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Friday, July 26, 2013

Repeated DMCA Violations Are Punished Gradually

Some blog owners don't understand the serious nature of DMCA Violations in Blogger blogs - and how offenses are handled, by Google.

We've seen several reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from blog owners who appear to be unclear about the consequences of repeated DMCA Violations.
I got email from Blogger, about my Blogger account.
We'd like to inform you that we've received another complaint regarding a blog that you administer. Upon review of your account, we've noted that you've repeatedly violated the Terms of Service: http://www.blogger.com/go/terms. Given that we've provided you with several warnings of these violations and advised you of our policy towards repeat infringers, we've been forced to disable your Blogger service.
How do I get my blog restored?

This example appears to represent the final step, in a 3 step policy.

It appears that Google takes a 3 step approach, towards DMCA violations.

The 3 step approach is similar to the TOS Violations punishment process.
  1. Deletion of offending posts.
  2. Deletion of offending blogs.
  3. Deletion of offending Blogger account (and blogs).

Step 1 - Deletion of problem posts.
We've noted the initial step - deletion of offending posts, before. Specific blog posts, which are identified as DMCA Violations, are saved as Draft content. This allows the blog owner to correct the offense, and re publish a corrected post, without losing the content.

Step 2 - Deletion of problem blogs.
If the owner chooses to ignore the initial DMCA Violation, and simply re publishes an offending post - or if the owner publishes multiple offending posts, the blog is deleted. The owner is free to publish another blog, at his convenience - but the offending blog is not recoverable.

Step 3 - Deletion of problem Blogger accounts.
If the owner publishes a new blog, containing the same offending material - or if the owner publishes multiple offending blogs, the Blogger account (and blogs) is deleted. If the offender is a team member of a blog, the team membership can cause incidental deletion of other blogs.

If a DMCA complaint is involved, the complaint must be appealed.
If the owner accepts the DMCA violation - righteously accused or not, and simply deletes / leaves deleted the offending post(s), this counts as a guilty plea. The owner must have all DMCA Violations appealed - and be found not guilty - or the account will be terminated, after any additional violations are detected.

Reputation is affected, even while the 3 steps are underway.
In some cases, we've seen suggestions that offending blogs can affect reputation of the owner, and of other blogs owned by that person. It appears that search engine reputation, of other blogs owned by the account affected, can be affected - even before deletion is necessary.

Warnings sent by email may or may not be received.
As with all email delivered warnings, there will be cases when the owner may not receive warnings in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, the owner is responsible, even so, when he offends, repeatedly. Some cases, also, may involve intense research.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Rajan C Mathew said...

Could you give an example of a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) violation?

Chuck Croll said...

Hi Rajan,

Thanks for the question.

I could probably give hypothetical examples - but you don't need that. Just look in ChillingEffects. You could spend days browsing their database.