As copyright holders have gotten more and more active in sending DMCA notices and enforcing their copyright, a lot of services have come forward to make the process a little bit easier, including several copy and paste DMCA generator services that aim to make preparing a notice as simple as filling out a short form on the Web.
While this is more than feasible because most of the content of a proper DMCA notice is stock language, it doesn’t necessarily man that using one or more of these services is a good idea.
So, with that in mind, I decided to take four of the top services and put them to the test, looking at how easy they were to use, how complete the notices were and how much time they actually saved in the DMCA filing process.
My results are below:
3DRunTime DMCA Generator
Note: Link removed, no longer appears to be working…
Created by Walter Victor and hosted on 3druntime.com, a site that specializes in 3-dimensional rendering artwork, the 3DRunTime DMCA Generator is a fairly standard copy and paste DMCA generator that also emails your form for you.
Ease of Use: Overall, the form is very easy to use, if not the prettiest to look at and it does offer the added convenience of emailing the notice for you when you provide the email address to send it to. However, the form is unable to send a notice for more than one work at a time meaning that, if multiple works are involved, which they often are, you have to send the notice again and again.
Completeness & Professionalism: The sent notice is very attractive and is a complete notice though that meets all of the requirements of the law. My only gripe is that I find it odd it says “Dear (Domain Name):” in the salutation, which is odd when you are sending it to the host of a site and not the site itself.
End Result: All in all, it’s a solid generator if you have just one item per notice to file for. The convenience of having it emailed seems small but can be big if you’re sending out notices in succession. The notice I mailed myself did not get caught in my spam filters, which is a positive sign as well.
Note: Link removed, appears to no longer be working…
The most bare bones of the generators on this list, DMCAGenerator.com is literally nothing but a white page with a form and a few ads. However, little else is known about this generator as there is no ownership information on the site and the domain information is set to private.
Ease of Use: Despite it’s stripped-down look, this site is far from simple to use. The address box, for example, requires entering a lengthy postal address in a small textbox and has no indication that it also needs the city, state and zip. Likewise, it is unclear if the URLs are meant to be separated by commas or line breaks. Though an instruction page explains these issues, it’s easy to miss as it is hidden as a “here” link in the body text of the main page.
Completeness & Professionalism: The notice that is prepared does not include title information for the works you’re filing for, creating a problem if the host feels they can’t adequately identify the work involved. Many hosts will NOT accept DMCA notices without this info. Otherwise, the notice appears to be complete though it is displayed, more or less, in plain text, leaving it to you to format and send.
End Result: I can’t recommend using this notice generator. Though it does allow you to file for multiple works, the lack of title information limits the number of hosts that will likely accept it. Furthermore, the way the form is set up is confusing and there are simply better generators out there.
A feature of the Website Publisher forum, their DMCA generator works with a database the site maintains of DMCA agents, one, according to them, that has over 3,000 companies. This enables Website Publisher to generate DMCA notices specific to each host rather than just blanket ones for all.
Ease of Use: Website Publisher first requires you to join their forum to use this generator. That, in turn, requires passing at least three different “human tests” and filling out all of the needed information. Once you get to the form, you then have to search for the company you want to send the notice to. If the company isn’t in the database you first have to fill out their information and create the company profile and then you get a fairly standard DMCA “fill in the blank” form.
Completeness & Professionalism: The notice that’s generated is reasonably complete though it seems to be targeted more at mailing notices in rather than emailing them and it omits URLs for the original content, something that some hosts do require if it is available. However, the way it handles signatures, letting you upload a scanned image, create a digital signature or simply leave a blank, is very useful and resolves some of the thornier DMCA issues.
End Result: It’s a great idea but I did several searches for the most common hosts I work with and only found GoDaddy in the database. It could be an issue with the search feature (Is that 1 and 1 or 1and1?) but there are simply too many hurdles between landing on the page and sending the notice to make it efficient, especially considering most hosts take blanket DMCA notices fine.
Created by the Science Fiction Writers of America, the SFWA DMCA generator is a simple form intended for use by authors to send notices over works of theirs that have been infringed.
Ease of Use: Very straightforward and fast to use. However, only is able to handle one item of infringement per DMCA notice, meaning you have to generate multiple forms if there are multiple works involved. Also, emails the DMCA notice to you rather than displaying it on screen and their notices to me ended up being trapped in my spam filters.
Completeness & Professionalism: The notice is complete and relatively straightforward. However, it is worded so that it is solely useful for authors as it designates the work as either a short story, novel, poem, collection or article. As such, it is not very useful for visual artists or musicians.
End Result: Despite being easy to use and complete, it’s only useful for authors of text works who are dealing with a lone item of infringement per notice. Sadly, that’s likely a very small group. Most will probably benefit more from either using a stock letter or another service.
Though all four of the generators I checked had things I liked about them, none felt like complete solutions to generating DMCA notices.
Even my favorite of the four, the 3D Runtime one, is hamstrung by its inability to send a notice for more than one item. Others, like DMCAGenerator.com, were both confusing and had problems with the notice itself that might limit acceptance.
However, the bigger problem is that I fail to see how these generators really save that much time over just having a good stock letter handy. They essentially serve the same function. In my experience, the hardest part of sending a DMCA notice has not been the preparation of the notice, but finding who to send it to and that’s something only one of these generators, the Website Publisher one, attempts to help with at all and only in a limited way.
So, as fond as I am of some of these and of the idea of simplifying DMCA creation, I’ll be sticking with my stock letter for the time being. Not only do I have the process down comfortably, but the notice itself has been tried and tested many hundreds of times, giving me a great deal of confidence in it.
However, if someone wants to create a DMCA generator using my letter, they are more than free too so long as they comply with my Creative Commons License.