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Scarlet DMCA Complaint of Shame

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 7:24 am

Recently, a Google search results page presented a notice at the bottom that I’ve never seen before:

DMCA removal notice in Google SERPs

Clicking on the “read the DMCS complaint” link takes you to a copy of the complaint on ChillingEffects.org — a project co-managed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law clinics of Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law — which publishes these cease and desist letters to copyright infringers.

At first it appears these letters are published as a way to shame the copyright infringer, but if you take a closer look at the site it becomes clear that ChillingEffects.org seeks to prevent abuse of the DMCA by companies or individuals trying to squelch free speech.

From the site’s homepage:

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to “chill” legitimate activity.

Recipients of cease and desist (C&D) letters are encouraged to contribute them to the Chilling Effects database. Some letters are published and subjected to legal scrutiny and/or explanations of actions/recourse the recipient can take.

Google has info on how to file a copyright infringement complaint regarding infringing material that can be found through Google Search. Any C&D letter you send to Google may be forwarded to ChillingEffects.org.

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Category: Intellectual Property

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