April 15, 2013

A Bogus DMCA Takedown Request (Part 2)

In a previous post I wrote about a strange DMCA complaint. Inspection 12 claimed that a post from this blog "is one of nearly 20 song lyrics sites who have attempted to post lyrics for the song titled 'Alden Howell' by the artist Inspection 12. The lyrics posted on this and other sites are not accurate and the artist has not given them permission to post lyrical content."

The post actually linked to a Greasemonkey script that displayed music lyrics next to the YouTube player. In fact, the script doesn't even work right now, probably because the author hasn't updated it since 2009.

I've sent a counter notice to Google and here's the answer I've received:

We have received and reviewed your DMCA counter notice. At this time, Google has decided not to take action based on our policies concerning content removal and reinstatement. We encourage you to review http://www.educause.edu/library/digital-millennium-copyright-act-dmca for more information about the DMCA.

I understand that it's now illegal to link to infringing content, but I don't see why that script infringed Inspection 12's copyright. The script obtained lyrics from sites like lyricwiki.org, songmeanings.net, metrolyrics.com, which license lyrics from Gracenote and LyricFind. Some of these sites have APIs, so Greasemonkey scripts could use their lyrics. Since 2008, when I wrote that post, many lyrics sites started to license content, just like Google's YouTube did.

That script is no longer functional, so my blog post is obsolete, like many other posts from this site. A non-working script can't infringe Inspection 12's copyright (unless the band started to write JavaScript code).

Another issue is that all the claims from the DMCA notice are inaccurate and show that Inspection 12's representatives didn't even visit my blog.

Does this mean I now have to delete all the posts about lyrics sites and plug-ins? Am I allowed to link to lyrics sites? Is it OK to send bogus DMCA notices to Google and remove any page that links to lyrics sites and plug-ins?

Update: Part 3 and Part 4.

10 comments:

  1. So the "action" Google has decided to not take is not clear. Are you able to reinstate the post, or did they effectively censor you? Seems a pretty clear misapplication of the DMCA on their part considering all the erronius info on the original complaint...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The post has been saved as a draft by Google and I could click the "Publish" button, but:

      "If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account."

      The "action" from that message probably refers to rejecting the DMCA notice.

      Delete
  2. This article claims the service provider is *required* to restore the content after 14 days, unless the other party has sued you: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/responding-dmca-takedown-notice-targeting-your-content.

    However, you are using Google's service under a terms of use, and Youtube's term of use, at least, say the content will be restored at Youtube's sole discretion (http://www.newmediarights.org/copyright/DMCA/youtube_refusing_honor_dmca_counter_notices), so it's not unlikely that you are subject to the same terms on Blogspot.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. As I read the act at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/512#g, once they receive a correct counter-notification, Google must restore the post after no less than 10 days and no more than 14 days, unless Inspection 12 notifies Google that they are suing Alex. Nothing in the standard Google or Blogger Terms of Service says anything about them using anything other than the DMCA procedures for alleged copyright infringement.

      If they don’t allow the post back up until 10 days after they receive the counter-notification, they’re not liable for any infringement. If they haven’t restored the post14 days after the counter-notification, then Alex may sue them for removing it.

      Please note that I’m not a lawyer; in fact, I’m not even an American.

      Delete
  3. There should be severe punishment for making false/bogus DCMA takedown notices. The company/individual should be (a) given a formal warning, (b) have their right to submit DCMA takedown notices suspended, and eventually (c) have their right to submit DCMA takedown notices revoked.

    Google need to prevent companies abusing their power. It costs Google money/time and the same for the individuals affected.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Well, it is illegal to file false dmca claims.

      Delete
    2. The Blogger DMCA complaint form that I end up on after going to google.com/blogger_dmca.html even points out that false complaints have cost some companies $100,000. This is a strange response to a counter-notification, especially since it doesn’t mention that Google are legally required to give Inspection 12 ten days to respond.

      Delete
    3. Apparently, you need to counter file. http://www.sfwa.org/2013/03/the-dmca-takedown-notice-demystified/

      Delete
  4. EFF really gotta step in and smack those "Inspection 12" around for false dmca.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I found a convenient public forum to address the band directly, thinking that if the band realized Alex had quite a few readers (congrats on that!) watching the developments, they would respond. I also intend to blog about this myself as I find the DMCA is a tool for bullies to punish little guys, which really gets under my skin...
    Anyway, their response indicated they do not intend to pursue any legal action, and that they are "only trying to make a step to have lyrics removed pertaining to a specific song", which does not seem to apply to this situation as Alex described it.
    I'll leave further sabre-rattling to Alex as I wish to steal no thunder. Just let us know if we can help. Alex, you're our eyes on Google without the marketing spin. Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete