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DMCA complaint - Why is Google *STILL* sending me messages?!?

     

LifeinAsia

10:41 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Many, many months ago, I received a message in Google's Webmaster Tools that someone had filed a DMCA complaint against one of our sites and that Google had blocked a URL on our site. I clicked on the URL, and it was a discussion board message that had been deleted some months earlier. (Not sure if we deleted the message or the original poster.)

So, the content's gone, that URL redirects to the list of topics for that board, all is well. Right?

Well, once a month or so, I still continue to get a message in Google's Webmaster Tools that someone had filed a DMCA complaint and that particular URL has been blocked. Even though that particular posting was deleted probably 2 years ago!

Come on, GOOG, you guys can do better than that.

tedster

11:07 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Silly answer (but still true) - Google is not a person, they're a big company. When structures get big, then stuff happens.

If the url is still truly blocked and you want it unblocked, I'm sure a Reconsideration request would handle it - you'll get a human look at the situation instead of mere automation.

LifeinAsia

11:22 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm, filing a Reconsideration request to unblock a URL that no longer exists would definitely be a fitting request for this entire situation...

jdMorgan

1:36 am on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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> ...that URL redirects to the list of topics for that board

Therefore, at some level, that URL still "exists."

If it were my site, I'd return a 410-Gone status on that URL, not a 301 or 302 redirect... just to make it completely clear to the 'agent' that checks such things.

Jim

trinorthlighting

3:20 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Did you follow the DMCA complaint and inform Google that the material was down or did you just take it down and not tell Google you took it down? There is a process of doing that with Google and if you did not properly respond to the complaint letting them know it was down, Google will still send you friendly reminders until they have been officially notified that the content is gone.

LifeinAsia

3:30 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As I pointed out originally, the post was removed long before we received the original message from Google. When I click to view more information about the issue, I get a message saying the DCMA information is not available yet online (still getting that message a year later). There is no way to respond to the complaint other than filing a counter DCMA complaint by fax or snail mail. Yet without knowing what the original complaint was, we have no basis to rebut the complaint.

If Google is going to continually notify me of a non-event by e-mail (or GWT messages), they should provide for using the same channel to answer.

trinorthlighting

3:37 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Does not matter if you took it down before the complaint, you still have to respond to Google:

[google.com...]

(Scroll down the page and look at Counter Notification)

You do have to send written or fax notification to Google that the material is down. Remember, this a legal matter, not a Google matter and there is a process.

trinorthlighting

3:47 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Also,

One other note to share about this, on the bottom of that url there is also a statement by Google:

"Many Google Services do not have account holders or subscribers. For Services that do, Google will, in appropriate circumstances, terminate repeat infringers. If you believe that an account holder or subscriber is a repeat infringer, please follow the instructions above to contact Google and provide information sufficient for us to verify that the account holder or subscriber is a repeat infringer."

So if you do use other services such as AdWords, adsense, etc.. and a site is what Google calls a "repeat infringer" Google can suspend any Google accounts and they will ban a website completely.

So it is important to respond to every notification.

LifeinAsia

4:06 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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In the Counter Notification section:
The administrator of an affected site or the provider of affected content may make a counter notification... When we receive a counter notification, we may reinstate the material in question.

No response is "required." And we have no need for the the material to be reinstated.

trinorthlighting

4:17 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sure, you do not need to respond, but until you respond, Google might keep sending reminiders or you might just wake up one day and find yourself completely banned and de-indexed.

Do you want to take that chance or take 2 minutes and mail a letter or send a fax to Google that the material in question is gone?

LifeinAsia

4:54 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That's the whole complaint that I'm making- *I* have to jump through all these hoops, waste my time, and generate out-of-pocket expenses because Google can't take the 2 seconds to verify that a DCMA complaint has no merit to begin with.

trinorthlighting

5:00 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Well, it is unfortunate that the DMCA was filed and it was unfortunate that a user posted material, but it is your website and you are responsible for your users posts for copywrited material.

Google is a third party to this and they have to follow the law and they will not make exceptions. If you read through Yahoo and Bings DMCA intructions you will see the same things.

The only way to change the process is to change the law which will more than likely not happen.

LifeinAsia

5:18 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Well, it is unfortunate that the DMCA was filed and it was unfortunate that a user posted material, but it is your website and you are responsible for your users posts for copywrited material.

Several issues:
1) The content of the post WAS removed, months before any DMCA complaint was even filed.
2) The DMCA complain was filed with Google- not with us nor our hosting company.
3) Without seeing the DMCA complaint, we have no idea if the original post even DID contain copyrighted material or if it was just a bogus DMCA complaint.

That's the other issue I have with this whole thing- we are accused of some wrongdoing and we have to jump through hoops to prove we did nothing wrong, but we are not even being given the information that is being used to accuse us.

Google (apparently) removed the cached content from their servers, and blocked the content from being re-indexed (which it wouldn't anyway since the URL is long gone). They have also notified the owner of the site in question. They have fulfilled their legal obligations under the DMCA complaint.

As you pointed out, they are a 3rd party. They have no legal obligation (or right) to force a site to take down the content when they have no control over that content.

Sorry if I sound snarky, but over the past few months I have wasted an incredible amount of time because of the inaction or inefficiency of others. I am sick and tired of wasting my time because other people have the inability or unwillingness to do their jobs, which creates a lot of work for everyone else. I expected (and continue to expect) much better from Google.

trinorthlighting

5:49 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You can ask Google for that complaint. I suggest that you do so. You never know, may be Google accidently gave you the wrong URL and your site might be on the verge of being completly banned because there might be copywrited material still on your site that you do not know about.

Obviously, Google recieved a complaint and they saw the material on your site and notified you. You have to follow through on this or take a chance of being banned.

As far as the work load goes, its all a part of running a website. There are some things in the world you just have to do.

LifeinAsia

6:53 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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they saw the material on your site and notified you.

At the risk of being repetitive, apparently I haven't made it clear enough: Google did *NOT* see the material on the site because it was removed months before the DMCA complaint.

trinorthlighting

8:10 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As part of their Googles's legal review when a DMCA is filed, Google requires documentation from the person submitting the complaint which can be found here:

[google.com...]

Also,the DMCA complaint that is filed with Google does forward to a third party (Right on the DMCA Portion of Google's Page):

"Please note that in addition to being forwarded to the person who provided the allegedly infringing content, a copy of this legal notice will be sent to a third-party which may publish and/or annotate it. As such, your letter (with your personal information removed) will be forwarded to Chilling Effects (http://www.chillingeffects.org). You can see an example of such a publication at [chillingeffects.org...] A link to your published letter will be displayed in Google's search results in place of the removed content"

Again, Google will pull the page down or look at a cached page to verify that information is correct and take proper action (Banning the URL or even banning the website in question.)

So let me make it clear, their legal department did see it either live or in a cached version of the page and does have this on file. Chilling Effects also has this on file and you can search their database.

Google is required by law to keep DMCA's on file and I am more than sure Google keeps their ducks in a row on this issue.

Otherwise, if they did not see the information or it did not verify against the complaint that was filed they would have never banned the URL and never notified you.

LifeinAsia

8:52 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Exactly!
As I have (patiently, so far) tried to point out, Google has *NOT* forwarded me a copy of the DMCA. Nor have they provided an online copy of it. Nor does a search of Chilling Effects find anything. (I have search by domain name, domain name without the extension, and the main keywords for the site.)

Google has *NOT* put any of their ducks in a row on this one, yet apparently expects me to jump through hoops to compensate for their unduckiness.

trinorthlighting

9:01 pm on Jul 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes, they have, if you want the information you have to ask Google for it. You have to follow the legal route in a DMCA action.

Again:

To file a counter notification with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail -- not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below.

Chilling effects does not post everything, but they will have it on file. Again, ask them for a copy of the complaint and they will provide it to you.

graeme_p

6:09 am on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The DMCA complain was filed with Google- not with us nor our hosting company

The law specifically allows this. What do you expect Google to do about it?

Again, ask them for a copy of the complaint and they will provide it to you.

If it clear where you can ask for it? Why do Google not simply forward every complaint automatically.

JS_Harris

8:28 am on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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tedster's right. That faceless machine also flags our sites and pages as not worthy of page one results based on an algorithm. Get there too fast or on a site that is too new for example and the human who answers the automated flag will agree with the machine and down you go perhaps a few spots if lucky, perhaps gone for the keyword if unlucky... until the timer on the nudge expires anyway.

I suspect that if you complain the messages will stop, only a human can call off the nanobytes.

LifeinAsia

3:38 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



The law specifically allows this. What do you expect Google to do about it?

I expected them to read the complaint, fulfill their obligation to remove any cached copies of the content from their servers, take 2 seconds to see that the content wasn't even on our site any more, and have that be the end of it.

The last message from them is long deleted, so I guess I will have to wait until the next nasti-gram and waste some time and money to file a counter complaint.

trinorthlighting

9:46 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



They did read the complaint, they did remove the cached copies and they were nice enough to send notification and follow up notification.

What you fail to realize is this is not a Google issue, it is your websites legal issue. Anyplace in the world when ever a legal action is taken there is paperwork involved. The person who filed the DMCA filled out paperwork and you have the option to respond.

This is not Google's fault, they are merely following the law.

martinibuster

10:06 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>>>Yes, they have, if you want the information you have to ask Google for it.

On one hand
Google may not have done all that they are legally required to. Google is legally required to notify the website owner and give the website owner the opportunity to challenge the complaint. IF Google did not do this then Google has not done all they are required to do under the law. As you yourself stated, the OP has the option to respond, but what's missing from that statement is that Google has the responsibility to provide the web publisher with the opportunity to respond, something that may not have occurred.

But on the other hand...
It's interesting that there is no Chilling Effects record. Google routinely files a report of any DMCA actions they've taken at Chilling Effects. If there is no record of such action there then it's possible there was NO DMCA filed or processed, which may explain why the OP did not receive notice. If so, then it points to an error at Google if WMT is flagging a URL as the subject of a DMCA filed with Google when there is no actual record of a DMCA.

 

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