Homeland Insecurity Through Bogus Takedowns

Fox owns a TV show called Homeland. It doesn't own the word "homeland," the concept of a homeland, or the many other works that go by the name "Homeland." But it seems no one thought to tell that to Fox's automated copyright enforcement bots that are programmed to send massive takedown notices for fuzzy matches of the word "homeland" all around the web.

And who's the latest dolphin to get caught in Fox's takedown fishing net? None other than science fiction author and EFF Fellow Cory Doctorow, whose recent sequel to his best-selling Little Brother young adult book is called—you guessed it—Homeland. Fox has sent takedown notices to Google (and probably others) for files with names like "Cory Doctorow Homeland novel."

Doctorow's Homeland is available under a Creative Commons license and has spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. But apparently that's not enough to keep it out of the crosshairs of Fox's sloppy takedown notices, and that causes real harm. As Doctorow put it:

The DMCA makes it easy to carelessly censor the Internet, and makes it hard to get redress for this kind of perjurious, depraved indifference.

Well put, Cory. We work on raising the stakes for bogus takedown notices in two major ways: by fighting back in lawsuits like Lenz v. Universal, where we're holding a rightsholder accountable for notices sent in bad faith, and by naming and shaming bad actors like these in the Takedown Hall of Shame.

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April 18, 2013