GitHub is protect by DMCA, i.e., so long as a service provider follows the DMCA's notice-and-takedown rules, it won't be liable for copyright infringement based on user-generated content.

If another website (Website_W) shared a project forked from Github, following the license of the forked repository. Will Website_W be protected by DMCA, if Website_W follows the DMCA's notice-and-takedown rules?

When there is an infringement on Website_W, because of the wrong license of the forked project, what responsibility Webstie_W needs to take except taking down the repository?

If Website_W relies on licenses of Github's repositories. Are there any law/act that Website_W can use to protect itself?

  • 1
    The other site, if a hosting site for user-generated content, is also subject to the same DMCA rules as GitHub. It does not matter at all where the content comes from. You simply have to do what is required to be done by a hosting provider, should you receive a DMCA take-down notice (and do so quickly... you have 24 hours at most) - and then use the same arbitration process or similar. Details are US law which I'm not bound by, thus do not know well. Jun 25, 2020 at 20:29
  • @planetmaker The other site, Website_W just forks/dumps projects from GitHub. DMCA is for end users. Website_W does not have end users posting repositories. The users publish repository on GitHub, not directly on the Webiste_W. In this case, DMCA still protects Website_W?
    – Ryan
    Jun 25, 2020 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


IANAL/IANYL, but as I understand it, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, passed as Title II of the DMCA, limits liability for Online Service Providers who store infringing material provided that they "comply with standard technical measures and remove repeat infringers". In addition, to benefit from these protections, OSPs must

  • not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity,
  • not be aware of the presence of infringing material or know any facts or circumstances that would make infringing material apparent, and
  • upon receiving notice from copyright owners or their agents, act expeditiously to remove the purported infringing material

Again quoting Wikipedia, '"Standard technical measures" are defined as measures that copyright owners use to identify or protect copyrighted works, that have been developed pursuant to a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers in an open, fair and voluntary multi-industry process, are available to anyone on reasonable nondiscriminatory terms, and do not impose substantial costs or burdens on service providers'.

From that, we see that it very much depends on W's terms of service, business model, and the like. If the operators of W were making money by selling access to this code, they have a problem. If they dragged their heels in taking the material down when they got the DMCA notification, they have a problem.

If W is simply running a non-commercial mirror of one or more GitHub repositories, acts expeditiously to remove the material on receipt of a notice of infringement, and doesn't have a track record of hosting infringing content, it seems to me that OCILLA will protect them as it does GitHub. But, of course, you should take proper legal advice if you start getting DMCA takedown notices.

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