• DMCA

301 Redirect Guide for Fraudulent Notices of DMCA Removal From Google Search

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 6 min read

301 Redirect Guide for Fraudulent Notices of DMCA Removal From Google Search

Table of Contents

Intro

Protecting your intellectual property has become far more challenging thanks to the meteoric rise of the internet, and this has resulted in multiple measures to curb rampant copyright abuse. One of these is the DMCA, which stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and this has had a dramatic influence on intellectual property law and the internet.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the ways that the DMCA can interfere with search results. Here at Ranktracker, we believe that it’s crucial to know why your ranks may be falling or rising, and the DMCA may make things a little more confusing for you, so we’ll take a look at the DMCA from an SEO point of view.

We’ll start off by taking a look at the DMCA itself, since you need to know about it before you understand how it can impact your search rankings. After that, we’ll go over the details of fraudulent DMCA notices, which are the main pain point for people who are trying to get their sites to rank.

After we go over what fraudulent DMCA notices are, we’ll explore how you can get around them using a 301 redirect. There is always a way to get around your search rankings getting undermined, and 301s are some of the most effective tools at your disposal so that you can retain your rankings.

What is the DMCA? Notice of DMCA removal from Google Search

What is the DMCA?

DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it was a copyright law that was implemented in two treaties that were signed in 1996. After the signing of these two treaties, the DMCA was approved in 1998, and it makes the dissemination of copyrighted works illegal.

This helps copyright owners maintain control over their intellectual properties so that they can make money off of them instead of third parties. Along with criminalizing dissemination of IPs, it also means that copyright owners can control how their digital properties are used on the internet.

Measures to control IPs on the internet had been previously attempted, but the DMCA was the first one that could consistently enforce legal ramifications on those who impeded on it. This is because of how it also criminalized the act of circumventing access control to copyrighted works.

The DMCA was passed on October 12, 1998, by Bill Clinton, and it passed through a unanimous vote by the US Senate. When it was passed into law, the DMCA resulted in an amendment to the United States Code’s Title 17, which pertains to the reach of copyright and the right of users when it comes to copyright infringement.

The DMCA was started due to the United States’ decision to comply with the WIPO’s (World Intellectual Property Organization) prerogative to help copyright holders maintain a hold on their work. This began in 1996, though talks about managing IPs were well underway before then.

In 1976, when copyright legislation first got underway, it was a matter that wasn’t discussed too often due to the lack of distribution methods that were available. However, this was soon seen as shortsighted due to the meteoric growth of the internet and the ease of distribution that it entailed.

As lawmakers began to see how easily copyrighted material could be shared, they started to come up with ways to curb the distribution of these materials. This created the need for the DMCA, which was signed into law so that people who created their works could make the money they deserved off of them.

What is a Fraudulent DMCA Notice?

The DMCA essentially allows intellectual property owners to claim their works when they’re not being used so that they can get the recognition or money that they should be making off of them. While this leads to IP owners getting their just dues, it also leads to some conflicts between them and those hosting their content.

In some cases, content may be hosted because of an agreement between the host and the creator, but that’s not always the case. When this happens, the creator files a DMCA claim to ensure that their content isn’t being used without their permission, but there are other possibilities that can sometimes cause problems for the host.

For example, if a fraudulent DMCA notice is filed, the host may lose out on profits. A fraudulent notice is one that is filed without good reason. One of the issues with DMCA claims is that they are enacted without evidence, meaning that a DMCA notice can cut out content without it being valid.

This results in situations where DMCA claimants are trying to shut down sites because they are seeing too much competition from their top rivals. In other situations, false DMCA claims can ruin a site’s reputation without the claimant meaning to do so, with their actions coming from a place of ignorance.

In case a DMCA notice is filed without a valid reason, the site or the page will typically still be removed from Google, since they don’t want to get wrapped up in legal issues. While this works well for Google and protects them from legal action, the sites that they are hosting end up in a bad place.

This puts the onus on those sites to reach out to Google and let them know that their content has been hit by a DMCA notice when they did nothing wrong. While seasoned internet businesses may be used to this, this isn’t the case for every business, and many business owners may not know what to do.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to ensure that your site keeps properly ranking even if you’ve received a DMCA notice. We’re going to explore how you can get around DMCA notices and how you can avoid having to deal with them in the foreseeable future so that you won’t have to jump through hoops once again.

How to Rerank Using a 301

301 redirects are a gift to anyone who’s dealing with issues related to DMCA notices or other reasons that their pages are no longer hosted. If that’s the case, there are a few steps that can ensure that your site doesn’t lose its search rankings, and the page may even end up gaining organic results.

You have to start off by changing the URL of the page that has been taken off of Google. If you fail to change this URL, your page will still end up getting penalized. This means that all of your efforts to boost your rankings will go to waste because your page will not be taken seriously by Google’s algorithm.

This means that you will need to 301 redirect the old page to the new page, and this comes with a decision. When you redirect the pages, you’ll have to figure out whether or not you want to rewrite the content that was already there. While anecdotal evidence suggests that leaving the content as-is doesn’t cause any issues, it’s still a good idea to rewrite it.

After that, you’ll want to take a look at the content that you have hosted on the page itself. For example, if you have any images or videos on the page, be sure to review them. Any images or videos that are infringing on any copyright will have to be removed to ensure that your page isn’t in the red.

If you’re considering whether or not you should respond to the DMCA, that’s a firm NO. Responding to a DMCA puts you in jeopardy, so you should avoid responding to any claims whenever you can. Don’t give the claimant more ammunition that they can use against you.

After all of this, you may be wondering how much longer it should take you to rank. If you follow all of the steps in this guide, then your site should be able to rank on Google search within two or three days. In exceptional cases, it may take up to a week, but if it takes any longer there are some problems.

Conclusion

While a DMCA notice may seem scary when you receive it for the first time, there aren’t too many concerns if you’re not hosting content that is someone else’s IP. Even though the initial effects of the claim may affect the host disproportionately, that’s not the way that it has to stay.

Following these steps will ensure that your content doesn’t get sent to the internet’s dungeons to appease some copyright lawyers. As long as you’re quick about ensuring that you claim a DMCA notice as fraudulent, you can ensure that your content remains hosted.

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education, and research.

Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.

Non-profit, educational, or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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