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Google Publicizes DMCA Takedowns 396

dmarti writes "In an apparent response to criticism of its handling of a threatening letter from a Church of Scientology lawyer, the popular search engine Google has begun to make so-called "takedown" letters public. DMCA-censored pages are now two clicks and a cut-and-paste away from the regular search results."
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Google Publicizes DMCA Takedowns

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  • About time... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blankmange ( 571591 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:48PM (#3330483)
    Looks like Google is on the right track. They did kind of step on it when they pulled the Scientology links, but made up for it (kind of). Now it looks like it will take a lot more than just a threat for them to pull pages. Good move!
  • by IanA ( 260196 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:49PM (#3330492)
    Anti-DMCA dot org []
  • Go Oogle! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Perl ( 142164 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:50PM (#3330496) Homepage
    Thanks to a bright suggestion [], I and probably lots of others have started linking to [] scientology [] to help bump up in the search engine listings.

    It's now number 2 in the rankings [] which is 3 spots higher than a few weeks ago so perhaps this small form of protest is also working!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:01PM (#3330576)
    It appears that the CoS pays for a "Sponsored Link" on Google. Specifically, a link to" []
    I applaud Google for posting the letters, since posting them might piss off a source of revenue, I would applaud them even more if they would refuse to take CoS money - after all it comes from the wallets of the brainwashed.
  • Re:Soo.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:06PM (#3330623) Journal
    Google merely posted a link to a copy of the church's DMCA warning letter, which itself links to a list of the "offending" links.

    That makes the DCMA warning letter itself a sort of circumvention device.

    Ahhhhh, sweet irony...

  • by Dick Click ( 166230 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:07PM (#3330627)
    Hmm. I have read a search for " scientology" links to the takedown letters. When I try this search, the first hit is []. I wonder if this is because I am redirected to Anybody have any idea if a search coming from Canada acts differently than a search coming from the US?
  • by mbauser2 ( 75424 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:13PM (#3330669) Homepage
    Don't search for " Scientology", search for " Scientology". You have to include the "site" keyword. The notice is at the bottom of the results page.

    I don't think many people are going to see these DMCA notifications, because I don't think that many people search this way. If they know a given site has information on a topic, most of them go straight to the site, don't they?
  • by Hays ( 409837 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:31PM (#3330776)
    I'm sure other people have suggested this- but we seem to obliterate every small or medium sized server linked from the front page. People will often cut/paste the text, or find google caches of the sites, but why not just do it right on slashdot?

    I'm sure there's some legal worries, but google has found a way around them.
  • by salsashrk ( 573024 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:41PM (#3330842)
    As posted on Chilling Effects [].

    Question: What defines a service provider under section 512 of the Digital Millenium 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)]
    /*Snipped rest for bandwidth*/

    While I clearly understand the spirit of the law in this case is to define that the media content is unaltered, this actually reads as the the data transmission is unaltered to me. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that any alteration to the data from the time it leaves the originating server until it is received and rendered by the end-user, would nullify this argument.
    While I realize that the spirit is clear, lawyers seem to concern themselves with the letter of the law, as it's easier to exploit than a Win98 box on a cable modem. Thusly, if I am interpreting this correctly, it stands to reason that inline packet alteration would make this definition null and void. Such packet alteration as the NAT from the inside network to the internet-routeable IP, QOS policies, or even VTP/VLAN/Trunking headers being added/stripped during LAN traversal would mar the integrity of the original data packet. Just for fun you could throw in TTL decrementing, MTU packet split, etc...

    Just a thought.
  • Simply Brilliant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spacefrog ( 313816 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:41PM (#3330847)
    They are circumventing the fact that they can't post the link by posting a copy of the letter which has the URL in it.

    Simply Brilliant

    They might as well put the URL of the "banned" site in neon letters.

    If you are doing a search for a topic like Scientology, you are probably going to pay attention to these takedown letters with more interest than your "sanitized" search results.

    Being listed on a posted takedown notice will probably drive more traffic to the site.
  • by GSloop ( 165220 ) <networkguru@sloop. n e t> on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:55PM (#3330932) Homepage
    OT I know.

    The ranking system for stories should prevent modding for say, three hours, so all the really good comments could have fair play for Karma, as well as just good visibility.

    It would also tend to depreciate the short "no-brainers" everyone posts in sort of a FP, but semi-thoughtout mentality.

    I can't monitor /. continuously, and find it annoying that on a subject I have some decent input, the story is already 2+ hours old, and I might as well not even bother posting comments. They won't get any moderation, and almost never any discussion. That's too bad, because it tends to depreciate the value of /. (not that there's not enough of that these days anyhow... :( )

    To recap, prevent moderation on a new story for at least 3 hours after it appears.

    I've got some other good ideas at least IMHO too, but I can't remeber them right now.

  • Hint.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BLKMGK ( 34057 ) <> on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:06PM (#3330996) Homepage Journal
    Try finding the voting record for the DMCA. Supposedly, and I've not been able to confirm this, it was passed via VOICE VOTE - no record. However when asked th elawyer who presented on the DMCA in Las Vegas at DEFCON about this he said that it had been passed normally I believe. Anyone know the real answer - and better yet have the real voting record for this damned albatross?! If I find out that ANY of my reps voted for it I can promise they will NOT get my next vote for sure!

  • DOH! Crossposted! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BLKMGK ( 34057 ) <> on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:12PM (#3331026) Homepage Journal
    But what's your source? All I've ever gotten has been RUMINT and when I asked the lawyer (Dario D. Diaz* - still have his card) in 'Vegas about it he seemed pretty certain that it was a normal vote. Since he'd researched the damned thing (boat hull design provision?!) and had just given a presentation on it I figured he must know more than me and didn't argue with him. I'd love to get a definative answer on this - and better yet a voting record. Can anyone help with solid info?

    * is the URL on his card :-)

  • Re:Go Oogle! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:33PM (#3331131)
    I just linked also. Anybody who doesn't know should go at xenu and find out [] what the hell is going on. The Emails between Andreas Heldal and the scientologist make a good read. they can be found under the faq.
  • Re:Agreed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:38PM (#3331152)
    I'm not sure I could think of any other response that Google could've made that would have been any better.

    I can think of one thing that would be better. If they would also create Google page listing ALL takedowns due to DMCA. It could be on their about [] page.
  • by $uperjay ( 263648 ) <jstorrie.ualberta@ca> on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:58PM (#3331275) Homepage
    I would think that this is the last thing the Scientologists want. Not because we can all poke fun at them for being idiots, mind you...

    By calling up copyrights on all of these documents (take a look at things like dead agenting, the big 'enemies' list, and the infamous 'fair play' directive, all of which are in the DMCA-letter here []) they are legitimizing them, and declaring them official Church of Scientology documents. Which is all fine and dandy, of course, except that these documents include directives to commit illegal activities. Even if they can obscure cases of actual crimes, these documents still prove them guilty of conspiracy. And I bet there's probably something in that spiffy new Patriot Act, at the very least, dealing with conspiracies...

  • Re:DOH! Crossposted! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <> on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:58PM (#3331284) Journal
    A search on Thomas [] found this:

    The Senate passed it 99-0. []

    The House held a voice vote, near as I can tell. My search [] ("digital millennium copyright" in the Word/Phrase search field) returned:

    1. H.R.2281 : To amend title 17, United States Code, to implement the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

    Sponsor: Rep Coble, Howard- Latest Major Action: 10/28/1998 Became Public Law No: 105-304.
    Committees: House Judiciary; House Energy and Commerce; House Ways and Means
    A search [] of the House site [] found no recorded vote on H.R.2281. So apparantly both stories are true: It was a voice vote, but the Senate recorded theirs.

  • Re:The Article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2002 @04:23PM (#3331451)
    I love how the letters show conclusively that the OT III docs about Xemu are indeed part of their Advanced Technology. You cannot believe the number of newbie scientologists who believe that Xemu is some lie that anti scientologists invented to make scientology look bad. By the time they themselves are presented with OT III by the Co$ they are already brainwashed enuf to believe anything.

    These letters can provide proof to the new people who joined scientology (before they are brainwashed) that the Co$ is indeed a ufo cult. Thank you Korbin for providing the proof proof that you are indeed a UFO cult, as well as the copyright number that was granted for OTIII. Also thanks for providing the proof of "dead agenting" and other practices of your cult.

    You gotta love it when the Co$ lawyers only end up adding credibility to the critics claims by documenting that they are indeed Co$ doctrine, and citing the source of the doctrine.
  • 1) google isn't perfect either
    2) we can still search if google goes away...
    3) um...i think this is a repeat.

    Point is, google isn't forever either. I would support them, I think they are great stuff...if they got sued I'd hate whoever sued them, just like I hate the RIAA for napster. Do I buy CD's now?

    The power of napster's public backing was not that the people would pay the court fees. it's that Napster pulled a hydra and grew some new heads, there are a million now and napster isn't even dead yet. The Point is that people HATE the RIAA now, they know that such a thing exists and that this RIAA thing took away their free music. Sales of music was up during hte time Napster was up. Now sales are down. I submit this to anyone who wants to repeat the error of the RIAA: napster cost them nothing, and it was _absolutely_ free promotion, but they killed it and made a reputation for being jerks...

    I've brought this up to people. The now know. it's truth - it spreads, and the more CoS blows its horn the more people hear of its evil. *shrug* its' their funeral.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12, 2002 @05:26PM (#3331908)

    Notice of Infringement of DMCA:

    Dear xxxxxxxxxxx:

    I am writing to you regarding a new matter that has been brought to my attention by my clients. In this particular matter our office represents Religious Technology Center ("RTC") and Bridge Publications, Inc. ("BPI").

    It is well known that is an online-rights-and-attemps-of-violation-thereof directory that links users to an online location. Pursuant to its Terms of Service, doesn't prohibit the use of its service to link to web sites which contain infringing material, but we'll get you anyway. I refer you to 17 U.S.C. 512(d) of the DMCA which provides that an internet service provider is protected from liability.

    Currently, is providing a link to a web page which contains a letter we sent containing a list of links to literally hundreds of our clients' copyrighted works and federally registered trademarks. This web site is "" This particular web site, "", has been removed five times by well known internet service providers here in the United States for the precise copyright and trademark infringements of which I am notifying

    I have a good faith belief, and in fact Xenu himself told me, that the posting of these works was not authorized by my clients, any agent of my clients, or the law.


    Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe
    Los Angeles, California
    Tel: (123)456-7890
    Fax: (123)456-7891

    For the paranoid, note that this is only a spoof of the original letter [] :).

  • by JDizzy ( 85499 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @05:56PM (#3332097) Homepage Journal
    Of whether or not the same applys to other indexing or directory services.... Is the phone company in violation of the DMCA if they have links to a person who is in violation of copyright laws in their phone directory? Why is just a internet directory service liable under this law.. seem kinda far fetched if you ask me...
  • Re:Take out an AD! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kristiw ( 452955 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @06:35PM (#3332309)

    Buying ads for sites that tell the other side of the Scientology story is a great idea. Problem is - Google won't let you.

    I've had ads for both [] my sites [] rejected by Google because they claim the sites "advocate against an individual, group, or organization." (IMHO, the latter does not.) I've logged our correspondence [] on my site, although there's a new development I haven't had time to add yet - the current link to Scientology's bogus "drug-free" site [] advocates against psychiatrists, effectively calling them drug pushers, but Google doesn't consider that to be in violation of their unposted, arbitrarily applied policy.

    I'm still a fan of Google, and I'm really pleased they've put up the DMCA notices (and submitted them to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse [], which also has a recent Scientology letter to yours truly) ... but the way they're rejecting certain types of ads really troubles me. It makes it harder for Googlers to see both sides of an issue.

  • Re: Hint... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kadehje ( 107385 ) <> on Friday April 12, 2002 @10:11PM (#3333073) Homepage
    Actually, a voice vote is the "normal method". The voices are cast, the chair takes an opinion (Of course, this opinion need not be based on the voices in the house he hears, though usually the chairperson will.) If there is any objection, an electronic vote is taken (roll call vote).
    Is it just me, or does anyone else find this blatantly unacceptable? I can understand why it wasn't done before the computer age, since if it takes 10 seconds for the chair or speaker to request and receive each House member's vote, it would take over an hour to vote on each bill by going through and asking each member whether he/she votes Yea or Nay on a bill. However, with current technology, an electronic vote should take more than 60 seconds to process.

    ABC Television has shown how easily and quickly several hundred people's votes can be tallied; it's been used so select winning videos on "America's Funniest Home Videos" and indicate the crowd's desired response to questions on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Install the same equipment in the House and Senate, and votes should be taken much more quickly than they are now. I'm not familiar with how electronic votes are taken now, but the few I've seen on C-SPAN usually take at least 5 minutes, often 10 or more.

    Of course this won't happen barring a constitutional amendment; obviously the politicians will keep their freedom to lie to their constituents as to how they voted on a bill by hiding it behind a voice vote. However, I think that this increasing tendancy of legislators to lie about their political actions is a very troubling sign that the U.S. Congress seems to be in the process of turing their country into a Communist state, where decisions are made in closed-door meetings that benefit only those behind those doors and where the governed people have virtually no ability to even observe, let alone change, how their government operates.

    I think that the people really need to put Congress back under the control of not just the public as a whole but also the two other branches of government. It's pretty clear that the courts are under-equipped to preserve liberty under an increasing onslaught of legislation that have to enforce. The Presidency held its own against Congress (being commander-in-chief of the worlds most powerful army is useful for that), but I could see that situation change as well if Congress continues to abuse its power of the nation's wallet, the President's power can be eroded as well, leaving the country with a political situation not unlike that of China and pre-1991 Russia.

    And don't believe it can't happen. Massachusetts offers a pretty good lesson as to what can happen when the legislative branch is allowed to effectively chop off the balls of the executive and judicial systems. The state now is effectively run by two dictators who have prevented governors from advancing any significant political initiatives since 1995. The last two governors got so frustrated with the legislature who continually prevented gubernatorial bills from even being debated and overriding vetoes that they both resigned to pursue federal positions. (No comment on Jane Swift. :) ) The dictators' response to the state supreme court regarding the unconstitutionality of not funding the state's Clean Elections (campaign finance reform) law: "Fsck you. We know the PIN number for the state's ATM card and you don't. Good luck finding money for this law." In other words, it has been proven that the state courts now only have the power to bitch and moan, and to do so uneffectively. At least the federal government could theoretically intervene if this abuse of power started curtailing people's rights. Good luck trying to get an abusive U.S. federal government to change its ways.

    For American Slashdotters, I think it's high time we go back to reading Article V of the Constitution and start trying to check Congress by creating amendments using the other method of proposing them: state legislatures. No federal constituitional covention has ever ocurred since the current Constitution was ratified in 1788. It's going to take quite a long time to get 34 state legislatures concerned enough over an issue to call for amendments in a way that bypasses the U.S. Congress. But unless this happens in the next 10 to 20 years to try to check the burgeoning power of the U.S. Congress, I'm afraid the years of the U.S. as a republic are nearing their end. The content of the DMCA and the sleazy manner in which is was enacted shows just how broken our political system is now and underscores the fact that we need to try to get everybody we possibly can, not just a couple of those who work in a white building with a big dome on top of it in Washington D.C., to understand and eventually accept these concerns over individual rights, or we'll continue to lose our rights at an accelerating rate in the years ahead.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI