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Ask Slashdot: Hosting Services That Don't Overreact To DMCA Requests? 148

Posted by timothy
from the let's-all-just-reflect-for-a-moment-first dept.
tobiasly (524456) writes I run a few websites which are occasionally the target of bogus DMCA takedown requests. Even a cursory look at these requests would reveal that the content these requests try to have removed are not even eligible for copyright (for example, someone named "John Smith" decides he wants to have every instance of his name removed from the internet, so he claims he has a copyright on "John Smith", and the comment section of my website has that name somewhere.) I'm guessing most webmasters of sites with significant traffic face this problem, but I'm having difficulty finding information on domain registrars' and hosting providers' DMCA response policies. Most seem to over-react and require an official counter-response. I'm worried I'll miss one of these someday and find that my entire domain was suspended as a result. Both my domain registrar and hosting provider have forwarded these notices in the past. I'm also worried that they're forwarding my response (including personal details) to the original complainant. Which domain registrars and hosting providers have you found who handle these complaints in a reasonable manner, and filter out the ones that are obviously bogus? Which ones have a clearly stated policy regarding these requests, and respect the site owner's privacy? Some of these domains are .us TLD, which unfortunately will limit my choice to U.S.-based companies.
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Ask Slashdot: Hosting Services That Don't Overreact To DMCA Requests?

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  • John Smith? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @12:23PM (#47377275)
    In the case of the "John Smith": When someone sends a DMCA takedown notice, they declare under penalty of perjury that they have copyright on the work that they believe you are infringing upon. (If the are mistaken about the work - the one you published is not the one that they have the copyright for, or they are wrong about the infringing - you have a license, that's fine, but they _must_ have the copyright for _some_ work). So you can take them to court and give them an expensive lesson in copyright law and the DMCA law.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @12:53PM (#47377595) Homepage
    The letter of the DMCA law works hard to make sure people who do not react properly to the issuance of a DMCA face rather brutal punishment. This is partly because of the history of infringement on the internet, that major companies like godaddy simply couldnt be reached while other emerging companies barely had offices and just ran local mom-and-pop shops. record labels crafted the DMCA, the incisors of their efforts based on the industries lack of a standard to handle legitimate problems in a timely manner.
    the other reason the punishment is pretty brutal, is because record label recording industry protection rackets and even record labels themselves had been brutalized for almost a decade by declining sales in favour of a far more reasonable distribution method: the internet. Locking down everything from unsigned independent artists with DMCA takedowns as well as fair-use snippets meant the industry could keep its fat foot wedged in the door music and talent with relatively little blowback (its their law after all..) the DMCA, one could argue, is also part of the reason the Youtube music awards were basically an advertisement campaign on behalf of the largest record labels in hollywood as it can be used by, and only by, the industry to take out mafia style hits on published independent content through the much maligned 'frivolous DMCA takedown.' Sure, other groups like the church of scientology have tried this in the past, but only the record industry has emerged without punitive retalliation from online services.

    What I think i can do is offer a hosting solution that has decent tech support for when these takedowns happen. Try Dreamhost.com [dreamhost.com], who actively oppose most draconian legislation against the internet like SOPA and PIPA. Vote with your dollars.
    full disclosure: i used to work for Dreamhost.
  • NFSN.net (Score:5, Informative)

    by TACD (514008) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @01:04PM (#47377701) Homepage

    For this (as well as their other policies) I'd recommend NearlyFreeSpeech.net [nearlyfreespeech.net] - they have a DMCA policy page [nearlyfreespeech.net] which clearly lays out the requirements that must be met to anybody intending to make a takedown claim. They're run as a pay-what-you-use host for people who have at least a small amount of knowledge of what they're doing (no cPanel interfaces here!) and from their blog [nearlyfreespeech.net] and general demeanour it's clear that they are a company run by nerds who Do Things Properly.

    I have no doubt that they'd follow the law if issued with a full and proper DMCA notice, but I also have no doubt that they would not give the benefit of the doubt to, or go out of their way to assist somebody filing incomplete or incorrect takedown notices.

    (Full disclosure: While I've hosted my small website with NFSN for a number of years I've never received a DMCA takedown notice and I have no material which is at all likely to generate any.)

  • LMGTFY (Score:5, Informative)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @01:12PM (#47377765)

    Read this [vimeo.com]. Yes,the take down notice is under penalty of perjury..

    Filing a DMCA Notice to Remove Copyrighted Content-for Copyright Holders
    If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please provide us with a written notice containing the following information:

    1. Your name, address, telephone number, and email address (if any).
    2. A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed.
    3. A description of where on the Vimeo Site the material that you claim is infringing may be found, sufficient for VIMEO to locate the material (e.g., the URL).
    4. A statement that you have a good faith belief that the use of the copyrighted work is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
    5. A statement by you UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that the information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf.
    6. Your electronic or physical signature.

    (emphasis mine)

  • Re:NFSN.net (Score:5, Informative)

    by TACD (514008) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @01:16PM (#47377803) Homepage

    Specifically, this post [nearlyfreespeech.net] from their blog illustrates how far NFSN will go to defend their users against anybody (in this case, the UK government) who tries to bully them without proper authority.

    The official lawyers for the UK government are basically saying on official letterhead (even their own filename contains “Letterhead”), “Hey, we heard you’re small. Well, we’re the world’s 6th largest economy, so we can put you out of business with legal bills if you don’t play ball.” Now, it’s not super-unusual to see a lawyer say something menacing about how if they win, you’ll have to pay their legal fees — even though that’s often not true in the US. What’s different here is that they dropped “if we win” and added “we will ruin you.” Stating that if someone doesn’t cooperate, your strategy will be to run up enough legal bills to put them out of business whether you win or not is a little different. It’s the sort of thing you expect to hear from the smarmy thug lawyer for the big bad corporation in a formulaic TV legal drama. We don’t generally see it in the real world from the legal representatives of a developed country.

    Fortunately, they heard wrong. Our excellent legal team is ready, willing, and able to vigorously defend us should the need arise.

    So, the story so far is that we asked to have the proper legal process followed, and the UK’s lawyers threatened to destroy us. Despite this, we are refusing to censor our member’s site. We steadfastly believe we are under no legal obligation to do so, that we will prevail in any US legal action that arises from this matter, and that any attempt by the UK government to spend us into oblivion will fail. More news as it happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2014 @01:26PM (#47377893)

    Bingo.

    As for the OP's question, don't host on tier 2,3,4,5 hosts. Go straight to some place you can put your own machine in a cage like HE.net

    They will respond to DMCA's by sending it to you, but you must respond or they will disconnect your machine. This isn't any different if your IP address is found to be serving malware or sending out spam.

    When you host at a tier 2 system (eg someone at he.net) or tier 3 (eg someone reselling a hosting service that is hosted at he.net) that puts the entire host/reseller at risk if the DMCA isn't responded to within 24 hours, hence why your get the overreaction.

    But as someone else mentioned, if you want to avoid the DMCA issue entirely you need to host outside the US and in a country that doesn't have DMCA-like takedown laws, which also puts your data at risk. So the fact that you had to ask this question tells me that you aren't willing to put in the effort to prevent DMCA violations on your site, or you run something unmoderated like 4chan

  • by steppin_razor_LA (236684) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @01:27PM (#47377903) Homepage Journal

    Pretty sure these people haven't spent much time in the courts....

    I was sued for defamation by a company over content that someone else published on their site. I was included in the lawsuit because I provided the owner/operator/content-creator/everything of the other site a web analytics tool I created (before the days of free Google Analytics). This was enough to confuse the courts and put me in the position where best case scenario, I spend $40K+ and I "win" and worst case scenario, I spend $40K and lose the case and face a ridiculous judgment.

    Unless you are an unemployed lawyer with no assets and plenty of free time, the legal system is a big pile of lose-lose.

  • Re:LMGTFY (Score:4, Informative)

    by sir-gold (949031) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:19AM (#47381857)

    It's not the greatest example, but here is YouTube's policy on counter-notices (to get content put back up)
    https://support.google.com/you... [google.com]

    It basically says, if the DMCA takedown is filed on behalf of one of the major media companies, Google is contractually required to deny all counter-claims. If you want your content re-instated, you have to sue whoever made the DMCA complaint.

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