Will My Site Get Penalized by a Fraudulent DMCA Claim?

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 2 min read
Will My Site Get Penalized by a Fraudulent DMCA Claim?


The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is a copyright in the United States that was created to help intellectual property (IP) owners protect their creations from being used or sold on the internet without their consent. However, the DMCA can also be used to do harm if it is used unjustly.

Over the course of today’s article, we’re going to take a look at what happens to a site in terms of rankings if a false DMCA claim gets filed against it. We’ll also go over the best way to rerank after a DMCA claim as well as whether or not a 301 redirect would be an effective way to get around it.

Does Google Penalize You if Your Site Gets a DMCA Strike?

When a page on your site gets hit with a DMCA strike, Google automatically deranks it because the content is not being used legally. The issue is that Google does this automatically since the onus isn’t on them to confirm that a DMCA claim is rightful. In case of a fraudulent DMCA claim, the site runner will get penalized unjustly.

Yet another issue is that the page itself isn’t the only one that gets penalized. A small penalty will also be applied to the whole site until the DMCA claim has been resolved. This means that you’ll need to get the matter settled and have the DMCA lifted before your site is able to rerank.

How to Reply to a Fraudulent DMCA Claim

Of course, there’s a specific way of going about getting a DMCA claim lifted if it’s fraudulent. You will need to get in touch with either the copyright owner or their agent and send them the following:

“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.”

Along with that, you’ll want to include a link to the material that was the target of the DMCA claim. Of course, this won’t get a DMCA claim lifted if the content really is being used unlawfully.

After the counter-claim is filed, there is a 14-day period in which the copyright owner can file a lawsuit. If they do not, the claim will be lifted along with the ranking penalty.

What About a 301 Redirect?

While it is also possible to implement a 301 redirect to keep a page live after it has been struck by a DMCA notice, the issue is that this doesn’t address the site-wide penalty that Google applies. While the site-wide ranking penalty is relatively minor, it will still impact your rankings.

Instead of using a 301 redirect, replying to a fraudulent claim will allow you to tackle the actual issue and not the penalties stemming from it, which is always preferable.

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