Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Blogger music blogs - what to do if you get a DMCA notice

If your music blog uses Blogger or Blogspot and you get a copyright infringement notification from Blogger under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows blogs etc to be taken down for copyright infringement, what should you do?

  1. Check that you really were authorised by the copyright owner of the music to link to the music complained about (and that the upload of the file you link to was also authorised), or that you have a decent chance of arguing that your use of their content was "fair use".
    1. Tip: see the Citizen Media Law Project's excellent note on Responding to a DMCA Takedown Notice Targeting Your Content for helpful info on the procedure and what's involved.
    2. You might well want to seek US legal advice in your particular situation; the EFF do take on some cases, but only a very few.

  2. If you're sure you have the copyright holder's permission or your use was fair use and you want to fight the take down, you can't just sit around - you need to send a counter-notice to Google ASAP. Here's how to send a DMCA counter-notification to Blogger. Note that:
    1. Google do link to a helpful counter-notification generator which you can use to produce your DMCA counter-notice.
    2. You have to say in your counter-notice that you believe in good faith that your content was wrongly removed - if you know it was actually infringing copyright, then you can't say that, you'll be done for perjury. So think about your justifications before you file the counter-notice. You have been warned!
    3. Although copyright complaints can be submitted online via an infringement notice form, you have to send your counter-notice to Google by fax or hard copy post to the fax number or address they give. Yes this sucks if you're not in the USA as it will cost you extra time or money.

  3. Generally, make sure that your email address in your Blogger profile is up to date, so that you don't miss getting any future emailed complaint notices from Blogger.

Team Blogger had recently clarified how they operate when they get complaints that a blog hosted on Blogger / Blogspot breaches copyright, but they didn't initially clarify how you as a blogger should respond, so if you missed the update to their blog post, then I repeat, see how to send a DMCA counter-notification to Blogger.

The good news is that now, rather than completely deleting the blogs complained about, following the negative publicity about "bad" takedowns Blogger are moving the blogs into draft so that if there was an error or the counter-notice is successful, the blog posts and links won't have been completely deleted as was the case before (though apparently they were still recoverable if subscribed to via Google Reader!).

The incidents where bloggers' blogs were taken down, in at least one case entirely by mistake when there hadn't even been a DMCA complaint, have been covered e.g. by the Guardian and Ars Technica.

This isn't legal advice etc, I just thought that a quick list of steps to take might be helpful, obviously if you need to you should consult a US copyright lawyer.

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