September 1, 2007

MORE DMCA CHICANERY: Worse than Vogon poetry: bogus DMCA takedowns stun sci-fi lovers. More robo-lawyering:

Because DMCA takedown notices require a sworn statement from the sender that the works in question are actually infringing (and that the sender has the right to handle copyright issues related to those works), the SFWA could actually find itself in the legal equivalent of a Vogon airlock over the notices.

What appears to have happened is that the group ran a Scribd search for certain author names and then issued takedown notices for all the results—Doctorow’s book makes a reference to Isaac Asimov, for instance, and Senger’s reading list is populated with the names of great sci-fi authors. This, it hardly needs to be said, is a less than foolproof way to police copyrights.

Perhaps it’s time for the SFWA’s legal team to guide the ship to a starbase for some needed repairs.

People who execute false affidavits should be prosecuted, and the fact that those affidavits are the result of sloppy, unchecked searches hardly constitutes a defense. Here’s a column that I wrote on the topic a while back.

UPDATE: Jerry Pournelle gives the other side of the story, though it doesn’t excuse the errors.

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