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DMCA Cease & Desist Ignored

     
11:19 am on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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A .be discussion forum copied/published an article I wrote from my site without my permission, complete with hotlinked images and a couple text links to other articles at my site - didn't even try to hide the fact. They just scraped my entire page and stuck it on their CMS.

I emailed standard DMCA Cease & Desist to the forum webmaster, the server host, and the parent host. That was 4 days ago. During this time I have exchanged a couple emails with the host "help-desk" however they are giving me the run-around... "how do you know you didn't give them permission?" or "how do we know who wrote this article first?" Now they are not returning emails at all for last 2 days, and the article is still on their servers.

The parent is one of the largest hosting companies in Europe & US.. This seems ridiculous, acting like they've never received a take-down notice before; just denying my claim instead of taking down the page and being done with it. I don't understand what the have to gain by playing dumb.

What would be my next step other than paying for an internet copyright attorney?
11:39 am on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If they are ignoring you it might be a little more difficult to get through. Either way, dates of the events will help. ie, the date you uploaded the article, vs the date it was scraped - you should be able to get some ideas. Have they taken other material from your site? That might be good evidence. What about scraped content from elsewhere? Is this what the site is doing?
12:00 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Just a topic-related forum member that scraped one of my pages and stuck it in a post. It's a Belgium form but all the posts are in English. For obvious reasons I don't want my article published on their site.

My copyright shows I wrote the article and created the web page in 1998. The post date of the infringement is a couple months ago.

The theft is obvious. This is what puzzles me.
12:29 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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DMCA, Afaik, only works for U.S. based businesses. You probably already know this, but I'll just state this for anyone else in a similar situation who might not know it. The DMCA requests should be sent to a U.S. based entity of the host provider or domain name registrar. If you sent a DMCA to the host, make sure you sent it to the correct USA contact as listed on their website for receiving DMCA requests. It might complicate matters if the server itself is located outside of the USA. I'm not sure either if the .be (Belgian) domain might shield them as well.

However if the registrar is in the USA or has a US presence then you may wish to locate their DMCA contact information and send a notice to the domain name registrar, including all documentary material they may require, including a link to archive.org and anything else. Another remedy to consider is sending a DMCA request to Google and Bing.
12:33 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the DMCA was sent to (US) HostGator, the parent. The emails also had this address. I sent to noc & abuse addresses. The "help-desk" appears to get these emails and there are ticket numbers referenced. All would appear normal in this process except for their obtuse attitude.

My server log shows hits to my page from IPs assigned to them. I had their ranges blocked (as I do most server farms) but took down the block for this purpose, but as luck would have it, they hit with a Python-urllib UA which I block. So... now the UA & range blocks are both removed. Been 2 days now, no hits, no email replies, no nuttin.

Seems like there should be some agency to report non-compliance to stuff like this.
3:40 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Seems like there should be some agency to report non-compliance to stuff like this.

Spend some money and talk to a lawyer who is familiar with DMCA stuff. Having him send a letter notifying them of their non-compliance may be the final push they need, especially when the lawyer points out the amount of money they are liable for.
4:05 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The host is not complying with the terms of their SafeHarbor status and they can lose that status if they do not comply. Because the site owner may be outside the US, a DMCA violation might not have as much teeth as one issued under the terms of WIPO - the EU equivalent, but if the host is US based they need to honor a DMCA or risk losing SafeHarbor status.

I used to recommend that people visit the ChillingEffects website to learn about both DMCA and WIPO, but they have changed over the past several months and offer mostly case specifics, not information. You might learn more today by visiting WikiPedia's WIPO article: [en.wikipedia.org...]

The help desk at Hostgator used to be first rate, but when they were sold a few years ago, that all went away and their staff is not very knowledgeable or helpful.
9:56 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@LifeinAsia - I do have a colleague that teaches internet copyright law at a local law school. He also works for a law firm. They charge $600 to accept a case like this, with additional charges to file C&D and other measures taken. Not a consideration for me.

Actually I checked the offending page this morning and a 403 response was served (after 5 days of hassle.) Checked with a couple 3rd party tools and verified the response. I do have to consider that posting at WW might have brought some action on this. Quite a coincidence that after 5 days of avoidance, they take action just several hours after I post using their company name. However, seems odd they'd use 403 instead of 404 if they truly removed the page from their servers. So blocking have been quicker than actually removing the copyright infringement?
9:41 pm on Aug 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Maybe it's just a 403 for you -- your IP - or subnet.
Check it from some other network.
9:55 pm on Aug 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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2 days isn't a very long time. Maybe they were just dealing with it behind the scenes. You were probably dealing with different departments, once the guys you were talking to had decided to remove they would have sent it on to someone else, who would then have taken a bit longer to do it... Having worked for a big company i can certainly see how a seemingly easy thing would take a couple of days
10:34 pm on Aug 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Jonesy - always do

@londrum - it was 5 days but I agree & fully admit my impatience :)