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What Does This Response From Google To A DMCA Request Really Mean?

     
1:45 am on Jul 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi there, Everyone:

Someone scraped several articles and accompanying pictures from my site.

I filed a DMCA request with google, but they said:

It is unclear to us whether or not you are the authorized copyright agent for the content in question.


(You can see the full response at the bottom of this post.)

How do I make this clear to google that my wife and I ARE the copyright holders?

Some of the pictures that they scraped and show on THEIR site have our very-easy-to-see copyright watermark on them (it's the copyright symbol followed by our domain name - not our personal names).

The scraper's site has only been around since March of this year. The content in question has been on the CURRENT URL of our site for at least a year or more. Before that, it was on the same site but a different URL (and before that, it was on a different site that we owned, but split the content off to this site).

1) Isn't google able to see that this content has been on one of our two sites for the last several years, while the scraper's site didn't even exist?

2) Is it because we don't have a copyright notice on the bottom of EVERY PAGE of our site? Just a global one on the home page?

3) How likely are we to get in some sort of lawsuit over this?

Thanks in advance. This is really frustrating. We've already lost a ton of traffic from google (for whatever reason), and now google doesn't believe that our own content is ours!

COPY OF RESPONSE FROM GOOGLE TO ORIGINAL DMCA FOLLOWS:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hello,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

We have received your DMCA notice. It is unclear to us whether or not you are the authorized copyright agent for the content in question. Only the copyright owner or an authorized representative can file a DMCA Infringement Notice on his/her behalf. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights.

If you or your client is not the copyright owner for this content, we can not process your notice. Please have the copyright owner file a DMCA notice with us. If you or your client is the copyright owner, please provide more detail explaining how this is the case.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Regards,
The Google Team
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2:46 am on July 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you or your client is the copyright owner, please provide more detail explaining how this is the case.


have you provided these details in your DMCA notice?
6:48 am on July 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am not sure exactly what details I failed to provide the first time.

I told them that we (my wife and I) wrote and own the content.

My wife and I are the owners of the business and the website.

I am not sure what details I need to provide...
9:12 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Did you include the following "DMCA Notification Statement" listed below or is Google currently using a check box for this? It is required under the law. I submit requested or not to all. Also for $35 you can upload the contents of your site periodically to the Copyright Office in the US.

DMCA Notification Statement

"I have a good faith belief that use of the copyright materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. I swear under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."
10:07 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The scraper's site has only been around since March of this year. The content in question has been on the CURRENT URL of our site for at least a year or more. Before that, it was on the same site but a different URL (and before that, it was on a different site that we owned, but split the content off to this site).


Did you spell this to Google in your DMCA? With example URLs, and if possible, archive.org of pages from your site (the current and the previous URL) to prove the content has been there longer?

Is there another scrapped copy on someone else's domain which could make Google doubt you are the copyright holder?

Isn't google able to see that this content has been on one of our two sites for the last several years, while the scraper's site didn't even exist?

It is not that they can or cannot see whose page has been there longer, but they may not want to bother to do this investigation. I think you have more chance if you present them with the proof that your content was there longer than on any other URL that might scraped it.
10:40 pm on July 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Did you include the following "DMCA Notification Statement" listed below or is Google currently using a check box for this?


google has a checkbox for this. So I am 99% sure that it was checked when we submitted it.

Also for $35 you can upload the contents of your site periodically to the Copyright Office in the US.


Thanks for reminding me of this. I will do so today.

Did you spell this to Google in your DMCA? With example URLs, and if possible, archive.org of pages from your site (the current and the previous URL) to prove the content has been there longer?


Unfortunately, I did not do this. Thank you for the suggestion and I will do this when I refile the DMCA

Is there another scrapped copy on someone else's domain which could make Google doubt you are the copyright holder?


I didn't see any others, but I will have to do more thorough checking. I basically just checked ONE of my articles, discovered his site, and using HIS site navigation, found copies to the pages that had our other articles on his site.

I think you have more chance if you present them with the proof that your content was there longer than on any other URL that might scraped it.


Thanks again. I will certainly provide more proof when I file again.

~~~~

Man, trying to get bad links removed and chasing down scraper sites is KILLING my time. Would much rather be spending this time improving my site.
12:33 am on July 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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if it's google itself that the complaint is aimed at, and they are refusing to act, then aren't they assuming the legal risk?
3:02 am on July 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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if it's google itself that the complaint is aimed at, and they are refusing to act, then aren't they assuming the legal risk?


Potentially, yes. Google though can request clarification of the specifics of the DMCA complaint. So it’s wise to make the DMCA as “crystal clear” as possible with your presentation and research.
5:50 am on July 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have a few pages on a Wordpress based site that continually get scraped. Google has always been quick to remove them when I file DCMA, and I have no idea why you're getting this sort of response.

I'm wondering if they're confusing ownership not with the scraper, but with the original URLs for this content. It might help to explain to them that this content was originally at this URL, then that one, then this one (or however it goes), but that these domains are all yours, copyright everything.
2:27 am on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I would check your websites url in the waybackmachine vs the person you are accusing. then provide that as proof. show them it was posted on your site X amount of time over their site.