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Can I send a DMCA notice to a registrar?

Los Angeles, CA |

A website is hosting infringing content through a .com domain. The domain registrar is on the "Directory of Service Provider Agents for Notification of Claims of Infringement" on the "U.S. Copyright Office" website. I sent DMCA notices half a year ago, first to the registrant, then to the registrar when I received no response. However, the pages became inaccessible at that time.

I discovered recently that the web pages are accessible again, and I re-opened my ticket with the domain registrar, requesting that the domain name be suspended in accordance with the DMCA. However, they told me to contact the registrant or web host provider.

If .com registrars are required by law to act upon DMCA notices, how should I proceed with responding to the registrar, quoting relevant DMCA article(s)?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

As I understand the DMCA, it is the _host_ for the website that gets the notice. In addition, it is a carrot, not a stcik. That is, if the host does a takedown after getting the notice then they are in a "safe harbor", safe from becoming a defendant when and if you sue the owner of the website for infringement; else they would be a contributory infringer. Some hosts do not care and leave the pages up. Then you must sue.

I have attached my article on this as a link.

Licensed in Maryland. Information here is general, does not create a lawyer-client relationship, nor is it a substitute for consulting with an experienced attorney on the specifics of your situation.


You're all goofed up with your terminology.
A "registrant" is a person who registers a domain name.
A "registrar" is a company licensed by ICANN to sell domain name registrations.
[FYI - a "registry" is a company licensed by ICANN to operate a top level domain (such as .com, .net, .name, etc.].
A "web host" is a company that sells space on its internet-connected servers [that is, computers] to others which permits those others to publish website content via those servers. Often, those others register domain names in order to publish their websites [residing on their web host's servers] at a memorable internet address. So that person is called the "website owner" and the "registrant."

If a website owner publishes content on its website that another has a good faith belief infringes that other's copyright then that person should contact the website owner and ask that the content be taken down. If the content is not removed then the person can send a DMCA take-down notice to the WEB HOST where the website [and allegedly infringing content] actually resides. The "registrar" of the domain name where the website can be located has nothing to do with that content [except when it not only sells the domain name registration but is also serving as the web host as well -- which, for example, GoDaddy does quite regularly].

So contact the web host and send a proper DMCA notice. Good luck.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.


While the registrar should comply with the DMCA notice (if appropriately given). You might want to take the following steps before recontacting the registrar.

1. Contact the registrant with your DMCA notice and wait a day for them to act.

2. If no action, file a DMCA notice with the webhost, again waiting a day for them to act.

3. If no action by the webhost, file a DMCA notice with the registrar attaching the notices that you sent to the registrant and webhost. Some registrars (like GoDaddy) will often comply, others may provide difficult to work with, since they are not directly responsible for the content on the site.

As a final note, DMCA notices must contain very specific information, so you should assure that your notices comply with these requirements.

The above is general information for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice nor does it form an attorney-client relationship. You should contact counsel in your jurisdiction for legal advice in this matter.


A DMCA takedown notice would be sent to the registered agent for the site (e.g. YouTube's or Apple's registered agents for such notices), not to the domain name registrar. The registrar, presumably accredited by ICANN, simply manages the registration of internet domain names. If you follow the takedown notice guidelines posted on the website that contains this allegedly infringing content, provided the site is legitimate, the owners would presumably want to comply so they could rely on the safe-harbor provision of the DMCA. It is possible, however, that this site is not legitimate or is run by some sketchy folks. In that case, a DMCA notice may do you no good. You could find out what company is actually hosting that site and send them a letter advising them of the situation. I have had some success in having infringing content taken down by contacting the web host. Good luck.

Notice: This answer is for educational and informational purposes only, is not a reflection on or a representation of any views or opinions held by my employer, and should not be construed as legal advice. Nothing herein is meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


You should respond by hitting a copyright lawyer who knotted how to do that
DCMA takedown notice.

So far, this is free to you. Until you pay a fee, I am not your lawyer and you are not my client, so you take any free advice at your sole risk. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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