Repeat Infringer Policy

Last updated: August 18th, 2020


Substack has an interest in maintaining the quality, originality, and legality of the content we host. To best serve our creative community and to meet our own legal obligations to copyright holders, we have adopted the following policy toward repeat copyright infringers on our platform.

Our commitment to individualized consideration

Copyright claims are complex, and can often be used to silence or censor the kind of reporting and commentary we hope to support. Accordingly, we are committed to handling repeat infringers on a case-by-case basis as long as our total caseload allows. Our aim is to take remedial action seriously, not mechanically.

Context is important

A corollary to our commitment above, we strive to consider the greater context of copyright claims in deciding on remedial action. This includes asking:

  • What is the nature of the alleged infringement? Is it plagiarism (which is also against our content guidelines)? Is it a plausible fair use?

  • Does the complained-about content have free speech significance? Political significance?

  • Who are the complainers? Are they credible?

  • Does the alleged infringer have a known history of infringement off our platform?

When we will consider repeat infringer claims

We will consider whether remedial action is appropriate when:

  • A request for remedial action against an alleged repeat infringer is brought to our attention through a credible third-party complaint sent to an appropriate channel (e.g., our agent for service of process or our DMCA designated agent)

  • We receive more than three compliant DMCA notices about different pieces of content from the same user in the same calendar year

  • A series of alleged infringements appears particularly willful or egregious

Remedial Action

We will consider any appropriate remedial action currently available in our content moderation workflow, potentially including:

  • Written warnings

  • Demonetizing newsletters

  • Delisting newsletters

  • Account termination