The Wikimedia Foundation Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Policy
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 512)(“DMCA”), the Wikimedia Foundation (“WMF”) may be required to remove content from a Wikimedia project in response to an official DMCA request to take down the content. The Act creates a safe harbor, or a legal exemption, from copyright infringement liability for Internet service providers (ISPs) and other intermediaries. This immunity has been an asset for the entire free knowledge movement and it has been critical to upholding many of the user freedoms that have contributed to the movement’s success. To retain this safe harbor status, WMF is required to comply with a validly formulated notice and remove potentially infringing works.
To encourage and maintain free speech on our sites, WMF will push back against DMCA takedown requests if we believe that the content in question is actually lawful. The law requires that DMCA requests be made by the holder of a valid copyright in the work or by an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, and requires that requests are made in good faith under penalty of perjury.
If you are a copyright owner…
If you are a copyright owner and you believe that your work is being infringed, in the spirit of open collaboration, WMF encourages you to seek resolution through the Wikimedia volunteer community. You may contact the Wikimedia volunteer community at firstname.lastname@example.org with an informal request for content removal. When you contact the Wikimedia volunteer community, please provide the exact URL (the “address” or “location” of the page as shown by your web browser) of the content and provide enough information to substantiate your claim of copyright ownership. You must support your concern with a link to your publication, a scanned page of the work, and enough publication details for the volunteer community to evaluate your request.
- Wikimedia Foundation
- c/o CT Corporation System
- 818 West Seventh Street
- Los Angeles, California 90017
The takedown notice must substantially comply with the provisions of 17. U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A). Submission of a takedown notice further requires that you consent to the jurisdiction of a United States court. Statutory requirements of a valid DMCA takedown notice include:
- your physical or electronic signature;
- your contact information;
- identification of what work is being infringed;
- identification of the material that you believe to be infringing and a description that allows us to locate the material on our website;
- a statement that you have a good faith belief that the use 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 copyright owner.
Once you have initiated a DMCA takedown notice…
If WMF receives a valid and statutorily-compliant DMCA takedown notice, WMF will remove the content upon satisfactory review of the merits of the infringement claim. Once the content is removed, we will post the notice online on our own site and send the report to Lumen (previously known as Chilling Effects) and other third parties if appropriate. We will also take reasonable steps to notify the content uploader of the DMCA notice. Posted DMCA notices may be found here.
The content uploader may respond with a DMCA counternotice. The counternotice operates much like the original notice, but works in the reverse. Please note that there is no statute of limitations for counternotices.
If WMF receives a valid counternotice, we will seek to notify you of its receipt. You will have 10 business days to file suit and enjoin continued use of the content. If you decline to file suit, WMF will restore the content pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512 (g)(2)(B)-(C). WMF will also post the counternotice online. Posted counternotices may be found here.
If you are an uploader of content…
If you are the uploader of content that has been subject to removal in response to a DMCA takedown notice, we will make reasonable efforts to notify you of the action. In an effort to be transparent, we will also post the DMCA takedown notice online on our own site and on Lumen, and other third parties if appropriate.
If a contribution of yours was the subject of a DMCA takedown and you believe that the contribution did not violate copyright laws, you may wish to file a counternotice. Please consider that filing a counternotice may lead to legal proceedings between you and the sender of the takedown notice to determine ownership and legality of the use of the material. You may also be liable for damages, including costs and attorney fees, if you knowingly and substantially misrepresent your claim. As WMF is unable to provide you with legal advice, you may wish to consult an attorney before filing a counternotice.
Any counternotice that you file must meet statutory provisions under the DMCA and requires that you consent to the jurisdiction of a United States court. Requirements of a compliant DMCA counternotice under 17 U.S.C. § 512 (g)(3) include:
- your physical or electronic signature;
- your name, address, and phone number;
- identification of the material and its location before it was removed;
- a statement under penalty of perjury that the material was removed by mistake or misidentification;
- your consent to the jurisdiction of a federal court in the district where you live (if you are in the U.S.), or your consent to the jurisdiction of a federal court in the district where your service provider is located (if you are not in the U.S.); and
- your consent to accept service of process from the party who submitted the takedown notice.
What can I expect if I file a DMCA counternotice?
If WMF receives a statutorily-compliant counternotice, we will make reasonable efforts to notify the original requestor of the takedown that a counternotice was received. The original requestor will have 10 business days from the date WMF notifies the original requestor of the counternotice to prevent the restoration of the content by filing a lawsuit. If the original requestor has not filed suit, WMF will restore your content between 10 and 14 business days after receipt of the counternotice. WMF will also post the counternotice online. Posted counternotice may be found here.
What happens to repeat copyright infringers?
Pursuant to the DMCA, we will terminate, in appropriate circumstances, users and account holders of our system and network who are repeat infringers (see 17 U.S.C. § 512 (i)(1)(A)).
Want to learn more?
If you are unsure about whether you own the copyright to a particular work, you may wish to consult an attorney.
If you are looking for more information about the DMCA and relevant procedure, you may find the following sites helpful: