, images, etc, which may not have a original URL online.

    Then #1 is incorrect because it doesn’t have anything about perjury, and #2 is incorrect because of the “You are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as the Designated Service Provider Agent to receive notifications of alleged Copyright infringement with respect to users of the Service for which you are the Designated Agent.” paragraph and possibly the fact it does include the work’s original URL (which isn’t required).

    If that’s not it then I give up :P

  22. JB says:

    Jeremy,

    Bribery is welcomed and loved. PayPal button is to the right, I’ll have the answer in your inbox is 5 minutes… :P

    Very good guess. Easily the best so far. But you still have at least one problem…

    You, as well as the other posters, are forgetting a requirement of the DMCA.

    And yes, I am evil…

  23. JB says:

    Jeremy,

    By the by, if no one else can come up with the correct answer, I’ll give you the link.

    It’s the only fair thing I can do.

  24. JB says:

    Jeremy,

    By the by, if no one else can come up with the correct answer, I’ll give you the link.

    It’s the only fair thing I can do.

  25. Stephen says:

    No idea, whats the correct answer?

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