According to the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) Contract Watch, public features are misusing the DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which is designed to protect copyrights on the web.
The announcement references a recent Electronic Frontier Foundation press release about a suit brought against a defendant which used the DMCA to request an Internet Provider/Host remove an unfavorable article because of the use of a copyrighted image on the web page. They claimed they owned the rights to the photograph, thus the entire web page must be removed because of the protections set in the DMCA.
I don’t know much about the suit and claim, but the issue appears to be about the unfavorable blog post, not the image. The DMCA/copyright issue over the photograph is just the big club being used to shut down the blog post. It appears the defendant wanted the article down and the lawyers went hunting for a reason and took advantage of the copyright violation use of the photograph to get the whole page down.
Normally, an issue over a copyright violation would mean that the photograph could be removed and all parties would be satisfied, but in this case, the lawyers wan the whole page removed. Why this case is different, I’m not clear, but the ASJA Contract Watch Committee says:
We’re not commenting on the merits of the case, but the concept is important. On one hand, the DMCA gives you a big legal stick to force companies with a US-hosted web site from using your copyrighted material online without your permission. On the other hand, it’s easy to see how people can misuse the tool, especially as it calls only for the assertion, not additional proof. So the DMCA is something writers, photographers, and illustrators should be aware of – both offensively and defensively.
What do you think about this? Are there loop holes in the DMCA which can get your blog brought down because someone doesn’t like what you blog?
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.