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Key Techdirt SOPA/PIPA Post Censored By Bogus DMCA Takedown Notice (techdirt.com)
206 points by TDL 1973 days ago | hide | past | web | 29 comments | favorite

There's certainly precedent for punitive action to be taken.


"...A California court agreed with the Group and granted a request for summary judgment, after which Diebold settled with the Group to pay $125,000 for their monetary losses and legal fees."

I was actually intimately involved in that particular case and one of the named parties in Diebold's C&D.

Support the EFF. They got the proceeds from our settlement.

That's great to hear. Thankyou.

IANAL, but those aren't punitive damages. Those are compensation for money lost as a result of Diebold's actions. Punitive would be getting cash beyond the harm that was actually caused.

My bad, you're correct.

Nonetheless, it illustrates that there exists the potential to make filing fraudulent take-downs a costly proposition.

It's good that the US is still the land of "Innocent until proven guilty" and not vice-versa or even secretly guilty while it's convenient.

Fun fact: China's GFW designer, Fang Binxing, during a national TV interview, accused Google's censorship with DCMA and Chilling Effects[1].

His argument is basically like this: since Google will censor web content with bullshit copyright claims in the US, why can't Google censor taboo topics in China?

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fang_Binxing#cite_note-4

Good point, really. I also wonder why Google censors the copyrighted content worldwide, if they only get DMCA complaints from the US...

Funny how quickly things can change. I remember candidate Bush talking about how opposed he was to secret evidence, in front of a Muslim crowd in Dearborn, MI.

Don't forget that the IRS has been doing this for some time too...


There should be punitive punishment for filing inaccurate takedown notices, and instead there is immunity.

There are provisions for this type of thing in the DMCA. I'm not sure to what extent these damages have been enforced, but it appears that the company that submitted these DMCA requests to Google has committed perjury by doing so in bad faith.

Penalties for bad faith DMCA takedowns have ranged from awarding lawyer's fees, &c, to the folks whose content was taken down, to having the party that issued the takedown issue a public apology and take a class on copyright law. It's also perjury, so criminal sanction is an option, though I don't know how likely that is to succeed, or how often it's been pursued.

Yes, it's theoretically perjury, but getting a prosecutor to go after it seems like a pretty far reach, even though it seems clear some of these notices are an abuse of the law.

Agreed, but proving someone is acting with ill intent is not as easy as it sounds.

Forget ill intent. Just make it punishable. The same way they wanted to make sites responsible for what users post, by taking down the entire (DNS removal). It should be equally as dangerous for them to make those accusations with such harsh consequences.

I don't think a DMCA takedown request is related to DNS removal. And I really don't think it's a good idea to punish people making good faith efforts to stop people pirating their content -- even if it turns out they're wrong about e.g. some gray area of fair use.

No, that would be a SOPA take down request.

IANAL but i believe you have to swear on penalty of perjury…

They do, but when you file a counter notice, you swear on penalty of perjury that you believe the original notice was filed "in error". IANAL either, but it seems like that means that if you want to take the most expeditious means of getting your content back up, you effectively surrender any recourse to call them on their perjury.

A TF article was also censored by "mistake":


The headline seems a little alarmist; the article in question wasn't "censored" completely, it was just removed from Google. (I'll preemptively disagree with the argument that if a page is not Googleable it doesn't exist.)

The fact that you had to employ the modifier "completely" to make your point suggests that the headline's use of the verb "censor" was defensible.

You just rationalized all hyperbole.

Their post was obliterated. Could not be found. Ceased to exist. The DMCA take-down notice removed TechDirt from Google. TechDirt was erased.

All completely true if you don't require modifiers to be stated. I'd prefer that HN doesn't turn into a tabloid.

This is a wonderful linguistic cul-de-sac you've steered into, but the fact remains that "censor" means "suppress"; it does not mean "eradicate". When the government of China or Acela's internet filtering vendor block a site, they are censoring it, without removing it from the internet. The same principle applies here.

Indeed - it was only eradicated from Google's search results. My point is that that's a modifier, therefore the use of it is defensible...? That's an objective claim that's completely ridiculous when taken to other contexts.

Whether it's alarmist / excessive is subjective. And, since either would be technically correct, it probably has more to do with implied meanings or the common use of a word, and not the dictionary definition. Their usage of it is certainly defensible, but that has little to do with whether or not a modifier would make it more accurate.

No, not "all hyperbole." Just the title.

I think we agree that the people who issued this DMCA notice have taken action to suppress content they find objectionable. I can also understand that 'censorship' is a Bad Thing (TM) and people want to limit its use to only the most extreme cases.

But that leaves a problem: what do you call behavior like this?

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