Notices of claimed infringement that consist of multiple files that a service provider must cross-reference in order to determine the location of infringing content do not satisfy the takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a district court ruled. In evaluating several sets of notices, the court noted that one group of deficient notices consisted of a cover letter, a spreadsheet containing only the top-level URL for Web sites containing infringing content, and a DVD or hard drive containing thousands of files, all of which had to be consulted in order to determine the location of the infringing content. Requiring a service provider to examine thousands of separate files, the court concluded, would impermissibly shift the burden of locating the files from the copyright owner to the provider. In contrast, the court found that a group of notices consisting of a spreadsheet with separate columns for the infringing URL, the search terms used to locate the URL, and the location of the copyrighted work on the owner's Web site, satisfied the notification requirement.

Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75071 (C.D. Cal. July 26, 2010) Download PDF

Editor’s Note: The court also ruled that the service provider had met the threshold requirements for the safe harbors under DMCA § 512(c) for information stored at the direction of a user (for its blogging service), § 512(d) for "information location tools" (for its search engine), and § 512(b) for system caching.