Google is one of the most frustrating hosts to work with and it is because of steps six and seven in their process to send them a notice of copyright infringement.
Step six specifically instructs you to “sign the paper” and step seven only provides two means of sending it in. The first is via postal mail, the second is via fax.
The problem with these steps is that the vast majority of hosts accept, and even encourage, DMCA notices via email. Email is by far faster and easier to send for such complaints and, according to the ESIGN Act, should be able to deliver a perfectly acceptable electronic signature.
However, Google’s limited contact information and requirement of a physical signature seems to turn a digital matter into one that needs pen and paper to resolve. This has caused many to give up on sending notices to Google and just tolerate any misuse that takes place on Google’s servers, including Blogger.
Fortunately, there is a way around this and a means to successfully email your DMCA notices to Google. All one has to do is be a little bit creative.
Step 1: Scan Your Signature
The first step is to get your handwritten signature into your computer some way. This is because Google, even when accepting notices via email, still requires a handwritten signature most of the time.
There are several ways you can get your signature into an image file. First, you can simply sign a sheet of paper and scan it. Second, you can use a program such as Paint and draw your signature (best done with a stylus). Finally, you can take a picture of your signature with a good digital cam.
The end goal is to get your signature in clear black lettering on a white background.
Step 2: Get your DMCA Notice Ready
Next, obtain a copy of a good DMCA notice. If you wish, you can use the stock letters available on this site.
Once you have your notice, paste it into a word Processor that is capable of both importing images and exporting to PDF. You can use Microsoft Word, OpenOffice or many other applications for this purpose.
Then simply fill in the needed information as if you were just emailing it out and make sure that all of your information is accurate.
Step 3: Import Your Signature
Once you have the notice in your word processor, scroll down to where the signature goes and import your handwritten signature as an image file into the document.
Take a moment to make sure that it looks right and is ready for export.
Step 4: Export File to PDF
Export the file to a PDF using the best tools available. Though most word processors can do this export directly, if you need to print the file to a PDF you can use a free PDF creator.
Most of the details about the quality of the PDF are unimportant, just make sure that the PDF is clear enough to be read and small enough to be emailed.
Step 5: Email the PDF
Though Google does not advertise their email address on their site, they did file a designation with the U.S. Copyright Office that provides an email for submitting DMCA notices.
You can send the PDF to that email address. Simply include it as an attachment and paste the text of the notice into the email.
There is no word if that email address will work after the designated agent returns to the office.
For most Web hosts, sending a DMCA notice is simply a matter of having a good stock letter, dropping it into an email, filling out the necessary information and then sending it on. It is only Google, to my knowledge, that requires this kind of effort.
However, Google receives such a large number of DMCA notices that it is important to be prepared to work with them. Not only do they host Blogger, which remains one of the most common hosts for spam blogs, but they host Google Groups and other services that could host infringing content.
They are also one of the top advertising networks with Adsense and their policy for reporting infringers using Adsense closely mirrors the one for Blogger. This technique should also work for that.
Most importantly though, they are also the number one search engine in the world and the search DMCA policy also closely mirrors the other two, complete with physical signature requirement and fax/snail mail only filing. This technique should work with it as well.
Until new systems come online to help us report spam and copyright infringement to Google, this is the best technique to file a DMCA notice via email.
It is a bit complicated and convoluted, but it is certainly preferable to the delays of postal mail and the hassle of a fax.