Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
dmca, takedowns

Companies:
wordpress



WordPress A Bit Too Quick In Doing DMCA Takedowns

from the that's-unfortunate dept

It's becoming increasingly common for companies to try to go up the network stream with various takedown messages. Rather than just hitting a website with a takedown over certain content, they'll also hit their ISP and their registrar. What's unfortunate is that these higher level service providers are often less willing to take the time to understand the specifics, and are quick to pull the plug to avoid liability for themselves. With WordPress becoming a larger and larger ISP for many blogs, it's getting a lot more such requests.

It's unfortunate that the company is responding to them in misleading ways. For example, it recently took down some content and blocked the ability to post any new content, based on a DMCA takedown message claiming, incorrectly, that "we were legally required to remove the file from our servers." That's not quite true. First, Wordpress is not legally required to do so. It is true that the company is certainly strongly incentivized to do so, since not doing so could open it up to liability, but that's not the same as saying they're legally required to do this.

However, in this case, the details look even worse. The "content" in question was merely a link from a blog to an unauthorized version of an ebook. The author of the blog, which talks about ebooks, was complaining about certain ebooks not being available:
In a blog post, Ricardo had bemoaned the fact that a book, Ken Follett's 'Fall of Giants,' wasn't available in Spanish on the Kindle. He noted, however, that the publishers of the book didn't mind people converting other formats but presumably to save people the bother of messing with DRM removal, he linked to an already converted copy hosted on a file-hosting service.
The local IP "protection" group posted a comment on the site, demanding he take that down, and when he either didn't notice the comment or didn't realize it was real, they went to WordPress, claiming that he had ignored their takedown request. Furthermore, as the article notes, under Spanish law, a link to infringing content is not, itself, infringing. In the US (where the servers were likely hosted -- so it could have an impact), links are still something of a gray area, unfortunately. Of course, it's rather amusing, as noted in the TorrentFreak article that the very first comment on that particular story complains that "the link doesn't work." So this whole thing may have been over absolutely nothing...

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  1. identicon
    Mike Schinkel, 16 Nov 2010 @ 10:54pm

    Don't post on the web if you don't want to give people access.

    @Rowena Cherry - Your arguments all make sense, except for the fact that posting on the web is an implicit invitation to access. Don't want people to access it? Don't post on the web, simple as that. On the web free access is implied; that's a key aspect of the design of the web. Or make sure a password is required to access it. If I leave my property on the public sidewalk in front of my house then I'm the fool if someone takes it. If you don't like me downloading it, take it off your website; the remedy is completely in your hands.

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