by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 4th 2007 12:39am
The DMCA gets abused all the time to take down content that shouldn't be taken down. Sometimes it's abused by people who just don't like content and want it gone, or sometimes it's because organizations are way too aggressive in trying to police copyrights, and have no qualms about pulling down all sorts of content as collateral damage. The problem, of course, with this kind of collateral damage is that it's illegal. The DMCA makes it quite clear that if you're sending a takedown notice on specific content, you are assuring the court that you either are the copyright holder or have the right to represent the copyright holder in such issues. All too often, that's not actually the case. The latest example is amazing in how far one person can go. Apparently a director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America searched on document storage and sharing site Scribd for the words Asimov and Silverberg to try to take down any of the uploaded content written by either Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg. Of course, lots of content may mention either author and not be infringing at all. Unfortunately, the guy at the SFFWA didn't appear to care and sent takedown notices for all such content, causing all sorts of legitimate content to be taken down. Among the content taken down was a bibliography of good science fiction works for kids and a book that was under Creative Commons license with the encouragement to have it passed around. It still is amusing that those who claim they want to protect copyright law seem to do so much abusing of it.
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