Can My Website Get Me In Trouble?

September 14, 2015


© John Burton 2015

The short answer is yes, if your site permits users to post content on the site.

If a user posts content on your site that belongs to someone else, as an on-line service provider, you could be subject to a claim of copyright infringement.

Fortunately, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998 U.S. federal law, provides immunity from liability to on-line service providers who follow the requirements of the Act. The DMCA is powerful protection for on-line service providers located in the U.S.

To qualify, you must have a Designated Agent registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to receive notification of a claimed copyright infringement. This is a role that the Law Firm of John Burton serves for many of his valued clients.

By way of simple example, the DMCA works as follows. Mark gives his friend a copy of Mark’s new song which the friend posts on his website without Mark’s permission. Mark conducts a web search and finds his song. Mark’s lawyer contacts the Designated Agent of and requests the song to be removed.

To satisfy the requirements of the DMCA, myspace must remove the song, notify the friend, who then has the option of sending a counter-notice to myspace stating that the song was taken down unfairly. If Mark does not file a lawsuit against the friend in a short period of time, myspace can put the song back up.

Although the above hypothetical uses a song as its example, keep in mind almost anything can be posted on your site without your immediate knowledge which could give rise to a claim of copyright infringement. Pictures, books, hyperlinks to news articles, porn……………. My law firm of strongly recommends that if you operate a website that allows users to post content that you be in compliance with the DMCA safe harbor provisions which will insulate you from liability. I will gladly assist you with this endeavor.

Please feel free to contact me at:; or
(602) 617-8516.

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