Guide to Submitting a DMCA Counter Notice
This guide describes the information that Buffer needs in order to process a counter notice to a DMCA takedown request. If you have more general questions about what the DMCA is or how Buffer processes DMCA takedown requests, please review our DMCA Takedown Policy.
If you believe your content on Buffer was mistakenly disabled by a DMCA takedown request, you have the right to contest the takedown by submitting a counter notice. If you do, we will wait 10-14 days and then re-enable your content unless the copyright owner initiates a legal action against you before then. Our counter-notice form, set forth below, is consistent with the form suggested by the DMCA statute, which can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office’s official website: http://www.copyright.gov.
As with all legal matters, it is always best to consult with a professional about your specific questions or situation. We strongly encourage you to do so before taking any action that might impact your rights. This guide isn’t legal advice and shouldn’t be taken as such.
Before You Begin
Be Truthful. The DMCA requires that you swear to your counter notice under penalty of perjury. It is a federal crime to intentionally lie in a sworn declaration. (See U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 1621.) Submitting false information could also result in civil liability—meaning you could incur a financial penalty.
Investigate. Submitting a DMCA counter notice can have real legal consequences. If the complaining party disagrees that their takedown notice was mistaken, they might decide to file a lawsuit against you to keep the content disabled. You should conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations made in the takedown notice and probably talk to a lawyer before submitting a counter notice.
You Must Have a Good Reason to Submit a Counter Notice. In order to file a counter notice, you must have “a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.” (U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 512(g).) Whether you decide to explain why you believe there was a mistake is up to you and your lawyer, but you do need to identify a mistake before you submit a counter notice.
Copyright Laws Are Complicated. Sometimes a takedown notice might allege infringement in a way that seems odd or indirect. Copyright laws are complicated and can lead to some unexpected results. For example:
A copyright complaint might be based on non-literal copying of design elements present on your site, rather than the content itself—in other words, they think your design looks too similar to theirs.
Since there are many nuances to the law and some unsettled questions in these types of cases, it is especially important to get professional advice if the infringement allegations do not seem straightforward.
Your Counter Notice Will Be Published. As noted in our DMCA Takedown Policy, after redacting personal information, we publish all complete and actionable counter notices at https://github.com/bufferapp/dmca.
Additional Resources. If you need additional help, there are many self-help resources online. Chilling Effects has an informative set of FAQs about copyright and DMCA safe harbor. If you think you have a particularly challenging case, non-profit organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation may also be willing to help directly or refer you to a lawyer.
Your Counter Notice Must…
Include the following statement: “I have read and understand Buffer’s Guide to Filing a DMCA Counter Notice.” We won’t refuse to process an otherwise complete counter notice if you don’t include this statement; however, we will know that you haven’t read these guidelines and may ask you to go back and do so.
Identify the content that was disabled and the location where it appeared. The disabled content should have been identified by URL in the takedown notice. You simply need to copy the URL(s) that you want to challenge.
Provide your contact information. Include your email address, name, telephone number, and physical address.
Include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good-faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.” You may also choose to communicate the reasons why you believe there was a mistake or misidentification. This is an opportunity to explain to the copyright claimant why they should not take the next step and file a lawsuit in response. This is yet another reason to work with a lawyer when submitting a counter notice.
Include the following statement: “I consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which my address is located (if in the United States, otherwise the Northern District of California where Buffer is located), and I will accept service of process from the person who provided the DMCA notification or an agent of such person.”
Include your physical or electronic signature.
How to Submit Your Counter Notice
The fastest way to get a response is to send an email notification to email@example.com. You may include an attachment if you like, but please also include a plain-text version of your letter in the body of your message. If you must send your notice by physical mail, you can do that too, but it will take substantially longer for us to receive and respond to it—and the 10-14 day waiting period starts from when we receive your counter notice. Notices we receive via plain-text email have a much faster turnaround than PDF attachments or physical mail. If you still wish to mail us your notice, our physical address is:
Buffer, Inc Attn: DMCA Agent 2443 Fillmore Street #380-7163 San Francisco, CA. 94115
*Note: Buffer’s DMCA policies have been influenced by those at Netlify.