The 451 status code is now supported

In December 2015, the IETF ratified status code 451. A 451 response indicates that a resource is unavailable due to an external legal request.

The GitHub API will now respond with a 451 status code for resources it has been asked to take down due to a DMCA notice. For example:

curl https://api.github.com/repos/github/a-repository-that-s-been-taken-down
HTTP/1.1 451
Server: GitHub.com

{
 "message": "Repository access blocked",
 "block": {
   "reason": "dmca",
   "created_at": "2016-03-17T15:39:46-07:00"
 }
}

This 451 code will be returned for repositories and gists. Previously, the API responded with a 403 - Forbidden. Aside from the semantic difference, we feel that it's important for users to know precisely why their data cannot be served.

If you're receiving a 451 due to a DMCA takedown, please read our article on submitting a DMCA counter notice and know your rights. For more information, see GitHub's DMCA Takedown Policy.