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Science Your Rights Online

Site Copies Content and Uses the DMCA to Take Down the Original Articles 241

First time accepted submitter ios and web coder writes "From the article: 'A dizzying story that involves falsified medical research, plagiarism, and legal threats came to light via a DMCA takedown notice today. Retraction Watch, a site that followed (among many other issues) the implosion of a Duke cancer researcher's career, found all of its articles on the topic pulled by WordPress, its host. The reason? A small site based in India apparently copied all of the posts, claimed them as their own, then filed a DMCA takedown notice to get the originals pulled from their source. As of now, the originals are still missing as their actual owners seek to have them restored.' This is extremely worrying. Even though the original story is careful not to make accusations, I will. This sure smells like a 'Reputation Defense' dirty trick."
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Site Copies Content and Uses the DMCA to Take Down the Original Articles

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  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:40PM (#42810485)

    Could this also be a case of anti-DMCA activism, where someone is fabricating this scenario just to demonstrate how abusable the system is?

    No, it's an Indian medical researcher who hired a reputation management company [dukechronicle.com] to downplay the fact that he was thrown out of Duke for lying on his resume and falsifying cancer research results. [bizjournals.com]

    Of course if it's not, I'm sure this will give some people that kind of idea.

    There is no need for activism in that area. Using a DMCA request for trying to take down content that affects your reputation is a very common tactic. Most of the time, it doesn't do anything because the content is posted by back up after a little while.

    In this case however, the reputation management company was smart enough to post duplicated content first. This means that the primary content may be dinged automatically by the google bot as a plagiarizer if it thinks the content was posted in India first, and so the google ranking of that content may be permanently affected as a result. Hopefully, the google bot is smart enough to figure out what truly happened.

    Either way, because of the Streisand effect, I wouldn't want to be that Anil Potti [wikipedia.org] right now.

  • Abolish the DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

    by slacka ( 713188 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @01:41PM (#42810499)

    This is another good example of abusive DMCA take down requests circumventing due process. RIAA and MPAA abuse the law to suppress our creativity
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk862BbjWx4 [youtube.com]
      and are destroying our cultural heritage.
    http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2001/11/48625?currentPage=all [wired.com]
    To top it off, their outdated business model unfairly reimburses the artists for their hard work.
    http://www.salon.com/2000/06/14/love_7/ [salon.com]
    Copyright needs to be reformed. Some changes that I'd like to see are:

      * Abolish the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
      * Intellectual property should be taxed like real property. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-weaver20feb20,0,1675278.story [latimes.com] It is an asset with a value, right? If you no longer make enough to pay your taxes on it, it goes to the state.
      * Copyrights are supposed to be an incentive to create. One that lasts unto your grandchildren are a dis-incentive, because not only are you not creating any more once you are dead, neither are your descendants. Copyright should last half a working lifetime (20 years), so that you have to get off your ass and make new stuff.
      * Someone who makes copies without permission should pay a fine, but it should be at the regular royalty rate for the item x copies made. So upload a song, it's iTunes price x number of downloads, with perhaps a factor of 3 penalty to discourage doing it, not $150,000 per copy.

    If you feel the same way, you can make a difference by donating to the EFF
    https://supporters.eff.org/donate [eff.org]
    or at least signing this petition urging reform.
    http://www.fightforthefuture.org/fixcopyright [fightforthefuture.org]

    "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
    -Abraham Lincoln

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:12PM (#42810907)

    The real problem we should be focusing on is the "takedown first, ask questions later" approach.

    But that is handled already. The site takes down the material and asks questions later, because that is exactly what they need to do to be involved in any copyright lawsuit. On the other hand, the lawmakers realised that this opens the door to mischief, and therefore sending a DMCA takedown notice when you are not the copyright owner or their agent is a criminal offence that can put you into jail. If India has similar laws to the USA, then there is a good chance that a request for extradition would be successful. If not, then these guys from India better never travel to the USA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:51PM (#42811481)

    The actual article is a bit sketchy on details - the *real* standard procedure is not 'blind takedown' -
    because blind takedown can land you in trouble on the 'defendant' side as well if not done
    correctly, and the host can end up being sued by the customer - instead,

    Usually SOP for DMCAS goes like this*:

    1) Recieve takedown request
    2) Notify party of recieved takedown request, wait some time period for counter-claim (usually 2 business days or similar)
    3) if no counter claim submitted by the customer within time period, then proceed with takedown per the DMCA
    4) if counter claim is recieved after takedown occurs but prior to legal proceedings, reinstate content per the DMCA
    5) if legal proceedings resulting from counter-claim result result in judgement of infringment,
              further request will be made and takedown will occur after verifying with court that records
              are real.

    *: worked at a major web host for 2 years in the dept that handles DMCAs

    So - from the article we have no idea here if steps 2-4 occurred or not.

    Yes, DMCA is not good law because it makes ISP's into 'law enforcement',
    without proper court proceedings, but it isn't as simple as

    'DMCA means anyone can simply takedown your site with one request OMG!!!'

    because there is a counter claim mechanism which usually scares off bogus complaints
    from ever seeing legal proceedings.

    This issue is nothing new - I would get many of this exact scenario
    (content theif submits DMCA against content author)
    from 'article writer' sites and other 'web spam producers' in the day -

    In this case - Could be that the person never checked their email/phone/etc for the DMCA complainant
    notification -

    sorry charlie should have checked your email.

    Could be that the person didn't file a counter claim:

    sorry - thats the law

    If wordpress lost the content between initial takedown and counter claim, then thats another
    story - wordpress goofed bad.

    However, I'm sure they have language about keeping your
    own backups, etc. so.. always keep backups. lesson learned.

    Kind of silly to me that this person *let* this happen - you're publicizing someone who
    essentially committed fraud by way of falsified medical research - you should be expecting
    shady and nefarious dealings in return and protecting yourself accordingly.

    That being said, doesn't mean that DMCA is great or that the situation doesn't stink.

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:59PM (#42811617)

    It doesn't matter if anyone does that. The RIAA and MPAA homepages aren't hosted by third parties that accept takedown notices.

    And that is how we rather trivially see our way clear of this problem. Are you people forgetting that the WordPress software is open source? You can run it on any Linux machine, with trivial ease. Are you people forgetting that we are all peers on the Internet? By the very nature of the protocol, you CAN NOT be shut down. Host your own content! When a bogus DMCA takedown shows up, laugh at it. Put it up on your site and ridicule it.

    The Pirate Bay has showed us the way. Follow.

    The only thing missing is automated deployment to additional servers to handle the load if a random crappy little blog suddenly starts picking up a lot of hits. So, build that feature in to WordPress. Bittorrent has already demonstrated that people are perfectly willing to give a little of their own bandwidth in exchange for something they value. Free, automated, instant, demand-driven mirroring is something valuable. If the price is having your own connection participate in a service swarm occasionally, people will be fine with that.

    Take control of your own content. "The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." Here's the route. Make this a feature of the Freedom Box [freedomboxfoundation.org].

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:40PM (#42813041) Homepage Journal

    So if I murder a foreigner while they are visiting the US, the US murder laws shouldn't apply?

    No, it is more like if you murder an American (or anyone else) outside the US, then no, US law shouldn't apply, it would be the law of the country it happened in.

  • by DMUTPeregrine ( 612791 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @05:24PM (#42813703) Journal
    It's called Freenet, and due largely to a lack of users it's pretty slow. But it does work, even if there isn't that much content available.

Loose bits sink chips.