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Copyright infringement mail

lovestruck. says:

I have just received a infringement notice stating that a named picture has been removed from my stream and if I have another notice of infringement against me my account will be terminated.

I remember the picture deleted and remember taking it so cannot understand why I have got this notice...ALL the pictures in my stream were taken by me apart from a few taken by my husband

I have mailed Flickr back and hopefully will hear from them..but after reading some other posts on here I won't hold my breath.

Has anyone else received a notice like this?..and if so how did they deal with it if it was totally unwarranted...?

I am a bit worried now that someone else could claim I have infringed their copyright and with out any discussion with me Flickr can just terminate my account...

If this did happen would I loose all my uploaded pictures too?
Posted at 2:10PM, 16 February 2012 PDT ( permalink )

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(101 to 142 of 142 replies in Copyright infringement mail)
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Dave Gorman says:

"It'd be a nice customer service thing I guess. But it'd still be absent of any of the meta data stuff that would make the replacement matter for anything, so what's the point? "

Me: As I've said before, the views/comments/faves etc matter only because of vanity (and because it's the difference between paying for flickr and keeping your photos on your own hard drive). But the url preserves links and I think they matter for far more fundamental reasons. They just matter. They're what makes the internet the internet.

Anyway... "it'd be a nice customer service thing" is surely reason enough.

I can't believe any user likes the idea that any of their pages can be deleted permanently through no fault of their own. There is no compelling reason why that has to be the case. It is not because of a law. It is because of flickr's policy. That policy is not in the best interests of its users.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )
Dave Gorman edited this topic 26 months ago.

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The Searcher says:

I didn't say it would be a bad thing, or not good for customer service. I said that Yahoo likely has no legal obligation to maintain any page or generated content on their site. And as the conversation was turning to laws and rights concerning those things, I was just pointing out that may not be the best tack to take to invite change.

"good for the customer" is a way better approach, than trying to assert rights that we don't possess.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Ewan says:

I said that Yahoo likely has no legal obligation to maintain any page or generated content on their site

I really don't see where you're getting that from. Yahoo are clear that they're dealing with this under the terms of the DMCA and US jurisdiction, and a DMCA 'put back' notice has just as much legal force as the original 'take down'. Yahoo T&Cs do not trump the law, and the law says they have to put the content back. Furthermore, as Dave pointed out, the Yahoo T&Cs don't say that they can take stuff down on a whim, they say that they can take stuff down when they believe someone's breaking the rules, and in this case, they don't believe that.

They haven't a leg to stand on either way.

Edit: Also, it makes the recent SOPA/PIPA protest look pretty hollow - if Flickr doesn't want people to have that sort of arbitrary power of censorship, don't bloody give it to them voluntarily.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Dave Gorman says:

I think this is a fair summary of the policy as it stands:

Obviously best viewed at full size

Flickr Sometimes Deletes Your Content Even Though They Don't Have To by Dave Gorman

Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )
Dave Gorman edited this topic 26 months ago.

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Dave Gorman says:

Aw shucks. I knew you agreed with us on what should be happening in circumstances like this... you thought of it.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Searcher says:

"Yahoo are clear that they're dealing with this under the terms of the DMCA and US jurisdiction"

Really? Because from the responses in this thread from the person wronged and staff, the issue is specifically because they are NOT dealing with a U.S.-U.S. notice/counter-notice, for whatever reasons.

Not only did I think of it, but apparently the U.S.-U.S. arrangement came about directly because of my usually unheralded genius:
www.flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/104389/680712/

Problem remains however, that whenever Flickr staff can't talk about something, it usually means there are yahoo legal issues afoot. And for reasons that we could probably find out for ourselves if we read line-for-line the legaleeze of whichever regional jurisdiction is in play here (or possibly some overlapping international rule/law that governs multi-country copyright disputes) there's something currently tying their hands that isn't listed in the U.S. centric terms/tos/guidelines/law that we have available to us to read.

Frankly I think it begs the question of whether Yahoo should straddle international laws at all. I'm not even sure what predicated that in the first place. Does YouTube or Facebook work on whichever international law applies at the time of notice? Or do they just say in their terms, regardless of country of origin, that the user is bound by the laws of the U.S.?

I honestly don't know the answer, but I would think that would simplify all sorts of things if it were so.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Ewan says:

Dave did say that "the emails from Yahoo!'s legal people to me all cited the DMCA so that's the law I'm citing back" - any chance of quoting the relevant text from those emails? And the stuff about choice of venue/jurisdiction? Zack seems to be claiming that non-US to US notices aren't covered by the DMCA, but that seems to be at odds with what Yahoo are saying.

It was also several days ago now that someone from Yahoo Legal was apparently going to get in touch with Dave directly; would it be fair to assume that that didn't ever happen?
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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iansand says:

Cross border events on the Internet are a jurisdictional nightmare. What law applies? Location of server? Location of viewer? Location of poster? Domicile of site owner? Some combination of these? No one really knows for sure. The High Court in Australia has decided that, for defamation, the location of the viewer is the relevant law (US server, Australian viewer), but that may be a special situation because of some quirks of defamation law.

I suspect that Yahoo legal decided that the US-US thing was pretty clear, but gave up on anything but that and adopted an arbitrary policy. Not that the policy makes sense, is necessary or even reasonable
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

Zack Sheppard says:

When we receive a notice of copyright infringement we take the appropriate action to remove the content from the site. The exact process varies across different countries, depending on the respective copyright laws, data retention laws and other laws.  We delete photos based on non-U.S. complaints, and disable photos based on U.S. complaints. In order to disable the copyrighted material rather than delete them from our servers both the user and complainant must be U.S. users. When both members aren't in the U.S. it isn't just the DMCA that applies. Because Dave is a U.K. user and his photo along with the comments associated with the photo, were deleted. Unfortunately, in this instance the notice submitted was fraudulent but Dave can and has reposted the photo after proving that the notice was false.

Putting the image back where it was at the same URL isn't feasible with our current process and systems, especially as more than a one off. Because it would be so resource intensive, the best place to put our time and energy regarding this is an improvement that would benefit the Flickr community as a whole. We've reached out to Dave to discuss the situation and apologize. We all agree that the system as it is isn't optimal and we are going to be working on, and are already discussing, how to improve it.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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iansand says:

Thanks Zack. This sentence, with respect, seems to be nonsensical - "Putting the image back where it was at the same URL isn't feasible with our current process and systems, especially as more than a one off."

You can do this for US-US complaints, but not in other circumstances. What is the difference in terms of resources?
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Dave Gorman says:

I think I know what Zack is saying here. If they had disabled access to the image - as they do for a US-US complaint - they would of course have been able to re-enable access to it. That's not the same as putting it back given that they'd deleted it.

I still believe that that is technically possible. But I accept that to do so for every non-infringing image they've deleted is costly. The reason I've been making noise about this is not to seek special treatment for me in this instance, but to try and persuade flickr that their current policy needs to be changed. I am far more invested in not-having-this-happen-again (to me or anyone) than I am in fixing what happened on February 17th.

Flickr were horribly slow to respond to this. Yahoo tried their hardest to not respond at all. When Zack and I spoke the first time he was unable to answer pretty much any of the pertinent questions. He promised me that someone from Yahoo legal would be getting in touch the next day or possibly the day after.

Nearly 48 hours later, an email arrived from Yahoo legal. It pretty much said, "we consider this matter closed."

Having created the flowchart, things have gotten a little noisier. A few more journalists have been in touch with me. One of them got in touch with Yahoo's London based head of PR.

That seemed to do a lot to help end the deadlock. I spoke to the head of PR. He promised a response. Last night I spoke again with Zack and with Carmen. (I think Carmen's the head of Intellectual Property Rights at Yahoo. I'm sure Zack will correct me if I'm wrong)

This was the first constructive dialogue on the topic. They accept, I think, that the policy as it stands does not serve the interests of their users. They promise that they are now going to try and change it. I think they are. I think it will change.

The impression I have is that nobody really knows quite why the policy is as it is. Everyone just seems to think that it was made that way for a reason at the time so there must be one. Maybe they're right about that. Even so. Knowing what it is wouldn't be a bad thing.

Flickr is not about photo storage. What sets it apart from other sites is community. The comments/faves/sets/groups/links that connect to a photo are that photo's flickrness. It seems odd to me that flickr would ever seek to delete that flickrness.

One of the arguments seems to be that there may be some statute somewhere that prevents them from having the disputed image on their servers - even if they have disabled access to it.

My point is that even if that is the case, it is not a reason to delete the flickrness. In such circumstances, if the disputed image was replaced by a holding image it would lead to one of two outcomes in cases like this:

1: the user has a back-up copy.
They are able to replace the holding image with that copy. Everything is as it should be.
2: the user doesn't have a back-up copy.
A holding image is left in its place saying something like, "the photo originally hosted here was deleted because of a bogus copyright claim made by, Degban Ltd, www.degban.com "

In my case I'd have been able to go with option 1. But option 2 would still be a better fall back position than where we're at right now. Links to the image would now be links to the story-of-what-happened-to-the-image rather than links to dead space. And it would be a tiny disincentive to companies like Degban to behave as they do.

It would be better politically to leave evidence around the internet that bad companies use bad laws to remove (legally) good content than to simply leave bad links behind.

Having spoken to Carmen and Zack I have now finally been sent a copy of the Notice of Infringement that was issued against my photo.

The NOI did not target my image alone. It contained a list of links. The information on the others has been redacted but there were 28. So that's me, lovestruck. and 26 other users who have been affected by this.

The best part is discovering quite why they thought my photo was infringing.

Degban were working on behalf of the pornography company, Wasteland. (It seems fair to point out that Wasteland have been brilliant since all this blew up. They were quick to apologise, were suitably embarrassed to discover what has gone on in their name and have dispensed with Degban's services)

Anyway, here's a blogpost on a blog called "Of The Wasteland". If you look at the fourth paragraph it contains a link to my photo. And that's it. That's all there is. In March 2006, my photo was linked to by a blog with wasteland in the title. Getting a bogus DMCA notice really is a lottery. It really could have happened to anyone with public content.

If there are companies that stupid and lazy filing DMCA takedowns for reasons that spurious it's even more important that a service like flickr has a robust policy for processing them in a way that does as little damage as possible.

They don't at the moment. But I believe they've now recognised that and are making steps in the right direction. Let's see what they can do.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )
Dave Gorman edited this topic 26 months ago.

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Dominic Sayers says:

My belief is that Flickr would not ever have changed their policy unless someone like Dave Gorman got involved and generated enough negative publicity for this to significantly affect Flickr's revenue prospects.

Rational arguments would never have stopped this web vandalism.

It's not just about Flickr reluctantly changing one policy. They've had 31 months to do something and they did nothing except dissemble and procrastinate until bad PR became an issue.

Unless Flickr demonstrates a complete change of culture before my Pro subscription expires I will still not be renewing.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Eric Hunt. says:

Dominic - I agree with your analsysis. However, as far as your Pro status goes - you should just shut off your internet connection and maybe even give your computer away, as your observations hold true for any company that has an international reach, and probably for any company that has a national reach across the USA.

Thank you Dave for having the tenacity and interest to further the issue this far. I am cautiously optimistic, only because you have proven you can generate the publicity required to keep someone inside Yahoo and/or Flickr from letting the matter fade away before fixing their process.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Michael Smith says:

I'd also like to thank Dave for his tenacity. The problem's not fixed yet, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Яick Harris says:

Looks like techdirt is running with this story:
www.techdirt.com/articles/20120312/13265218082/dave-gorma...

I hate to see bad publicity for flickr, but this is a situation they have brought on themselves.

And good for Dave for presenting the situation in an articulate, rational manner.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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christabel's artworks says:

says

My belief is that Flickr would not ever have changed their policy unless someone like Dave Gorman got involved and generated enough negative publicity for this to significantly affect Flickr's revenue prospects.

Rational arguments would never have stopped this web vandalism.
+1

Huge thanks, Dave ♥
Your exceptional efforts and determination will, hopefully, bring proper protection and safeguards to our photos' flickrness soon.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Ewan says:

Dave has indeed done a sterling job here, and I'm glad that things are looking up, and I await a concrete outcome with interest.

It is slightly depressing though that this had to be driven by (of all people) Yahoo PR, and not by Flickr people. Whatever's going to happen now, whatever discussions are taking place, could have happened years ago and a lot of destruction could have been, and should have been, avoided.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Vox Sciurorum says:

Lawyers dealing with non-lawyers will always insert illegal clauses to frighten the lesser folks into inaction. Some considerations here:

1. You can't disclaim liability for gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

2. The "sole discretion" clause says Yahoo! has no obligation to provide the service you paid for. They can take your pro account payment and delete the account immediately. But that's illegal under contract law, so the clause doesn't mean what it says.
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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Яick Harris says:

FYI ...
Some background on Dave Gorman:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Gorman
Posted 26 months ago. ( permalink )

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jakerome says:

What Dave, Dominic & Rick said.

We're here complaining in Flickr forums because we're passionate about Flickr. I hate seeing negative stories about Flickr, those based on falsehoods especially, but incongruously I'm glad when it happens because the negative PR seems to be the impetus Yahoo!/Flickr seems to need to react.

How many other massive websites enjoy as many users passionate about the service as Flickr? Yet time & again, these ticking time bombs are left to burn slow, when Flickr has at times months or years to defuse the issues and get ahead of the story by listening to users & being proactive.

So I'll shake my head every time Flickr is excoriated in the press, but breathe a sigh of relief as well, since that will mean that maybe just maybe Flickr will finally fix some issue that's been ignored too long.

Now, about getting Guest Passes for Collections...
Posted 25 months ago. ( permalink )

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pamelaadam says:

maybe we shall see a satirical tv show from Dave on this issue ?
Posted 25 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Ewan says:

Because it would be so resource intensive, the best place to put our time and energy regarding this is an improvement that would benefit the Flickr community as a whole. We've reached out to Dave to discuss the situation and apologize. We all agree that the system as it is isn't optimal and we are going to be working on, and are already discussing, how to improve it.

How's the work coming then? Anything you can tell us non-US folks about how you're not just going to delete our stuff at the whim of any passing griefer would be helpful.
Posted 25 months ago. ( permalink )

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Dave Gorman says:

Any news Zack?
Posted 25 months ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

Xerxes2K says:

We want to let you know that we have implemented a global change in the standard takedown process that will benefit the whole Flickr community going forward.

When a photo is removed from the site based on a notice of alleged copyright infringement, we will temporarily show a placeholder and the member will have an opportunity to respond before the image is made unavailable.

If the alleged copyright infringement is found to be fraudulent, the image in question will be restored, and the photopage will look like before.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Walwyn says:

Superb.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Patrick Costello says:

That sounds like an excellent response. You might reword your last paragraph for clarity ...

"If the allegation of copyright infringement is found to be fraudulent ..."
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Stevekin says:

Any repercussions for the one making the fraudulent allegations ?
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

Stevekin

They will be taken out and shot. Their corpses will be violated, and then shot again for good measure. Then buried at sea under nuclear waste.

That's a good question. :-)
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Stevekin says:

I realise it may be difficult or near impossible to impose sanctions on non account holders at Flickr. So I guess it's just account holders I'm wondering about.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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sweet distin says:

Excellent.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Wil C. Fry says:

Stevekin

Sorry, I just wanted to say "taken out and shot". Now I feel better. ;-)

I'd like to think that the legal staff would be just as careful in that instance as they're trying to be in the case of an initial report, but like you, I'm curious as to the exact procedure...
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Dave Gorman says:

Xerxes2K Thanks. Thanks especially to the PR people in Yahoo's London office as without their intervention it is difficult to imagine anything changing.

But mainly, thanks.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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loupiote (Old Skool) pro says:

thanks. this was overdue, but thanks.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Ewan says:

Oh good. That was clearly the right thing to do, but I can imagine it was complicated to get done.

Thanks to the people who put the effort in.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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christabel's artworks says:

Splendid! Thanks from me too, to all who moved this issue forward to its solution.
Especially thanks to Dave Gorman for the time, effort and dogged persistence you applied, for the benefit of the flickr community world-wide :)
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Searcher says:

Awesome. I don't know whose idea this was originally (to show a placeholder and maintain the photo page) but whoever it was they are an absolute genius.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Яick Harris says:


Genius indeed :)

....

This is great news.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Mount Fuji Man says:

This seems an excellent outcome. Congratulations to Dave Gorman and thanks for all his efforts.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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PhotoJunket says:

Thanks indeed to Dave Gorman for this.
Posted 23 months ago. ( permalink )

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Jayel Aheram says:

God, I was so late to this. But thank you (and congratulations) to Dave Gorman for pushing back against Flickr's ridiculous copyfascist policies that they have seemingly adopted.

This is a win for culture. At least, within Flickr.
Posted 22 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Searcher says:

Well it was a win until someone had to come along with such a ridiculously asinine and offensive term as "copyfascist".

At least some things never change.
Posted 22 months ago. ( permalink )

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Michael Smith says:

Thanks to Xerxes2K; very special thanks to Dave Gorman, without whom...
Posted 22 months ago. ( permalink )

This thread was closed automatically due to a lack of responses over the last month.

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