How Digg Handles DMCA Takedowns

Jay Adelson, the chief executive of Digg, told Saul Hansell of the New York Times how the social news site responds to DMCA takedowns:

From time to time, Digg has received a request, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down a post, or a comment, that contains copyrighted material. Mr. Adelson said the company complies without complaint. But he said that often isn't necessary. ...

But many of the items on the front page used headlines and descriptions lifted directly from the site to which they are linking. And in the active debate on the topic on Digg, I didn't find people arguing that Digg, such as here, has a policy that prefers paraphrases over quotes.

Adelson clarified his comments with the explanation that the site files all of its DMCA takedowns with Chilling Effects, a database of legal challenges issued to web sites. (I did so as well, but it hasn't been published yet.)

Chilling Effects has 18 DMCA takedowns filed against Digg, including eight filed in the month of May:

Digg replaces removed posts with a link to the DMCA takedown.

Like Hansell, I'm skeptical of Adelson's claim that Digg actively pursues and bans users who share links using the headlines and excerpts of news articles rather than putting both into their own words. Given the volume of contributions on the site, finding and evaluating whether its posts are fair use would be an enormous if not impossible task.

The DMCA takedown dispute with AP has ramifications for all social news sites that employ a model like the Drudge Retort and Digg, where short user blog entries are paired with long discussions that contain most of the analysis and user commentary. Michael Kwun, the senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, believes we're on solid legal ground:

Drudge Retort posts regularly draw numerous comments, posted on the same web page, from Drudge Retort readers. This transforms the AP's content from (an excerpt from) a news story into a discussion and a debate.


According to Staci, the matter is closed between you and the A.P.: "In response to questions about the use of Associated Press content on the Drudge Retort web site, the AP was able to provide additional information to the operator of the site, Rogers Cadenhead, on Thursday."

Any details? I suppose the chatterers on Making Light and TechCrunch are more focused on Bob and the MBA at this point.


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