Recall what happened in 2011 and winter of 2012 for one moment. The United States wanted to pass two different acts called the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP. These acts aimed to grant the ability for companies to block sites that host illegal content. Of course, the legislation was so broad that companies and even the government can basically abuse it and request the Internet Service Provider to completely block a website for using copyrighted content, even if it covered under Fair Use under Copyright law for review or literary criticism.
If these two acts were to pass, it would allow companies to censor your content and limit your free speech. This means that you are not allowed to say anything bad about them because they can simply use these powers to take down your site. Of course, these two legislations never passed congress due to pubic outcry.
Shortly after, ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) came along, which is another treaty like SOPA and ACTA. It basically did the same thing, but is a lot worse since it is now worldwide. Just like the previously two failed pieces of legislation, ACTA died in a fire after public outcry.
Now, I am faced with another dilemma. It seems that the media industry is not happy with how the war on piracy is going on that they are resorting to other tactics, namely DMCA claims to Google. You might be wondering why I am writing this post. While I condone piracy, some of my posts became collateral damage as they DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claimed some of them. In other words, they got removed for the search results, basically censoring my opinion about the show, which I am fighting against.
Just a few days back, I have checked my Google Search Console and realized that there is a strange message. Apparently, they have one of my posts for The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls on the list of DMCA claims that contains a list of sites that linked to illegal downloads. Of course, I knew that Daisuki is behind it since they hired a company to handle the takedown notices. (Update: See the end of the post)
I wondering to myself, why the heck they put my link to my post on a DMCA claim since my post does not provide links or any methods of seeing the show? While I don’t know the real reason behind it, this is a big slap in the face, especially for the fact that I spent my hard-earned cash to import the Blu-rays aside from buying the games and CDs. This is a great way to screw over your fan base.
On the other hand, I do see implications with these false positives from these DMCA requests. I understand that they want to remove search results to illegal fansubs and streams. I agree that they have the right to do that. However, they do not have the right to file false DMCA claims since that is considered illegal and the person who sent the takedown notice can potentially get sued for it.
What Daisuki is basically doing is censoring my opinion for a show that I enjoy, which of course hurts them in the end since it is free advertisement. Of course, I’m not the only one that is dealing with these false DMCA claims from these copyright trolls, disgruntled creators that cannot take criticism and Content ID abuses. Youtubers like Angry Joe dealt with this issue, especially with Nintendo claiming his videos. Of course, other personalities like TotalBiscuit talked about false DMCA claims numerous times and of course Nintendo’s draconian Youtube Policy.
In short, I am furious by their decision and I have submitted counter notices to Google for the two separate claims and contacted Daisuki about the issue stating that I sent a DMCA counter notice to Google and that false DMCA claims are considered illegal under 17 U.S.C. 512(f) and that they could be held liable for damages if they do not reverse it.
If you get into this problem, you should not only file a counter notice with Google provided in the message, but also with the company that DMCA claimed your content and have the search result to your post removed by them. In the counter notice, you should state that your post is just a review or literary criticism, which is Fair Use under Copyright Law and provide contact information (or just use this template). Once they received it, they are forced to comply or face potential litigation. That is if they do not send a counter notice back. Most importantly, you should register your site with Google Search Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Webmaster tools to make sure your search results are not mistakenly taken down.
Aside from that, I am waiting for a response from them and hopefully they will understand that they made a mistake and restore the search results for my posts. If not, I might have to get some help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to resolve this. To me, I do not think it will get to this as most companies will own up to their mistake and drop the claim.
With that, what are your thoughts about collateral damage with anime licensing and streaming sites mistakenly taking down posts from legitimate anime blogs that host no illegal content? Do you think that falsely DMCA claiming legitimate anime reviews will hurt them in the end? Feel free to discuss.
Update: Just before I put the Streisand effect on full blast, I finally got a response back and they are going to sort it out. Obviously it was a mistake and I thank them for acknowledging that they will be fixing that mistake. I guess complaining about it is a good thing to get them to notice this mistake as my site is the only false positive on the list. Still, I will keep this post up just for those who might get into this issue.
If you see this text, this site has stolen my content. If you are affected by content thieves, look this domain up on a Whois Service, look up the IP and send a DMCA takedown with the host provider. STOP STEALING CONTENT AND MAKE YOUR OWN. Also, MATRIXAT, go fuck yourself you fucking thief!
5 Comments… read them or add your own.
Well, that didn’t take long… it seems that they responded me back on Twitter and they will sort it out…
Well, since I just refreshed the page and see you got issue resolved…guess I can save my reply. Although, here it is just in case you want to see it:
I don’t think Daisuki did it on purpose, but I have seen this issue frequently crop up in the past. Besides, I don’t think Daisuki personally goes around to even verify if you have illegal links to the content. If anything, they probably take a laissez-faire approach, and have Google’s algorithm pick up on something the company specifies. That being said, did you happen to handle the offending post(s) in a different way like include or exclude search terms, etc? I’m not calling you out on anything, but the search algorithm (if one is implemented for the task) isn’t perfect, so minor changes can lead to unpredictable behavior. Of course, what I just said is stupid since you should be able to make the post searchable anyway you please, but Google might say different.
As for do false DMCA claims hurt blogging….it really depends. I seen some illegal sites (not going say who) use it as a bullshit excuse and go out of the way to make sure they avoid take down notices. On the flip-side, for people like yourself and Youtubers that are doing the right thing….yeah, it is a serious problem. However, with most companies like Daisuki, Viz Media, etc – they all have deals to honor with their partners, so I don’t blame them using DMCA notices to do get stuff done, since some bad apples are mixed in with the good…more of the good ones getting the flack, unfortunately. Until Google changes it policies or finds a better way to implement the sweep, this will probably be an ongoing problem. However, since you are sending in a counter notice, hopefully, this will help you avoid this situation in the near future…maybe?
I don’t recall doing anything different, but I think it more has to do with the algorithm as it seems that companies are relying more on automated systems to generate these takedown notices. I’m not surprised by this since a fellow Anime blogger shared this link to an article regarding the rise of robo takedown notices. I will not be surprised if other bloggers besides myself. The sad thing is that most bloggers will not notice unless they look at the search console.
Of course, I agree that companies like Viz and Daisuki are not intentionally taking down Anime reviews. However, false positives from these automated systems will eventually hurt the fans trying to share their options since their posts might accidentally get flagged even if there is no links or downloads to illegal content. This is why I think there needs to be actual copyright reform to fix this broken systems so that things like this won’t happen while creators can maintain the right to protect their content from actual theft.
Glad to see that the charges were removed.
Times like these require some measure to yes censor some material, but with no one willing to take the intermediate step, people keep raging to be very passive or critical. Just like yourself, people get fingers pointed at them even when such posts/reviews have no ill intention. I understand if DMCA and the likes look at those who don’t understand what harm illegal download prove to be, but for honest posters like yourself, it becomes a caution that you shouldn’t be taking so much.
I have my own opinions on illegal downloads, but in general, I frown upon how business only look at business. Yes, they need to make money and have contracts to abide by, but they also need to consider how the economy flows among the people of the world. If they wish to block such sources…either they protect their revenue or deny the possible revenue.
Since this one was automated, it can definitely lead to unintentional censorship since the program is as good as the programer that made it. Still, filing a false DMCA is kind of jerkish move to do that it will hurt them in the end. It’s only meant to take down copyright infringement, not to censor criticism. Still, I think the DMCA is kind of broken for the fact that it’s illegal to break digital rights management (required if you want to create backups of your DVDs and such)… In short, copyright is in a big need of reform to fix these issues.