On March 13, 2014, the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, through its Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, held a hearing regarding the copyright infringement notice and takedown procedures set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 512, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a copyright law in the United States. On October 12, 1998, the United States Senate passed by unanimous vote, and President Bill Clinton signed into law on October 28, 1998, an amendment to Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright. The amendment also limited liability of providers of online services for copyright infringement by their users.
At the Judiciary Committee hearing, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the hearing by identifying three issues of particular interest to him: (1) the “whack-a-mole” problem copyright owners face, whereby infringing material that has been taken down reappears almost immediately on the same website; (2) the impact of takedown notices on fair use and the First Amendment; (3) the problem of fraudulent takedown notices.
Word Press addressed the problem of fraudulent takedown notices.
Paul Siemenski, the General Counsel of Automattic, Inc. (the maker of Word Press), testified before the Judiciary Committee. Attorney Siemenki stated that the real problem with the DMCA is the “abuse of the DMCA takedown process” including counter-notifications. He said that the counter-notification process does not work for most internet users because it is complicated, intimidating and requires them to reveal personal information.
Infoworld reports that;
“The real problem with the DMCA, public advocacy groups say, is not one of inadequate copyright enforcement but that the notice-and-takedown process is often abused. A recent report from UC Berkeley found the system is riddled with misuse and overreach …”
DMCA has been described as a guilty until proven innocent approach that is abused by people who have no copyright on the material they want taken down.
Myself and others have experienced a particular individual who files fraudulent DMCA take down notices hoping that there will be a counter-challenge that includes our personal information. That person has a reputation of posting the personal information of others on the internet without their consent, and for the purpose to harass, intimidate, embarrass, defame, and cause great emotional distress.
As acknowledged by some who were subjected to fraudulent DMCA takedown notices, he also conducts his activity hoping to influence, and has influenced, others to do or participate in his dirty work.
Another reason for the takedown notices is to have the accounts of others suspended by the hosting company. If that is accomplished, the perpetrater will deprive his targeted victim’s rights to free speech, and boast that he “legally” did it, as shown in the comments below.
The above is done assuming that no counter-notice will be filed. To protect personal information and prevent losing right to free speech, it’s important to have an attorney file counter-notices. That is what I did, which threw a wrench in the perpetrator’s scheme.
Representative Howard Coble (R-NC) asked Mr. Siemenski whether Section 512(f) (which provides for awards of damages and attorneys’ fees against those who make material misrepresentations in takedown notices) has been effective in deterring abuse of the takedown procedure. Mr. Siemenski felt that the provision had not been effective. Suits are rare under Section 512(f).
Automattic, Inc. has filed lawsuits against those who misrepresent that they own copyright that they do not.
Twitter needs to come up to speed with DMCA abuse.
Who Would Create The Following Collage? A Person Who Supports That The Death Of Kendrick Johnson Should Be Investigated, or Someone Who Does Not?
Some people might already know that there is an ongoing, active debate on Twitter concerning the death of Kendrick Johnson. Shyloh has a special place in her heart for victimized children. Her website, Justice for Caylee, demonstrates her compassion and love for missing and/or murdered children. She supports the investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson.
Shyloh is also talented in putting picture collages together. The person who tried to have my other blog suspended for copyright infringement, is now attacking Shyloh with fraudulent DMCA takedown notices on Twitter for the purpose of having her Twitter account suspended. Shyloh forwarded me emails supporting this, and gave me her permission to post the following from David Piercy’s DMCA takedown notice that she received from Twitter on May 17, 2016.
“DMCA Takedown Notice
== Copyright owner: David Piercy
== Name: David Piercy
== Company: Piercy Paralegal Services
== Job title: Paralegal
== Email address: (redacted)
== Address: (redacted)
== City: Clovis
== State/Province: CA
== Postal code: 93613
== Country: USA
== Phone (optional): n/a
== Fax (optional): n/a
== Description of original work: kendrick johnson collage with commentary
== Links to original work: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154291207747203&set=a.10153680405077203.1073741826.515772202&type=3&theater
== Reported Tweet URL: https://twitter.com/shylohg/status/732530662700240896
== Description of infringement: use without permission. Twitter user @shylohg has continued to post images that have been previously removed by DMCA strike. Reposting an image removed by DMCA is a violation of Twitter terms of service. User @shylohg should be suspended.”
Please note that Piercy is not merely claiming copyright infringement. He wants Twitter to suspend Shyloh’s account. He wants to deprive her of freedom of speech to show compassion for all victims and communicate with others of like mind.
False Information Used To Impress And Intimidate
The first misrepresentation in Piercy’s DMCA takedown notice is that he has a company titled Piercy Paralegal Services. There are types of businesses that can legitimately call themselves a business by opening a website to sell their goods or services, but a paralegal business in the State of California is not one of those types of businesses. In California, there are laws and rules that apply to non-attorneys who prepare legal documents for non-attorneys.
In California, when a person offers to prepare legal documents for non-attorneys, they are required to be bonded and register their business with the county. Piercy cites the statute, California Business and Professions Code 6400-6401.6, 6402-6407 and 6408-6415 on his website for his business, but he violates the law by not presenting his registration number and date of expiration on his website.
CABPC 6408 states in pertinent part;
“The registrant’s name, business address, telephone number, registration number, expiration date of the registration, and county of registration shall appear on the written contract required to be provided to a client pursuant to Section 6410, as well as on any Internet Web site maintained by the registrant, and in any solicitation, advertisement, document, or correspondence prepared or used by the registrant in electronic form.” (Emphasis added)
It appears that Piercy has tried to circumvent the California statute that controls legal document assistants by adding “Inc.” to his website indicating that his business is incorporated.
However, as CABPC 6405 states, even a corporation that provides legal document assistance must still comply with a certificate of registration and appropriate bond.
CABPC 6405 states in pertinent part:
6405. (a) (2) An application for a certificate of registration by a partnership or corporation shall be accompanied by a bond executed by a corporate surety qualified to do business in this state and conditioned upon compliance with this chapter in the following amount, based on the total number of legal document assistants and unlawful detainer assistants employed by the partnership or corporation:(A) Twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for one to four assistants. (B) Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for five to nine assistants. (C) One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for 10 or more assistants.” (Emphasis added)
A search on the California Secretary of State for “Piercy Paralegal Service, Inc.” produced no results.
Second Misrepresentation – Let’s Take A Look At The “collage with commentary.”
According to the email that I received, Twitter notified Shyloh of the DMCA takedown on May 17, 2016. May 17, 2016 is also the date that Piercy posted the collage on his Facebook page.
All of the photos used in the collage are available in the public domain. Piercy did not take any of the photos. He does not hold copyright to any of the photos in the collage. As Twitter explains, Transformative uses add something to the original work, such as commentary, and “Transformative, non-commercial uses are more likely to be considered fair use.” It is presented on this blog under fair use.
The commentary says, “Brian and Branden Bell Suspects in the murder of Kendrick Johnson.” David Piercy is very active defending those two individuals. He tweeted the following on June 13, 2016.
It’s also no secret that Piercy consistently argues that the Department of Justice closed its investigation in November 2015. That in fact, he submitted a comment to this blog, (that I have not approved for public posting), trying to argue that issue on this blog and did so as recently as June 2, 2016. .
Would David Piercy like to explain to the Bells why he claims copyright of a photo collage with captions that convey that he believes that Kendrick Johnson was murdered; and that say that Brian and Branden Bell are suspects in the murder of Kendrick Johnson; and that there is a continuing investigation into the “murder” of Kendrick Johnson?