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
    Chris Hoeschen (profile), 21 Nov 2011 @ 9:37am

    I am a small web hosting provider myself and have to ask if I got a DMCA notice on one of my client's sites what options do I have? Can I change the client's code or database to remove the material in question or do I just disable the account? Since I just host the site and have nothing to do with the content then the only course of action I can see would be to disable the site in question or risk bringing my business into a legal battle that I can't afford. Shut down that client's site or shut down all of my client's sites and go out of business? Unfortunately that is the way the DMCA is written (that I understand) it is the nature of the beast. Yes it needs to be changed to a notice - notice provision vs notice - take down but until that gets changed my hands would be tied to a very expensive pole.

    So I am asking the Techdirt community what would be my best course of action if I did get a DMCA notice? What would you do if you were in my shoes? GoDaddy has tons of cash to throw at lawyers and could have fought for this customer, I can not. It seems my only course of action involves loosing that client (one way or another) or risk my business. Two loose - loose options.

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