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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location of copyrighted work (where your original material is located): http://newsbulet.in/anil%20potti.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
State/Region/Province: Utter Pradesh
Zip/Postal Code: 201302
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,
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.