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My Creative Commons licensed, 2013 novel Homeland, the sequel to my 2008 novel Little Brother, spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and got great reviews around the country. But Fox apparently hasn’t heard of it — or doesn’t care. They’ve been sending takedown notices to Google (and possibly other sites), demanding that links to legally shared copies of the book be removed.

These notices, sent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, require that the person who signs them swears, on pain of perjury, that they have a good faith basis to assert that they represent the rightsholder to the work in question. So Fox has been swearing solemn, legally binding oaths to the effect that it is the rightsholder to a file called, for example, “Cory Doctorow Homeland novel.”

It’s clear that Fox is mistaking these files for episodes of the TV show “Homeland.” What’s not clear is why or how anyone sending a censorship request could be so sloppy, careless and indifferent to the rights of others that they could get it so utterly wrong. I have made inquiries about the possible legal avenues for addressing this with Fox, but I’m not optimistic. The DMCA makes it easy to carelessly censor the Internet, and makes it hard to get redress for this kind of perjurious, depraved indifference.

Fox Censors Cory Doctorow’s “Homeland” Novel From Google

9 Responses to “Fox sends fraudulent takedown notices for my novel Homeland

  1. jupiterkansas

    It’s high time somebody, somewhere, somehow challenged these companies on their bogus takedowns.

    And you’re the perfect man for the job, Cory!

  2. Trenton

    Good luck! You’re up against a big-media wall that has probably already copyrighted the word ‘Homeland’ now and forever in every context possible. It’s been a while since I’ve read you, but I think I’ll go out and buy more of your work, at the very least on principle.

  3. Cory Doctorow

    There’s no copyright in words, only trademarks, and the DMCA doesn’t apply to trademarks. But yes, buying more books is always good!

  4. Matt H.

    Now is the time to bring out that copyright math calculator. Sue the bastards.

    Not only is there damage to you, there is damage to the genre and Canada. And that copyright math calculator will make it worth a lawyer’s while. EFF may help as well.

    If you start a fund to support your suit against, I will contribute.

  5. Cory Doctorow

    Thanks for that. I’ve talked to EFF. If I do something legal, it’ll be to make a good precedent, not to get rich.

  6. copylefter

    Oh, god, how awesome would it be if someone at Fox was imprisoned for perjury because of this.

  7. Mary

    since they’re in essence fraudulently claiming to be the rightsholder to your work, i imagine you could sue them for infringement…

  8. Thad

    It’s most likely being flagged by automated software, not an actual human being — see Ars’s piece at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/04/not-that-homeland-fox-sends-bogus-takedowns-for-copyright-reformers-book/ , which notes that in 2011 WB sent a takedown notice for the URL “http://hotfile.com/contacts.html and give them the details of where the link was posted and the link and they will deal with the @sshole who posted the fake.”

    I think you’ve actually hit on the “How could anyone be so careless?” question with your observation about the massive loophole in proving fraudulent takedowns are deliberate: it’s actually easier for a company to claim it didn’t KNOWINGLY issue a fraudulent takedown notice if it intentionally uses the broadest, most poorly-designed automated takedown system possible.

    The less thought and care they put into issuing takedowns, the more legal protection they have when they send out a fraudulent one.

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