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Adsense and DMCA Infringement Notification
Need advice
Philarmon




msg:1437995
 4:44 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi!

I am running an article submission website. Recently, i've got a DMCA notice from Google - somebody have copied copyrighted material from a website and submitted it as his own original article.

Well, i can't check every submitted article to check it's copyrights so sure i've approved it.

Of course, i took it down right after i received the complaint and wrote an email to Google explaining the situation. Today, i received an email from Google stating the following:

"In order to continue your participation in Google AdSense, you are required to send a proper counter notification within 10 days of the DMCA notice."

But after reading Google's counter notification notices [google.com], i am unsure what to do.

It seems that a counter notification mean that i state i did nothing wrong? And then the copyright holders could file a lawsuit against me?

On the other side it seems that if i won't send a counter notification i will be kicked out from AdSense - also not the best scenario :(

Does someone have experience with a situation like that? I would appreciate your advice.

Thanks!

 

novice




msg:1437996
 5:15 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

somebody have copied copyrighted material from a website and submitted it as his own original article.

Did you save the submission form/email to prove what you're claiming. If so, it can be used for your case.

joeking




msg:1437997
 5:34 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I see a lot of sites like yours that are littered with other people's material - it is just a matter of time before each and every one of them falls foul of what are becoming much stronger intellectual property rights.

If you are inviting anyone and everyone to subnmit material, but don't have the resources to police that, then you are bounnd to end up in hot water.

Try explaining your situation to Google and tell them that you acted immediately to remove the article in question and that you are putting in place policies to prevent this happening in the future. Explain that you are unsure what best to do now - just as you did above to this forum. Your honesty is your best way forward now.

Webwork




msg:1437998
 5:43 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Other route: Make nice with the author of the original material and he/she might withdraw the DMCA notice. Might cost you an apology and a few bucks. Might save you a few bucks. That's the price of a lesson learned. Not a bad on if you survive the day.

Philarmon




msg:1437999
 5:43 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

No, i do not collect emails from the authors ... But it seems that this guy has submitted the same "article" to dozens of other article sites.

joeking, sure - i removed the article immediately and notified Google about that but they ask for the counter notification anyways.

My question was actually what does this counter notification mean and what i am supposed to do now?

Philarmon




msg:1438000
 6:19 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Webwork, sure, i wrote an email to them too. I just can hope that they will understand my points :)

ronburk




msg:1438001
 8:56 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

In order to continue your participation in Google AdSense, you are required to send a proper counter notification within 10 days of the DMCA notice.

IANAL, but if you know you published infringing content, and you (therefore) cannot in good faith send the counter notification Google says you must to avoid getting booted from AdSense, then it seems like your options are a) get booted from AdSense or b) find a good attorney real quick and hope that s/he can keep you from getting booted from AdSense.

I somehow missed this whole issue, which has been going on at least as long as:

[webmasterworld.com ]

Now I'm surprised that I'm not reading about people getting letters that say things like: "Please remove this material within 24 hours and FedEx me a check for damages in the sum of $1,000, so that I do not have to exercise my legal rights under the DMCA".

It seems like it would behoove AdSense publishers who value their participation to be very meticulous about having good legal provenance for every bit of content, right down the icons in the navigation system.

Very interesting...

andrea99




msg:1438002
 9:04 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think running Copyscape on each article you post would be an easy way to avoid this problem in the future.

miguelito




msg:1438003
 10:08 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

stronger enforcement of DMCA will be the death of forum sites i think...how the hell would we check every article on a forum site of 50,000 members for authenticity?

andrea99




msg:1438004
 10:50 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

how the hell would we check every article on a forum site of 50,000 members for authenticity?

I think a Copyscape query could be done automatically with only those that show returns to be flagged for human review.

No, I don't work for Copyscape.

webnoob




msg:1438005
 10:51 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

> stronger enforcement of DMCA will be the death of forum sites i think...how the hell would we check every article on a forum site of 50,000 members for authenticity?

it's called a disclaimer and terms of use.

we have been brought under "copyright infringement" by several agencies in the past, each time we fight back, since it's about deep pockets they stand-down because they knew we would challenge them in court if we had to -- in the end, we've never remove content from our site even if requested because we have a terms of use that we aren't liable for content submitted.

we had a lawyer write our terms of use and conditions.

[edited by: webnoob at 10:58 pm (utc) on Sep. 13, 2005]

Jane_Doe




msg:1438006
 10:53 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

If it were me, I'd go over the Adsense issue, as well as your whole business model, with an intellectual property attorney.

ronburk




msg:1438007
 12:00 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

how the hell would we check every article on a forum site of 50,000 members for authenticity?

I assume you would go for the same safe harbor that other providers do: make your members agree that they won't violate the law, and promptly handle DMCA notifications, like Google does.

in the end, we've never remove content from our site even if requested because we have a terms of use that we aren't liable for content submitted.

Can't quite see how that policy protects you. I hope nobody puts an Ellison short story on your site :-)

ownerrim




msg:1438008
 12:19 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I empathize with you, but I've had my own stuff stolen, only to turn up on "articles" sites and so I can surely see the infringed party's point of view.

From what I understand, filing a counter can only get you in trouble if you knowingly infringed on the copyright holder. However, if you file the counter and throw it back on them, they may feel they have no choice other than to pursue you in federal court. But...that takes lots of money.

Web theft is getting worse all the time. I wouldn't be surprised if, at some point, forums and articles sites are banned from adsense. That would at least cut down on some of the lazy, thieving maggot scum who steal content.

webnoob




msg:1438009
 12:28 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

> However, if you file the counter and throw it back on them, they may feel they have no choice other than to pursue you in federal court. But...that takes lots of money.

right,. my method worked because we challeged them in court.. *most* will back down because they know you are willing to counter them and have the $$ to do it. unless they have deep pockets they will back down.

if you've got the money, challege them,. don't be suprised if you win, because I have.

it clearly states in our terms of use that we may not be held liable for user-submitted material. which is presented on every single page. if that was the case you'd be seeing people being sued left and right.

now if you "copied" copyright content from elsewhere then yes you can be held liable..

elguapo




msg:1438010
 12:45 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I checked out the copyright thief's website and he has also removed the "offending" article. He possibly may have received the same DCMA complaint. What's left of the page? Well, Adsense of course! Not just 1, but 3 Adsense units + adlinks -- on a blank page save for the navigation structure. And yes, it's about the M word.

But I'm glad that the purveyors of the M word are going after thiefs who copy their work possibly in the hope of getting some of the supposedly high revenues from the M word.

Hope you resolve your problem, though, Philarmon.

beren




msg:1438011
 1:50 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Search engines can get confused when there are copies on the web. Copies might end up hurting the original siteís rankings. Sites that are highly ranked for valuable terms MUST police the web for copies. It would be irresponsible not to.

When the copying site runs AdSense, I have leverage in that I can complain to the AdSense program. It worked EVERY TIME. 100% success. Sometimes I canít get copies taken off the web, but those are sites that are not running AdSense. If a site has AdSense, they remove the copies when I complain. Iíve probably submitted 80 complaints over the past few months.

it clearly states in our terms of use that we may not be held liable for user-submitted material. which is presented on every single page. if that was the case you'd be seeing people being sued left and right.

now if you "copied" copyright content from elsewhere then yes you can be held liable..


Why is copied in quotes? Anyway, it doesnít matter what it says in your terms of use: if you are running AdSense and you are copying my material, you will have to take down the copy or get rid of AdSense. I donít care who is ďliableĒ. I just want the copy off of the internet.


Now I'm surprised that I'm not reading about people getting letters that say things like: "Please remove this material within 24 hours and FedEx me a check for damages in the sum of $1,000, so that I do not have to exercise my legal rights under the DMCA".

That would be blackmail. Maybe not legally, but at least morally. Donít you think?


Make nice with the author of the original material and he/she might withdraw the DMCA notice. Might cost you an apology and a few bucks.

Heh. A publisher called my client and offered $5000 to withdraw a DMCA notice I had filed. (The answer was ďnoĒ, of course.) Iím not aware that itís even possible to withdraw a notice.

jhood




msg:1438012
 3:50 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

You are in the same position as a car dealer who takes used cars on consignment, turning his head and not asking where they came from then claiming innocence when one of them turns out to be stolen.

Being a publisher means clearing the material. Hey, it even means making sure it's accurate. A business that relies on thievery isn't a business. It's a scam.

smilybilly




msg:1438013
 4:27 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Dear beren,

I have a content rich site which is often copied using a website copier. It hurts to see our hard work shamelessly duplicated.

Need a favor, pl do oblige me.

1)Is it best to send the first copyright infringement letter in threatening tone or a polite warning?
2)Could u guide me to a sample of a letter.

thanks
SB

ronburk




msg:1438014
 4:28 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

That would be blackmail. Maybe not legally, but at least morally. Donít you think?

IANAL, but I suspect not, so long as no explicit threat of "and you'll get kicked out of AdSense" is made (maybe not even then, for all I know).

It is not uncommon for legal firms to send out letters of the form "it appears you are violating our patent X, and we therefore want you to withdraw your product and send us $$$$, or else we will exercise our legal rights". So long as it is clear that you want that $1,000 to pay for the damage done by the theft of the material, and not as a payoff for keeping silent, it seems no different than all manner of requests for damages that businesses make. Of course, I personally wouldn't send such a letter if I couldn't find an attorney willing to put their name on it :-).

webnoob




msg:1438015
 4:29 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Why is copied in quotes? Anyway, it doesnít matter what it says in your terms of use: if you are running AdSense and you are copying my material, you will have to take down the copy or get rid of AdSense. I donít care who is ďliableĒ. I just want the copy off of the internet.

well, i guess i can sue all search engines that copy my website and re-publish it as cache without my authorization?

anyway, i put my money where my mouth is.. im not new to any of this, like i said before i challenged several other agencies in the past, all which didn't have the ball$ to take me to court for it. material remained to this day.

incrediBILL




msg:1438016
 4:46 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, you posted articles without validating authenticity and now someone is complaining.

Your only recourse is to say "I was unaware of the infringement, the article was misrepresented as being owned by the posters, and I removed it at first notice of infringement" and hope they don't take everything you own.

ann




msg:1438017
 8:18 am on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's another reason I don't accept submitted articles. Don't need the hassle or the grief.

Ann

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