Geofeedia, In Damage Control Mode, Issues Bogus DMCA Over Brochure Posted By Reporter

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

And it's time for yet another story of copyright being used for out and out censorship. Remember Geofeedia? That's the creepy company that was selling its services to law enforcement agencies and school districts promising to spy on social media feeds to let law enforcement/schools know when people are planning bad stuff. After a big ACLU investigative report, basically all the major social media companies cut ties with Geofeedia, claiming that it was violating their terms of service. I'd imagine that the various law enforcement agencies and school districts who paid tens of thousands of dollars for this data may be asking for their money back.

So what does Geofeedia do? Well, for starters, it abuses the DMCA to try to take down information. The Daily Dot's Dell Cameron had actually written about how the Denver police spent $30k on Geofeedia back in September, a few weeks before the ACLU report dropped (nice scoop and great timing). Cameron then followed up with a detailed story following the ACLU report as well, noting that there were still plenty of other Geofeedia competitors on the market. At the end of that post, Cameron included a brochure that Geofeedia had apparently sent to a police department last year. But you can't see it now, because (yup) Geofeedia issued a DMCA takedown to Scribd, the company that was hosting it.
Cameron tweeted about this as well, (correctly!) wondering why Scribd would fold over such a bogus copyright takedown.
Now, sure, Geofeedia likely has a copyright on its brochure. But this is clearly a case of fair use. It's posted for reporting purposes, not competitive ones, on a topic of interest. It's not harming the market for the copyright in the brochure (which has no market). This is just ridiculous, both on the part of Geofeedia, and on Scribd for caving.

And it's pointless too, because it just calls more attention to how ridiculous Geofeedia is. Of all the things it should be focusing on right now, trying to take down a sales brochure in an article should be pretty low on its priority list. And if the idea was to get Daily Dot and Cameron to stop reporting on the company, well, that's failed too. Cameron has a new article out about how Geofeedia's stalking system was marketed to public schools as well.

Filed Under: censorship, dmca, takedowns
Companies: daily dot, geofeedia


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2016 @ 10:23am

    It is hurting the right market

    It's not harming the market for the copyright in the brochure

    No, but it sure is hurting the market for Geofeedia over all and that is a good thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 21 Oct 2016 @ 10:27am

    Social platforms morphed from being somewhat useful to being downright creepy. Remember they just pulled Geofeedia support when people were outraged otherwise it would be business as usual.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jean Shorts, 22 Oct 2016 @ 12:07pm

    Nice reporting!

    No need to talk about how many lives have been saved by use of this software. Not a juicy enough story. Communities are now less safe. Nice work!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2016 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Nice reporting!

    To Jean Shorts:

    Here's the full quote: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-21-02-0269

    You, apparently, deserve neither. You cannot have security without liberty, and you cannot have liberty without privacy. This is why the NSA was forced to cut out parts of its Big Brother program.

    Furthermore, you haven't provided any evidence that "communities are now less safe." Save your facetiousness for your verbally-abused spouse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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