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Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions > Notices > Complainant Requests Photographs of Self Be Removed Printer-friendly version

Complainant Requests Photographs of Self Be Removed

April 9, 2004

Sender Information:
[Private]
Sent by: [Private]
[Private]

Recipient Information:
[Private]
Google Inc.
Mountain View, CA, 94043, US


Sent via: Fax
Re:

This site has pictures of me with out permission, that were taken from my website.
http://www.poptix.net/mimbach/mjredwing.jpg
http://www.poptix.net/mimbach/mjglock.jpg
http://www.poptix.net/mimbach/cureforoil.jpg

This site also has false information about me being convicted of crimes that I was never convicted of.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that, for each image identified above, I either own the copyright or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

We are pursuing a case against him. It is very time consuming and expensive. We are requesting the link
http://www.poptix.net/mimbach/ be removed completly from google. This site is not informational, not accurate, and gives no value to google users.
It also sells no product or provides any services.

Please respond and let me know how much of this can be dealt with.

[Private]
[Private]@[Private].com
WNOC / Mountain Wireless

image

FAQ: Questions and Answers

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Question: What defines a service provider under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?

Answer: A service provider is defined as "an entity offering transmission, routing, or providing connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user's choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received" or "a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities thereof." [512(k)(1)(A-B)] This broad definition includes network services companies such as Internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, bulletin board system operators, and even auction web sites. In A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster Inc., the court refused to extend the safe harbor provisions to the Napster software program and service, leaving open the question of whether peer-to-peer networks also qualify for safe harbor protection under Section 512.

There are four major categories of network systems offered by service providers that qualify for protection under the safe harbor provisions:

  • Conduit Communications include the transmission and routing of information, such as an email or Internet service provider, which store the material only temporarily on their networks. [Sec. 512(a)]
  • System Caching refers to the temporary copies of data that are made by service providers in providing the various services that require such copying in order to transfer data. [Sec. 512(b)]
  • Storage Systems refers to services which allow users to store information on their networks, such as a web hosting service or a chat room. [Sec. 512(c)]
  • Information Location Tools refer to services such as search engines, directories, or pages of recommended web sites which provide links to the allegedly infringing material. [Sec. 512(d)]

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Question: What are the DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions?

Answer: In 1998, Congress passed the On-Line Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) in an effort to protect service providers on the Internet from liability for the activities of its users. Codified as section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), this new law exempts on-line service providers that meet the criteria set forth in the safe harbor provisions from claims of copyright infringement made against them that result from the conduct of their customers. These safe harbor provisions are designed to shelter service providers from the infringing activities of their customers. If a service provider qualifies for the safe harbor exemption, only the individual infringing customer are liable for monetary damages; the service provider's network through which they engaged in the alleged activities is not liable.


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Question: What may be copyrighted?

Answer: In order to be copyrightable, a work must be

1. fixed in a tangible medium of expression ; and
2. original.

Copyrights do not protect ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries: they only protect physical representations. 17 U.S.C. 102(b). Anything unrecorded is not copyrightable, in as much as it is not "fixed;" for example, dances and improvisations themselves are not copyrightable: only visual recordings or written descriptions of them are. Say I go to a jazz concert and listen to a soloist's improvisation. If I have the musical equivalent of a photgraphic memory, I may be able to reproduce that improvised solo in my own concert on the following night. If that solo exists nowhere but my memory (i.e. the original concert was not recorded) I may play it with impunity, because it is not "fixed" and therefore not copyrightable. But, if the original concert was recorded (e.g. taped, videoed, transcribed on paper), even by an amateur, I am barred from playing my version of the solo. Even a bootleg recording (for which the recorder can be punished under section 1101 of the copyright act) qualifies for copyright protection: a work need not be formally published in order to be "fixed;" it need only be saved in a tangible form. 17 U.S.C. 104.

The originality requirement of 17 U.S.C. 102 demands that a work, in order to be copyrigted, be independently created by the author. In order to be original, a work need not necessarily have novelty, artistic merit, truth, or lawful content. For example, a replica of a painting in the public domain may not be novel, but it is copyrightable. An item of sculpture designed to be used as a pipe for smoking marijuana may not be designed for legal ends, but it is copyrightable. A false biography is copyrightable, although it may well also be cause for defamation litigation.


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Question: What does "under penalty of perjury" mean?

Answer: Law.com offers a good definition of perjury: "Perjury is the the crime of intentionally lying after being duly sworn (to tell the truth) by a notary public, court clerk or other official. This false statement may be made in testimony in court, administrative hearings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, as well as by signing or acknowledging a written legal document (such as affidavit, declaration under penalty of perjury, deed, license application, tax return) known to contain false information. Although it is a crime, prosecutions for perjury are rare, because a defendant will argue he/she merely made a mistake or misunderstood."


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Question: What are the notice and takedown procedures for web sites?

Answer: In order to have an allegedly infringing web site removed from a service provider's network, or to have access to an allegedly infringing website disabled, the copyright owner must provide notice to the service provider with the following information:

  • The name, address, and electronic signature of the complaining party [512(c)(3)(A)(i)]
  • The infringing materials and their Internet location [512(c)(3)(A)(ii-iii)], or if the service provider is an "information location tool" such as a search engine, the reference or link to the infringing materials [512(d)(3)].
  • Sufficient information to identify the copyrighted works [512(c)(3)(A)(iv)].
  • A statement by the owner that it has a good faith belief that there is no legal basis for the use of the materials complained of [512(c)(3)(A)(v)].
  • A statement of the accuracy of the notice and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on the behalf of the owner [512(c)(3)(A)(vi)].

Once notice is given to the service provider, or in circumstances where the service provider discovers the infringing material itself, it is required to expeditiously remove, or disable access to, the material. The safe harbor provisions do not require the service provider to notify the individual responsible for the allegedly infringing material before it has been removed, but they do require notification after the material is removed.


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Question: What are the counter-notice and put-back procedures?

Answer: In order to ensure that copyright owners do not wrongly insist on the removal of materials that actually do not infringe their copyrights, the safe harbor provisions require service providers to notify the subscribers if their materials have been removed and to provide them with an opportunity to send a written notice to the service provider stating that the material has been wrongly removed. [512(g)] If a subscriber provides a proper "counter-notice" claiming that the material does not infringe copyrights, the service provider must then promptly notify the claiming party of the individual's objection. [512(g)(2)] If the copyright owner does not bring a lawsuit in district court within 14 days, the service provider is then required to restore the material to its location on its network. [512(g)(2)(C)]

A proper counter-notice must contain the following information:

  • The subscriber's name, address, phone number and physical or electronic signature [512(g)(3)(A)]
  • Identification of the material and its location before removal [512(g)(3)(B)]
  • A statement under penalty of perjury that the material was removed by mistake or misidentification [512(g)(3)(C)]
  • Subscriber consent to local federal court jurisdiction, or if overseas, to an appropriate judicial body. [512(g)(3)(D)]

If it is determined that the copyright holder misrepresented its claim regarding the infringing material, the copyright holder then becomes liable to the OSP for any damages that resulted from the improper removal of the material. [512(f)]


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Question: What kinds of things are copyrightable?

Answer: In order for material to be copyrightable, it must be original and must be in a fixed medium.

Only material that originated with the author can support a copyright. Items from the public domain which appear in a work, as well as work borrowed from others, cannot be the subject of an infringement claim. Also, certain stock material might not be copyrightable, such as footage that indicates a location like the standard shots of San Francisco in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Also exempted are stock characters like the noisy punk rocker who gets the Vulcan death grip in Star Trek IV.

The requirement that works be in a fixed medium leaves out certain forms of expression, most notably choreography and oral performances such as speeches. For instance, if I perform a Klingon death wail in a local park, my performance is not copyrightable. However, if I film the performance, then the film is copyrightable.


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Question: What is copyright protection?

Answer: A copyright protects a literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictoral or graphic, audiovisual, or architectural work, or a sound recording, from being reproduced without the permision of the copyright owner. 17 U.S.C. 102. The copyright in a work vests originally in the author(s) of the work. The author(s) may transfer the copyright to any other party if she(they) choose(s) to do so. 17 U.S.C. 201. Subject to certain limitations, the owner of a copyright has the sole right to authorize reproduction of the work, creation of a work derived from the work, distribution of copies of the work, or public performance or display of the work. 17 U.S.C. 106. This right lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years; or in the case of a copyright authored by an entity (a work-for-hire), for ninety-five years. 17 U.S.C. 302.


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Question: Who may hold a copyright?

Answer: A copyright ordinarily vests in the creator or creators of a work (known as the author(s)), and is inherited as ordinary property. Copyrights are freely transferrable as property, at the discretion of the owner. 17 U.S.C. 201(a), (d). In some cases, however, the actual creator is not considered the author of the work for copyright purposes: if a work is created by an employee in the regular course of her employment, it is considered a "work for hire" and the employer, not the employee, is considered the "author" of the work for copyright purposes. For example, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, a staff writer for a newspaper does not hold the copyrights in her product, the newspaper does. This only applies to works created in the ordinary course of employment: if the same reporter writes a novel in her spare time, she herself owns that copyright.

Certain commissioned works may also be considered works for hire. 17 U.S.C. 201(b); Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989). The term "work for hire" is defined in 17 U.S.C. 101.


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Question: What rights are protected by copyright law?

Answer: The purpose of copyright law is to encourage creative work by granting a temporary monopoly in an author's original creations. This monopoly takes the form of six rights in areas where the author retains exclusive control. These rights are:

(1) the right of reproduction (i.e., copying),
(2) the right to create derivative works,
(3) the right to distribution,
(4) the right to performance,
(5) the right to display, and
(6) the digital transmission performance right.

The law of copyright protects the first two rights in both private and public contexts, whereas an author can only restrict the last four rights in the public sphere. Claims of infringement must show that the defendant exercised one of these rights. For example, if I create unauthorized videotape copies of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and distribute them to strangers on the street, then I have infringed both the copyright holder's rights of reproduction and distribution. If I merely re-enact The Wrath of Khan for my family in my home, then I have not infringed on the copyright.

Trademark law, in contrast, is designed to protect consumers from confusion as to the source of goods (as well as to protect the trademark owner's market). To this end, the law gives the owner of a registered trademark the right to use the mark in commerce without confusion. If someone introduces a trademark into the market that is likely to cause confusion, then the newer mark infringes on the older one. The laws of trademark infringement and dilution protect against this likelihood of confusion.

Infringement protects against confusion about the origin of goods. The plaintiff in an infringement suit must show that defendant's use of the mark is likely to cause such a confusion. For instance, if I were an unscrupulous manufacturer, I might attempt to capitalize on the fame of Star Trek by creating a line of 'Spock Activewear.' If consumers could reasonably believe that my activewear was produced or endorsed by the owners of the Spock trademark, then I would be liable for infringement.

The law of trademark dilution protects against confusion concerning the character of a registered trademark. Suppose I created a semi-automatic assault rifle and marketed it as 'The Lt. Uhura 5000.' Even if consumers could not reasonably believe that the Star Trek trademark holders produced this firearm, the trademark holders could claim that my use of their mark harmed the family-oriented character of their mark. I would be liable for dilution.


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Question: What is copyright infringement? Are there any defenses?

Answer: Infringement occurs whenever someone who is not the copyright holder (or a licensee of the copyright holder) exercises one of the exclusive rights listed above.

The most common defense to an infringement claim is "fair use," a doctrine that allows people to use copyrighted material without permission in certain situations, such as quotations in a book review. To evaluate fair use of copyrighted material, the courts consider four factors:


  1. the purpose and character of the use
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the amount and substantiality of copying, and
  4. the market effect.

(17 U.S.C. 107)

The most significant factor in this analysis is the fourth, effect on the market. If a copier's use supplants demand for the original work, then it will be very difficult for him or her to claim fair use. On the other hand, if the use does not compete with the original, for example because it is a parody, criticism, or news report, it is more likely to be permitted as "fair use."

Trademarks are generally subject to fair use in two situations: First, advertisers and other speakers are allowed to use a competitor's trademark when referring to that competitor's product ("nominative use"). Second, the law protects "fair comment," for instance, in parody.


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Question: What does a service provider have to do in order to qualify for safe harbor protection?

Answer: In addition to informing its customers of its policies (discussed above), a service provider must follow the proper notice and takedown procedures (discussed above) and also meet several other requirements in order to qualify for exemption under the safe harbor provisions.

In order to facilitate the notification process in cases of infringement, ISPs which allow users to store information on their networks, such as a web hosting service, must designate an agent that will receive the notices from copyright owners that its network contains material which infringes their intellectual property rights. The service provider must then notify the Copyright Office of the agent's name and address and make that information publicly available on its web site. [512(c)(2)]

Finally, the service provider must not have knowledge that the material or activity is infringing or of the fact that the infringing material exists on its network. [512(c)(1)(A)], [512(d)(1)(A)]. If it does discover such material before being contacted by the copyright owners, it is instructed to remove, or disable access to, the material itself. [512(c)(1)(A)(iii)], [512(d)(1)(C)]. The service provider must not gain any financial benefit that is attributable to the infringing material. [512(c)(1)(B)], [512(d)(2)].


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Question: What is libel?

Answer: Libel is a false statement of fact expressed in a fixed medium, usually writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast. See What elements must be proven by a party (plaintiff...?


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