Friday, January 8, 2010

communiqué #25: balancing act

walk this way... take #2

Well. I received another DMCA takedown notification last night. The first in several long, quiet months.

This time with a major difference. I logged into the dashboard to be greeted directly with a dispatch from Blogger Support:

As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again."

The notification was duplicated by email.

In my opinion, Google has at long last got it right. The resetting to draft status, rather than gung-ho deletion, affords the administrator the opportunity to directly address a reported issue without suffering the abuse of having original work expunged on some McCarthyist whim. This is a major step forward, on balance, and Blogger are to be congratulated.

I am unsure to what degree Larisa Mann - student of Jurisprudence at U.C. Berkele
y - contributed to this recent development, but her perseverance in the dialogue between EFF, the Stanford Fair Use law clinic, and Google itself is to be applauded. Thank you, Larisa.

The issue, however, with regard to making transparent offending material remains unresolved. In this, those parties invoking DMCA action continue to do so without publicly delineating cause for complaint. 

A practice both offensive and grossly unjust.


Mondo said...

Revert to draft, that’s more bearable. What track was it ib? I’ve been whacked a couple of times, and had a grumble at the time, but on reflection. I’d be just as miffed if to discover someone had been posting my blog entries around the net without permission

Happy 2010 to you to matey

ib said...

'Twas a Third Ear Band song, curiously. A rather old post, too. The piece itself was fairly windy, so I'm glad not to have 'lost' it entirely. Interestingly enough, it did occur to me some time back that there is technically nothing to stop any Tom, Dick or Harry to approach Blogger with a DMCA complaint. With a grudge; or purely on a whim.

Who can fathom it, when the complaint remains shrouded in mystery. And seemingly 'anonymous' ?

Well. Previously, I have merely reinstated any offending post from backup - sans what I gather to be the issue. Namely the audio link.

Another thing. Experience has taught me that those posts 'red carded' have all contained purchasing links to the material featured. It could, of course, be entirely coincidental, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

Rather a shame, all things considered. A number of comments point to product being purchased online as a result of those links.

davyh said...

I had one 'returned to draft' recently too - a very civilised way of dealing with it I thought. HNY to you too ib.

ib said...

It is very civilized, yes ? High five.

@eloh said...

I am a computer idiot. By accident, I have found several of my posts.. reposted on other blogs. I didn't know I had a right to complain. Most places it seems that the site was all about just finding and reposting... not really claiming it as their own.

ib said...

I think everyone is on a learning curve regards the intrigues and twists of the net.

Do you mean you found your posts reposted with proper accreditation and links back to your site ? If the answer is yes, I don't believe there is anything to be too concerned about. I mean. I've googled 'myself' and discovered repostings, but always linking back.

That's cool.

On the other hand, I have sometimes stumbled upon flagrant repostings of other - usually famous - individual's material. Wholly without accrediting it or even employing quotation marks. That is pretty miserable, I feel. It smacks of old school plagiarism.

I know if I discovered my own writing employed in such a fashion I would be royally pissed.

The same thinking applies to images. Where possible, I always try to properly accredit photographers, etc. Or well known paintings; illustrations, etc.

Still. There have been one or two instances where I have been approached to remove a publicly published image. In spite of supplying the appropriate credit and link. That pisses me off no end. I removed both images in those instances, of course, albeit not without expressing a degree of irritation.

Copyright and fair use are often disagreeable bedfellows. When I was a jobbing illustrator, I never once objected to a client retaining the artwork he had paid for. By law, however, the artist retains the right to hold a commercial artwork; the client is simply contracting to commission or buy for specific usage.

And so, the plot thickens. By self-publishing publicly, I would argue, one places one's work in the public domain. It is hardly appropriate after the event to work up a sweat when somebody elsewhere draws attention to it.

So long as it is properly accredited. I wrote a great deal about this about a year ago, when posts began to be deleted verbatim. Without publicly revealing cause for complaint. That situation was then rife with regards music blogging. No explanation. Just wholesale removal, like Stalin employing an airbrush to rewrite history.

Then again. I am sitting here typing this, and it occurs to me that I didn't credit the photograph of Arthur Miller I posted earlier today. That is only excusable in terms of sheer laziness. The case with the illustration below it, less so, since I was unable to establish the source.

Add the complication that the web is truly international in character.

That is part of the appeal, right ? That, and the fact that we all enjoy the luxury of publishing instantly. Without having to operate through an agent and a rigid contract.

Copyright is subject to international definition and cumbersome intricacies. A matter of jurisprudence differing from one country to the next, and fought in the courts subject to legal precedent.

A conundrum, certainly, if not necessarily a moral one.

Shit. It's enough at times to make one want to crawl back into bed.

Verbose ? Me ?

ripley said...

Thanks for the shoutout!

I think there was a bit of a pushback, that I hope I was a part of, around this issue. Luckily because I live in San Francisco, I was able to be present at several events where Google and Blogger people were present and I did press them on the issue. I spoke with the EFF people a lot as well, and I think they also made their case. But I also have to big up all the great music bloggers out there who continue to spread great music and make great commentary..

AS several folks have pointed out - this is a place where we can all make a stand - te legality of this stuff is not clear, but even if it was clear, it could easily be wrong. the laws were not written with us in mind. ANd they can be changed. But also, companies can be sensitive to criticism, regardless of the law..

So it's great that we are thinking about the ethics of our practices separate from the law.. just thinking about how we want to treat each other and our words & music.. that's the real point. the law should catch up, especially if we really know what we want. Or at least it should stay out the way!

best & happy new year

ib said...

Hey, Ripley: Happy New year!

Thanks for your efforts in pushing hard with Blogger - it definitely seems to have reaped significant dividends - and for checking in here with the feedback.

Best wishes.