Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, violation notices are no joke. Well, okay, the system they’re involved in is a joke, but receiving a DMCA notice can be rough going for web hosting firms. Depending on the sender’s tenacity, even one of these notices can spell doom and gloom. It’s for this reason that those on the receiving end are quick to respond to the things. This, often as not, results in a knee-jerk reaction. One shining example was how the textbook publisher Pearson managed to get exactly 1,451,943 educational blogs taken down over a single DMCA notice last week.
See, Pearson had become aware of a single piece of infringing content — a copy of Beck’s Hopelessness Scale that a teacher had uploaded in 2007 — on Edublogs, described by the owner as “the oldest and second largest WordPress Multisite setup on the web.” Pearson, like every company does these days, then contacted Edublogs host ServerBeach with their DMCA notice. That’s when things got wonky.
ServerBeach contacted Edublogs about the infringing content. So far so good. The educational network then took the necessary steps to make the content unavailable and informed their host. All’s well. According to Ars Technica, ServerBeach “noticed that Edublogs still had the file in its Web server cache, and so it pulled the entire site offline even though the file in question was no longer easily accessible to the public.” There’s where it all went wrong.
Rather than contacting the site, which is rather large and pays a hefty sum of money for hosting, ServerBeach did the only thing they had in their power to do: Kill the entire thing. For their part, ServerBeach also claims they tried to contact Edublogs multiple times, but of course they’d say that.
DMCA totally works is what we’re getting at here.
- Google’s requests for similar infractions are up 1,137% since 2011
- Even the American Library Association didn’t like CISPA
- Piracy is not theft; unwarranted takedowns are