Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice
If you believe that material available on our site infringes on your copyright(s), please notify us by providing a DMCA notice. Upon receipt of a valid and complete notice, we will remove the material and make a good faith attempt to contact the user who uploaded the material by email.
AOG is an anonymous and encrypted social networking platform where users often use copyrighted materials in commentary or transform the materials into something original of their own. As such, before submitting a DMCA notice, it’s important to consider if the manner in which the material is used falls under fair use. If you are not sure whether material located on AOG infringes your copyright, or if it is subject to fair use protections, you should first consider seeking legal advice.
Please be advised that you may be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent that material or activity is infringing.
Your DMCA notice will be forwarded to the party that made the material available, and also may be sent to third parties such as LumenDatabase.org. A message will be sent to the user in question detailing the name of the copyright holder who submitted the takedown notice. In addition, you are required to consider the possible fair use implications, as a result of Lenz v. Universal. We reserve the right to challenge abuses of the DMCA process, and your use of this form does not waive that right.
Please follow these steps to file a notice:
- Contact the user directly. Go to the post in question and leave a comment with your complaint to see if the matter can be resolved directly between you and the user.
- Send your complaint to our designated agent via the form below, if the issue cannot be resolved directly.
As required by the DMCA, we have a policy to terminate users that we consider to be repeat infringers. Although we won’t share the specifics of our repeat infringer policy (we don’t want anyone to game the system, after all), we believe that it strikes the right balance of protecting the rights of copyright owners as well as protecting legitimate users from wrongful termination. Please note that notices that are successfully countered, rejected on fair use grounds, or deemed to be fraudulent are not counted against a user or site.
Send your authorized and official complaint to: [email protected], and you must include the following:
- A physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf;
- An identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed;
- A description of the nature and exact location of the material that you claim to infringe your copyright, in sufficient detail to permit AOG to find and positively identify that material. For example we require a link to the specific post (not just the name of the user) that contains the material and a description of which specific portion of the post – an image, a link, the text, etc. your complaint refers to;
- Your name, address, telephone number and email address;
- A statement that you have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
- A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Our DMCA Process
The process begins when a copyright holder (or someone acting on their behalf) submits a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) takedown notice to us, claiming that their content is published on Minds without their permission. They can submit a DMCA takedown notice via our form, email, or printed letter. After that, here’s what happens:
- We review the notice.
- If the notice is complete and valid, we remove the content.
- We notify the user and reply to the copyright holder to let them know we’ve taken action.
- We add a strike to the user's account if they don’t counter the notice.
- If the site owner believes they have rights to use the content or that the notice was submitted incorrectly, we review and process their counter notice.
- We restore the content if the copyright holder doesn’t take further legal action within 10 business days.
Step 1: We Review the Takedown Notice
When we first receive a DMCA takedown notice regarding a site, we review it to confirm that all of the required elements are present. Because the DMCA is law, we cannot accept a notice that’s missing any of the pieces outlined above.
In addition to reviewing notices for completeness, we also assess their validity. Although we respect copyrights, we also support everyone’s right to use content within the boundaries afforded by the law. Specifically, we reject notices that appear to be fraudulent or where the content identified:
- Isn’t copyrightable (for example, a person’s name).
- Is content that the complaining party may not own the copyright for (for example, the subject of a photo isn’t necessarily the copyright owner of the photo).
- Is fair use of copyrighted content.
Step 2: We Remove the Content
If we receive a complete and valid DMCA takedown notice, we remove the content from the site and replace it with a DMCA removal message. For example, if we receive a DMCA takedown notice for an image within a post, we’ll replace only that image with a placeholder; the rest of the post and site will be unaffected.
Step 3: We Notify the User and Reply to the Copyright Holder
Whenever we remove content from a site in response to a DMCA takedown notice we email user and provide a copy of the original complaint. We also notify the copyright holder to let them know that the allegedly infringing content has been removed.
If the user wants to republish the post, they can edit the post to remove the specific content at issue. (This is only an option when only a portion of a post was identified as infringing.) After making the changes, the user must reply to our message to request removal of the DMCA takedown message.
Users cannot, under any circumstances, republish the allegedly infringing content. Republishing content that was removed after receipt of a valid DMCA takedown notice could result in the site being permanently suspended from Aog.pub. If the counter notice procedure is followed, we’ll restore the content at the appropriate time.
Step 4: We Add a Strike
We’re required by the DMCA to have a repeat infringer policy, so if a site owner doesn’t counter a complete and valid DMCA takedown notice, we add a strike to their account.
We assess strikes after 10 business days, so that no one’s site is suspended before they have a chance to review the issue and submit a valid counter notice.
Step 5: We Review and Process the Counter Notice
Sometimes a user will disagree with the DMCA takedown notice, believing that they are lawfully using the content. We encourage users to submit a counter notice if this is the case. After reviewing the counter notice for completeness, we reply to the user and notify the copyright holder, providing them with a copy.
Step 6: We Restore the Content
In spite of the counter notice, the user cannot republish the content because the copyright holder then has 10 business days to initiate legal proceedings against the user to prevent them from using their content on AOG. If at the end of the 10 business days, the copyright holder hasn’t initiated legal proceedings, the DMCA requires us to restore the content.
Copyright and Fair Use
It is important to consider if the manner in which the material is used falls under fair use, before submitting a DMCA notice. Under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing is liable for:
…any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.
Please note that AOG may seek to collect those damages. We reserve the right to do so in the future as recourse for notices we deem to be improper. This includes DMCA notices aimed at uses of copyrighted content that we believe to be fair. Additionally, you are required to give consideration to whether a use of material is fair before submitting a takedown notification, as a result of the decision in Lenz v. Universal.
What is fair use?
There aren’t hard and fast rules when it comes to defining fair use. However, the Copyright Act sets out four factors for courts to consider:
- The purpose and character of the use: Why and how is the material used? Using content for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research is usually fair. Additionally, using material in a transformative manner, that is to say, in a manner that adds new expression, meaning, or insight, is also more likely to be considered fair use over an exact reproduction of a work. What’s more, nonprofit use is favored over commercial use.
- The nature of the copyrighted work: Is the original factual or fiction, published or unpublished? Factual and published works are less protected, so its use is more likely to be considered fair.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: How much of the material is used? If the “heart” (the most memorable or significant portion) or the majority of a work wasn’t used, it’s more likely to be considered fair.
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work: Does the use target a different market/audience? If so, it’s more likely to be fair use. It’s important to note that although criticism or parody may reduce a market, it still may be fair because of its transformative nature. In other words, if the criticism of a product influences people to stop buying the product, that doesn’t count as having an “effect on the market for the work” under copyright law.
Last updated: February 2, 2020