The OCILLA provides the ability for online service providers to take down content that is alleged to violate copyright law. The online service provider is then protected from liability to its customers for removing material from their websites and from liability for copyright infringement claims themselves. However, the provider must take down the material in order to receive the protection from the act. If the provider does not take down the alleged infringing material after receiving a complaint, he may be held liable for contributory infringement.

What Should Be Included in a Notification?

A copyright holder making a complaint to an online service provider must send a written notification to a designated agent of the provider registered with the copyright office. The complaint must include:

  • Identification of the copyrighted work;
  • Identification of the allegedly violating material;
  • Contact information;
  • A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that the use is not authorized, and that all information provided is accurate.

Once a complaint has been received, the provider will take down the material and notify the alleged infringer. Once the material has been removed, the copyright holder must file a lawsuit within 14 business days, or the provider will put the material back up.

What If the Material Does Not Violate a Copyright?

Once a copyright holder has made a formal notification to a service provider and the provider has taken down the material, the alleged copyright infringer has an opportunity to make a counter notification, stating that the material was removed improperly. Once this is received, the provider must notify the copyright holder and inform him that the material will be replaced in 10 business days, unless a lawsuit is filed.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The law regarding the internet and intellectual property is very complex and still quite new. An experienced copyright lawyer can advise you of your rights under the law and options if faced with a lawsuit. A lawyer can also represent you in court if needed.