by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, dmca, photo, takedown


GoDaddy Takes Down Entire Site Of Copyright Attorney/Photographer Over Bogus DMCA Claim

from the life-under-SOPA dept

As much as I appreciate and highlight the importance of the DMCA's safe harbors, there remain many troubling parts of the law. The notice and takedown process is particularly questionable, in that it involves shooting first and asking questions later. When we're dealing with a system that gets so many false notices, taking down first seems kind of crazy. David Canton points us to the news of a copyright lawyer and photographer, who had her entire site shut down by GoDaddy (of course), after it received a single, totally bogus, DMCA claim. Apparently someone claimed copyright on a photograph that the blogger, Carolyn Wright, had taken herself. The DMCA claim was just wrong. And while GoDaddy is required to remove the specific infringing content if it wishes to retain safe harbor protections, it appears to have gone way beyond that in shutting the entire site down. Thankfully the situation was resolved when Wright reached out to the person sending the letter, who apologized and withdrew the claim.

That said, get ready for this kind of story becoming a lot more common if SOPA or PROTECT IP becomes law. Totally bogus takedowns happen all the time under the DMCA but are usually (though not in this case, apparently) limited specifically to the infringing content. Under SOPA you'll see a lot more drastic action, cutting off sites from ad revenue or payment processing -- with no requirement to turn them back on, even if a counternotice is filed. This is exactly why a private "notice" provision in SOPA is so scary.

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  1. icon
    Greg G (profile), 21 Nov 2011 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Alt

    So, if I take a picture and post it on my own site, then you come along and send me a DMCA takedown by claiming you have copyright of that picture, that picture is automatically take off the site or the site is shut down completely, forcing ME to have to contact YOU or my ISP to find out wtf happened.

    When the dust settles and it's realized that you do not, in fact, have any copyright claim and I did, indeed, take the photo, my photo/site is reinstated, after who knows how many hours of downtime (and possible lost income.)

    In the above scenario, I do not think you have any "good faith" claim over said photograph. To me, it's a malicious act (sending the DMCA notice) because I'm sure you know damn well you have no claim over the photo in question.

    I want to know why there's no penalty for sending these "bogus" claims. Once the powers that be determine that it is, indeed, bogus, and you've caused me potential lost income (and yes, I think I might use MAFIAA-math to determine actual losses), I want to be compensated AND have you tossed off the internet/sent to a gulag for bogus DMCA filing.

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