On the Topic of Copyright

11 02 2011

February 11, 2011 (Updated February 25, 2011)

On August 26, 2010, just before cancelling my first three month old order for the “Oracle Tuning: The Definitive Reference Second Edition” book, I wrote the following in a blog article (side note: the second order for the book is now more than three months old, and I have no intention of cancelling that order):

In June 2010 an article appeared on another blog that identifed three blog articles appearing on a blog operated by an Oracle Certified Master (OCM) that were copied nearly verbatim from three other blogs, thus saving the OCM a considerable effort in not only typing verbage appearing in the article, but also effort in actually building useful content.  Why spent four hours developing a blog article (this is probably the average time I spend), when a simple copy, paste, find-and-replace can be accomplished in a couple of minutes?  Those copies of articles clearly violated commonly understood copyright restrictions, and a quick search showed that the copyright violations extended far beyond the initial three articles which were mentioned (yes, I have screen captures and PDF copies of all that I identified).

So, why did I write the above paragraph?  For some reason I was recently browsing through some of the information about DMCA:

“Any material that was posted without the copyright owner’s authorization must be removed or blocked promptly once the service provider has been notified that it has been removed, blocked, or ordered to be removed or blocked, at the originating site.”

I realized that a random reader of this blog could potentially send a note to WordPress stating that they are, in fact under penalty of law, the owner of the material I just spent 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours, 16 hours  – maybe even months writing, and demand that the article be taken offline because I clearly stated that I quoted a couple of words from one of their articles while agreeing with or disagreeing with the other article.  Is quoting another source, while clearly stating that the other source is being quoted, in an effort to critique the quoted section an example of fair use?

I greatly dislike seeing people copying other people’s work and passing it off as their own work.  It takes considerable effort to put together many of my blog articles; it requires a good deal of past experience troubleshooting other problems; and once my blog articles are published, those blog articles are not complete without the valuable input provided by reader comments.  It is not uncommon for me to post a blog article with the sole intention of helping one or two people, with the knowledge that reader comments on the blog articles often take the articles to a completely different level, expanding the articles to help a much wider audience.  The article that is currently the second highest ranked article on this blog in the last 90 days is just one example of this approach in action. 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), among other things, helps protect original, copyrighted content that is posted to the Internet to prevent that material from being republished for profit, or claimed as original, copyrighted content authored by the person who copied the previously copyrighted material.  The doctrine of fair use outlines four factors that determine whether or not a particular use of copyrighted material is considered fair use:

  • “The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work”

If you see your original, copyrighted content on an unauthorized site, file a DMCA take down notice.  If you do so, be aware that you will be swearing under penalty of perjury that you are, in fact, the owner of the copyrighted material.  Just for the entertainment value, I decided to see what the law states in Michigan about the penalty of perjury:

“Perjury committed in courts—Any person who, being lawfully required to depose the truth in any proceeding in a court of justice, shall commit perjury shall be guilty of a felony, punishable, if such perjury was committed on the trial of an indictment for a capital crime, by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or any term of years, and if committed in any other case, by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 15 years.”

Translation, “You better know what the heck you are claiming when you file a DMCA take down notice and you sign, under penalty of perjury, that you are the copyright holder.”

Why all of this discussion of copyright and DMCA?  Some of you may have noticed that my recent article titled “SQL Performance Problem, AWR Reports Query is #1 in Elapsed Time, #2 in CPU Time – How Would You Help?” that was posted on February 6, 2011 has disappeared.  Why has it disappeared?  A DMCA take down notice was filed, and that notice in part stated the following:

——————–BEGIN NOTICE

Pursuant to the DMCA, please see this takedown notice.

I have confirmed that the site says “powered by WordPress.com”, and is hosted by WordPress.

This blog page http://hoopercharles.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/sql-performance-problem-awr-reports-query-is-1-in-elapsed-time-2-in-cpu-time-how-would-you-help/

Contains this material originally published on our forum:

(My modified version of the SQL statement posted by a user of an online forum who was seeking help with a performance problem)

This was copied from our forum here:

http://dbaforums.org/oracle/index.php?s=ec2b9e8d676465331d7fe6cd6e07fa0c&showtopic=20523

Where it was originally published in this format:

(SQL statement as posted by a user of an online forum who was seeking help with a performance problem)

Donald K. Burleson
CTO, Burleson Consulting

Kittrell, NC, USA 27544
(email address withheld)@remote-dba.net

I hereby swear that this content is copied from the BC DBA forum and that this page infringes on my copyright and it is not authorized.

Under penalty of perjury, I swear that all of the information contained in your Infringement Notice is accurate, and that I am the copyright owner of this material.

Signed: Donald K. Burleson, copyright owner

——————–END NOTICE

You are required to remove the specific content outlined in this notice and identified as the infringing material. If you would like to formally challenge the notice, please let us know so that we can provide you with further instructions.

Interesting… so Donald K. Burleson holds the copyright of anything posted to the forums on dbaforums.org?  So, did I remove the SQL statement that was posted by a user of the forum, or did I file a DMCA challenge stating that Donald K. Burleson is not the owner of that SQL statement?  Think about that for a moment, would I back down when trying to help someone solve a problem (falling under the doctrine of fair use), especially after readers of the forum my blog article provided valuable information to further help the person experiencing the performance problem?  Would I back down when an action by Donald K. Burleson would impede the freely provided furthering of the Oracle community’s Oracle Database knowledge?  Think about that for a moment…

Finished thinking already?  I filed a DMCA challenge with the following text:

The quoted section mentioned in the DMCA take down notice was in fact copied from Donald K. Burleson’s forum, with minor changes to improve readability.  The copied text, however, does not infringe on Donald K. Burleson’s copyright.  The text that I copied was posted by one of the users of his online forum, and that text originated in the computer program titled “Patrol for Oracle” written by BMC Software (as indicated in the comments attached to the blog article).  The copied text is essentially a SQL statement that is submitted to a database server by the “Patrol for Oracle” program, and that SQL statement was exhibiting poor performance.  If anything, the rightful owner of the copyright for the copied text is BMC Software, and credit for the SQL statement currently appears in the comments section of the blog article.  A user posting a SQL statement (the alleged copied text) to a forum does not transfer the copyright for that SQL statement to the owner of the forum, especially if the user posting the SQL statement was not the original author of the SQL statement.

This is not the first time that Donald K. Burleson has falsely claimed ownership of copyright.

The attached “DMCA Challenge 2011-02-08.pdf” file is my signed notice that I did not infringe on a copyright owned by Donald K. Burleson.  The attached “DMCA Challenge 2011-02-08 Attachment.pdf” file shows my blog article content where the alleged copied text appears, and is followed on pages 11, 12, and 13 by the content where the alleged original text appears.

Please keep in mind that this blog is one that is dedicated to technical Oracle Database related discussions, and personal attacks do not belong here.  Attacking technical discussions containing faulty information, of course, is expected.  See the About page for more information.

——–

Edit February 25, 2011:

Donald K. Burleson, apparently realizing what it means to file a false DMCA claim under penalty of perjury, did not file a lawsuit to back up his DMCA claim to copyright ownership of the modified SQL statement that I posted in my February 6, 2011 article titled SQL Performance Problem, AWR Reports Query is #1 in Elapsed Time, #2 in CPU Time – How Would You Help?  His false DMCA claim held hostage one of my articles for a total of 17 days, during which time the article was not available for readers of this blog (for the record, I completely understand and agree with WordPress’ handing of this matter, where their processes require taking DMCA challenged articles offline for two weeks to allow the true copyright holder sufficient time to file a lawsuit).  False DMCA claims from Donald K. Burleson against my blog articles will not be tolerated, and this article will serve as evidence of past abuse, if necessary.


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17 responses

11 02 2011
Dan Benson

Too funny…

11 02 2011
Andreas Buckenhofer

Like a first april joke – unfortunately this is a real story.

11 02 2011
Jimmy

I remember Jonathan Lewis posting that he received a “take-down” notice from Don B., a while back. I don’t recall if the issue ever got resolved.

It’s really sad to see someone in the Oracle community claiming ownership in this manner. Does he own “select dummy from dual?”

(Edit: initially blocked by the spam filter)

11 02 2011
Martin Preiss

almost unrelated – but the first thing that comes to my mind is how to eliminate stuff in Google search results (I hope the spam filter has no problems with the URL).

(Edit: initially blocked by the spam filter)

11 02 2011
Martin Preiss
12 02 2011
Kevin Fries

Here’s someone who did due diligence to someone who had a reputation for overblown claims and flat-out lies. Quite funny and a true story.

http://www.sonic.net/scott/sheesh/ed.txt

The person claiming violations has a long history of making false DMCA claims. A quick web search on the person will verify that and that’s why I included this.
PS: The picture in question is a head shot of the person with a pair of underwear superimposed on his head.

12 02 2011
Charles Hooper

Kevin,

Nice find. For those who read the entire discussion, the last paragraph pretty well sums up the entire discussion.

13 02 2011
Kevin Fries

It’s not a find as much as knowing the person who runs the provider. He was quite familiar with the tactics and the complaintant (sp?) still kept trying DMCA notices to various other providers when the DMCA law was passed. Here’s another example where he tries to bully a site which publicizes his tactics along with numerous examples.

http://www.smbtech.com/ed

In fact, the complaintant has been caught plagiarizing numerous sites and lost their own website provider over a legitimate DMCA notice in which he told the provider he took down the material and was caught lying. He’s also lost numerous accounts over abuse of the abuse process.

It may help the next time someone gets a DMCA notice to be able to point the provider to previous examples. The real problem is that providers do not always perform due diligence. Moral: It pays to find a hosting service that will listen and learn.

13 02 2011
Kyle Hailey

I feel for you ! It would be so funny i it it weren’t so infuriating. Don sent my company a “cease and desist” threat over a blog posting of mine that posted a link to one of those Don Burlenson google filters, so watch out all you people above who linked to those filters. He might come after you too ! (true story – luckily my company looked at it , laughed and wrote him a nice reply to the tune of “we don’t think so” – if only it was that easy with the web hosting providers.)

13 02 2011
Charles Hooper

Kyle,

Did the “cease and desist” notice mention that his own site also has a custom Google search filter?

http://www.dba-oracle.com/t_site_search_feature.htm

For people who are interested, you can try out the custom Google filter here:

http://dba-oracle.com/googlesearchsite_proc.htm?cx=000522505899594707971%3A4-ldikxixw4&cof=FORID%3A10&q=cease+and+desist

And the normal Google search here:

http://dba-oracle.com/googlesearchsite_proc.htm?&cof=FORID%3A10&q=cease+and+desist

He seems to be in favor of people using custom Google search filters, so I guess that I do not understand the point of the “cease and desist” notice:

http://dba-oracle.blogspot.com/2009/10/check-out-burlesonnetinfo.html

14 02 2011
Kyle Hailey

None of it makes any logical sense though it does waste

14 02 2011
Kyle Hailey

(Intermission … as I was saying)
None of it makes any logical sense though it does hijack many peoples time who’d rather be spending it otherwise – I guess that’s the point.

14 02 2011
Charles Hooper

This could be an interesting development:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-chrome-extension-block-sites-from.html

Content farms polute search engine results:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/google-search-and-search-engine-spam.html

It appears that Google is looking for end-user input.

14 02 2011
Burleson buys BMC ? « Oracle Scratchpad

[...] questioned about the disappearance of the blog item Mr. Hooper explained that it had been taken down by his service provider in accordance with a DMCA takedown notice [...]

14 02 2011
Andy

Awhile ago, while browsing an article on Richard Foote’s blog, I was thinking , “Hmm… whatever happened to that B* guy…. the Oracle community seems to be too peaceful for months ….this is unreal…” And now peace no more … I shouldn’t be too hopeful next time :p

8 03 2011
Anonymoose

This is not surprising from this guy sometime check out donburleson.wordpress.com for more fraudulent behavior from this guy….

9 03 2011
Charles Hooper

Anonymoose,

Thank you for providing the link. It appears that blog site was set up to show the court papers where Wild Wingdom, LLC and Michael Culp (aka. BC Hires a Rock Star) have *alleged* fraudulent behavior and asked for a jury trial. The website does *not* indicate whether or not the jury trial has ended, and if it has what were the results of that jury trial. In the United States people are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, so I think that it is too strong of a statement to say that the http://donburleson.wordpress.com site shows fraudulent behavior.

This blog site is dedicated to technical Oracle Database related content, and this page only exists because Mr. Burleson filed a false DMCA claim that held one of my technical Oracle Database related articles (that was intended to help reader) captive for 17 days. I would prefer that the content of this blog remain focused on technical Oracle Database related content.

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