Since the increase of awareness concerning the problems of hacking, spying, and having your data anonymous sold to whoever asks for it, many have turned to different ways of protecting themselves. Some of these ways include the use of different Proxy services, others have turned to anonymous browsers, and then there are those who decided that they don’t mind paying for their safety, and started using VPNs.
Of course, people have the tendency to not get informed enough about things they use, which leads to a lot of awkward situations, at best. At worst, some serious problems and lawsuits can be involved.
And so, those who started using the VPNs have started questioning it, wondering how legal was it to use it, and whether or not they give DMCAs. Of course, the use of VPNs is perfectly legal in almost all countries, even though many of them are trying to block those same VPNs in many different ways. However, this time, we’re going to talk about DMCA and how it’s applied when it comes to one specific VPN, TorGuard.
What is DMCA?
Let us start by explaining what DMCA is. DMCA is short for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is basically a US copyright law from 1998. This law criminalizes production and distribution of technology, devices, or services that are created in order for users to get access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of bypassing an access control, whether or not there is an actual violation of copyright itself. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s see what TorGuard’s DMCA policy has to say.
TorGuard’s DMCA Policy
First of all, the policy in question represents how TorGuard.net plans to handle or respond to any complaint DMCA notice. And second, the policy follows all laws that are connected to copyrighting. It further states that TorGuard.net offers VPN service to anyone who’s willing to use it, including companies, organizations, individuals and others. It also states that this is a network that’s made of VPN servers and that they don’t store any content, and so cannot be expected or asked to remove any content.
Next, in case of receiving a complete, valid notices from owners or representatives of owners of any copyrighted materials, TorGuard.net will act according to the law and will follow the proper procedure.
DMCA Takedown Notices
So, if the owner of any copyrighted material has a reason to believe that some of the activities that have taken place on the TorGuard’s network are violating their rights, they’re free to send a DMCA notice to the company’s Copyright Agent. If you wish to send a notice like this, it’ll have to contain certain features to even be considered a valid report by the TorGuard’s team. The policy further advises anyone who’s not sure if their policy contains what it takes to be considered valid to first obtain a legal representative who’s skilled and knows how to handle the problem.
In order for your takedown notice to be considered valid by the TorGuard team, it needs all of the following points, according to the TorGuard’s rules as well as the law:
- A viable identification and timestamp in sufficient detail of the copyrighted work you believe to have been infringed upon
- A viable identification of the content that is alleged to be infringed upon (all items should be listed separately);
- Sufficient information to assist TorGuard.net in locating the allegedly infringing upon content;
- Sufficient RE: contact information to notify the reporting agent of TorGuard.net’s response (include a verified address, phone number, and email contact);
- The Statement following: “I have a good faith and belief that use of the copyrighted materials in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”;
- A means of identification for the user who may be responsible for the infringing activity;
- The Statement following: “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.”;
- A physical or verified electronic signature of the content owner or their authorized agent
If you can provide everything from this list in your notice, then, and only then will TorGuard consider it valid, and will act upon it. The lack of any of the previously mentioned points might result in not acting upon receiving the notice. The notice itself can be sent to the following address:
Attn: DMCA Registered Agent
301 East Pine Street, Suite 950
Orlando, FL 32801
Email: abuse [at] torguard.net
The Counter Notifications Process
If the notice is received and deemed valid, there is a possibility of a counter notification. The valid counter notification must provide a written communication that features all of the points that follow:
- Valid and verified information to identify the sender, including name, address, phone number, email contact, and a detailed statement in accordance with the Federal jurisdiction in which your address is registered, and that you acknowledge to be the receiver of service to process from the party who provided the originating DMCA notice under 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(1)(C);
- A valid and verified physical or electronic signature;
- A detailed and valid identification of the alleged infringing content;
- The statement following: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that transmission of [insert infringing content here] identified above was blocked as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be blocked”;
This counter notice can also be sent to the address mentioned earlier in this text.
Invalid DMCA takedown notices submissions
In case of the takedown notice being deemed invalid because of the lack of any of the points mentioned before, TorGuard preserves the right to not act or not even respond to it. Anyone that decides to knowingly misrepresents the material or activity in question can and will be held liable for any kind of damage, including attorneys’ fees and other costs by damaged party or parties. This includes the removing of any material by the service provider that’s based on false representation, false evidence, or any sort of false claims. Basically, if you managed to trick them into removing something that you don’t really own, you’ll be punished according to law.
So, this is what TorGuard’s official DMCA notice looks like. If you feel like your rights or your copyrighted materials are in any way violated by this VPN provider, now you know what to do and how to act.