Chilling Effects DMCA Notification

Posted by Gwen on October 1, 2012


We ran up against the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act in all it's somewhat missplaced glory over the last month, when we put in   " " on a straight google search and discovered that there was this notification that showed up at the bottom of our search results:

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


Of course, the link at first provided no reference for us to peruse or understand and it only came up on a straight search on our domain name and not on the exact match of our domain name, so we were not that worried about it. Besides, we had not done anything to bring about this kind of censure, so we let it go, thinking it was a mistake and it would disappear soon enough. 

A month later and it was still there. Still not referenced to any particular complaint. Does not seem right does it?  Where was the due process? Or even a cursory notification? 

But before we get into the unfairness issues, I would like to point out a couple of things for everyone, just so you get a better understanding of what this is and who the players are. 

    #1.   Chilling effects has the link and it, in a strange and confusing way, seems to be the perpetrator of this whole misadventure. But they are only the Reporting Service and are doing this wholly as a service to those who are being targeted by the DMCA.  So don't immediately send them an email telling them to back off, they had absolutely nothing to do with this ( of course, we did   - ha ! ) 

  #2.    Your ISP has to be notified of the DMCA and they can either harbor your site by not taking it down or parts of it down, or they can take the whole thing down. You must be notified by your ISP that this action is happening.  If you feel you are being unfairly targeted you can file a counter claim, but this has consequences. (For more information see this website: So before doing anything, check with your ISP first and see if this has anything to do with you in the first place.  In our case - it was coming right out of left field and there was no connection between us and the DMCA notice. Our ISP could find nothing. 

 #3. As always, run a clean site with permissions for content, original content, and images that are clearly documented as being owned by your legal entity. We also recommend backing up your site frequently and downloading a copy of your databases and directories. (Get your data off the server!) We also strongly recommend having your domains registered with a company that is not hosting your site. Why? well, in this example the ISP is the one taking the site content down: where the IP address is located. If you have your domain registered elsewhere and you have your site backed up, it would not take long to point your DNS servers some place else and put your website up on another server. This is a good practice for all kinds of reasons - and this illustrates another one. 

The final chapter in our story? Well, we are not sure it's the final chapter, but after contacting Wendy from Chilling Effects and then contacting our ISP, the notification documentation magically appeared ( within minutes  - fascinating) and it was a problem between Google and Microsoft. Hunh???? 

That's right. Something about Google and Microsoft  - with Microsoft targeting Google for infringed content with a DMCA  - shows up on our search result.  Not Cool at all. 

One suggestion:  we could buy an Adwords ad on our name and when it was searched on, the Google Adwords would push off the DMCA notice. We might just give it a try. 

We welcome your comments.

KG Thomas


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