Monday, March 23, 2009
They Finally Got Me: My First DMCA Takedown Notice
Well, after 15 months of no hassle, I've received my first DMCA takedown notice from Blogger. Of course, the offending post has already been taken down by Blogger, so it's more of a notice to tell you it's gone rather than a notice to tell you to take it down. The post that was deleted was a weekly mix from last August, long dead links and all. Even more bizarrely, this mix featured only cover versions and many of them were by artists that I've featured several times over. I know this because I took precautions several months ago and saved all of my previous posts to a Word document. At this point, all of these details aren't even important. The real issue is one that I've talked about ad nauseum before. It's frustrating because my own arguments and those of other intelligent people don't have any effect. It's the same reason I felt frustrated when I went to see RiP: A Remixer's Manifesto yesterday.
The Brett Gaylor documentary was fantastic, but it essentially said everything I've already been thinking and discussing with others for the past few years. According to the film, the Remixer's Manifesto is thus:
1. Culture always builds on the past.
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.
There were some really brilliant juxtapositions in the film as Gaylor demonstrates his points (one of my favourites was how he traces the use and/or evolution of a traditional folk/blues song/hook, The Last Time, through The Rolling Stones, The Verve and ultimately to its use by Girl Talk - the point being only The Rolling Stones did the suing within this process despite the fact they weren't the original authors either). In the end, the process of the film is more important than its end product (Eno, anyone?), and the style of the documentary itself proves its point about remixing art and culture to provoke new ideas and enjoyment; without building on the past, progress is stifled and stagnant. Gaylor draws the battle lines clearly: you're either on the Copy Right or the Copy Left, you're either stuck in the past or looking to the future. He even put up his raw footage online to allow others to participate in an open source way. Oddly enough, Stanford law professor, Lawrence Lessig said things in the documentary that I wrote in that older post nearly verbatim, most particularly in the area of not being able to create in a vacuum and in his using the example of citations in essays and books. But neither of us owns the "right" to those thoughts.
With the advent of the Internet, the public domain has grown infinitely and beyond the conservative, stunted thinking of those in power. Trying to lock people up and shut them down will continue to be a futile exercise. I know I'm not doing anything wrong, yet having my own "intellectual property" deleted without my permission is legally sound because Google, a $31 billion company, owns Blogger, my current blog host. Talk about media control and strangle holds. How do you google Google? It's the philosophical question of the Noughties. What kind of information are you going to get about the company when they're the primary method for your search?
Here's the notice I received today:
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog infringes upon the copyrights of others. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.
The notice that we received from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the record companies it represents, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.
The IFPI is a trade association that represents over 1,400 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings (the "IFPI Represented Companies").
The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. We are in the process of removing from our servers the links that allegedly infringe upon the copyrights of others. If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. See http://www.educause.edu/Browse/645?PARENT_ID=254 for more information about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca.html for the process that Blogger requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.
Blogger can reinstate these posts upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and 3) of the DMCA. For more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification, see http://www.google.com/dmca.html#counter. Please note that repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel. If you have any other questions about this notification, please let us know.
The Blogger Team
My favourite bit is the part "regardless of its merits."
I refuse to be intimidated (in many ways, what Blogger is doing is like someone breaking into your apartment and stealing your possessions - and it's not even like I'm keeping my door locked, so to speak), and I'm not going to sit back and let them slowly dismantle my free speech in the "public" domain. So, CTRR is moving house as soon as possible. I don't care how much work it will be to get this blog back up on my own and on my own terms. Bear with me while I plant my flag in the Copy Left. I'll keep you posted.
Don't Stop - Girl Talk
We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister