As I was doing a search on my own site, I noticed that one result was missing and at it place all I had was “In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.”
Going to the ChillingEffects link I found out that page in question was Installing Windows 8.1 (or 8) without a product key. Despite the name that might indicate some shenanigans, post only covers functionality that has been officially documented by Microsoft themselves (here and here). Heck, I even said so at the bottom of the post.
Only keys that ever appeared in that post were done by other people in the comments section. Some of them stayed there for a bit longer (e.g. Microsoft’s own default key), some comment were removed instantly (obvious pirate ones), and all surviving keys were changed to XXXXX anyhow (as soon as I noticed them).
My firm belief is that page doesn’t infringe so I went about finding a way to clear its name.
First issue was to find how to file counter notice. Among all links in regards to DMCA on both Google and ChillingEffects.org, there is not a single contact you can pursue for this. I did know that Marketly was one that complained on behalf of Microsoft, but there was no actual e-mail (no, microsoft-[redacted]marketly.com is not a valid e-mail) or postal address behind those. All that searching around gave me was a link to YouTube DMCA process but nothing applicable to Google Search.
After a while my inquiry finally stopped at the Google Webmaster forum where I finally got two links. It was either DMCA Counter Notification form or Restore URLs form. I went with a good faith belief that infringing content was indeed in comments and that Restore URLs form was an appropriate venue.
This happened on December 13th. Link is still blocked and there is no response from Google whatsoever. Company that usually takes content down less than 24 hours after notice is received sure does take its time doing the opposite thing. Or even just responding to my request with “you’re wrong”.
Whole process left me a bit baffled by a few things. First of all is the recipient of DMCA notice itself – Google, Inc. [Blogger]. I haven’t had my page hosted by blogger for three years now. If my assumption was correct about them finding issue with comments on my post, proper venue would be to send DMCA to either Google Inc. or to myself and not to an uninvolved third party.
Slightly more troubling issue is why I haven’t received information about issue from Google. I searched all my e-mails and I could not find a single warning about any issue. I have Google’s webmaster tools and nothing is there either.
And lastly I find it absolutely unacceptable to have DMCA notice filled without a proper e-mail address for a response. Notice on ChillingEffects.org did have a name of a person but only a generic Microsoft address as a contact and a redacted e-mail. That makes it impossible to respond directly. I believe that minimal courtesy would be to leave a valid e-mail.
All in all, between figuring all the information and writing this post, I have wasted a complete day on this topic. It is a matter of principle to me because I take this DMCA take down very personally. However, looking back at this I don’t think I will ever deal with this again. It just requires too much effort to go through motions for something that is essentially just a hobby.
PS: I find two things curious:
- Bing search still returns link to my page so I can only assume they never got DMCA notice.
- All those keys that are supposedly infringing can still be found at the Microsoft’s own help forum.
PPS: Yes, I am aware that DMCA is over a year old. I don’t google looking for my own posts that often…