David Lizerbram is an attorney and business law strategist. His advice on the Marketo Blog — Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s: Don’t Let Copyright Law Be Used Against Your Content Marketing — is good advice for anyone creating content for internet use. To quote Mr. Lizerbram,
“DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) states that if you own the copyright to a piece of content, such as written copy, images, or videos, and someone uses it online without your permission, you can send a takedown notice to the hosting service. The service will then take down the offending content. Period.”
Who Does DMCA Protect?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act really is for the hosting service, to keep them from being sued out of existence at somebody objecting to content on a site they provide another entity. As long as the hosting service takes down the content when notified by the copyright holder, they are good. It also protects the copyright owner, giving them the ability to control the way their content is used.
But sometimes the DMCA is called into play when the goal is to limit the expression of an opposing viewpoint, as Mr. Lizerbram recounts in his article when he tells the story of Automattic, Inc. v. Nick Steiner in a recent Federal Court case.
Automattic is the owner of WordPress.com. Nick Steiner is the press officer of a group whose press release was quoted in a blog using WordPress. That quote brought some unwanted attention and the group used DMCA to have it taken down from the blog. Most bloggers don’t have the money or the time to fight it, but Automattic (WordPress) did, and won a limited victory of $25,000 to cover certain costs and fees. They spent far more than that, and the blogger was not awarded any damages.
What Can Marketers Learn From This?
If you get hit with a takedown notice and some quoted content disappears, you might be able to fight it in court and win. But that win will be costly, and most of us don’t see a big ROI on investments like that.
Content marketing is a profitable investment because it does so much for your business, but occasionally something will surprise you — who would think a quote from a press release would result in a DMCA takedown? For most of us, the time and money it takes to fight a content takedown isn’t worth the investment. Only you can make that call.
A better alternative is having more content ready to take its place.