Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How the “Mail & Guardian” got taken down (mg.co.za)
198 points by Ap0c on Sept 19, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 95 comments

I'm kind of amazed at how effective this digital reputation management technique is:

* publish an exact copy of the offending content on a web site and include something that looks like a datetime which is earlier than the publication date of the offending content * tell the web site's ISP and other service providers that they're violating copyright, pointing to your fake content and using the providers' copyright-violation processes, which you know all about because your reputation firm does this stuff all the time

This also works for search engine deindexing, right?

It's just remarkable to me that (a) we all know this works super well and (b) it keeps working even though everyone knows about it.

I’m not sure there’s anyone bothered by it enough to make a change. ISPs don’t seem to care. Individuals have other coping mechanisms (Tweet our the story) so it’s a lot of low impact incidents.

I think this is a PR opportunity for some “freedom loving ISP” that has a large global footprint and would benefit. In the US the ISPs are media companies do not so close.

Maybe we’ll see Google or Microsoft try but they too have too many media ties to try to upset dmca.

The most likely fix, I think, is for large enough orgs like the Guardian to sue Linode and the takedown issuer for fraud. That will cost a lot, but they may be interested.

If ISPs have a large risk of damages then they will be more careful. Currently it seems like a bot or intern issues these things and does not really care about anything but avoiding DMCA risk.

I didn't realise people bothered to put up fake websites. I thought a plausible-looking DMCA notification was sufficient to get a provider to take something down.

If it were so easy and cheap as many comments on this page imply, why aren’t we seeing this often used against large well-known businesses in bad faith?

E.g., someone creates a puny single-person LLC, and files DMCA notices against New York Times, Amazon blog posts, Apple press releases, et cetera. According to claims I see here, the content will have to be down for 10-14 days regardless of how quickly the counter-claim succeeds, which if used at the right moment could cause significant damage to the target/substantial profit to the attacker.

If this was happening, I’m sure the regulation would be fixed promptly with powerful lobbying from the aforementioned big players—perhaps by imposing a fee for issuing DMCA takedowns, increasing legal cost of a successful counter-claim, etc.

Such cases would’ve definitely be noticeable to the public, so I can only assume that they don’t happen because either (A) no one have thought of it yet, or (B) there’s some non-obvious cost to DMCA takedowns or successful counter-claims.

EDIT: Removed shady source for DMCA counter-claim info.

big players are either their own ISPs, hosting provides or most likely have SLAs in place that absolve their ISPs from liability and allow the companies to handle DMCA claims directly by dedicated departments.

smaller players are subject to dealing with DMCA claims by proxy via their hosting providers. also, it would be easy for Amazon to prove bad faith by having many examples from a single claimant. smaller companies may only have to deal with a few claims per year from different claimants (still incredibly disruptive) and not have strong enough evidence to demonstrate bad faith.

So a BigCo tells their ISP “feel free to keep the content up and break DMCA regulations, we’ll deal with it”, just like that? Doesn’t it mean one or both of them violate a federal law?

The DMCA takedown provisions don't introduce liability for actions, they remove it, under a specific set of circumstances, given specific responses to infringement claims.

You don't "violate the DMCA takedown law" by failing to take down content. You simply lose protections offered by it.

The federal law in question that might be violated would be exclusive rights under copyright, 17 USC 106

For these there are both civil and (in certain cases) criminal remedies possible.


I think there's a difference between running a website vs being a user on somebody else's site. A website must publish its registered agent address if it wants to take advantage of the DMCA system (i.e., receiving take down demands instead of lawsuits). E.g., Wikimedia receives take down demands as described at https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:DMCA.

I'm unclear what the difference is between how Wikimedia is set up and the situation with the Guardian and Mail.

That link above doesn't seem to contain everything that Wikimedia receives on its various sites, e.g., there's also https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Office_actions/DM...

It doesn’t break the law. It just means if the content was in fact infringing then the ISP is also guilty of copyright violation.

They simply lose the safe harbor protection. So if they are sure it’s a false claim they can just ignore it.

If it were so easy and cheap as many comments on this page imply, why aren’t we seeing this often used against large well-known businesses in bad faith?

Because medium sized companies know not to mess with large companies but don't care about small companies?

You wrote “not to mess with large companies”. What are the consequences of issuing a DMCA notice against content published by a large company?

If you knowingly do so you're committing perjury which carries a potential 5 year sentence.

Then a bunch of people can recover their losses.

> shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

They probably just send you a counter claim without bothering to take anything down. Perhaps also a nasty note from their lawyers?

If the content is the company's own, DMCA takedown doesn't apply.

If the content is a third party's, BigCo's option is to simply refuse the takedown, in which case the safe-harbour provisions (as you've been told repeatedly in this thread) don't exist.

Your understanding of the DMCA generally as expressed here is poor. You'd do well to read the law or a good explanation of it.

Copyright law is online at the Cornell University Law Server:


Subject matter, generally (see especially 106 & 106A): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/chapter-1

Infringement and remedies, including DMCA safe-harbour provisions (section 512):


EFF have a basic explanation: https://www.eff.org/issues/dmca

Lumen (previously the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse), has a longer explainer on DMCA Safe Harbour provisions: https://lumendatabase.org/topics/14

Wouldn’t it put them in violation of a federal law? If they send a counter-claim without taking the content down, can’t they be sued for DMCA non-compliance? The law appears to mandate immediate takedown for certain period of time regardless of counter-claim status.

Playing devil’s advocate here, and may obviously be missing some points of the regulation.

Honoring a DMCA takedown isn’t ever required, but ignoring one strips away the safe harbor protections for that specific content. This in turn makes you liable for any copyright infringement of that content as if you had published it yourself. If it’s legitimate, you’ll presumably win the court case and quite possibly get your attorney fees back.

Thanks for patient explanation.

I guess, to sum up, the current system enables smaller players (commenters, vloggers, site authors) to publish on the Web through intermediaries of all kinds (like Linode or YouTube). Those intermediaries want to make sure they don’t get sued for the content they host, so they use safe harbor and observe DMCA.

Those enjoying more direct access to the backbone (metaphorically and possibly literally speaking) of the Internet trust their legal teams and don’t need safe harbor protections.

Thus if you are lucky enough to not need the safe harbor protections, you have the ability to bully smaller fish by issuing takedowns left and right.

That’s essentially right but the ability to use takedowns to bully the smaller fish comes from a slightly different source.

What the DMCA safe harbor provisions both try and succeed to do is remove those intermediaries from potential copyright proceedings. This allows them to flourish but also disincentivizes them from providing legal assistance to their customers— the ultimate lawsuit will be not be Giant Media Conglomerate vs Comcast ISP, it will be Giant Media Conglomerate vs John Doe.

So the fundamental problem here doesn’t really have anything to do with copyright, but rather the reality that fighting a lawsuit can ruin you even if you’re in the right.

I don't know about this. There's a difference between taking down supposed infringements from your users (or "subscribers") and your own material put on your own site by your own employees. I'm not sure that the DMCA mechanism is relevant for the latter.

Because that's a criminal offence (perjury) that carries a potential prison sentence, and they'd be liable for costs.

NYT, Amazon, Apple, etc aren't going to fuck about with that. They'd push for prosecution of people making false DMCA claims, and they'd sue for their losses.

A single person LLC does not protect from perjury charges.

Unfortunately DMCA perjury cases aren’t prosecuted.

Isn’t there a contradiction—if as you say DMCA perjury cases aren’t prosecuted, what’s there to lose for that hypothetical “DMCA troll” LLC?

DMCA perjury requires "knowingly" sending false reports. So far there's enough deniability for bigcos to get away with it.

This hypothetical troll wouldn't have that deniability. It would be very clear that they are knowingly making false complaints.

“Hello, I get paid tens of thousands of dollars per year to oversee DMCA reporting with innumerable false positives without reviewing whether or not short clips of content with commentary around it is fair use.”

There’s enough deniability for prosecutors to not care, but there’s also enough evidence that prosecutors could politely inform them that there is a pattern of misconduct.

I think the parent may just be suggesting that there's no need for the LLC wrapper, because it wouldn't hypothetically provide protection anyway.

TL;DR: the DMCA takedown provisions apply only to third-party service providers identified as a Designated Agent, and can be avoided by self-provisioning online services. Or finding a provider with balls.

The specific mechanism of the DMCA is that:

1. It is a protection afforded online service providers, specifically, against infringement liability. (17 USC 512(c))

2. Against copyright infringement (17 USC 512(c)(1)).

3. For third-party content (17 USC 512(c)(1)).

4. Of which the provider does not have specific knowledge that the content is infringing (17 USC 512(c)(1)(A)(i)). (More on this below.) And does not directly benefit monetarily (17 USC 512(c)(2), and acts to disable access expediciously (17 USC 512(c)(3)).

5. Where the provider has a designated agent. (17 USC 512(c)(2)

6. A valid notification request is received, (17 USC 512(c)(3)


A consequence of all of this is that a self-serving online service provider does does not qualify for the relief as the content is not third-party. By designating itself as the Designated Party, it can choose to receive DMCA requests directly, and assume the risks of infringment claims itself.

There is nothing in the DMCA that says a service provider must act on a claim. Only that the liability protections offered apply only if it does. Linode, here, absolutely could have taken the principled stance that the content was not infringing, and refused to act on the notice it had received. Yes, this would incur a liability, but the overall legal risks of a patently false and malicious claim would be slight. I believe there are cases of this occurring.

NB: A longstanding criticism of the DMCA 512 provisions was that there was no liability for misrepresentations. That's now addressed in 17 USC 512(f), though I don't recall when this was added:

Misrepresentations.—Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section— (1)that material or activity is infringing, or (2)that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

Mail & Guardian would seem to have some remedy here, if they can successfully bring suit and collect judgement.

It's also possible that M&G could bring suit against Linode under 17 USC 512(g)(1) ("good faith" actions), though that's weakened by subsequent paragraphs. Informed legal opinion would be helpful here.

Note: I am a space alien cat, not a lawyer.

Thanks for the summary. I expect that the misrepresentations penalties would difficult or impossible to apply for takedown requests originating from outside the USA, as seems to be the case in this instance.

The risk, presuming one can find counterparties and venues to sue, is that this approach raises numerous legal liabilities of its own. Copyright violation carries both civil and criminal penalties, and might be aimed at numerous parties, including claims (DMCA, possibly other) against the hosting site of the pirated content.

Why not file a counter-claim and then make them attempt to prove their copyright in a real court?

The counter claim would do noting to prevent your own content from going down: the service providers very clearly don't care about the legitimacy of DMCA claims, they just automatically comply and let their customers suffer damages for all the false claims.

The DMCA requires contested content to be offline for at least 10 days, even if a counterclaim is filed.

If a counterclaim is filed, that period can extend to no more than 14 days....

Unless notice is received of a court action to restrain further publication.

17 USC 512(g)


It isn’t really fair to pick on Linode, all US hosting providers work the same way.

When someone files a DMCA claim, if you want to keep the content up you need your lawyer to file a counterclaim. Hosting providers are then allowed to leave it up, and you can fight about it in court.

It sounds from this article like the newspaper didn’t have a lawyer, or at least not a lawyer familiar with American law. That sucks but all you can really do about it is to get a lawyer, or use a non-US hosting solution.

This is a common misconception. You can't use a counter-claim to keep your content up. You can only use one to have your content reinstated after it has been removed.


we've gone through this with linode. they give you exactly 96 hours to remove the content and then you can go through the dispute process. it took about 2 weeks to work things out.

we had used some images from an mfg's pdf installation manual on a page that was reselling that mfg's own products which we were buying from their offical distributor - the only way to get the product. talk about absurd.

some of the media that they claimed was theirs was in fact our own original graphics/images. it didn't matter, we had to remove everything that was in their overly broad claim.

the DMCA is no joke, but is also a big fucking joke. it's trivial to completely destroy someone's business by simply making fraudulent claims (it's guilty until proven innocent). and it's almost impossible to prove that the claim was made in bad faith rather than simply in error. these claims are usually made by some contracted third party that flags everything that smells off. it's the new patent trolling.

We get DMCA claims all the time — most often from our customers' own counsel. Even so, the explicit, as automated as can be policy is to pull the content, and let the lawyers sort it out amongst themselves.

It is very much a joke, and not a joke.

It seems like you have a beef with copyright law, not with the DMCA. Using their images just is a clear violation of copyright, even though I agree that it is ridiculous for them to go after their own resellers.

it's ridiculous for a DMCA to be Avenue A. they could have simply picked up the phone and talked to us first or sent a nice email. then at least we wouldnt have to deal with a 96 hr deadline and be forced to take down our own content (along with theirs) for 2 weeks.

in addition, how do you show a potential buyer installation diagrams of a technical product without risking your own version being wrong (and not UL-compliant) vs the one in the approved manual?

Solution: Host your stuff outside of country, don't use cloudflare or other US based services

sorry, no. this is a shit non-solution. first, 97% of our customers are US-based. hosting elsewhere would destroy the site performance we worked hard to maximize. second, we're a us-based company, subject to US laws, so if the ISP doesnt take down our server, some other legal means will.

Well, you won't have much readers in US if someone starts to systematically use the DMCA for taking down your whole site. Many people have warned about this problem when it first showed up but the record companies and big newspapers were happily behind the new law. Now they get to reap the fruits they were warned about.

I ask this as someone who is not fully across the ins and outs of DMCA.

Linode has non-US data centres (eg Singapore). If the node hosting the content was just outside the US, would they need to do a take down? Or is the fact that Linode is a US-based company make this not matter.

As someone who's worked in an abuse desk for an EU-based hosting business, I can confirm that: 1) American businesses will send DMCA requests for pretty much anything -- sometimes they request take-downs of their own local subsidiaries 2) Other foreign entities will send DMCA requests even though there is no way US laws could be applied on the complaining party, us (the host), or the customer. 3) In both of the scenarios above, there will be _a lot_ of noise when DMCA requests are rejected because US laws don't apply.

Usually, we simply took the content down when it was obvious copyright infringement (Windows ISO images and so on -- yes, people still put stuff like that on their web sites), as that is a TOS violation, and TOS violations is something a host can handle regardless if the legal status of the content. If the customer claimed they owned the copyright on some original content we simply told the people complaining to go through the local courts instead of invoking foreign laws.

Obviously, we have complied in a few cases where one of the new guys handled complaints about businesses' own web sites or subsidiaries' web sites. Laughs were had.

I don't know how a US host acting abroad would handle it though. I suspect they would apply the same rules everywhere.

> Our 96-hour deadline was fast approaching — with compliance demanded by 2am on Saturday — by the time the M&G print edition hit the streets on Friday morning. Fridays are traditionally the biggest days for online traffic at the M&G. This is when what appears in the weekly paper is published digitally too. [...] But, shortly after 8am on Friday morning, Linode informed us that our account had been suspended for failure to comply. They’d jumped the gun. [...] The M&G Online, a national news publisher and the oldest news site in Africa, had been taken down.

Even if Linode really didn't have a single recourse, they still chose to go beyond their legal obligations and shut the site down early, with timing that at least looks deliberately calculated to cause the most damage. They don't deserve your advocacy.

Absolutely not. You can ignore a defective DMCA notices and see if the claimant files a lawsuit. Google routinely does this [1]. It is a business risk choosing between losing a client vs getting sued. If you value your clients, you should have a review process to access the legality of DMCA notices you receive.

1. https://torrentfreak.com/google-keeps-rejecting-hollywoods-b...

> You can ignore a defective DMCA notices and see if the claimant files a lawsuit.

if you are your own ISP, then maybe you can. AFAIK, no ISP or hosting provider in the US is going to risk it. most (all?) ISPs require the customer to remove the content first and ask questions later.

Though it may take some time, a counter-notice reinstating the content is supposed to be just as automatic as a takedown removing it. Presumably, failure to do so has similar risks to the ISP of their customer suing them for a DMCA violation.

except a take-down has a low max time limit and a reinstatement has a large min time limit. it's engineered for maximum disruption prior to any evaluation of fact.

This is a common takedown tactic to clean up your image online. It's easily contested with a counter-claim but it works because most orgs/sites don't have a lawyer or don't want to spend the resources to fight it. I've seen cases where 80% of "negative" content can be scrubbed with the few remaining (read larger news organizations with lawyers) then crowded out by astroturf articles claiming the opposite.

The bar to DMCA style takedowns is much higher in Europe. Hence the decision to host on Linode for a South African newspaper is ... odd. They should migrate to OVH/Hetz

The problem with OVH is their appallingly bad rep for hosting "troublesome" content...

In practical terms that means you can send emails but there's a 70% chance they'll land in the other party's spam bin.

> Our questioning the veracity of the complaint did not seem to make any difference.

Linode is an ISP, not a court of law.

Legally, it's not up to them to make this determination. If they are compelled to take down a site by law, then their opinion about the veracity of the complaint is not really relevant. Unless they want to defy the law in order to go out on a limb to protect a customer. Which is a lot to ask of any business.

It’s extremely relevant because they can deny the dmca notice. Linode is protecting themself over their customer.

This is a strong signal to customers to find a better ISP. One who plans on legal funds to defend customers against these bullshit dmca notices.

> One who plans on legal funds to defend customers against these bullshit dmca notices.

I would love to agree with you, but are you gonna pay someone $20/mo for Linode’s $5/mo service? Of course not; and therein lies financial ruin for the ISP.

The system is fucked.

Yes I will. I’m a big fan of linode and have used them for years. I’m now looking for smarter hosts and will eventually move every single thing I control off linode.

> Linode is protecting themself over their customer.

Is there any business that would not do this, or would do the opposite?

Maybe, perhaps if you're a serious news organization you might not want to host your site on Linode.

Not that Linode is bad or anything; I'm super happy with them myself. But the way a company deals with abuse complaints (including takedowns) reflects the volume of these that they have to deal with, and the blowback they've experienced by overreacting.

If the provider is tiny, then takedowns are rare and interesting. They'll examine each one based on its individual merits. Though small companies don't have the resources to dump a lot of money into making things right, so they may just take the cheap route and kick you out.

If the provider is reasonably large, they'll get these all the time, and they'll have an automated and inflexible solution for dealing with them. It'll be heavily weighted on minimizing the cost to the provider, and will tend to overreact just to be on the safe side.

If the provider is huge (like, top N kind of huge) then they'll have started with the automated overreaction solution, but then they'll have had some massive disaster because their automated abuse system took down a client like Sony or the New York Times or something. So then the'll have dialed back their abuse system a bit and made it more expensive to run, but less prone to being destructive.

Yeah, Linode is a scrappy little company from Philly that, sixteen years ago, pioneered the paradigm shift from things like CPanel to Amazon Web Services, but never became big like Amazon since there was always a focus on making their service affordable. But even if they were a big company, it's hard to make economic sense out of asking your lawyers to focus on protecting $5/month registrations from dmca legal prowling. The way I like to think of it is, we get what we pay for. If your hosting costs less than it costs someone else to hire a lawyer to write letters complaining about your hosting, then the will of heaven will usually favor the side with more dollars and cents on it.

The DMCA is truly a steaming pile of shit.

Nintendo and other companies are also abusing it to take down fair use videos by individuals on YouTube.

There wouldn't be a place for individuals to infringe copyright without the DMCA. Any platform would be exposed to full liability for all their users' posts. So be careful what you wish for.

(This is same dynamic as Section 230, btw. It continues to astonish me that even the tech community is incapable of understanding the basic mechanisms)

YouTube take downs are usually done without DMCA, right?

Are you saying that the DMCA is explicitly being invoked by Nintendo and others, or are you talking more generally and including, for example, YouTube's Content ID system?

YouTube's content ID system is in place to facilitate DMCA takedowns. Folks such as Nintendo can go either the route of filing a claim to take the ad revenue of a video, or filing a copyright strike claim to have the video removed.

Whichever variation that is used is up to the copyright holder (legitimate or otherwise), and both are definitely used by legitimate actors for sometimes the most ridiculous of copyright claims (someone humming a song for instance).

AFAIK Content ID is an entirely extralegal system applied instead of DMCA, executed as a part of YouTube's TOS. It's used because copyright bullies would prefer not to involve courts if they can avoid it, and I suspect it exists to prevent MAFIAA from utterly destroying YouTube, as most of its value (until recently) came from copyright violation.

The content ID system is just a system for "search by video" or "search by audio". It doesn't do anything "instead of". Just helps copyright owners find infringing content. What they do after that is up to them.

In some strict sense that may be true, but in this discussion I think it is reasonable to read 'Content ID' as including YouTube's copyright strike system, demonetisation, and re-assignment of ad revenue to the claimed copyright holder.

These things are all very much extralegal, and used instead of the DMCA in many situations.

The economics of DMCA claims is similar to spam marketing. The cost is disproportionately in the receiving end. The cost of making claims is close to zero.

You can fix this by adding small cost. If counterclaim is filed and complaint maker is not moving the case forward, they should pay something. Even small sum like $1000 per dropped claim would likely stop this madness.

Did they file a counter suit for plagiarism?

What happens when DMCA notice meets another one?

Welcome to Bad Law.

If you’re not in the US, avoid US technology providers subject to US law. This publication would likely be better suited using a provider out of Europe.

The EU is not without its own controversial copyright laws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_on_Copyright_in_the_...

What's the non-US equivalent of Linode?

OVH or Hetzner off of the top of my head.

How does this work with European instances of large providers, e.g. the Ireland versions of Azure and Amazon?

It's time to move cloud out of US.

It can be worse elsewhere, because without the DMCA safe harbor you can be sued directly, or at least be threatened with lawsuits, for something a customer or user does. Defamation law is also enforced more strictly in some countries.

Nobody's mentioned any tech solutions here.

First of all, the Wayback machine may have captured the thieving site as well as the victim one. Of course, if you are going to make false copyright claims, you'd better set your robots.txt to exclude archive.org first.

Second, if you do manage to dispute and get a day in court, how would the thief prov they owned the material, if the actual content creator had proof of the date of authorship? Eg tweet a hash, photograph with newspaper headline, etc? Can court costs be recovered after proof of a false takedown?

This looks like criminal fraud, but ianal...

The publishing business is often seen as merely being one of creating and publishing content. I've come to realise it's rather more than that.

There are the technical elements -- what many HN readers are familiar with in terms of development, back-end, front-end, and infrastructure tools.

There is the art of developing the content in the first place, including the methods in this case of investigative journalism.

There is the whole maelstrom of business models and monetisation, on which virtually all attempts have been foundering of late.

But there's also the legal side, both offensive and defensive. Pursuing sources, information, and disclosures. And defending the publisher against attacks, such as the one described here. The publication of Permanent Record highlights another element, that of contracts and publication risk when faced with a state-level actor and an alleged NDA privilege. There are famous battles against defamation or censorship lawsuits. And there is the pursuit of others who take content without payment or credit, claiming it for themselves.

In many histories of great publishing events and episodes, lawyers (and publishers with spinal, intestinal, and gonadal integrity) play a huge role, and publishing houses or newspapers as much respected for their solicitors as their journalists and editors.

It's not just a business that concerns getting words on a page, or screen. The words have to matter, the words have to be right, the lights must be kept on, the words distributed. And, if your business is afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, resisting and challenging some very motivated and extraordinarily capable adversaries.

This is something advocates of "citizen-based journalism", or peer-to-peer or federated technologies, or DIY technical solutions, of whom I very much count myself as a former and current member, have long failed to appreciate.

The Mail & Guardian's message here is one to remember.

My friends, this is why folks have traditionally colo'd servers at peering points and signed rental contracts lasting years, sometimes decades. Because they don't want their business operations to have the same level of legal protections as a youtube comment.

They're vague in there with if they actually filed a counter-claim - that's how DMCA works, if someone sends a complaint the content has to get removed quickly, unless you file a counter-claim, then you work it out in the courts.

As far as I can tell, a counter-claim can only be submitted after the allegedly infinging content has been removed. So it cannot be used to defend against a takedown notice. The content must be removed regardless of whether or not you have a valid counter-claim.

Moreover, there's a 10-14 day waiting period before the ISP can allow the content to be put back online. It's a ridiculous process that allows anyone to take down any content for up to two weeks for any reason. Two weeks is an eternity in today's news cycles.


M&G do valuable work in exposing corruption and really need to be supported. It is hardly Linodes fault that they got manipulated but there really needs to be better oversight to protect, already struggling, investigative journalism

The question is whether other providers would have done the same. i.e. is it Linode to blame explicitly or federal law and US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

They should have hosted with a non US ISP.

It seems extremely obvious. ZA domain, ZA relevant content, predominantly ZA readers (presumably) - why host in the US?

Load shedding

South Africa has had constant power outages


I'm well aware of that. The question was "why host in the US" - not implying that hosting should be done in South Africa.

A good argument for multi-cloud

> please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize.


The title of this submission should be "CENSORED: How the M&G got taken down". Linode aren't the bad guys here and the title is flat-out misleading.

It is unclear that Linode is acting like a good guy here.

Either way that is opinion, best to leave the reader to make their own mind up.


Title has now been updated, FYI.

Was previously 'Linode Shut Down a Newspaper'

This is an african newspaper called the Mail and Guardian, not the UK's 2 big newspapers the daily Mail and the Guardian.

The newspaper used to be called the "Weekly Mail", but there was a short-lived tie-up with the UK Guardian in the 1990's, and a renaming. I remember eagerly reading the UK Guardian stories in the M&G in the pre-internet era.

Ok, we've added some quotation marks above. Higher precedence operators ftw.

The title really doesn't represent what happened. It's an interesting story, though.

Edit: Thanks for updating the title

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact