More fun with the DMCA

Facebook took down Ars Technica’s page on the site because of allegedly infringing content. Read about it here. The page is back after much wrangling. The problem for Ars Technica (and potentially for anyone else against whom there’s an infringement complaint) was that Facebook didn’t tell them what content was allegedly infringing or offer them an appeals process or an option to remove the content. Evidently Facebook didn’t think through a process for handling these complaints, which can easily be bogus.

I’m not an attorney (so don’t take my word for this), but I can suggest a process: the DMCA says Facebook should promptly block access or remove the material, so they really have to do something. My process would be to block the page temporarily, notify the page owner of the complaint and specify the content, give them an opportunity to take the content down or make the case that it’s not infringing. The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Act says that the counter-notification from the page owner saying that the material is not, in face, infringing would be enough for safe harbor from liability.

Attorneys, please comment if I’ve got this wrong.

Author: Jon Lebkowsky

Co-wrangler of Plutopia News Network, cohost Radio Free Plutopia. Podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. Former editor/publisher, FringeWare Review; associate editor at bOING bOING and Factsheet Five; writer at Mondo 2000, 21C, Wired, Whole Earth Review, Austin Chronicle; sub-editor at Millennium Whole Earth Catalog; blogger at Worldchanging. Digital culture maven, podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. On The WELL, Cohost of VC (virtual communities), Media, and Civil War (.ind) conferences.