Last week I sent a DMCA notice to Chilling Effects (changed name to Lumen in November of 2015)to request that the site remove a copy of a DMCA notice (sent to Google search) containing a direct link to infringing (pirated) online streams of our film. I explained my actions in an earlier blog post. This morning I published a blog post noting that I’d not received any response from Chilling Effects’ DMCA agent (firstname.lastname@example.org) but that the content had been removed….
Turns out, mere minutes after I posted by blog post, Tracy Walden, Harvard’s DMCA agent, forwarded me a counter-notice from Chilling Effects’ Adam Holland. Now, if I hope to enforce the takedown I must file suit in district court. Apparently my DMCA notice falls into the category of “mistaken removal.”
Here’s how Chilling Effects describes the counter-notice process on its own site:
While the safe harbor provisions provide a way for individuals to object to the removal of their materials once taken down, they do not require service providers to notify those individuals before their allegedly infringing materials are removed. If the material on your site does not infringe the intellectual property rights of a copyright owner and it has been improperly removed from the Web, you can file a counter-notice with the service provider, who must transmit it to the person who made the complaint. If the copyright owner does not notify the service provider within 14 business days that it has filed a claim against you in court, your materials can be restored to the Internet.
I don’t have the deep pockets required to go to court so it’s likely that after a couple weeks the pirate links will go back online. As I’m not an attorney it’s not entirely clear to me why Chilling Effects–a site that in its current form operates as a de facto search engine for pirate links–is allowed to operate above the law. I’m sure, however, there will be plenty of folks who will fill me in.
Just to be clear, here’s a video documenting how the page in question at Chilling Effects links directly to an infringing stream of our film. I guess my eyes deceive me eh?
For the record, I’m not opposed to Chilling Effects operating a database to document DMCA takedowns. Transparency is a good thing. However, I do believe the site could, and should, redact a portion of the infringing links posted on its public, searchable database. That would be the responsible (and ethical) thing to do.