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  1. #1
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    Charging for DMCA notices, anyone ever heard of this?

    We just received a $300 bill from a colo provider for a "DMCA notice". Has anyone heard of this being done in the industry before? It seems ridiculous to me as when you sell servers you have no control over what they upload until you are aware of a problem.
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  2. #2
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    Sounds outrageous to me. I have had some providers who take it very seriously but have never been charged. Is it a repeat offense or first offense for the web site?


  3. #3
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    What provider is sending you this bill? That's crazy.
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  4. #4
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    Yeah - that's total bull. I'd refuse to pay it.
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  5. #5
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    re-read the AUP. Charging customers for this isn't a unknown. Legal fee's are not cheap. If the DMCA was done right it went to their copyright registered agent and that is normally the lawyer.

    I'm guessing you are not registered in the registry, you should go get registered.

    Welcome to the big leagues, legal problems cost money someone has to pay for it. You surely cannot expect someone to eat legal fee's if you are getting DMCA notices.. and if you are getting them frequent.. it adds up.

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    re-read the AUP. Charging customers for this isn't a unknown. Legal fee's are not cheap. If the DMCA was done right it went to their copyright registered agent and that is normally the lawyer.

    I'm guessing you are not registered in the registry, you should go get registered.

    Welcome to the big leagues, legal problems cost money someone has to pay for it. You surely cannot expect someone to eat legal fee's if you are getting DMCA notices.. and if you are getting them frequent.. it adds up.
    I've never *ever* seen it sent to a lawyer, instead simply emailed to the ARIN admin handle email. We get a few DMCA's a week and that's how they always come in.

    This simply looks like a cash grab to me as one of our old DC's tried the same thing when someone running a proxy service got a SINGLE spam complaint and handled it in a timely manner. Even though the IP never got black listed the host still billed the person $500 for it.

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  8. #8
    I heard about this before, but a bill of $100
    I always thought it was free though?

  9. #9
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    Outrages indeed.

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  10. #10
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    Seems a bit greedy to me.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaAnime View Post
    I've never *ever* seen it sent to a lawyer, instead simply emailed to the ARIN admin handle email. We get a few DMCA's a week and that's how they always come in.

    This simply looks like a cash grab to me as one of our old DC's tried the same thing when someone running a proxy service got a SINGLE spam complaint and handled it in a timely manner. Even though the IP never got black listed the host still billed the person $500 for it.

    Francisco
    You would be surprised what sort of contact information people can get their hands on to send a notice to. I've seen email DMCA's with 30 to 40 CC's attached to them to everyone under the sun. Other/smarter DMCA's go right to abuse contacts like you mentioned or to the companies registered agent.

    As listed above on the copyright service provider agent list whatever is listed there is the "correct" contact for DMCA complaints.

    Legal fee's aren't cheap, I know our lawyer is 375/hr

  12. #12
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    I have had providers charge me but thats only when we don't comply on time. Even still $300 is too high.

  13. #13
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    Most of our DMCA notices are sent to the contact that is listed with copyright.gov. However, we occasionally have very stupid people send them to completely inappropriate role accounts (noc, sales, support, etc). These very stupid people include very highly paid lawyers.
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  14. #14
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    I am of the opinion that if a clients server gets an excessive amount of -valid- DMCA requests (and please notice the word: valid) a provider should be able to charge an administrative fee per DMCA. People do not work for free - time is money. But $300 for a DMCA is excessive i was more thinking of a small administrative fee per DMCA.
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  15. #15
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    We need more back story. Is there a history of this occurring? Is there actually more to it then "just" a DMCA, did they have to get their lawyer(s) involved in the response or handling of the DMCA claim?

    If any of the above, then I could see the $300 being justified.

    If its just a single, standard, nothing special at all DMCA that was simply forwarded to you with no other legal work required -- then yes, $300, IMO, is too much.
    I could see them charge an administrative fee of perhaps $25-$50 per DMCA though.

  16. #16
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    I can see a charge for excessive complaints, but $300 imo is too much. I don't really see a problem as long as the complaint is resolved in a timely manner.

    May I ask which company you are hosted with?

  17. #17
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    To me that seems crazy, all the host has to do with a DMCA is receive it, file it, notify the customer, and the follow-up to make sure the content is removed. None of that needs to be done by an attorney and there is no reason it should take more than 5-10 minutes.

    If they CHOSE to have their attorney review it without consulting you, then that is their own decision, and I don't see why you would have to pay for it. Though, what does it say in your terms of service?
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  18. #18
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    Why is there a fee at all?

    The DMCA process:
    1. Upstream gets the DMCA.
    2. Upstream tells end user that they've been DMCA'ed and to either
    2A) Take down the content.
    2B) File a counter-DMCA if there is indeed no copyright infringement and take down content until the process has ran its course.
    3) The end.

    Complying to a DMCA requires absolutely no lawyers, so where is this $300 extortion fee coming from? I don't see how forwarding an email on to an end user with 2-3 mouse clicks is worth $300, the colo company you are with sound like crooks to me.

    The DMCA process is easy and painless, its designed to not cost you money. You comply, its free. You counter-DMCA, you wait the correct period of time, if there is no injunction you put the content back up.

    If however, you are DMCA'd for legitimate copyright infringement, and you leave it up, or you falsely file a counter-DMCA; then you would be committing fraud and perjury.

    If ANY lawyers need to get involved, it should be between the upstream and end-user for extortion based on unethical business practices, since if they say they are recouping the fee for a lawyer, its not their responsibility (or right) to respond to a legal notice not addressed to content they don't own. Safe harbor and all.

    --

    On a side note, this isn't the first time I've seen beyond ridiculous charges for beyond ridiculous crap in this industry so I can't say that I'm surprised.

    This stuff reminds me of the certain companies putting in their TOS that they reserve the right to kill SSH connections network level after 2 hours, but yet will charge you $65/hr for any damage to your system because of it to fix it, or $25 for a reinstall.

    People need to read the TOS and AUP's more often.
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  19. #19
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    Its not outrageous when the providers are being fined and sued hundreds of thousands of dollars. You guys are not seeing the bigger picture here..

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by THAMAN View Post
    Its not outrageous when the providers are being fined and sued hundreds of thousands of dollars. You guys are not seeing the bigger picture here..
    Seeing as my last job I dealt with 20-30 DMCA's in any given shift, yea I'm seeing the big picture. Name one single fine that comes out of a DMCA when the procedure is followed properly.
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  21. #21
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    Thanks for the replies. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't out of line with dealing with the provider.

    I'm not naming names, the CEO of the provider has historically taken any flames of his company very personally on these boards and I'm not trying to start any drama.

    I did get a reply from the CEO. He is saying that they somehow got into litigation over a DMCA in the past and it cost them $150k in lawyer fees. Instead of charging the host that caused the problem they instead are going to charge every DMCA notice a $300 fee to recoup their $150k. I don't really agree with this at all, but I'm pretty sure when the decision was made they knew people weren't going to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a DC migration over the extra "fees" per year.

    We don't get many DMCA takedown notices, to even quote the CEO of the provider in his response to me "I know you don’t get many of these per year so it should not be a big deal.".

    My main issue is that it is an unknown cost for us. As I'm sure everyone understands our business is based on fixed monthly costs, there are some fluctuations but even they are based on trends. With this DMCA fee if we get hit by a ring of frauders we could potentially be charged a few thousand dollars in any given month.

    Regarding their TOS, it has been recently edited to include this fee.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWiseOne View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't out of line with dealing with the provider.

    I'm not naming names, the CEO of the provider has historically taken any flames of his company very personally on these boards and I'm not trying to start any drama.

    I did get a reply from the CEO. He is saying that they somehow got into litigation over a DMCA in the past and it cost them $150k in lawyer fees. Instead of charging the host that caused the problem they instead are going to charge every DMCA notice a $300 fee to recoup their $150k. I don't really agree with this at all, but I'm pretty sure when the decision was made they knew people weren't going to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a DC migration over the extra "fees" per year.

    We don't get many DMCA takedown notices, to even quote the CEO of the provider in his response to me "I know you don’t get many of these per year so it should not be a big deal.".

    My main issue is that it is an unknown cost for us. As I'm sure everyone understands our business is based on fixed monthly costs, there are some fluctuations but even they are based on trends. With this DMCA fee if we get hit by a ring of frauders we could potentially be charged a few thousand dollars in any given month.

    Regarding their TOS, it has been recently edited to include this fee.
    Well in this case I believe you should start planning for a mass migration in the near future. I would not pay for such hidden fees myself.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWiseOne View Post
    We don't get many DMCA takedown notices, to even quote the CEO of the provider in his response to me "I know you don’t get many of these per year so it should not be a big deal.".
    I would definitely like to try making 1 or 2 DMCA complains against you guys and have it taken down. It might be a baseless accusation but I'll do it anyway just to make a point that "per DMCA notice" is totally STUPID!

    It's totally NOT acceptable for a CEO to say such a thing.

    Ps. I think I know which DC you're talking about. Just saw and read their T&C.
    Last edited by aodat2; 05-10-2011 at 12:18 AM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLHC View Post
    Well in this case I believe you should start planning for a mass migration in the near future. I would not pay for such hidden fees myself.
    I also agree here, you should start thinking to left those thief ASAP.
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  25. #25
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    $300 is not acceptable at all. Like i said before, i can imagine that if a server gets an excessive amount of valid DMCA requests that the host will impose an administrative fee to his client, but then i think more along the lines of a few dollars maximum for a DMCA.
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  26. #26
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    I really like the part where the CEO says that he's not getting many per year so $300 should not be a big deal.

    Wow... I mean, if $300 should not be a big deal to him, then can you please ask him to contribute $300 to me each month? I would like to get it monthly. Since he has such a big company, then it should not be a big deal to him too, right?

    How stupid or pathetic could his words get? To think that a CEO of such a big company could say such a thing is totally mind boggling.
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  27. #27
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    $300 is a bit excessive. If anything a fee should be charged if you don't comply in time with the DMCA complaint.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattS View Post
    $300 is a bit excessive. If anything a fee should be charged if you don't comply in time with the DMCA complaint.
    Exactly, I can see a $300 fee if the person didn't respond with 2-3 days of the DMCA notice and the host then had to shutdown the server and alter reactivate it. Unfortunate for the host apparently being charged "$150k" in lawyers fees, perhaps you should ask them for documentation of this? Or move hosts.

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  29. #29
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    Its not outrageous when the providers are being fined and sued hundreds of thousands of dollars. You guys are not seeing the bigger picture here..
    Alright, do you mind poing out the "bigger picture" would love to see it, really would

    Care to share any links about Datacenters being sude for "hundreds of thousands of dollars", please enlighten us on the bigger picture.

    $300.00 is quite absurd considering mostly all complaints are either handled with with diligence and no fines or court case proceedings are encountered.

    This would be the first instance I have ever seen of this happening, I have hosted with quite a few datacenters and all I can say is at no point have we ever encountered this.

    Name the host, save us from possibly using them....
    Their main service is hosted with Global Net Access LLC so it seems like GNAX.

    Though the OP will need to confirm.
    Last edited by Sparrow-Sean; 05-10-2011 at 03:35 AM.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow-Sean View Post
    Alright, do you mind poing out the "bigger picture" would love to see it, really would

    Care to share any links about Datacenters being sude for "hundreds of thousands of dollars", please enlighten us on the bigger picture.

    $300.00 is quite absurd considering mostly all complaints are either handled with with diligence and no fines or court case proceedings are encountered.

    This would be the first instance I have ever seen of this happening, I have hosted with quite a few datacenters and all I can say is at no point have we ever encountered this.

    Their main service is hosted with Global Net Access LLC so it seems like GNAX.

    Though the OP will need to confirm.
    Yes, its GNAX read here: http://www.netdepot.com/company/legal.html

    Quote Originally Posted by gnax
    Customer agrees that if Customer violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Customer will be charged $300 USD per violation.

  31. #31
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    It says that "if customer" not "you or your customers", it is total BS as far as I am concerned.

    The situation is directed at the "customer" so it would be the account holder that violates the policy, not the customer of the customer.

    We have had a few complaints thrown our way due to "persons" violating copyright laws and no way was it easy to detect, you are always going to find people who will violate your terms and copyright laws and at times it is hard to monitor every single account on your server(s).

    I find this nothing more than a money grab situation, and I find it quite ironic really.

    No wonder "THAMAN" is the only person in this thread defending the claim.
    Last edited by Sparrow-Sean; 05-10-2011 at 04:13 AM.
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  32. #32
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    Wow. If the CEO said they are trying to recoup legal costs from another case not related to you due to their poor management decisions, I know where I would be heading. Right to the big "Exit" signs.

    It's like 'we didn't want to leave the bill with the offending host, so where going to screw our entire client base' trying to recover costs due to our own internal decision making. Guess it's in there rights to change policy, I suppose if you don't agree with it.. you can leave. =/
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  33. #33
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    I would question whether such fees are even legal.

    You ARE NOT allowed to charge random amounts, for just whatever you feel like.
    The DMCA is pretty well established case law, in terms of the filing process.
    I don't recall fees being allowed anywhere in that process.
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  34. #34
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    It can be considered an administrative fee, so they are within their rights to charge it.
    This coming from someone who charges a $500.00 cleanup fee for bad reputation and more, please come on get into the program here, what administration fee is involved, requesting the client to remove the content or be terminated?

    Should a policy violation occur, QuadraNet reserves the right to terminate the account without notice and without any refunds. The policy violating client will be held responsible for any damages to QuadraNet, including but not limited to, QuadraNet's system, servers, connectivity, reputation, business, service, network, operations, or equipment. The policy violator may be charged a $500 clean up fee.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow-Sean View Post
    please come on get into the program here, what administration fee is involved, requesting the client to remove the content or be terminated?
    Open the abuse ticket, read the ticket, check if the content is still there, lookup the customers email address, forward the DMCA - follow up on the DMCA if there is no timely response (maybe with a phone call to client) check if content is removed.

    All in all easy 5 to 10 minutes per DMCA and people do not work for free. A few dollars administration fee per DMCA would be reasonable.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow-Sean View Post
    This coming from someone who charges a $500.00 cleanup fee for bad reputation and more, please come on get into the program here, what administration fee is involved, requesting the client to remove the content or be terminated?
    Hey now, no need to attack me. I already said the $300 fee was too much.
    The guy above me started crying about how fee's cant be charged because it doesn't mention fees in the DMCA guidelines.
    The DMCA guidelines have no control over a providers administrative fee choices. So his argument made no sense. No need to get all hot and heavy about it.

    Secondly, we have never charged anyone the $500 clean up fee, and if we did it would be for someone who purposefully sent spam from their server. Trying to clean up IP ranges will definitely be a labor intensive job that $500 may not even cover in terms of time and man hours spent trying to speak with all the little SBL's out there who don't respond or want to get paid to remove listings. Thirdly, it says "may" which means that it is not a set fee, where as the DMCA TOS says "will".

  38. #38
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    Open the abuse ticket, read the ticket, check if the content is still there, lookup the customers email address, forward the DMCA - follow up on the DMCA if there is no timely response (maybe with a phone call to client) check if content is removed.

    All in all easy 5 to 10 minutes per DMCA and people do not work for free. A few dollars administration fee per DMCA would be reasonable.
    Sure you have those to take into account, though, please do point out another provider to whom charges excessive amounts of money per DMCA removal request it's just absurd.

    Make it known and your chances of making a sale would go backwards just because of it.

    I agree there are tasks at hand to take, but I honestly find it a money grab (full stop).
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  39. #39
    From the ToS in question:

    "Customer agrees that if Customer violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Customer will be charged $300 USD per violation."

    A DMCA notice is not proof that someone has in fact violated the DMCA, even if it's not contested - many people will pull legitimate, non-infringing content just to avoid problems. If GNAX tried to charge me for a notice, I'd tell them that they're not getting a penny until they could point to a guilty verdict rendered by a competent court as required by their own terms of service. Sounds to me like someone at GNAX has been adding language into their terms of service without actually having the first idea what the hell it actually means.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGotzmann View Post
    It can be considered an administrative fee, so they are within their rights to charge it.
    Again, you CANNOT simply pull random fee amounts from out of your butt, when it concerns government mandates like this. In most cases, federal law comes with clauses that also limit what a fee like this could be. So again, I question the entire legality of this -- especially since it comes from the flimsy admission of being a way to backdoor upcharge clients to recoup a $150K snafu unrelated to current clients.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_P View Post
    A DMCA notice is not proof that someone has in fact violated the DMCA, even if it's not contested - many people will pull legitimate, non-infringing content just to avoid problems. .
    100% correct. You win a cookie.
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