DCMA Copyright Takedown Policy
JWTalk - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community ("JWTalk") enables threaded discussions, social networking, and private messaging between registered users of the community. JWTalk is a "Service Provider" within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. § 512(k)(1) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). Accordingly, it is entitled to certain protections from claims of copyright infringement under the DMCA, commonly referred to as the “safe harbor” provisions.
JWTalk respects the rights of copyright holders and abides by DMCA and similar regulations in other jurisdictions by responding to written notifications of alleged infringement by copyright holders. As part of our response, we may remove or disable access to allegedly infringing material residing in our community. This Copyright Takedown Policy supplements, and is incorporated into, JWTalk’s Terms and Conditions, also called the “Community Membership Policy”.
What Is the DMCA?
In order to understand the DMCA and some of the policy lines it draws, it’s helpful to learn about the reasons the act was created.
Before the DMCA, an Internet-based service providers could be liable for copyright infringement in the United States just for hosting its users’ pictures, music, videos or code. This was true even if it had no actual knowledge of any infringing content. This was a problem, since even a single claim of copyright infringement can carry statutory damages of up to $150,000. With potential damages that high multiplied across millions of users, cloud-computing and user-generated content sites like YouTube, Facebook or GitHub probably never would have existed (or at least not without passing some of that cost downstream to their users).
The DMCA attempted to fix this problem by creating a so-called copyright liability “safe harbor” for service providers hosting allegedly infringing user-generated content. (See U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 512.) Essentially, so long as a service provider follows the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown rules, it won’t be liable for copyright infringement based on user-generated content.
Two types of DMCA Notices
DMCA takedown notices are used by copyright owners to ask JWTalk to take down infringing content. If someone else is using your copyrighted content in an unauthorized manner on JWTalk, you can send us a DMCA takedown notice to request that the infringing content be changed or removed.
On the other hand, counter notices can be used to correct mistakes. Maybe the person sending the takedown notice does not hold the copyright or did not realize that you have a license or made some other mistake in their takedown notice. Since JWTalk usually cannot know if there has been a mistake, the DMCA counter notice allows you to let us know and ask that we put the content back up.
A. How It Works
JWTalk acts as a middleman. The copyright owner gives JWTalk a complaint about a user, and we pass that complaint along to the user and remove the offending content. If the user disputes the complaint, JWTalk passes that dispute back to the copyright owner, and may restore the disputed content. It is up to the parties (and their lawyers) to evaluate the merit of their claims, bearing in mind that notices must be made under penalty of perjury.
These are the basic steps of the process:
1. Copyright Owner Investigates. A copyright owner should always conduct an initial investigation to confirm both (a) that they own the copyright to an original work and (b) that the content on JWTalk is unauthorized and infringing.
2. Copyright Owner Sends a Takedown Notice. After investigating, a copyright owner prepares and sends a takedown notice to JWTalk. Assuming the takedown notice is sufficiently detailed according to the statutory requirements (detailed below), we will disable the content and notify the affected user.
3. Copyright Owner Revises or Retracts the Notice. After making changes, the copyright owner must review them and renew or revise their takedown notice if the changes are insufficient. If the copyright owner is satisfied with the changes, they do not have to do anything. JWTalk will interpret silence longer than two weeks as an implied retraction of the takedown notice.
4. User/Member May Send a Counter Notice. We encourage users who have had content disabled to consult with a lawyer about their options. If a user believes that their content was disabled because of a mistake or misidentification, they may send us a counter notice. As with the original notice, the counter notice must be sufficiently detailed (see below). If it is, we will pass the notice back to the copyright owner. If a counter notice is submitted, the user may be able to restore or reupload the disputed content.
5. Copyright Owner May File a Legal Action. If a copyright owner wishes to keep the content disabled after receiving a counter notice, they will need to initiate a legal action seeking a court order to restrain the user from engaging in infringing activity relating to the content on JWTalk. In other words, you, the member/user might get sued by the copyright owner.
We believe that transparency is a virtue. The public should know what content is being removed from JWTalk and why. We will post redacted copies of any legal notices we receive (including original notices, counter notices or retractions) in an area that is publicly visible. We will not publicly publish your personal contact information; we will remove personal information (except for usernames in URLs to your public profile) before publishing notices.
Please also note that, although we will not publicly publish unredacted notices, we may provide a complete unredacted copy of any notices we receive directly to any party whose rights would be affected by it.
C. Repeated Infringement
It is the policy of JWTalk, in appropriate circumstances and in its sole discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who may infringe upon the copyrights of others. We may also and at our sole discretion limit and/or terminate access to the Services of any users who infringe any intellectual property rights of others, whether or not there is any repeat infringement.
D. Submitting a Copyright Takedown Notice
Filing a DMCA complaint is the start of a pre-defined legal process. Your complaint will be reviewed for accuracy, validity, and completeness. If your complaint has satisfied these requirements, we will take action on your request - which includes forwarding a full copy of your notice (including your name, address, phone and email address) to the user(s) who posted the allegedly infringing material in question. We Will Only Act on Claims That…
1. Identify the copyrighted work you believe has been infringed. The specificity of your identification will depend on the nature of the work you believe has been infringed. If you have published your work, you might be able to just link back to a web page where it lives. If it is proprietary and not published, you might describe it and explain that it is proprietary. If you have registered it with the Copyright Office, you should include the registration number. If you are alleging that the hosted content is a direct, literal copy of your work, you can also just explain that fact.
2. Identify the infringing material. It is important to be as specific as possible in your identification. This identification needs to be reasonably sufficient to permit JWTalk to locate the material on our website. At a minimum, this means that you should include the URL to the material allegedly infringing your copyright.
3. Provide your contact information. Include your email address, name, telephone number and physical address.
4. Include the following statement: “I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, or its agent, or the law.”
5. Also include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner, or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”
6. Include your signature. A physical or electronic signature (typing your full name will suffice) of the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf.
You may send your Copyright Takedown Notice to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond promptly.
E. Requesting a Retraction
If you believe that the materials reported in the copyright complaints were misidentified or removed in error, you may send us a counter-notification(s). A counter-notice is a request for JWTalk to reinstate the removed material, and it has legal consequences. Alternatively, you may be able to contact the reporter directly and ask for a retraction of the copyright complaint from. The reporter can send retractions to email@example.com and should include identification of the material that was disabled, and a statement that the reporter would like to retract their DMCA notice. This is the fastest and most efficient means of resolving an unresolved copyright complaint. A retraction is at the sole discretion of the original reporter.
F. Submitting a Counter-Notice
You may file a counter-notice if you believe that this material was misidentified, or you have a good faith belief that the material should not have been removed. If you’re unsure whether or not you should file a counter-notice, you may want to consult with an attorney, because a counter-notice is a request for JWTalk to reinstate the removed material, and is the start of a legal process that has legal consequences. Submitting a counter notice indicates that you consent to the jurisdiction of a U.S. Federal court and that you consent to the disclosure of your personal information to the reporter, who may use this information to sue you for copyright infringement in a court of law.
If you receive a DMCA Takedown Notice for a copyright violation, we will send you a Private Message (PM) and an email detailing how to exercise these options if you disagree with us disabling the disputed content.
Upon receipt of a valid counter-notice, we will promptly forward a copy to the person who filed the original notice. This means that the contact information that is submitted in your counter-notice will be shared to the person who filed the original notice.
If the copyright owner disagrees that the content was removed in error or misidentification, they may pursue legal action against you. If we do not receive notice within 10-14 business days that the original reporter is seeking a court order to prevent further infringement of the material at issue, we may replace or cease disabling access to the material that was removed.
We cannot offer any legal advice. Should you have questions, please consult an attorney.