Visit to Google Today: Chuch of Scientology Uses DMCA to Remove Sites from Google

Gordon Mohr
Thu, 21 Mar 2002 17:45:37 -0800

Yes and no. A lot of the DMCA compliance policies I found on
the net suggested that material would be taken down pending
receipt of the counter-notification, then put back up within
10-14 days, if the counter-notification is valid and the
original complainer doesn't follow-through with court action.

So I maintain: until a counter-notification is given to Google,
they're just following the consensus interpretation of the law.
We should expect nothing more nor less from a for-profit

Now, if Google didn't notify of the takedown until
after inquired -- well, that's an annoyance, but
hardly a "marchable" offense.

In the long run, Google will be a big ally of those wanting
more sensible, looser copyright enforcement. There's nothing to
be gained by villifying them at the drop of a hat, on one day's
worth of activity, before all the facts and legally-prescribed
processes are come into focus.

- Gordon

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jon O." <>
To: "Gordon Mohr" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002 1:49 PM
Subject: Re: Visit to Google Today: Chuch of Scientology Uses DMCA to Remove Sites from Google

> Gordon:
> While I agree with your logic to a point, Google satisfied the DMCA
> request by removing the links. The counter notification is used
> to prevent this type of action in the first place. Therefore,
> Google has agreed to Censor themselves and possibly use a counter
> notification after the fact.
> Touretzky's counter notification is to be used *prior* to any
> material being taken down from the internet, while still allowing
> safe harbor. bnetd used this tactic of getting a DMCA complaint,
> filing a counter letter and never getting a response, thus allowing
> the data to remain on the net.
> (3) Contents of Counter Notification.-To be effective under this subsection, a counter notification must be a written
communication provided to the service provider's designated agent that includes substantially the following:
> (A) A physical or electronic signature of the subscriber.
> (B) Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the
material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.
> (C) A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as
a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.
> (D) The subscriber's name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of
Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if the subscriber's address is outside of the
United States, for any judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that the subscriber will accept service of
process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.
> Also, as regards system caching:
> (b) System Caching.-
> (1) Limitation on Liability.-A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j),
for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the intermediate and temporary storage of
material on a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider in a case in which-
> (A) the material is made available online by a person other than the service provider;
> (B) the material is transmitted from the person described in subparagraph (A) through the system or network to a person other than
the person described in subparagraph (A) at the direction of that other person; and
> (C) the storage is carried out through an automatic technical process for the purpose of making the material available to users of
the system or network who, after the material is transmitted as described in subparagraph (B), request access to the material from
the person described in subparagraph (A), if the conditions set forth in paragraph (2) are met.
> On 21-Mar-2002, Gordon Mohr wrote:
> > Don Marti via linux-elitists via Jon O. writes:
> > > > On March 20th, Google caved in to a baseless legal threat from
> > > > Scientology's "Religious Technology Center", and removed the web
> > > > site from all search results.  (Not just the cached pages.
> > > > The links, too.  Try it.)
> >
> > I have been trying it, since this news came up, and the
> > claim that has been removed from "all search results"
> > is not true.
> >
> > Try a search on:
> >
> > inurl:xenu
> >
> > ...and you'll see that Google still has 1,500+ pages
> > indexed. Searches on terms like "operation clambake" and
> > "scientology xenu" still return pages near the very
> > top.
> >
> > Also, try:
> >
> >
> >
> > ...and you'll see that they're still tracking 1,800+ links
> > to
> >
> > The report that was "completely" removed from Google
> > has been treated by many sources as "too good to check". (I've
> > been told that briefly, was completely gone, but I
> > haven't seen a description of how that was verified or for
> > what period that was the case.)
> >
> > Clearly, though, the top page and others that would
> > come up high in a search on just "scientology" are still gone.
> >
> > Now, let's look at what actually happened. Scientology (hereafter
> > CoS) sent Google a DMCA-compliant notification requesting removal
> > of copyrighted material. This starts a process outlined in the
> > DMCA where Google, in order to maintain its various safe-harbors,
> > is to notify the people responsible for the infringing content,
> > giving them a chance to correct the infringement or otherwise
> > respond.
> >
> > Barring such a response from the alleged infringer, Google is
> > supposed to, by law, respect the duly-constructed takedown
> > notification.
> >
> > However, with even a cursory response, Google can leave the
> > material up unless/until the original complainant begins
> > action in a court of law.
> >
> > CoS has used these tactics before; Dave Touretzky even has
> > a handy "DMCA counter-notification" form-letter ready for
> > anyone sucject to such a copyright infringement allegation.
> > See .
> >
> > Now, the key point:
> >
> >
> > Once that occurs, Google will have legal cover to re-add
> > the pages. Until that occurs, the presumption is that the
> > CoS's claim is valid.
> >
> > After the counter-notification is delivered, and Google has
> > time to evaluate it, the CoS will have to up the ante by filing
> > an actual court case in order to impose any duty on Google.
> > That ups the cost for CoS on many fronts.
> >
> > I also have the impression Google has excellent copyright
> > lawyers, ready to battle for an expansive view of Google's
> > right to index, cache, and link to most content. But these
> > lawyers can't even be let out of their cages into court
> > until AFTER the DMCA-prescribed process follows its course.
> >
> > Save the march on Google for when the situation becomes
> > more clear.
> >
> > - Gordon
> >
> >
> >
> >