Chilling Effects
Home Weather Reports Report Receiving a Cease and Desist Notice Search the Database Topics
Topic HomeFAQsMonitoring the legal climate for Internet activity
Chilling Effects
 Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > DMCA Notices > Notices > RIAA DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google (NoticeID 28457, Printer-friendly version

RIAA DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google

September 22, 2009


Sender Information:
Sent by:
VP, Online Anti-Piracy

Washington, DC, US

Recipient Information:

Google, Inc. [Blogger]

Mountain View, CA, USA

Sent via: email


Dear Sir or Madam:

I am contacting you on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of
America, Inc. (RIAA) and its member record companies. The RIAA is a trade
association whose member companies create, manufacture and distribute
approximately eighty-five (85) percent of all legitimate sound recordings
sold in the United States. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the
RIAA is authorized to act on behalf of its member companies on matters
involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including enforcing
their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.

We have learned that your service is hosting the above web sites on your
network. These sites are offering direct links to files containing sound
recordings for other users to download by such artists as 50 Cent, Massive
Attack, Radiohead, Sean Paul, and Mariah Carey. These recordings are owned
by one of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of
use. We have a good faith belief that the above-described activity is not
authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. We assert that
the information in this notification is accurate, based upon the data
available to us.

We are asking for your immediate assistance in stopping this unauthorized
activity. Specifically, we request that you remove the sites or the
infringing links from your system, or that you disable access to the sites
or the infringing links, and that you inform the site operator of the
illegality of his or her conduct.

You should understand that this letter constitutes notice to you that this
site operator may be liable for the infringing activity occurring on your
service. In addition, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you
ignore this notice, you and/or your company may also be liable for any
resulting infringement. This letter does not constitute a waiver of any
right to recover damages incurred by virtue of any such unauthorized
activities, and such rights as well as claims for other relief are expressly

Please note: We have submitted a signature to be placed on file with Google.

You may contact me at RIAA, [redacted], Washington, DC, 20004, Tel. (202)
[redacted], or e-mail
[redacted], to discuss this notice. We await your response. Kind


VP, Online Anti-Piracy

FAQ: Questions and Answers

[back to notice text]

Question: Why does a search engine get DMCA takedown notices for materials in its search listings?

Answer: Many copyright claimants are making complaints under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 512(d), a safe-harbor for providers of "information location tools." These safe harbors give providers immunity from liability for users' possible copyright infringement -- if they "expeditiously" remove material when they get complaints. Whether or not the provider would have been liable for infringement by users' materials it links to, the provider can avoid the possibility of a lawsuit for money damages by following the DMCA's takedown procedure when it gets a complaint. The person whose information was removed can file a counter-notification if he or she believes the complaint was erroneous.

Question: What does a service provider have to do in order to qualify for safe harbor protection?

Answer: In addition to informing its customers of its policies (discussed above), a service provider must follow the proper notice and takedown procedures (discussed above) and also meet several other requirements in order to qualify for exemption under the safe harbor provisions.

In order to facilitate the notification process in cases of infringement, ISPs which allow users to store information on their networks, such as a web hosting service, must designate an agent that will receive the notices from copyright owners that its network contains material which infringes their intellectual property rights. The service provider must then notify the Copyright Office of the agent's name and address and make that information publicly available on its web site. [512(c)(2)]

Finally, the service provider must not have knowledge that the material or activity is infringing or of the fact that the infringing material exists on its network. [512(c)(1)(A)], [512(d)(1)(A)]. If it does discover such material before being contacted by the copyright owners, it is instructed to remove, or disable access to, the material itself. [512(c)(1)(A)(iii)], [512(d)(1)(C)]. The service provider must not gain any financial benefit that is attributable to the infringing material. [512(c)(1)(B)], [512(d)(2)].

Question: What are the provisions of 17 U.S.C. Section 512(c)(3) & 512(d)(3)?

Answer: Section 512(c)(3) sets out the elements for notification under the DMCA. Subsection A (17 U.S.C. 512(c)(3)(A)) states that to be effective a notification must include: 1) a physical/electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the infringed right; 2) identification of the copyrighted works claimed to have been infringed; 3) identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed; 4) information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party (e.g., the address, telephone number, or email address); 5) a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material is not authorized by the copyright owner; and 6) a statement that information in the complaint is accurate and that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner. Subsection B (17 U.S.C. 512(c)(3)(B)) states that if the complaining party does not substantially comply with these requirements the notice will not serve as actual notice for the purpose of Section 512.

Section 512(d)(3), which applies to "information location tools" such as search engines and directories, incorporates the above requirements; however, instead of the identification of the allegedly infringing material, the notification must identify the reference or link to the material claimed to be infringing.

Question: Does a service provider have to follow the safe harbor procedures?

Answer: No. An ISP may choose not to follow the DMCA takedown process, and do without the safe harbor. If it would not be liable under pre-DMCA copyright law (for example, because it is not contributorily or vicariously liable, or because there is no underlying copyright infringement), it can still raise those same defenses if it is sued.

Question: How do I file a DMCA counter-notice?

Answer: If you believe your material was removed because of mistake or misidentification, you can file a "counter notification" asking the service provider to put it back up. Chilling Effects offers a form to build your own counter-notice.

For more information on the DMCA Safe Harbors, see the FAQs on DMCA Safe Harbor. For more information on Copyright and defenses to copyright infringement, see Copyright.

Topic maintained by Chilling Effects

Topic Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
Chilling Effects Clearinghouse -
disclaimer / privacy / about us & contacts