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How to email a Second Life DMCA notice

Tateru Nino

While Linden Lab allows you to submit a DMCA notice via post or fax, there is a third option that's valid while you're waiting for the promised new DMCA process to come along.

While many service- and platform-providers insist that they do not accept emailed DMCA notices, if you submit them correctly, the provider is lawfully obligated to accept them. Interestingly, a proper DMCA notice by email can actually give the recipient more surety about the identity of the submitter than faxed or posted notices.

It's kind of ironic that the traditional paperwork forms have very few protections, and even with callbacks or return-post, it is not at all unheard of for the paper forms to be submitted fraudulently. Proper email notices suffer from that far less, as it can be considerably more difficult to fake your identity with one.

US Copyright requires notices to be written and signed. Email is considered "written" as far as the Act and the US Copyright office are concerned. What you need is a signature.

The acceptable form of signature is digital signing with a verifiable certificate. You can obtain one from a certificate provider, like Thawte, for example. As a part of doing so, you will need to provide sufficient information to a notary for them to validate that you are who you say you are. Once you've done so, and installed the certificate in your email software, you can use it to digitally sign DMCA notices.

Once digitally signed, it can be proven that the email came from you, and only you, and that it was not modified or altered in any respect whatsoever after you wrote it.

A few recipients may still be a little balky, so it is best that you also include a scan of your signature with the document. It shouldn't be necessary (as the digital signing is considered sufficient under law), but our advice is to add that signature scan in as well, to eliminate any possible points of contention.

Once you've got your digital certificate installed in your email software (check the manual for your email software if you aren't clear on how to do so), you need to create your notice:

  1. Make sure that you describe the copyrighted content clearly and accurately. If your description could describe some other content, it is not sufficiently clear. Leave no room for doubt. Include UUIDs if you can, and if there's an image or texture involved, you can include it with the email. Being that it's your creation, you've got the source for images, after all.
  2. Do your best to describe where the infringing content is located. Specify the sim name, and the X,Y,Z coordinates, or if it is in possession of another user, specify who. Some Lab staffer will have to do the work to find what you're referring to, so make it as easy as possible for them to help you. Include screenshots in your email if you can, so that they will have as easy a time as possible locating the content that infringes on your copyright.
  3. Include the following statement: "I have good faith belief that the use of the copyrighted materials described above and contained on the service is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or by protection of law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." (and mean it, because you are subject to legal action, fines and penalties otherwise)
  4. Provide contact details within the notice itself: The email address that you are sending it from (and that the digital certificate belongs to), your name, the date, your phone number, a fax number (if you have one), and a postal address.
  5. Attach a scan of your signature (or format the whole lot up as a PDF document with your signature)
  6. Digitally sign it with your email digital certificate that is linked to your email address and verified to your identity.
  7. Send it to copyrightagent at, which is the email address that Linden Lab has on file with the US Copyright office for accepting emailed DMCA notices.

There's a bit of work involved in getting the digital certificate sorted out with a certificate-provider, certificate notary, and your software, but once you've gotten that done the first time, it significantly reduces the workload involved in submitting a DMCA notice, and the recipient can be assured of the identity of the sender.

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