Use of DMCA – Recent Spotlight on Wantedly
Aug 29, 2017
Discussions on the use of DMCA to combat bad press has arisen from the recent deletion of blog and Twitter postings that questioned Wantedly’s recent IOP.
DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) is an American copyright law that is widely used for removing unauthorized copyright materials on the internet. The DMCA authority contacts the website provider of the content in question for their removal. DMCA has international reach as it has relationships with many websites hosting companies and many countries, including Japan, have similar procedures.
In the recent Wantedly incident, Wantedly filed a complaint to DMCA for the removal of web content based on the unauthorized use of its CEO’s photograph. DMCA accepted the complaint and the web provider host and Twitter removed the web content. Although such a complaint is legitimate, many commentators suggest the main motivation was to have negative contents of the company removed.
Wantedly is certainly not the first Japanese company whose DMCA usage has raised some eyebrows. Some stronger examples are DYM and Hi-Bit where the former attempted to cover a scandal connected to nudity during the company’s employee trip and the later combat criticisms of its products.
Of course, DMCA is an important mechanism to protect copyright. However, it is not possible for the authorities to determine each complaint in detail due to the sheer volume of complaints it receives. This makes it possible for misuse and suppression of free speech. People may not be aware that their content has been taken down or they are unsure of how to respond to a removal notice. On the other hand, companies also may need to be careful of inadvertently attracting more attention to the negative press when they use such a method.