OnlyFans has been providing avenues for creators to share their work since it was founded in 2016. Amongst those who take advantage of its services are musicians, fitness trainers, chefs and sex workers. Although it is best known for the latter group of people, it has started focusing more so than it has on the past on the first three types of entrepreneurs since the launch of OFTV in 2021, which solely offers access to safe-for-work content.
DMCA is an acronym that stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is United States-based copyright law that has been on the books since 1998 and protects copyrighted works in an online setting. Although it only directly affects those in the U.S., many other countries have similar laws or their websites otherwise follow what the DMCA states as it relates to OnlyFans photos and videos and similar content.
It is essential for OnlyFans creators to protect their content with the help of the DMCA, particularly considering how much these creators have been harmed over the years by the stealing of their work. Not only is there the financial impact that this has on creators, causing an increasing number of users determining that they do not need to pay for that content since it is becoming increasingly available for free, but you may also simply not want yours to be so much more easily accessible by the general public.
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How Does OnlyFans Protect Creators’ Work?
OnlyFans has gotten increasingly proactive in protecting creators’ work so that it is less likely that it will be leaked in the first place.
One of those moves has been to disable the ability for a user to right-click any content – i.e. not allowing them to save it through that route.
You being able to add watermarks, semi-transparent text or an image, to your content is also available, something that has an additional benefit of helping create your own brand and cement that imagery in a subscriber’s mind when they view your content. Also, when you use a watermark, you have essentially removed the ability for someone who has stolen your content to claim that it is their own.
If you do utilize a watermark, do your best to balance having it be visible enough to detract those who may be considering stealing that content but not be so much of a focus that it significantly distracts your subscribers from the content that is being displayed in your photos and videos. Where a watermark is placed and how large it is should be your most important considerations.
A more recent OnlyFans-related development has been the offering of Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection. This helps reduce the ability for users to record videos. However, it is important to note that it is not available for photo protection.
Of course, those who want to steal your videos and photos and are especially determined to do so can still get around these protections, but they do make doing so more difficult and, as a result, less likely to occur.
DMCA-Related Steps to Take When Content is Stolen
When your content is stolen despite the steps that have been taken by OnlyFans and yourself to reduce the likelihood of that happening, you may want to then utilize the protection that the DMCA provides you.
This can be done by sending a support ticket to OnlyFans accompanied by relevant details and evidence, such as the content of yours that was stolen and where it has been illegally posted. The company’s copyright team then issues one or more takedown notices. That said, note that OnlyFans cannot guarantee that the content will be removed, particularly if it has been posted on a website or is otherwise available through a company that is not based in the U.S. However, OnlyFans does state that “we will do our best to get stolen content taken down.”
You can report any DMCA violations to Google as well.
You should also reach out to offending websites yourself or through the assistance of a company such as SEO North.
In many cases, doing any of those steps will in fact result in the removal of your stolen content from that website. However, if that is not the case, then you will want to consider the next step, which is usually taking legal action as, at that point, copyright infringement has definitely taken place.
You may also want to use a service that offers the ability to regularly check to see if any of your content has been illegally posted elsewhere. Meanwhile, some of the ways that you can do this yourself is through reverse image searches and, if you produce adult content, regularly checking websites such as xHamster.com and RedTube.com. You can also sign up for Google Alerts for your OnlyFans account name, which may direct you towards pirated videos and photos related to it.
Being proactive in seeking out stolen content of yours can be so important since so much of the pirated material out there would not be seen or known by those it was stolen from if these steps had not been taken.
Also make sure to keep in mind that you do not need to have a registered copyright in order to be eligible for DMCA-related protection. You simply need to own the content, and anything that you post to your OnlyFans account is, in nearly all cases, clearly yours.
Evidence to Accumulate
It is important to adhere to the principle that, when in doubt, more evidence is better than less. In other words, it is recommended that you have evidence that you do not need as opposed to the alternative of missing evidence that you no longer have access to but that would have really helped your case.
Some of the ways that you can be thorough include taking screenshots of your stolen content, which should include timestamps and usernames whenever possible, as well as downloading and saving it from those other sources yourself. Also make sure to keep a list of the URLs where your content has been illegally posted.
Value of Cease-and-Desist Letters
If you know who has been targeting your content and is making it available in illegal manners, you can send this person a cease-and-desist letter, which warns them of the threat of you taking legal action against them if they do not stop their illegal activities. Doing this may help you avoid needing to file a lawsuit, which is usually a costly path to take.
Safe Harbor as it Relates to the DMCA
One element of the DMCA that helps content creators get their illegally posted content removed in a timely manner is its safe harbor provision. This results in online service providers not being held liable for content that their users have posted as long as it is promptly removed when a valid DMCA request has been sent to them.
There should also be a policy to terminate the accounts of anyone who repeatedly does this, and there should be no way for the overseeing provider to financially benefit from the pirated content.
What Are Counterclaims?
Although it is unlikely, when you file a DMCA, you might receive a counterclaim. This would occur after the material has been removed, and it is filed when the offending service provider states that the DMCA request was invalid and that the content should be allowed to be restored. If this does happen to you, you will need to sue the infringer or convince them to retract their counterclaim.
Note that any false information that is included in a counterclaim may result in the company being held liable for that reason as well.
It is important to always keep in mind the protections that the DMCA offers you as an OnlyFans creator and how they can help you reduce the illegal sharing of your content as much as is possible. Of course, you may not be able to completely eradicate this from happening, but you will be able to gain firmer control over it with the help of the DMCA.
However, you do not have to do this alone, and you should consider consulting the services of an organization such as SEO North, which can help you experience more success in ensuring that as much of your content as possible is being viewed in a legal manner.