Take down someone's web site--no evidence needed

by Andy Oram

Related link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/30943.html




The Register says about this awful court ruling:




In the land of the DMCA, a "good faith belief" of infringement makes
it possible to hijack a Web site without investigation.



This decision seems to have thrown a large chunk of the Internet into
a virtual Guantanamo Bay.





What they're referring to is the thuggish behavior of the U.S.
government in arresting people on flimsy pretexts and holding them
without trial. While the copyright holders do not yet have the same right to act for indefinite periods of time with no chance of appeal, this ruling would let them take down
sites on a whim--backed up by criminal penalties.




The article does not explain, however, that victims have legal
recourse. The organization claiming copyright infringement
has to follow up with proof that there really is infringement within a
couple weeks, as I explained four years ago in my
article
explaining the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.




While innocent Web sites are sure to experience more abuses if this
ruling stands, I feel even sorrier for the ISPs and other
organizations that manage web sites, including colleges. They're stuck
in the middle, forced by law to follow unreasonable demands from
content holders, but legally liable for false reports.