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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

WordPress removes Anil Potti posts from Retraction Watch in error after false DMCA copyright claim

with 77 comments

If you went looking for ten of our posts about Anil Potti today, you would have seen error messages instead. That’s because someone claiming to be from a news site in India alleged we violated their copyright with those ten posts about the former Duke University cancer researcher who has had 19 papers retracted, corrected, or partially retracted.

The truth of the matter, as is often the case, is exactly the opposite of the allegations. Here’s the email we received from Automattic — which owns WordPress, our blog host — earlier today:

We have received a DMCA Takedown Notice (http://chillingeffects.org/dmca512/faq.cgi#QID130) for the following material published on your WordPress.com site:

1.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/another-retraction-for-anil-potti-with-an-inscrutable-notice/

2.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/anil-potti-resurfaces-with-job-at-north-dakota-cancer-center/

3.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/lead-author-of-major-breast-cancer-study-announced-at-asco-co-authored-two-corrected-papers-with-anil-potti/

4.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/a-retraction-in-part-for-anil-potti-and-colleagues-in-molecular-cancer-therapeutics/

5.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/missouri-medical-board-reprimands-anil-potti/

6.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/developing-anil-pottis-future-at-coastal-cancer-center-seems-unclear/

7.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/the-anil-potti-retraction-record-so-far/

8.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/two-mega-corrections-for-anil-potti-in-the-journal-of-clinical-oncology/

9.      http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/anil-potti-and-colleagues-retract-ninth-paper-this-one-in-jco/

10.     http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/seven-retractions-a-resignation-and-lawsuit-settlements-havent-stopped-anil-potti-from-publishing/

As per the DMCA’s requirements, we have disabled public access to the material. If you do not have the legal rights to distribute the material, you are required to permanently delete the post and/or content and let us know when this has been done.

Republishing this material without permission of its copyright holder – or continuing to publish material that results in DMCA Takedown Notices – will result in a permanent suspension of your WordPress.com site and account. Publishing such material is a direct violation of the WordPress.com Terms of Service (http://wordpress.com/tos/), which you agreed to upon registration.

If you wish to formally challenge this notice, we will be happy to provide you will all of the appropriate details.

We of course requested the takedown notice, which WordPress provided shortly thereafter:

Email Address: narendrachatwal@newsbulet.in
Location of copyrighted work (where your original material is located): http://newsbulet.in/anil%20potti.html
http://newsbulet.in/north%20dakota.html
http://newsbulet.in/anil%20potti.html
http://newsbulet.in/Molecular%20Cancer.html
http://newsbulet.in/missouri%20medical.html
http://newsbulet.in/Coastal%20Cancer.html
http://newsbulet.in/retraction.html
http://newsbulet.in/clinical%20oncology.html
http://newsbulet.in/JCO.html
http://newsbulet.in/lawsuit.html
First Name: Narendra
Last Name: Chatwal
Company Name: News Bullet
Address Line 1: Plot No 15 & 16, Express Trade Tower
Address Line 2: Archana Complex
City: Noida
State/Region/Province: Utter Pradesh
Zip/Postal Code: 201302
Country: India
Telephone Number: 8953171759
Copyright holder you represent (if other than yourself):
Please describe the copyrighted work so that it may be easily identified: Hello WordPress Team,

Myself Narendra Chatwal Senior editor in NewsBulet.In, a famous news firm in India. All the news we publish are individually researched by our reporters from all over India and then we publish them on our site and our news channel. Recently we found that some one had copied our material from the category Medical Reviews and published them on their site. So we request you to help us in protecting our content and copy right.

Thanks & Regards,

Narendra Chatwal
NewsBulet.In
Location (URL) of the unauthorized material on a WordPress.com site (NOT simply the primary URL of the site – example.wordpress.com; you must provide the full and exact permalink of the post, page, or image where the content appears, one per line) :

[a list of the 10 Retraction Watch posts above]

If the infringement described above is represented by a third-party link to a downloadable file (e.g. http://rapidshare.com/files/…), please provide the URL of the file (one per line):

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.: Yes

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.: Yes

Signed on this date of (today’s date, MM/DD/YYYY): 02/02/2013

Signature (your digital signature is legally binding): Narendra Chatwal

If you click on any of the NewsBulet.In URLs provided in the takedown notice, you will indeed find the text — and images — from ten of our posts about Anil Potti. But as will be abundantly clear to anyone who does so that our text was placed on NewsBulet.In, not the other way around.

In other words, NewsBulet.In is violating our copyright; we are not violating theirs. That’s driven home by the fact that the site did not exist until October 2012, according to a WhoIs search. All but one of the Retraction Watch posts they cite appeared before they even existed.

We have responded to Automattic with a counter-notice, and look forward to a speedy resolution of this situation, beginning with the Potti posts being reinstated.

Update, 10 p.m. Eastern, 2/5/13: Here’s Ars Technica’s coverage of this story.

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Written by ivanoransky

February 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm

77 Responses

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  1. Stunning. Someone is covering their butt. Or someone’s butt. But this is so bogus that you really wonder what the point is.

    nickxdanger

    February 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    • Since the 10 web pages are all about Anil Potti, a cancer researcher who, at the time, worked at Duke University, a man who hired “Online Reputation Manager” to hide and remove articles damaging to his reputation from the web — it appears very likely to me that Anil Potti and Online Reputation Manager are responsible and may well have committed perjury.

      Now, you can enforce the DMCA from outside the USA.

      But it is almost impossible to enforce perjury laws outside the USA for perjury that occurred in a uniquely US fashion that does not have a counterpart in the alleged perjurer’s own country.

      G Knight

      February 6, 2013 at 12:31 am

    • Duke University has this article on Potti.
      http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/potti-hires-online-reputation-manager

      “Online Reputation Manager is generally willing to work with clients as long as the intent is not to hide criminal activity that has not yet been reported, even if the individual’s past actions were offensive, said Ronald Smith, the company’s manager of business development, who agreed to speak about the firm’s methods generally but not about particular clients. The company takes on about 90 percent of clients who request the firm’s help, he added.

      “Offline, a lawyer is hired to help them out, fight their case—I think we’re the online lawyers,” he said. “So it’s quite ethical, on our part, and I think quite right to help them out at a certain charge.””

      G Knight

      February 6, 2013 at 12:32 am

  2. The DMCA is one of the greatest outrages against liberty that we have inflicted upon ourselves. WordPress takes down (indeed, legally must take down) anything that anyone claims is a violation, without even the slightest investigation, to say nothing of due process. And with very little chance of repercussions to those who use this process. (I would have said ‘misuse’ this process, except that this is the way it is intended to work.)

    Dan Zabetakis

    February 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm

  3. Good luck, Ivan. This is really horrible, and could happen to any of us. I am wondering, though, if the first commenter isn’t on to something. It may well be that this guy really thought he was purchasing original content. So he may be a victim as well. It’s hard to see why he would go through the takedown process if he knew he was stealing your content.

    Larry Husten

    February 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

  4. Let me know if you’re interested or need help in filing a counter-notice. I’ll gladly help you with that at no charge. This type of stuff really upsets me.

    Jonathan Bailey

    February 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

  5. Reblogged this on Boles Blogs and commented:
    This is alarming! The thief calls the original creator the one in Copyright violation. We’ve celebrated Retraction Watch before in Boles Blogs, and we’re doing it again! Support their site! I’m sure Automattic will get this fixed fast.

    David W. Boles

    February 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

  6. One other thought: I suppose this might be at least one good reason to have a self-hosted site rather than rely on WordPress as a host. I’ve had almost no problems with WP over 4 years now, but I can see how this might be a legitimate reason to switch.

    Larry Husten

    February 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

  7. The name of the alleged editor does not appear in any google search. The web site newsbulet.in appears to be hastily built and is fraught with typos (e.g. “Contacts us”, “Cheif Editor”). They also have clearly plagiarized articles from Times of India. You may want to point this out to Automattic, as well as send a polite notice to Times of India as well :-)

    lerabot

    February 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  8. Wow – that’s all it takes? Does anyone know whether hosting your own site with WordPress.org software can lead to a similar situation if someone decides they want to appropriate your work? And I would really love to see if RW researches Mr. Chatwal to see if he has any link with Anil Potti. What other motivation would there be?

    Tara Haelle

    February 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

  9. I like this phrase (http://newsbulet.in/Medical%20News.html):

    “One of the biggest stories so far out of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting that just ended in Chicago was that of T-DM1, which, according to Ivan’s Reuters colleagues, “extended the length of time breast cancer patients lived without their disease getting worse.” (The news was even the subject of an embargo break.)”

    I may be mistaken, but I don’t think Ivan is a very common name in India.

    Jenn

    February 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm

  10. I am shocked, shocked that someone is trying to cover up the truth by using the DMCA as a blunt instrument.

    Rhenium

    February 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

  11. The last resort of the desperate scoundrel. We saw analogous tactics used against Science Fraud. This is why exposure of potentially fraudulent science has to allow anonymity.

    ferniglab

    February 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

  12. Wow. Agree with Larry Husten above. Definitely time to move to a self-hosted WordPress blog rather wordpress.com.

    I’ve been a happy customer of nearlyfreespeech.net for a while now. They have very clear policies about things like DMCA takedowns (see https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/help/dmca) and don’t yield to legal threats (e.g. http://blog.nearlyfreespeech.net/2012/10/06/official-uk-government-attempt-at-censorship/).

    Tom Philips

    February 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm

  13. I’m pretty sure that this would not ever occur on a self-hosted site using WordPress.

    There’s no TOS from WordPress (.org) concerning this stuff unless you’re using WordPress.com as host. Otherwise, it’s not their problem. They’re just concerned with the content hosted under their name WordPress.com

    I imagine that a hosting service one might use WordPress on, may have their own rules and protocols when someone makes a complaint. Protocols varying by hosting services, I’m sure. I imagine a server physically located in certain loose-law countries might do nothing at all.

    I don’t know how this would vary between a situation where you have a hosting service account, where your domain and web site contents are hosted on a server with other web sites (on the same physical server computer), or where you purchase a server that’s serviced & physically located at a web hosting service. But I think it would be nearly the same, that the hosting service where the content is physically stored, would have some obligation. (Unless, again, if they’re in a country with loose laws.)

    Of course, if you have your web site on a server of your own, say in your house, or at the business you own, then any copyright complaints, would have to be to you, directly. And you would be subject to any laws applicable to the location.

    Possibly the case also if you’re using some kind of service like Dropbox, to let others access certain folders/files on your computer. I imagine it’s possible someone might complain to Dropbox (or whatever company you’re using)… and that company may suspend your account, but if there’s a way they can delete the content from your home computer, and I don’t know if there is, I doubt that would happen, I doubt that would even be legal, unless of course you agreed to a TOS specifying that could happen.

    watermelonpunch

    February 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    • You might be surprised: the DMCA has been used to force ISPs to shutdown dedicated customers as well:

      http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/10/how-a-single-dmca-notice-took-down-1-45-million-education-blogs/

      acdha

      February 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      • a) that wasn’t an ISP, it was a web hosting service.

        b) probably not the greatest hosting service – sounded like a complete fumble.
        Disabling millions of pages, by millions of people, over one page by one person?
        And for what sounds like a pretty large customer…
        I would imagine someone lost their job over that incident.

        But how often does this sort of thing happen? I think what one commenter says below is probably part of the issue… that malicious abuse of the system wasn’t adequately planned for…

        watermelonpunch

        February 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm

        • >>b) probably not the greatest hosting service – sounded like a complete fumble. Disabling millions of pages, by millions of people, over one page by one person? And for what sounds like a pretty large customer… I would imagine someone lost their job over that incident.

          The customer had a single dedicated box with numerous blogs. The hosting company rep emailed them a few times concerning the claim. The customer ignored the emails and eventually they shut down the service.

          peter

          February 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm

          • That’s not what the article said.

            But even if it is what happened… that’s certainly not an argument toward the idea that a hosting service will just cancel a customer’s account immediately the moment they get a DMCA complaint.

            watermelonpunch

            February 7, 2013 at 1:18 am

  14. The problem is not with WordPress.com — the problem is with the DMCA itself — and I wrote an article about how Automattic handles this in our favor as blog publishers:

    http://bolesblogs.com/2010/10/28/wordpress-com-is-a-dmca-safe-harbor-for-blog-publishers/

    If you move off of WordPress.com and host the content yourself — even using a different software solution — these sort of devious content thieves will just send the same takedown letter to your server host instead of Automattic, but I bet the end result would be much different. Your server host will just turn off your entire site and likely cancel your contract just because they don’t want their lawyers having to deal with these notices and the bad guys know this. Big hosting companies can’t be bothered with turning off individual posts as Automattic have presciently has been done here.

    The fact that we can still read Retraction Watch while this takedown notice is being disputed is honorable and right — it’s the only way to do it under the current incarnation of DMCA.

    As a publisher and author, I deal with DMCA takedown notices in various forms quite a lot and you won’t find a fairer place — on either side of the dyad — than you do here with WordPress.com and Automattic.

    David W. Boles

    February 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    • I’d like to see some data, if there is any, about how often malicious abuse of DMCA happens to blogs on hosting services vs. blogs that are individually hosted, before I would make this assumption. The question in my mind is, is being hosted by a blog site make a blog more of a target for that?
      I’d like that question answered with some data.

      Also, web hosts are in the business of serving paying customers.
      Methinks they would not cancel a contract lightly without good reason and lose a paying customer.
      I’m thinking being a FREE blogging service user puts you at more risk of having the host neglect your best interests – and I think the bad guys probably know that.

      watermelonpunch

      February 5, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      • I’m not assuming anything. As I said, I’ve dealt with this issue on both sides and I’ve dealt with Automattic making takedown requests of my own, and I’ve dealt with at least 10 large and small hosting providers/ISPs with my own Takedown requests. They have all been successful because I don’t fool around trying to get content removed that I don’t own. I don’t think there’s much public data on this because people generally don’t like to talk about this sort of thing on the record.

        The process is the same no matter where you make the Takedown request. It’s all the identical, standard, boilerplate you have to fill in and agree to, etc. The tricksy part is — that these thieves are missing, or don’t seem to care about — is that you are swearing you have the legal authority to demand the content be removed because you own or have the rights to the material.

        Here’s where Automattic — or any other hosting provider — can play hardball with these jerks:

        I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.: Yes

        Automattic are just following the law, but they are being fair to both sides. I don’t think it’s their job to investigate who published what first — that’s for the process of rebuttal to determine. It’s all a game of accusation and proof and it’s usually pretty easy to make your case. Google is a good friend in that.

        I can say that when I deal with content hosts, they tend to turn off the site in question after giving a few days notice to remove the content. I always have to deal with their legal department and their lawyers are very protective of their clients but, in the end, if there’s no response from the accused — the hosting providers have the right to not just turn off, but to terminate, the entire site even if there’s only one article that is under a DMCA claim. Read your hosting TOS! Content hosts don’t like legal trouble and it’s cheaper for them to refund your money than to keep paying for more lawyers.

        As a publisher and author, I spend a lot of time trying to track down scrapers and content thieves — and the DMCA is a powerful tool that gives me one certain way of at least being heard — and when I get heard, I get action, because I have a dead-cold claim that cannot be denied because I provide all the proof. Before the DMCA, you were totally on your own as a content provider trying to get the stolen stuff removed and the big hosting services would just say, “Hire a lawyer, and sue them.” Now they have to at least work with you and answer your complaint and act on it if you are proven right.

        David W. Boles

        February 5, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    • Sorry, I have to quite strongly disagree with your assertion that self-hosting is useless. Self-hosting gives you many options that you do not otherwise have, even if the attacker targets your web host. You can move to another host if your current one goes down. You can even move to another host in another country that does not recognize the DMCA. When you have possession of your own data, it’s a lot easier to switch providers than when your provider controls all the data.

      The DMCA is certainly completely broken and unbalanced in favor of evildoers, but until such time as it is repealed, one can certainly mitigate a lot of the harm by self-hosting.

      David Jao

      February 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm

  15. Here’s more coverage of this 05 February 2013 news story in an article, “Site plagiarizes blog posts, then files DMCA takedown on originals” by science editor John Timmer at Ars Technica
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/02/site-plagiarizes-blog-posts-then-files-dmca-takedown-on-originals/

    I look forward to the reinstatement of the RetractionWatch content which was plagarized by a party in India. I am curious as to any possible relationship between Narendra Chatwal and Anil Potti. Reviewing the Wikipedia content for Vellore, India, (where Anil Potti attended undergraduate college) and Noida, India, it is clear that the two locations are far apart (about 1,300 miles.) I appreciate the additional Ars Technica coverage and recommend this article.

    drgenenelson

    February 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

  16. Is Automattic embarrassed by falling for such a poorly constructed DMCA notice? Clearly they put in no effort of their own to confirm the authenticity of the letter. They should have at least checked with you before blocking the posts.

    SG

    February 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    • SG: as others have noticed, Automattic is legally required to do this. The DMCA model is that the claim is processed quickly and you are supposed to appeal. The law was written for large media companies concerned with removing bootleg material and malicious abuse wasn’t a consideration.

      acdha

      February 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      • That’s a very good point. If malicious abuse of the system wasn’t adequately addressed in their protocols, that could explain gaffes with this sort of thing.
        But it has been many years, hasn’t it? You’d think they’d have come up with a better method by now. Or is this abuse on the rise very recently, and up until recently it hasn’t been this much of a problem?

        watermelonpunch

        February 5, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      • The law requires overhaul. The DMCA is a prime example of what happens when industrial oligarchs take over the legislative process and dismantle democracy using bribes, er uh rather, campaign contributions to subvert elected officials from carrying out their democratic duties.

        G Knight

        February 6, 2013 at 12:22 am

      • Automattic is not in the slightest “legally required to do this.” They’re perfectly free to notify the client at issue and send a mercilessly insulting reply back to the complaining party. I concur with the suggestions to look for new hosting.

        Otto

        February 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm

  17. Hilarious! Here’s hoping the RW material will soon be back up where it belongs.

    It’s remarkable how a mere allegation of plagiarism or copyright violation can result in lightning-quick action in certain venues while complaints backed up by evidence are so often ignored by certain science journals. Let’s see if the despicable Narendra Chatwal is charged with perjury for swearing under penalty of perjury that he owns those posts. And let’s see if Narendra Chatwal exists at all. Maybe he is just a figment of somebody’s reputation repair campaign.

    One problem with rules intended to stifle internet plagiarism and copyright violation is that they tend to shoot first and ask questions later. Either as a result of legal requirements or due to their own disinclination to get involved in sorting out the wheat from the chaff, site administrators often force the immediate removal of the disputed material and tell the disputants to battle it out in court. Merely saying that one is prepared to go to court over the matter is enough to make some sites remove the material, just as in this case merely swearing under penalty of perjury was enough, without the need to produce any sort of proof. I am aware of an instance in which Author A got Author B’s parody of Author A removed from the internet by claiming copyright violation. In fact there was no copyright violation. Author A’s material was not copyrightable. But the site administrators didn’t want to spend time figuring out who was right and who was wrong. Author A succeeded in silencing Author B. When neither party has the money to put the matter to the test in court, often the party who shouts loudest wins.

    JudyH

    February 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm

  18. IMO – there is something more to this than meets the eye. If you search for “Anil Potti” using Google, you will find that many of the top hits are for websites that attempt to whitewash his previous “indiscretions”. These websites are typical of “reputation restoration” services. One additional approach taken by such services is to eliminate damaging information by having webpages taken down using DMCA. I would not be surprised if the website that filed the complaint will disappear in short notice.

    Big Easy

    February 5, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    • :”If you search for “Anil Potti” using Google, you will find that many of the top hits are for websites that attempt to whitewash his previous “indiscretions”.” – Well, if that was indeed so when you posted this, then the strategy certainly backfired. google.de shows the en.wikipedia entry first, then three links to retraction watch and then two reports about the takedown at retraction watch.

      sd

      February 7, 2013 at 3:25 am

      • Yes, but this backfiring has only happened because people are actively engaged in posting! So keep at it folks!

        ferniglab

        February 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

  19. There should be legal rammifications for web hosts who blindly follow DMCA take down notices when there is prima fascia evidence they are fraudulent.

    G Knight

    February 6, 2013 at 12:19 am

  20. It’s simply stunning that in a case like this the DMCA takes precedence over the hallowed First Amendment. And it is even more stunning that Automattic obliges the take down notice without performing any sort of due diligence. One would assume that an internet company would employ people smart enough to perform at least some superficial checks before blocking access to its users’ content.

    If I would be running this blog, I would seriously consider relocating to another provider.

    Sebastian

    February 6, 2013 at 4:31 am

    • It’s not the provider, it’s Congress. If you are a US citizen, remember this in November 2014 and ask your local candidates about it. That’s the only way to fix it. (Remember, this Congress voted to extend copyright protection from 75 years to 95 years to 120 years, mainly to keep Mickey Mouse from going into the public domain.)

      StrongDreams

      February 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm

  21. I tried looking at “newsbulet.in”, and it looks like the fake “infringed” articles are dead links, and the root of “newsbulet.in” (single “L”) is now a redirect to “newsbullet.in” (double “L”), which appears to be a real news site.

    So, not only did they copy the Retraction Watch articles, post them back-dated, and use the back-dated copies to file fake DMCA notices, they tried to hijack the reputation of en actual Indian news site with a similar name. Apparently the real newsbullet.in (double “L”) didn’t appreciate someone trying to create a look-alike site for nefarious purposes.

    Steve

    February 6, 2013 at 4:40 am

  22. Something is clearly going on at newsbulet.in’s end as the links to the Anil Potti stories and the Medical News section are all broken.

    Sebastian

    February 6, 2013 at 4:52 am

  23. very strange indeed. i could not get the email address of this person as well. it was not on the website when i looked earlier (website was active few hours ago)

    Ressci Integrity

    February 6, 2013 at 8:29 am

  24. This is a very disturbing turn of events. I think Larry is right — it’s time to get your own self-hosted blog for Retraction Watch. WordPress really needs to change its policy of blindly following DMCA takedown notices. Unbelievable!

    Alison Bass

    February 6, 2013 at 9:47 am

    • I have done some research on DMCA compliance (there’s also an interesting discussion going on in the comments of the arstechnica article about this issue), and it seems that in order for a web site to claim “safe haven” status, they have to follow a rather strict procedure in dealing with DMCA take down requests. The end result can be seen here.

      To me it seems like that someone is playing these regulations to their advantage in order to suppress information on the internet in relation to Anil Potti’s fraudulent academic work (and indeed career).

      I can only hope that the links between A. Potti and the initiators of the take down can be found – if indeed they do exist…

      Sebastian

      February 6, 2013 at 9:51 am

  25. Have you considered complaining to the police or a lawyer about defamation?

    Paul Colin de Gloucester

    February 6, 2013 at 11:16 am

    • Two guys in the US sue someone in India with a made-up name, fake news web site and fake domain registration? You’re kidding, right?

      StrongDreams

      February 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      • I am not kidding. The domain was really registered therefore who registered it can be checked. That it would be Anil Potti or someone connected to him would not be surprising.

        Ivan Oransky mentioned:
        “[. . .]

        We have responded to Automattic with a counter-notice, and look forward to a speedy resolution of this situation, beginning with the Potti posts being reinstated.

        [. . .]”

        Therefore it would be reasonable to think that Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus want justice.

        Paul Colin de Gloucester

        February 7, 2013 at 5:48 am

        • Because of the legal and economic issues involved in transnational civil litigation, it would likely cost tens of thousands of dollars, with low likelihood of success, and where the best possible outcome would be a slap on the wrist and a judgement of a few hundred dollars (if that), assuming RW can prove economic loss, said judgement being nearly impossible to enforce in a foreign country. I’m sure Adam and Ivan have better ways of investing their time and money.

          StrongDreams

          February 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

          • Reporting a crime to the police does not necessitate civil litigation. It can also be gratis (though not always). Imprisonment of the criminal would be a better outcome than the supposed “best possible outcome” imagined by StrongDreams.

            Paul Colin de Gloucester

            February 8, 2013 at 5:01 am

    • IANAL. The appropriate legal response would probably be under section 502(f) of the DMCA, but as pointed out already, it ain’t gonna happen.

      Otto

      February 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      • There is more than one appropriate response because there is more than one jurisdiction involved.

        Paul Colin de Gloucester

        February 7, 2013 at 5:51 am

  26. I hope nobody is planning the beginning of the end to Retraction watch

    Schmuck

    February 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  27. You should contact On The Media. I bet they’d love to cover / publicize this.

    js

    February 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    • If you really want the perpetrator identified and punished, call in Anonymous.

      StrongDreams

      February 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      • yeah right. The force of good on the internets.

        Sebastian

        February 7, 2013 at 4:29 am

  28. The question naturally arises as to how to innoculate against this. A simple web search using google should be able to detect duplicate content. Could that be done, archived, and registered in some manner?

    nickxdanger

    February 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    • The way to inoculate against this is for US readers of the blog to stop electing Congresspeople who are in the pockets of big business and especially big media (and yes, this means Republicans AND Democrats). There is no way under the DMCA that this could have been prevented — the DMCA is designed to give the complainer the upper hand. The only effective response would be to change the law.

      StrongDreams

      February 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      • OK, and do you have similarly helpful suggestions for the next 10 years, until this occurs?

        nickxdanger

        February 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

        • As I mentioned in another post an easy way to prevent this problem from recurring is to host the web site in a foreign country that does not have a DMCA. It works especially well if the person acting as the host in the foreign country is you or someone you really trust.

          David Jao

          February 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

  29. Why are links to the newsbulet.in site all lead to 403 Forbidden? And WordPress can’t even get off their asses to bring back the originals online

    Dino Trudel

    February 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

  30. This is truly outrageous and disgraceful.

    Copyright law and patent trolls have never been hobby horses of mine, but they might be now.

    Joel

    February 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    • But wait… doesn’t “patent troll” refer to someone who at least really owns the rights?
      This story isn’t even about that at all. It’s about someone making a false claim altogether.
      In this case, the complaint is filed by someone who is not only telling a bald face lie, but who has done already what they’re accusing someone else of doing.
      Very odd.

      In my mind the 2 things are completely different issues, an entirely different issue altogether.

      watermelonpunch

      February 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      • One and the same in my book; both are exploiting loopholes in the US copyright law that should have been closed eons ago. Moreover, both are committing their dishonesty after the fact. Yes, this is especially devious, but the law is the problem here.

        Joel

        February 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        • Copyright law is not patent law.

          John Mashey

          February 7, 2013 at 8:35 am

  31. What this does is show that censorship is alive and well in the United States.
    I am not blaming WordPress, they provide a great service and have to be proactive to comply with the DCMA, rather it’s the law that makes “jailbreaking” your cell phones a crime, allows people to set up fake entities to send out DCMA notices without fear of reprisal, and treats copyright “violations” worse than stealing billions.

    shane

    February 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm

  32. For a more convenient way to access the original Anil Potti posts through Googles cache I have made the links available here:

    http://genomicsio.blogspot.ch/2013/02/retrachtionwatchcom-coverage-of-anil.html

    Sebastian

    February 7, 2013 at 7:24 am

  33. They are trying to mess with the wrong people!

    Average PI

    February 7, 2013 at 7:37 am

  34. 1) Anyone who knows anything about the intersection of technology and the law will tell you that law necessarily lags technology. Even assuming the legislators understand the technology (a huge assumption) and have the best will in the world and are not overly influenced by lobbyists (another one), laws about fast-moving domains easily have unforeseen consequences.

    2) DMCA has some reasonable uses, and totally unreasonable ones, of which this case is one of the most egregious (and silliest, compared to some deadly serious ones)I’ve heard of, to the point of being ludicrous. But, it is silly to blame WordPress or Automattic for this.

    3) Rather than relying on random opinions, it might be good to seek experts:
    Google: Pam Samuelson technology law lag DMCA

    She’s world-class in this turf , but if you want see a sample of her work that includes DMCA, see this.

    John Mashey

    February 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

  35. So the pages are still down, despite counter-filings and media attention? You’d think that someone at wordpress.com headquarters would pay some attention, but apparently they don’t mind making themselves look incompetent…

    Obs

    February 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    • Remember, this is a process. Even if Automattic has the complainant dead-to-rights, they are still required to share the Retraction Watch response with the complainant, and ask for a response back.

      It is likely there will not be a response from the complainant because of overwhelming evidence, but Automattic still has to give the complainant three days or so to respond or, “not respond,” so Automattic can then act on the complainant’s refusal to follow up.

      Or, maybe there is already a counter-response from the complainant that will force another round of processing.

      In my experience, without any back-and-forth tangles, it can take 3-10 days to get a DMCA case resolved one way or the other.

      David W. Boles

      February 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      • The original complainant has 10-14 days to respond to the counter-claim…

        Sebastian

        February 8, 2013 at 7:27 am

      • Yes, I know how it works. But if wordpress.com really cared about their users, and someone there actually bothered to talk to their lawyers, there’s nothing preventing them from speeding up the process when the take-down request is obviously fraudulent (trust me, if every “safe harbor” actor behaved the way they done here, you’d see a lot more things disappear off the Internet). It’s not like “Michael Phelps’ ex-girlfriend” is going to sue anyone…

        Obs

        February 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

  36. Apologies if someone has already said it, but: Get off of WordPress.com. A site of this caliber, calling out important (and often controversial) stories, needs to self-host to avoid technical intrusions like this.

    Companies are so litigation-avoidant these days that they’ll do just about anything that anyone asks them to do. This clearly supports that.

    Dave Mosher

    February 8, 2013 at 11:35 am

  37. Please review Deborah Blum’s excellent 07 February 2013 article at the MIT Science Journalism site http://ksj.mit.edu/tracker/2013/02/takedown-retraction-watch regarding this improper DMCA takedown of 10 Retraction Watch articles regarding Anil Potti, M.D. I strongly recommend the on-the-record comment of Ivan Oransky near the end of the article.

    drgenenelson

    February 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

  38. Some relevant information regarding “Online Reputation Manager” is found in this Daily Caller news story regarding this controversy: http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/08/wordpress-pulls-down-blog-posts-after-plagiarist-site-files-complaint/

    drgenenelson

    February 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

  39. One week after this false attack, and the original posts are still not available. Guilty until proven innocent. This episode will provide some unfortunate evidence as to the effectiveness of false DMCA claims in silencing unwanted discussion.

    Steven McKinney

    February 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

  40. February 20th, they’re back. Fifteen days of censorship for a false DMCA claim. Kudos to Ivan and Adam for putting up a good fight to have the pages reinstated. We’ll see how long Abi has to wait before the nanopolitan materials are restored by blogger, and how long it takes to figure out who is really behind the filing of these false claims.

    Steven McKinney

    February 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

  41. Newsbulet.in looks like a sham, and DMCS fell for it. What a shame

    RaoWords

    February 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

  42. Hello,

    Do you think that it is possible to send a TAKE DOWN NOTICE to a website that published my personal information (name, address, etc…) ?

    How to do ?

    Thank you.

    buythiscomputer

    April 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

  43. I clicked on one of the allegedly infringing links and its counterpart on the list below, and there doesn’t seem to be an issue any longer. Your content has been restored and the infringing content has disappeared. I, for one, am glad. Keep exposing those shoddy researchers!

    Sheogorath

    July 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm


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