from the ashes: counter-file the DMCA

April 15th, 2011 | 2 comments

Recently, I had a draft copy of a published article removed from Scribd. The article, Turn/Stile: Remixing Udo Kasemet’s CaleNdarON, had been published in excerpted form in Leonardo Music Journal (13, 2003) and in full form in the February 2004 edition of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac. However for many years it had been offline, with its original URL long dead. For these reasons I had personally archived not the final published copy but my Word document on Scribd—that is until a DMCA letter from the invisible lawyers over at MIT Press forced Scribd to remove the document. Needless to say I was flabbergasted that an academic press would be removing an author’s archives from the web when, as a Press, it had failed to provide legacy access to its published archives. You can read the details here.

Two weeks ago I emailed off a counter-file DMCA notice to Scribd and to MIT Press’ legal team. Just yesterday I received the following from Scribd:

What this probably means is that the two week window for a legal response has passed, and by default I’ve won this round. We’ll see what happens next.

The article is now back online at Scribd: “Turn/Stile: Remixing Udo Kasemet’s CaleNdarON“.

Two awesome things have come out of this intriguing episode:

(1) Counter-file DMCA notices (sometimes) work.

(2) I entered into a very enlightening and revealing conversation with the Editor-in-Chief of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Lanfranco Aceti. We discussed various options for republishing, including his team’s efforts to convert the LEA archives to Kindle, and the ups/downs of Amazon’s closed, proprietary format (for the record, I’m in favour of OpenLib and/or PDF, at least). We also talked about micropayment systems and the difficulty of managing hundreds of authors in such a system while acknowledging something of the necessity of doing so. From this conversation, something of an edited exchange will be published over on the LEA blog. I’ll keep you posted.

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    2 Responses to “from the ashes: counter-file the DMCA”

    1. from the ashes: counter-file the #DMCA / is it possible to win back your work through attrition? http://bit.ly/dPkLTs #copyright #LEA #MIT

    2. […] It’s always critically important to read an academic publishing copyright agreement, even in cases where there’s zero remuneration (which is, for articles, quite a lot of them, in my experience). What’s especially important to scrutinize is the agreement’s provision for open access. Fugitive philosopher Tobais van Veen found out the hard way that one publisher’s failure to hold up its end of a contractual agreement to perpetual accessibility didn’t prevent it from sending a cease & desist on discovering he’d taken it upon himself to ensure access, afer the journal in which his work was published had been unaccountably disappeared. (Undaunted, he has since counter-filed against the publisher.) […]