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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Takedown notice

I received two "takedown notices" from Blogger for my most recent Songs of the Moment post:
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others.
If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.

Actually, I do have some legal questions about this notice, but since I'm not going to retain legal counsel, I'll just pose them here: If there was no copyrighted content in the post itself -- just hyperlinks to pages on YouTube -- how can I be in copyright violation? If the video I linked to is violating copyright, wouldn't having YouTube take it down be the way to address that? If linking to infringing content on other websites puts me in direct violation of copyright, how am I supposed to determine the legality of things before I link to them? A couple of the videos I linked to were obviously posted by the record label or artist, and a couple others were ambiguous. But even for the couple videos that were obviously posted by some random person, that is legal in many cases because the copyright owners have deals with YouTube to show ads (and get the revenue) on any videos that use their content. It's not possible for me to sort this out.

I presume that this whole process took place without any human intervention along the way -- a system scanning the web on behalf of a record label identified my nefarious links and sent an automated notification to my host, Blogger, whose systems automatically took down my post and emailed me the takedown notice. So it's possible that the system just messed up and linking to other websites isn't considered infringement. But if it is, I consider that pretty unreasonable.

I actually got two takedown emails for the same blog post, which presumably means there were two different links flagged. I wasn't able to locate these two complaints in the database that the takedown notices directed me to, so I can't tell which links were accused of being in violation. So I took all links out of the post before republishing, but I'll admit to being a bit grumpy about it.


Brady said...

Hey Teague,

This sounds lame, but unfortunately fairly normal for Blogger, as far as I can tell from a quick web search. Generally speaking, linking to content is not copyright infringement. Is there no information on how to challenge a takedown from Blogger?

Interestingly, Google has cached your post, and all of the linked videos are still up.

Also, very good music choices, in my opinion. Most of those songs have been in heavy rotation on my I Am The World Trade Center station on Pandora recently. And they make me happy.


Teague said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Brady. (And for the validation of my music taste!)

The link provided in the email for challenging a takedown was to Google's generic DCMA page (Blogger being a Google service -- http://www.google.com/dmca.html).
The guidance there says, in part:

"To file a counter notification with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail -- not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is not infringing the copyrights of others."

So, while I don't think I'd be materially misrepresenting my post as non-infringing, I'm just not attached enough to those links to send a snail mail correspondence that would likely result in me having to answer further correspondence in the future.