About Us

berkman-klein-logo-667d41848d68b55027af7df66e3a2c7b3838f0b6bdfb2e0f97a3ae9ae7db4627 (1).png

Lumen is a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Lumen is an independent research project studying takedown notices along with other legal removal requests and demands concerning online content. We collect and analyze requests to remove material from the web. Our goals are to facilitate research about the different kinds of complaints and requests for removal--both legitimate and questionable--that are being sent to Internet publishers, search engines, and service providers, and to provide as much transparency as possible about the “ecology” of such notices, in terms of who is sending them and why, and to what effect.

Our database contains millions of notices, many of them with a valid legal basis, some of them without, and some on the murky border. The presence of a notice in our database does not indicate a judgment among these possibilities, or that Lumen is authenticating the provenance of that notice or evaluating the validity of the claims it raises. Lumen in fact has no way of doing so.

Further, Lumen is not the sender or original recipient of the requests and notices within its database, and is unable to assist in any way with either removing or restoring on-line content from the web or search engine listings, with "blocking" or restoring access to websites or URLs, or with sending DMCA counter-notices. Lumen documents the notice-and-takedown process and ecology by reporting that a notice or request was sent and received, by and to whom, and regarding what online content. Lumen does not have any more information about a particular notice than what is present within a notice and is unable to provide contact information for notice senders or recipients. We are also unable to provide legal advice.

Conceived, developed, and founded in 2002 by then-Berkman Klein Center Fellow Wendy Seltzer, the project, then called "Chilling Effects", was initially focused on requests submitted under the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As the Internet and its usage has evolved, so has Lumen, and the database now includes complaints of all varieties, including trademark, defamation, and privacy, domestic and international, and court orders. The Lumen database grows by more than 40,000 notices per week, with voluntary submissions provided by companies such as Google, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Counterfeit Technology, Medium, Stack Exchange, Vimeo, DuckDuckGo, aspects of the University of California system, and Wordpress. As of the end of of 2021, the project hosts over eighteen million notices, referencing close to four and a half billion URLs. In 2021, the project website was visited over nineteen million times by over one million unique users from virtually every country in the world.

  • Founder

    • Wendy Seltzer
  • Past Partners

    • Colorado Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic (TLPC)
    • DePaul University College of Law
    • George Washington University Law School
    • Santa Clara University School of Law High Tech Law Institute
    • Stanford Center for Internet & Society
    • University of Maine School of Law
    • Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF's work on Lumen is supported by the San Francisco Foundation.
    • USF Law School - IIP Justice Project
    • UC Berkeley - Samuelson Law, Technology, & Public Policy Clinic

Contact Us:

Other questions and concerns should be referred to [email protected]

Press Inquiries: Adam Holland

You may also send notices by mail:

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

1557 Massachusetts Avenue, 5th Floor,
Cambridge, MA 02138

Lumen original materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License