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.