My previous post about a page takedown due to a supposed DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) violation attracted a comment:
I am going through the appeal process regagrding D360 threats myself. My hosting provider did lock down my entire site and I am working to get it back up. D360 contacted me and I responded immediately and removed the state map images for the U.S. that one of my researchers found through Google Images, and in our rush to complete a project last Fall 2012, it went without proper review as to the origins of those maps. An honest error on our part, admittedly, but these asshats are in this to suit people and are not interested in simple resolutions. I have had my site at godsownparty(dot)com for over 5 years without ever experiencing this type of aggressive attack over an unintentional error. When my site returns...guess who I am writing about?And this comment attracted another comment (which was posted three times as the author, whom I would have thought was quite web-facile, had trouble understanding Blogger.com's controls)
This Anonymous person's name is Leah and she's pretty upset at her website begin down. Destination360 filed a DMCA complaint on her website because they took 3 maps on 3 separate articles. Example: http://www.destination360.com/maps/arizona-map.gif Its pretty clear there's a copyright and who owns it right? Her webhost was pretty heavy handed in their response but we have no control over that. She's now posting nasty anonymous comments on our Google+ acct. Why not just take responsbility for your actions and move on? Because its the internet and people can be anonymous.
To which I answered, in comment form:
Dear Local Trips/Destination360: Thank you so much for sending the same comment three times. I guess it never hurts to be certain you were heard, but you do apparently believe in taking responsibilities for your actions... When you file a DMCA complaint, as you seem to enjoy doing quite often, it causes undue havoc and pain upon people who were really not trying to harm you. In my case, I credited your photo to your site. Had you left it alone, you might have generated additional business, as the Hunter post is one of my most popular. The credited link could have drawn in more people to your site. And even if you don't want additional traffic to your illustrious site, you COULD have simply contacted me and asked nicely for me to take down the image. I would have done so, but had I refused, it would THEN be the proper course of action to file the DMCA. With your petty behavior, you now inspire people like me and Leah to let others know, and not only do you not gain any traffic, you lose potential customers and viewers. Is it worth that? And by the way, as noted in the post, I've found duplicates of your photos and your copy elsewhere...who stole what from whom?
To which Dan Taylor, the principle (and I have to admit superb photographer of Destination360.com) answered
Dalai, Obviously that wasn't the intention to post multiple times, feel free to delete extras if you care. The commenting confirmation on this has something to be desired. I cannot comment on your specific instance regarding DMCA but we're fine with someone filing a DMCA on Destination360 we hire all our writers and content is run through copyscape so our work is vetted. Thanks for allowing us rebuttal on this issue.
And I responded:
Here's a rebuttal for you...why are you at Destination 360 being such BUTTS about this? WHY couldn't you simply contact me, which you can see is quite easy to do, and ask NICELY for me to remove the image in question? WHY did you feel it necessary to go straight to a DMCA filing? DO you possibly grasp that this just works against you in the end? Probably not.Dan has the last word to this point
Sorry but in order to process DMCA's you must follow certain procedures. Most people taking images are doing it for profit "traffic theft". On occasion innocent users get caught in this. Its impossible to determine who this is without significant work on our part. So the only way we can effectively and legally process these is to send to the website user email adddress and webhost. In the case of the Leah incident she had her whois hidden as private so we had no way. We sent 5 emails over the course of one month. I doubt you will understand our position but if you were in our shoes you might. In all fairness you say easily contact you. In looking at http://doctordalai.blogspot.com/ I cannot find anyway to contact you on this blog. I must go back to my dayjob. Cheers!
Well, Dan, old friend, you really should consider putting in that "significant work", as you might be taking away the livelihood of others. My blog exists mostly for my own amusement, but other people actually depend on theirs for a living. I notice Destination360.com produces something under $200/day in advertising, which may or may not be enough to keep you in Nikon D800's without your day job. "Leah's" site isn't back up even yet, so I don't know if this is something that generates food-money for her or not. Would you be at all sorry for your actions if it did? Was her goal actually traffic theft? Mine certainly wasn't. If by that term you mean using the photos in question to divert web traffic from your site to mine, well, I guess that practice does exist. However, I seriously doubt it represents the majority of people who use your photos, ESPECIALLY those who do so and give you credit for them as I did. With the crediting link, YOU, Dan, and your illustrious site, get FREE advertising. The "Doctor Hunter" post was one of my most popular. I used the photo of the hunter to represent my friend the hunting doctor, and it had nothing to do with anything on D360.com. Nothing but upside for D360 to just leave it and me alone.
There's a punch line here...the photo in question wasn't taken by Dan or anyone else associated with Destination360.com...it was a STOCK PHOTO from iStockphoto.com. So I bought the rights to use it myself, and it's back up on the Doctor Hunter post:
Please save this invoice/receipt as a record of your purchase.
iStockphoto LP, Suite 200 - 1240 20th Ave SE
Calgary, Alberta T2G 1M8 Canada
Now, isn't that interesting? How did they know my use of the photo was not kosher? Well, I made it easy for them by posting the credit right there by the picture. It's also possible to check the source of a download by examining the EXIF data of the photo. In this case, the version I borrowed from D360 mentions their website, and that from iStock contains their info, and that is perhaps another way to search. (I will of course assume that D360 licensed this picture either from iStock or in another legal manner.)
It's pretty clear that my friend Dan is trolling the 'net looking for photos (and maybe text) that match the content of Destination360.com, without bothering to find out the origin of the material. To be fair, I had not properly obtained permission to use the photo in question (which I have now), and in MY case, D360 truly did have the right to file the DMCA action. BUT, this isn't always the case with Dan and company, as he himself admits above, and some others like "Leah" will suffer. Others have had similar amusing experiences as this blog post and attached comments will illustrate
My frustration at GoDaddy has gone to a whole other level this week.Dan, buddy, pal, mate, friend...THIS is what your blind shotgunning accomplishes. For every real case of "traffic theft" you eliminate, you cause a boatload of grief for several more innocents.
Not that you really care, but IF you and Destination360.com want to be a good citizens of the web, Cease and Desist from your belligerent practices outlined above. Yes, it is your right to pursue those who actually ARE trying to steal your customers (although I'll bet you don't get much revenue from the vast majority of those viewers who might be so enticed anyway), but you should have the common courtesy to find out BEFORE you go, ummm, gunning for them. You are doing nothing more than turning away potential visitors to your site. You are firing a shotgun into a crowd which you think might contain someone who ripped you off. This is not the way to win friends and influence people. Not at all. In fact, Dan, you posted something on your own forum about "besstpicturesof.com" which I won't reproduce as you might get upset. The gist of the post was that "image scrapers" are trolling for your content and using it as an easy source of revenue. Really, Dan? Are the dozens of little piss-ant blogs out there that you have prosecuted (under pain of perjury) REALLY using your content for revenue? Certainly, a site that DOES do this deserves the full weight of your wrath, the rest of them, the rest of us, probably not.
Since you are quite concerned with Internet piracy, as we all should be, by the way, you might be glad one of your images was lifted to be used in a talk about...Internet piracy . The image of the Mexican Caribbean is yours. Have fun prosecuting the Hong Kong police.
There are a lot of sites dedicated to travel beyond D360.com. I'll be visiting those, and not yours. I urge my readers to do the same. THIS is what your behavior brings you, Dan. Yes, mine is a small blog with few readers. But they have friends, and the friends have friends...
Next time, send the perpetrator an email, a common courtesy which you didn't afford me. Most of us out there will do the right thing. Unlike those who indiscriminately file DMCA notices.