We removed a post temporarily. It’s back. Here’s why.

On December 15, we removed a post from view as a result of a law that some have misused to have content removed from the web. Today, we have reinstated that post.

Here’s what the post about, if you’re curious:

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has sanctioned Kaushik Deb, a former post-doc at the University of Missouri-Columbia, who “engaged in misconduct in science by intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly” fabricating data in papers in both Science and Nature (which ultimately rejected his manuscript).

As we explained in a December 16 post, someone calling himself or herself “Jiya Khan” invoked the Digital Copyright Millenium Act to claim that we had violated his or her copyright — when in fact our post had been copied and pasted to a site based in India. We noted then:

The way the DMCA works, Bluehost has to ask us to take down the post, or remove it themselves, as long as Khan fulfills certain requirements — which he did, committing perjury in the process — in order to remain what is called a “safe harbor” service provider. (You can read more about why a service provider would want to remain a safe harbor here.) Because Bluehost warned us that

Failure to eliminate or disable access to such alleged infringing material within such time period could result in suspension or termination of your website.

we have chosen to temporarily remove the post from public view, rather than risk all of Retraction Watch going dark.

We have also, however, filed a DMCA counter-claim, which means that if Khan doesn’t file a formal lawsuit against us for copyright infringement — which would be amusing, if nothing else — within 10 business days, we can restore the post. So the clock is ticking.

Time’s up, and — not surprisingly — there’s been no word from Khan. So we’re restored the post.

This was not, unfortunately, our first time at this rodeo.

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3 thoughts on “We removed a post temporarily. It’s back. Here’s why.”

  1. I’m sure that went well for them. Now the post goes up twice, with a touch of controversy to draw in more attention. Bravo.

  2. The speculation over at Techdirt is that the implausibly-nymmed “Jiya Khan” is running an extremely low-budget bottom-feeding Repairer-of-Reputationsbusiness. All of Jiya Khan’s blogposts follow the same pattern — plagiarised from elsewhere, and then backdated. All this is consistent with individuals or businesses, unhappy with an on-line petition or complaint against them, rocking along to the petrol station at Rohini (sector-12) and paying to have the offending item copied and then taken down through a DCMA claim.

    Then the offending item goes back up a few weeks or months later when the DCMA claim is rejected, and now there are two copies of it on the Intertubes. No wonder Jiya Khan has only two or three clients a year.

    Of course none of this indicates that Kaushik Deb was responsible for hiring the services of the skeezy little scammer. His services may have been provided pro bono, or hired by someone who dislikes Kaushik Deb and wants to damage his reputation further.

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