DMCA Takedown Used To Try To Silence Science Blogger Providing Comet Facts

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

Another day, another case of the DMCA being used to try to censor people. The details here are not entirely clear, but James Litwin points us to a report about how someone — and, tragically, the party is never actually named — filed a DMCA takedown notice to Blogger to try to take down Ian Musgrave’s Astroblogger site. Apparently some folks who believe that the Comet Elenin represents the end of the world (or something, I’m not following the nutty end-of-the-worlders on what their latest issues are) were upset that Ian and others were using actual science (gasp! no!) to debunk some of the claims that were being made. Musgrave notes that he wasn’t the only one, and some others who also wrote about Elenin received takedowns as well. Thankfully the site is back up, but it’s scary how frequently people now use the DMCA to stifle speech.

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Comments on “DMCA Takedown Used To Try To Silence Science Blogger Providing Comet Facts”

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DannyB (profile) says:

There needs to be a serious penalty for this

The entertainment industry wanted the DMCA to provide them a supercharged expedited way to get internet content taken down.

(Trust us! This will never get abused.)

(Sound familiar?)

The DMCA (and if passed PROTECT-IP, etc) need to have serious, and I mean SERIOUS consequences of sending a false takedown.

Okay, you want your expedited takedown? Fine. You want a nuclear weapon? Fine. Anyone who misuses it should also get nuked. And I don’t mean a slap on the wrist.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: There needs to be a serious penalty for this

I would prefer going back to due process.

But since we aren’t going to go there, and since your 50% of all holdings is not only unworkable, but subject to lots of gaming, I would propose this.

The DMCA takedown request must state some amount of damage that will occur if the internet material is not taken down. If the DMCA takedown request is faulty in one of several ways (eg, you aren’t the copyright owner, or registered agent of; or no copyright is asserted in the takedown request, etc) then the cost of the bogus takedown request is the amount of damage was alleged to be caused, not less than some minimum amount.

Another remedy would be to actually use that “penalty of perjury” thing. No jail time, but fines. In the case of an organization who is sending bogus DMCA takedowns, how about a three strikes and you can’t ever file another DMCA takedown.

jeff says:

Re: Re: There needs to be a serious penalty for this

How about $1000 plus court/lawyer fees paid to the victim for first false dmca takedown, and revocation of accuser’s right to file dmca takedown notices for one year? I think that is a bit more measured than “50% of all holdings”

Anyways, IP law in the US is fubar. Didn’t Dante write, “abandon all hope all ye who enter..” IP hell.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Same thing happened to SFDebris

A Youtube reviewer I follow named SFDebris is a victim of this as well. He reviews sci-fi shows like Star Trek, Dr. Who, Babylon 5 (and most recently the rebooted Battlestar Galactica). He was careful to only use clips in line with fair use’s parody, criticism and review clauses, but a couple months ago, CBS filed a DMCA against him for Star Trek, ditto for BBC over Red Dwarf.
Scared that a third strike would block him out completely (and remember guys, this is ACCUSATION, not conviction), SFDebris pulled down all of his videos from Youtube and started hosting them on Bliptv.
I would like CBS and BBC to answer: Why? Your shows are already out there, on DVD and Blu-ray. There’s nothing being harmed here. They’re reviews. But let us not forget what the DMCA does: in exercising his legal right to review a copyrighted TV series and post the review on Youtube (all legal) he had to get past the copyright protection on his DVDs.

trish says:


copyright infringement: Take a copy of something, leave it so everyone else can use it too.
dmca take-down: Take someone’s website offline without giving them a chance to respond prior, and make them defend themselves and waste time and effort getting what is theirs back where it belongs.
Who are the thieves again?

Anonymous Coward says:

DMCA is just the shortest route for people with an axe to grind. 10 years ago it might have been a long drawn out series of laywers letters about copyright. 20 years ago it might have been filing a defamation lawsuit. Today, DMCA gets you to the front of the line if you want to whine.

The rare whiners that abuse it in now way justify getting rid of it. We can all park out cars because of speeders and we can stop using public transit because a couple of people jumped the turnstile too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You have to frame rare. Chillingeffects lists hundreds of thousands of valid takedowns, and very few that are not valid. So if the error rate is 1 in 100,000 (example only), would you consider that rare?

Moreover, is the real problem people who are unwilling to stand up for their rights and fight back against invalid DMCAs? Or is it that they realize that they don’t have a legal leg to stand on?

NIcedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I hope that was sarcasm.


In its submission, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Relapsed already, Mike: "not entirely clear ... someone ... try to take down"

+10 funny

Wasn’t meant to be. I do troll around here from time to time. I consider my trolling to be ‘serious business’ and ‘important work’. He makes us trolls look like drooling jackasses. I wish he would stop so we could get back to real trolling.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Relapsed already, Mike: "not entirely clear ... someone ... try to take down"

It just struck me as funny that even the trolls* have a hierarchy. Never really thought about it that much.

* I am just reusing your word there – I really don’t like the whole troll or shill label thing. I actually appreciate the opposing viewpoints in the discussions here. It is definitely more informative than someone simply singing to the choir on an issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Relapsed already, Mike: "not entirely clear ... someone ... try to take down"

Nope, he’s actually trolling most of the time. I know the guy. He’s quite happy about his trolling. He doesn’t even happen to have an opposing view point. Most of the time he comes here to get an idea of what’s going on so he can form an opinion.

He enjoys trolling along the way.

Source: I work with the guy.

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