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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Anil Potti posts restored to Retraction Watch following false DMCA claim

with 12 comments

automattcAs expected, ten Retraction Watch posts about Anil Potti that were mistakenly removed for a false Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice have been restored.

Automattic, which runs WordPress, notified us tonight of the move, which comes two weeks after the original notice. The claim against Retraction Watch was ridiculous, of course; a site in India plagiarized our posts, then claimed we had violated their copyright. That site, perhaps not surprisingly, has been taken down.

In the meantime, another site has been hit with a DMCA notice for a post about Potti, and Potti has told us that he had nothing to do with the takedown notice filed against us.

If you missed those posts — one of which is an accounting of Potti’s retraction record so far — here they are:

As we learned, Automattic’s process, which many people found maddening, was necessary for them to retain their “safe harbor” status — otherwise, they would be liable for damages following a successful copyright infringement claim, and shut down sites completely. Some have suggested that having the blog hosted somewhere other than WordPress would prevent future such attacks, but our understanding is that any host would do the same thing if it wanted to maintain its safe harbor status.

Thanks to all of our loyal readers for your support, and to a number of news outlets and blogs that covered the story. We want to also thank Quinn Heraty, a terrific lawyer in New York who we’d heartily recommend for anyone facing similar issues.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

February 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Great job, Ivan! I hope this community effort deters some copycats.


    February 21, 2013 at 12:09 am

  2. Slightly OT, but is there a pdf available online of the grant application where it is alleged that Anil Potti wrote “Rhode Scholar, Australia” on it?

    As I would love to see it.


    February 21, 2013 at 1:07 am

  3. Awesome! it would be nice to trace those who tried that lame move, though.

    Average PI

    February 21, 2013 at 5:12 am

  4. Some of the “restored” links aren’t working… Eric L Nelson, MS, MA, MA Criminology and Criminal Justice UCD Individual PhD Program UCD Committee on Academic Freedom & Responsibility UC System-Wide Committee on Academic Freedom

    Eric Nelson

    February 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

  5. Great news, I’m glad this worked out. However, if you move to Blue Host, you should be prepared for a second DMCA takedown effort over the same articles. New host, new attempt to silence you.

    If the original complainant’s website disappeared, and their claim of original work was no longer available, why didn’t that stop the clock for you on WP.com and restore the articles in an earlier timeframe?

    David W. Boles

    February 21, 2013 at 8:41 am

  6. Hi Ivan, Various sites in India have been recently hit with DMCA takedown notices. Under some obsure rule of the Indian Information technology act (66A), anyone can file a notice of defamation in an Indian court and get sites blocked in India, without regard to how truthful these posts are. India does not worry much about plagiarism, so I doubt if the Indian site has been blocked for copying, but probably for defamation of Mr Anil Potti. Please see http://bit.ly/Y2HVPm

    James Gurung

    February 21, 2013 at 9:31 am

    • Thanks, Steve and Eric. We’ve contacted Automattic about this, and hope they’re back soon.


      February 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    • They have just been restored.


      February 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

  7. Congratulations on overcoming an assault that was both shameful and shameless. Hope you can track down the person responsible for it.


    February 21, 2013 at 8:28 pm

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