Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blogger Magic - Reporting Abusive Blogs Or People

The Internet Is a wonderful thing - it has brought many people, from many lands, together, ignoring geographic and political limitations. Unfortunately, "many people, from many lands" is not always a good thing. In any group of people, there will be people who do not know or understand each other - and there will be conflict.

Blogger / Google has given us tools to report a problem, when we experience conflict - and when that conflict involves someone else, misusing a Blogger blog. These tools were developed on an "as needed" basis - so don't expect them to be well defined, and well instructed, in every problem which you may have. And, you have to use these tools correctly - they are not magic.

If you report a problem, with a blog or a person, you have to report the problem properly - and you have to understand the limitations, both legal and realistic. Abuse reporting is not magic - you cannot wave a magic wand, and make your problems go away.

There are several possibilities, which you need to consider.
  • DMCA Violation. A DMCA Violation complaint is for obvious, and definable copyright or trademark violations. A DMCA Violation complaint can be filed against any Blogger / non Blogger blog or website.
  • Blogger / Google TOS Offense. A TOS Offense complaint is for any Blogger blog, which is offensive in specific categories. A TOS Offense complaint can be filed against a Blogger blog or Google website, only.
  • Any other complaint, that you may have, is a civil issue - between you, and the offending parties. Blogger / Google cannot assist you, in this case.

Use the right form, and the right reporting selection. We have the DMCA Violation Report, and the "Report Abuse" wizard, and they each have a different purpose. Within "Report Abuse", there are distinct reporting categories. When you report a problem, you need to use one wizard, or the other - and to select the right categories, when available.

If you submit repeated and blatantly inappropriate reports, you may be perceived as a spammer, conducting a denial of service attack against the reporting process - so submit one complaint, properly chosen and written.

Be realistic. Blogger / Google has to investigate, and verify your complaint - and the other party in the dispute has to have a chance to defend himself. This will require time - and may not produce favourable results, for you, personally.

Don't expect miracles. Any immediate and physical problems need to be reported to your local police agency, as they are the ones responsible for your physical safety. And when you deal with an Internet based threat, remember that there are many website hosts. Just because Blogger / Google is being used, right now, in your personal situation, does not mean that your attacker will only use Blogger / Google, in the future.

If you don't find a clear and well defined reporting category for your complaint - or if you don't get immediate or favourable results after submitting your complaint, you may do best to hire a lawyer - and when you do, choose one who is experienced in Internet legal situations.

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