The Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1988 (DMCA) is a US copyright law. The "Safe Harbor" provisions of the Act protect internet service providers who adhere to the DMCA established procedure for accepting and following up on notices of infringements from the copyright violations of their customers. Most internet service providers have responded to the DMCA by taking refuge in the "Safe Harbor" provisions and establishing a procedure for accepting notices and removing web pages containing alleged copyright infringements.
Individuals who observe that their copyrighted material has been published on the internet without permission may issue a DMCA complaint to the website.
U.S. internet service providers who have adopted the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the DMCA are required to review the notice and expeditiously remove or disable access to the offending web page(s).
After removal, the internet service provider is required to give notice to the owner of the webpage(s) containing the infringement. If a counter-notice is filed, the person who submitted the original notice will have 14 days to file a case in U.S. courts before the internet service provider will be required by DMCA regulations to restore the page(s).
Foreign Websites and the DMCA
While the DMCA is a US-based law, individuals who notice that their copyrighted content has been published without their consent on a foreign website may still, under certain circumstances, be able to use the DMCA to have their content removed from that website. For example, violated parties may under certain conditions be able to file a DMCA complaint with a US-based search engine, such as Yahoo or Google that lists the content on the foreign website in question.