Monday, May 02, 2011

DMCA Violation Vs "Report Abuse" - Does One Duplicate The Other?

Some blog owners are confused about the function of the "DMCA Violation" complaint vs the "Report Abuse" form - and some blog owners use one complaint process when the other would be more appropriate.

The Abuse Reporting process is for multiple offended parties to collaboratively complain about a given blog, using any of several different categories.
  • Defamation/Libel/Slander.
  • Copyright/Piracy issues.
  • Spam.
  • Nudity.
  • Hate or violence.
  • Impersonation.
  • Someone is posting my private information.
  • I think someone else is using my account.
The "Report Abuse" wizard can be accessed from the navbar link, or directly. There are many categories for reporting a problem, and no specific details are required. This makes "Report Abuse" easy to use. To prevent abusive use of "Report Abuse", it's collaborative - many "votes" (in any one category) are required to be placed against a problem blog, before automated action takes place.

The "DMCA Violation" form is for one specific party to individually complain about a given blog, and make a specific complaint. This form has specific requirements, and a very serious caution against misuse.
IMPORTANT: Misrepresentations made in your notice regarding whether material or activity is infringing may expose you to liability for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees). Courts have found that you must consider copyright defenses, limitations or exceptions before sending a notice. In one case involving online content, a company paid more than $100,000 in costs and attorneys fees after targeting content protected by the U.S. fair use doctrine. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

The immediate and long term effect of a successfully placed complaint also varies, between the two processes.

An abuse report requires multiple people placing a report against the same blog. Given enough "votes" against a specific blog, a targeted blog can be locked or deleted within hours.

If an abuse report is falsely placed, the effects can be easily reversed. For a spam host accusation, if the target blog is locked or deleted, the owner can appeal the classification. Given a blog that does not obviously host spam, the blog can be restored to operating status within hours of the appeal being placed.

A DMCA Violation report is much more formal. Besides the serious caution, the "Report alleged copyright infringement: Blogger" form has specific details which must be provided, and which can be verified by Google Legal. The DMCA Complaint procedure includes time for the owner of the targeted blog to respond, before action can be taken. However, once action is taken, much more effort is required by the owner to recover an offending blog.

If you have a complaint against a Blogger blog, you have avenues to take, to seek relief. And if you are the owner of an offending blog, you have avenues to take, to protect yourself. Know the differences between the two procedures.

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1 comment:

Bob said...

Good to see you've tackled this one, Chuck. Long overdue, IMHO.