|They're coming to get me!|
Well, oh dear me. It seems that me, and this blog of mine, are currently embroiled in a legal scuffle.
What's that, you say? Do tell, good sir.
On Wednesday of this past week, the 21st, I received a Blogger Takedown Notice in my email. A what? I'd never heard of such a thing. It informed me that:
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog
is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. 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.
Loosely translated, this means that someone pitched a fit over something in one of my blog posts and lodged a copyright complaint against me instead of just contacting me directly. Gotta love this asshole litigious society we live in now where every perceived butt-hurt is met with threats to sue.
Needless to say, I was a bit disconcerted by this accusation after over 760 blog posts and nearly 575,000 blog views over the past five-plus years without a problem.
They then went on to explain the DMCA was a US copyright law to provide guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement and gave me a link to file a counter suit if I felt I had a right to post the content on my blog. Then they go on to tell me the notice they received was posted at some site called Chilling Effects and that I should use the provided link to Chilling Effects' database search engine to find my evil transgression.
They finished up with the thinly veiled threat that if they found out I went back & put the post back up without removing the material in question that they would remove the post completely and that I would have a violation listed against my account and that further offenses would result in "further remedial action" like my blog being taken down completely, and that if I had legal questions I should retain my own legal counsel.
SERIOUSLY? I need to get a lawyer over a frikkin' blog post and I need to go to some third-party site I've never heard of just to find out what I allegedly did wrong? Couldn't you have just TOLD ME IN THIS STUPID EMAIL?
Well, I gave it due diligence, kids. I have been trying for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT to use the link provided by Google/Blogger to find out what I had allegedly done, and for FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT the search engine is mysteriously broken.
How convenient. Someone lodges an anonymous complaint against me and the tool I need to clear my name is conveniently broken. Meanwhile my blog post is being held in stasis, basically a hostage in all of this. By the way, the post in question was the one I did at the end of August deriding the city of Detroit as being a wasteland like Hiroshima after the nuking but minus the radiation and pointing out how cities under liberal control are in decay nationwide... A conspiracy-minded person would think that the intent all along is to slowly strangle & silence those who speak out against Liberalism by tying up blog posts with legal bullshittery.
Well, after five days, I decided I'd had enough and decided to use that counter file link to ask Blogger/Google itself just WTF was going on, and let them know I can't fix the problem because their partner site is screwed up and I can't find out what I allegedly have done wrong, and would they please kindly help me out here. I also told them I protested having to click that I agreed to their legalese provisos on the submittal form. These included:
I consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in
which I reside (or the Northern District of California if my address is outside of the
United States), and that I will accept service of process from the person who provided
notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the content
identified above was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification
of the material to be removed or disabled.
Your digital signature is as legally binding as a physical signature. Please note that
your signature must exactly match the First and Last names that you specified earlier
in this webform.
Yeah, seriously. All this bullshit just to find out what terrible offense I am accused of. A few minutes later I got a form letter reply in my email saying :
Thanks for reaching out to us!
We have received your legal request. We receive many such complaints
each day; your message is in our queue, and we'll get to it as quickly as our
Due to the large volume of requests that we experience, please note that we
will only be able to provide you with a response if we determine your
request may be a valid and actionable legal complaint, and we may respond
with questions or requests for clarification. For more information on
Google's Terms of Service, please visit http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS
We appreciate your patience as we investigate your request.
The Google Team
Well, a little more cordial to me now that I am standing up for myself, aren't we? But I still have to wait in line to be investigated in their own sweet time and my post is still suspended in stasis, a post that at last count had been viewed 3,770 times. Yes, I keep track of these things. Sure, I'm not a major site like HuffPo or Free Republic but dammit the Bill of Rights and Freedom of Speech still applies to me and my readers.
I'll keep ya'll posted.