This is alarming! The thief calls the original creator the one in Copyright violation. We’ve celebrated Retraction Watch before in Boles Blogs, and we’re doing it again! Support their site! I’m sure Automattic will get this fixed fast.

4 Comments

  1. I just posted this comment over at Retraction Watch:

    The problem is not with WordPress.com — the problem is with the DMCA itself — and I wrote an article about how Automattic handles this in our favor as blog publishers:

    http://bolesblogs.com/2010/10/28/wordpress-com-is-a-dmca-safe-harbor-for-blog-publishers/

    If you move off of WordPress.com and host the content yourself — even using a different software solution — these sort of devious content thieves will just send the same takedown letter to your server host instead of Automattic, but I bet the end result would be much different. Your server host will just turn off your entire site and likely cancel your contract just because they don’t want their lawyers having to deal with these notices and the bad guys know this. Big hosting companies can’t be bothered with turning off individual posts as Automattic have presciently has been done here.

    The fact that we can still read Retraction Watch while this takedown notice is being disputed is honorable and right — it’s the only way to do it under the current incarnation of DMCA.

    As a publisher and author, I deal with DMCA takedown notices in various forms quite a lot and you won’t find a fairer place — on either side of the dyad — than you do here with WordPress.com and Automattic.

  2. Ooo! It’s heating up over at Retraction Watch. I just posted this reply:

    ***
    I’m not assuming anything. As I said, I’ve dealt with this issue on both sides and I’ve dealt with Automattic making takedown requests of my own, and I’ve dealt with at least 10 large and small hosting providers/ISPs with my own Takedown requests. They have all been successful because I don’t fool around trying to get content removed that I don’t own. I don’t think there’s much public data on this because people generally don’t like to talk about this sort of thing on the record.

    The process is the same no matter where you make the Takedown request. It’s all the identical, standard, boilerplate you have to fill in and agree to, etc. The tricksy part is — that these thieves are missing, or don’t seem to care about — is that you are swearing you have the legal authority to demand the content be removed because you own or have the rights to the material.

    Here’s where Automattic — or any other hosting provider — can play hardball with these jerks:

    I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.: Yes

    Automattic are just following the law, but they are being fair to both sides. I don’t think it’s their job to investigate who published what first — that’s for the process of rebuttal to determine. It’s all a game of accusation and proof and it’s usually pretty easy to make your case. Google is a good friend in that.

    I can say that when I deal with content hosts, they tend to turn off the site in question after giving a few days notice to remove the content. I always have to deal with their legal department and their lawyers are very protective of their clients but, in the end, if there’s no response from the accused — the hosting providers have the right to not just turn off, but to terminate, the entire site even if there’s only one article that is under a DMCA claim. Read your hosting TOS! Content hosts don’t like legal trouble and it’s cheaper for them to refund your money than to keep paying for more lawyers.

    As a publisher and author, I spend a lot of time trying to track down scrapers and content thieves — and the DMCA is a powerful tool that gives me one certain way of at least being heard — and when I get heard, I get action, because I have a dead-cold claim that cannot be denied because I provide all the proof. Before the DMCA, you were totally on your own as a content provider trying to get the stolen stuff removed and the big hosting services would just say, “Hire a lawyer, and sue them.” Now they have to at least work with you and answer your complaint and act on it if you are proven right.

    ***

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