How to Make a Digital Takedown Request for Social Media

How to Make a Digital Takedown Request for Social Media

How to Make a Digital Takedown Request for Social Media is becoming more and more important every day.

One of the most frustrating areas you will ever deal with in connection to posting your church’s media online is when someone steals or uses that media without your approval.

How to Make a Digital Takedown Request for Social Media is important and needs to be addressed. I can’t tell you the grief that churches go through in trying to remove videos posted against the church online that use the church’s content but have been edited or altered. I have previously written about three precautions your church can take when posting video online, but today I want to discuss what happens when that video is stolen or used in a way that was not authorized by the church. Simply put, when someone takes video your church has posted and alters it, re-edits it, or makes other changes not approved by you and attempts to repost that video on social media, your church can find itself in the unpleasant position of having to remove these videos. Not an easy task! This is why your church should be prepared to submit digital takedown requests to social networks.

Imagine this, your pastor wakes up to emails from several members of the church asking why a video has been posted to YouTube. When he clicks the link, he finds an unsavory editing which mocks him, the church, or ministry within the church. His first call is to the person responsible for posting the video to ask how this happened. What he doesn’t know is that this video was taken from the church’s own website. Yes, the same website the church keeps to allow its members access to past sermons and other content that the church wants the public and its members to have unfettered access to. But what the pastor finds out is that this access comes at a price – that price is having your church’s own video used against it. Because your church publishes high-quality video, the person who took the video can now re-edit it and make anybody look bad. When this occurs, they have now posted a new video on a social media platform. This could be a YouTube video or a Vimeo video could be published on something like Twitter or Facebook. All of these social networks have processes in place for the true owner of the content to file a takedown request whereby the social media platform would take down the video that was edited from your original content. While this is helpful in ultimately removing the video, it is not always a fast process. And you must be ready to make claim to each and every video posted.

I have helped the church in this very instance before they had one of their online videos re-edited and that video ultimately went viral. Multiple YouTube users created spoof videos from that content and reposted them as their own. Needless to say, trying to put this Genie back in the bottle is difficult, but not impossible. What it took was a proactive approach to make sure that all videos containing the churches copyrighted and trademarked work were removed from this social network. What followed was an intense three days of consistently trying to have videos removed that used the same footage and edits of the footage. We had to insure there were no links remaining which showed the unfavorable footage that the church wanted removed from social media. The way this was accomplished was by filing the takedown requests with each of the social networks. Each social network has its own process for taking down videos that violate other people’s copyright and trademark protections. These are some of the most popular links to places where this occurs.


An issue with all of this is claiming your rights to the original video and proving that the user is violating your church’s copyright or trademark. Because of this, you need to have some of the following information available.

You will need to indicate who is filing the infringement notification. This is either your personal copyright or, most likely, it’s the company or organization client you’re filing it for. Please make sure you know the link of the video that you are claiming infringes your rights. You’ll need to select one of the original sources for the video. Please note you also will need to include the full legal name of your church that will be displayed on the video screen of the video that is removed. You also need to provide all contact information and agree that under penalty of perjury you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner, i.e. the church, that has the original copyright or trademark of the actual video. These are the minimum requirements for your removal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to DMAC.

One of the things to remember is the speed at which the removal request is processed is dependent upon the amount and quality of the information given to the social site. The faster options are to claim the trademark violation because these are easy for them to verify by going to the US patent and trademark office website at USPTO.GOV. When you’re listed here because you have a valid trademark, it is easy for the social network to agree that you are the owner and to remove the content from the site. Please note when doing this that the corporate name filing the DMAC complaint should be the corporate name that owns the trademark.

When you find yourself in need of help trying to file a DMAC complaint, give us a call. We can help your church take down the videos that you don’t want posted on any social network!

Read more about Church Copyright Law and Why Your Church Needs a Trademark Now.


Disclaimer: Communications between you and Church Counsel are protected by our Privacy Policy, but not by the attorney-client privilege or as work product unless you have subscribed to our Church Counsel Elite monthly service or have purchased a custom attorney service of one of our products. In either case, you will have a separate agreement with Church Counsel and the Story Law Firm, PLLC, which is the exclusive provider of attorney services for Church Counsel. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies unless you are a member of Church Counsel Elite or have purchased a custom attorney service here. Your access to the website is subject to our Terms of Service.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?