host not honoring DMCA notice, what to do?

by bleu
24 replies
So a site has taken almost 200 images of my original artwork and is displaying it on their website. They are displaying the work with no copyright notice and allow their users to download the images.

I have sent a DMCA notice to their host (dream host) but I received no reply and the images have not been removed after more than two weeks.

They do not answer any emails and they do not answer or return phone calls.

Before involving lawyers, what else I can do?
#dmca #honoring #host #notice
  • Profile picture of the author Content Commando
    aside from suing them blind, i don't think there is anything you can do.
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  • Profile picture of the author ColdWritingLLC
    Originally Posted by bleu View Post

    I have sent a DMCA notice to their host (dream host) but I received no reply and the images have not been removed after more than two weeks.

    They do not answer any emails and they do not answer or return phone calls.

    Before involving lawyers, what else I can do?
    Two weeks may not be enough time for a bigger host like Dream Host to process DMCA claims. The fact that they are a larger host adds more problems to the whole fiasco, given the likelyhood they actually have attorneys on retainer.

    This means that while they will probably get to your request eventually they probably won't talk to you in the meantime. This is because you have, by filing a DMCA, essentially begun a legal process against them. They have to ensure that they don't get sued themselves so they distance themselves and, since in some regions it is illegal for a lawyer in an ongoing legal process to contact the person who filed against their represented company, you'll probably just have to wait it out. They'll contact you when they can verify you own them, the other people is not you, and they have them removed from their servers.

    Or, like the other person said, you can go speak to a lawyer. They will get you an answer relatively quickly, but you're definitely going to have to shell out some cash.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
      Originally Posted by ColdWritingLLC View Post

      since in some regions it is illegal for a lawyer in an ongoing legal process to contact the person who filed against their represented company,
      I've never heard of that. What regions would those be?
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      If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do...
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Quote:
        Originally Posted by ColdWritingLLC
        since in some regions it is illegal for a lawyer in an ongoing legal process to contact the person who filed against their represented company,

        I've never heard of that. What regions would those be?
        Originally Posted by Tsnyder View Post

        I've never heard of that. What regions would those be?
        I think what CW means is that if Attorney A represents X in a claim against Y, and Y is represented by Attorney B, then Attorney A cannot contact Y. Attorney A must contact Attorney B.

        That doesn't apply here, but is the best I can make of the comment.

        .
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  • Profile picture of the author bleu
    I wonder how long I should wait?

    I have contacted other large sites like ebay and they have almost always contacted me back very quickly sometimes within hours even on nights and weekends...
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Wells
    Originally Posted by bleu View Post

    So a site has taken almost 200 images of my original artwork and is displaying it on their website. They are displaying the work with no copyright notice and allow their users to download the images.

    I have sent a DMCA notice to their host (dream host) but I received no reply and the images have not been removed after more than two weeks.

    They do not answer any emails and they do not answer or return phone calls.

    Before involving lawyers, what else I can do?
    What I have always done is send a DMCA to the actual site, and tell them they have 72 hours to comply, not including weekends. If they do not then I send to their hosting service. I have never had to send to the hosting service yet. No one wants to have their site shut down, maybe you should have went to them directly first, let them respond, and if they didn't then go to their host.

    Either way, I would resend a notice to both them and their hosting at this point. If you have proof, and show it, when you send the notice, they usually, (at least in my cases) do not fight!
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  • Profile picture of the author kpmedia
    Are you sure you sent it to the right email/contact at Dreamhost?
    Because this doesn't sound like them.
    And two weeks is plenty of time, large host or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    You should have heard back from Dreamhost by now. Are you sure you properly submitted it with the information that is required and to the right person? If not, they may ignore it. I've never heard of a US host ignoring a properly filled out DMCA.
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  • Profile picture of the author bleu
    Are you sure you sent it to the right email/contact at Dreamhost?
    Because this doesn't sound like them.
    And two weeks is plenty of time, large host or not.
    I'm positive it's the correct email and phone number.

    You should have heard back from Dreamhost by now. Are you sure you properly submitted it with the information that is required and to the right person? If not, they may ignore it. I've never heard of a US host ignoring a properly filled out DMCA.
    It is the correct information, for sure it is and it's easy to understand but I did have one other host one time not accept my notice because they said the "wording had to be exact" I don't really know if you can ignore a DMCA just because things are worded differently or not but anyway I just called and they fixed it.

    Dreamhost does not answer the phone, does not return phone calls or answer any emails.

    I'll try again, I know I have the right contact information and that I included everything that is required of a DMCA except I did not link individually to every single of the almost 200 images that were copied...
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    It could be the request was lost, accidentally deleted, overlooked during the holidays, etc. Or, you're getting the finger. Hard to know right now.

    I would avoid any further contact attempt where you do not have a record proving you sent a request. For instance, an online contact form can be useless. Email, fax, mail - all better.

    Step 1 - Make sure your images are registered with the US Copyright Office.

    Why? Registration may entitle you to recover statutory damages and attorney fees. Otherwise, you are on your own proving damages you actually suffered and you get to pay an attorney. Registration thus gives you lots of financial leverage that Dream Host will certainly pay attention to.

    Step 2 - Since Dream Host is in California contact a California attorney to send a final take down demand before a lawsuit is filed.

    My office is in California. There are also about 200,000 other attorneys here, many of whom love to take on big companies, especially when there is the prospect of recovering fees.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author bleu
    It could be the request was lost, accidentally deleted, overlooked during the holidays, etc. Or, you're getting the finger. Hard to know right now.
    lol I don't think it's any of those, I have a record of sending it and a record of several follow up emails.

    I think they purposefully deleted it for some reason, then they just ignored all of my attempts to follow up because they don't care. edit: hmm I guess that actually would be giving me the finger lol how rude

    Probably because I did not describe/link to each image individually? But it would take less than 30 seconds to figure out what was going on if they were to actually look at what I sent.

    The offending site created a profile for me using my name and all of the images that were on my site. It's even all nicely organized in a folder using my name, and the copyright symbol with my name is still intact on each of my images that they took... and then they have their adsense next to all my content. Is that not easy?
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by bleu View Post

      Probably because I did not describe/link to each image individually? But it would take less than 30 seconds to figure out what was going on if they were to actually look at what I sent.
      Bingo. The DMCA must link to and describe each page/text/image that is being infringed. You can't just say they copied a bunch of my stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
      Originally Posted by bleu View Post

      lol I don't think it's any of those, I have a record of sending it and a record of several follow up emails.

      I think they purposefully deleted it for some reason, then they just ignored all of my attempts to follow up because they don't care. edit: hmm I guess that actually would be giving me the finger lol how rude

      Probably because I did not describe/link to each image individually? But it would take less than 30 seconds to figure out what was going on if they were to actually look at what I sent.

      The offending site created a profile for me using my name and all of the images that were on my site. It's even all nicely organized in a folder using my name, and the copyright symbol with my name is still intact on each of my images that they took... and then they have their adsense next to all my content. Is that not easy?
      DMCA complaints: DreamHost Web Hosting: Abuse Center

      Note that it says:

      Note that it is extremely important to provide DreamHost with a full list of all infringing material when filing a DMCA Notification. If the list is ambiguous or overly broad, we may be unable to accept the DMCA Notification. A full list of specific URLs is preferred.

      Send a certified letter from your attorney to here: http://www.dreamhost.com/dmca/
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      • Profile picture of the author bleu
        Bingo. The DMCA must link to and describe each page/text/image that is being infringed. You can't just say they copied a bunch of my stuff.
        Thank you, yes I hope that is it, I just tried sending another DMCA.

        I thought the first one was pretty straightforward since I sent a link to the list of images and each one has my name on it, other sites have honored that or taken a minute to ask for clarification.


        DMCA complaints: DreamHost Web Hosting: Abuse Center

        Note that it says:

        Note that it is extremely important to provide DreamHost with a full list of all infringing material when filing a DMCA Notification. If the list is ambiguous or overly broad, we may be unable to accept the DMCA Notification. A full list of specific URLs is preferred.

        Send a certified letter from your attorney to here: DMCA | DreamHost

        Thank you! I see I need to link to each individual image separately and I guess also describe each one even though all of the images are in one folder on their site, it's literally a collection of all my images in a folder that is named my name and each image has my name directly on the image itself, it's not very ambiguous at all.

        But I can do that, it's better than the alternative. I'll pop back and let you know if it works this time.

        Thanks again everybody!
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  • Profile picture of the author JRJWrites
    Does DH have a phone number you can call?
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    • Profile picture of the author bleu
      Does DH have a phone number you can call?
      They do list a phone number but no one answers when I call and no one returns my call when I leave a message.
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      • Profile picture of the author JRJWrites
        Originally Posted by bleu View Post

        They do list a phone number but no one answers when I call and no one returns my call when I leave a message.
        Too bad.

        Sue the pants off 'em (the website owners who copied, I mean).
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        • Profile picture of the author bleu
          Too bad.

          Sue the pants off 'em (the website owners who copied, I mean).
          I'd rather sue DreamHost, they have a lot more money. I am seeing some big numbers thrown around on what you can recover from copyright infringement and it's per image and they have almost 200 of mine so it would add up to a lot if that applied in my case... probably not but I don't know yet, it is very interesting to think about though, it's into 6 figures on the low end.

          The domain registrar, any payment processor on the site, the upstream provider, AdSense if they use them and anyone/thing else associated with the site.
          Thanks Garrie! Upstream provider sounds interesting. How do you do that?
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          • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
            Aside from all the good advice you're received, equally important is that you place a watermark on every piece of artwork from now on. This should help to prevent any further theft.
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          • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
            Originally Posted by bleu View Post

            Thanks Garrie! Upstream provider sounds interesting. How do you do that?
            Here is an article on finding upstream providers for spam complaints. It's the same process for DMCAs and other complaints.

            Rick's spam digest :: Spamstopper's notebook -- finding upstream providers


            -Garrie
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          • Profile picture of the author JRJWrites
            Originally Posted by bleu View Post

            I am seeing some big numbers thrown around on what you can recover from copyright infringement and it's per image and they have almost 200 of mine so it would add up to a lot if that applied in my case... probably not but I don't know yet, it is very interesting to think about though, it's into 6 figures on the low end.
            You bet! $4K was the fine on WebCopyPlus for a single, stupid photo.

            Read about it on their blog here ---> Legal Lesson Learned: Copywriter Pays $4,000 for $10 Photo | Webcopyplus Web Copywriter Blog
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            • Profile picture of the author bleu
              You bet! $4K was the fine on WebCopyPlus for a single, stupid photo.

              Read about it on their blog here ---> Legal Lesson Learned: Copywriter Pays $4,000 for $10 Photo | Webcopyplus Web Copywriter Blog
              amazing, and I would have settled for a simple timely removal of the images... lol
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    As already stated you should have correctly sent it but in the future, you could also submit one and/or notices to:

    The domain registrar, any payment processor on the site, the upstream provider, AdSense if they use them and anyone/thing else associated with the site.

    It's a shotgun approach but does work.

    Garrie
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  • Profile picture of the author bleu
    Aside from all the good advice you're received, equally important is that you place a watermark on every piece of artwork from now on. This should help to prevent any further theft.
    I don't have a watermark on these but every single image that was stolen has the copyright symbol and my name on it.

    Here is an article on finding upstream providers for spam complaints. It's the same process for DMCAs and other complaints.

    Rick's spam digest :: Spamstopper's notebook -- finding upstream providers
    Awesome, thank you!
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