on the Pearson/edublogs brouhaha

So it looks like Pearson sent a DMCA takedown notice to edublogs and their hosting provider. And edublogs’ hosting provider crumbled and took down 1.4 million websites in response.

To be clear, Pearson didn’t take anything down. I’m guessing a legal intern or bot followed an algorithm (search for known strings, run a Whois, send email…). And the hosting provider, who should have told the legal intern to frack off and take their silly misguided takedown requests with them, decided to turn off websites rather than having to risk paying their own lawyers to fight the request.

This isn’t new. Companies with lawyers on the payroll can afford to bully companies that can’t afford to have lawyers on the payroll. It’s easier for the hosting provider to disable an account than to fight a takedown request. And it’s easier for edublogs to nuke a blog rather than take Pearson to court.

There were four failures in this case:

  1. Pearson, for being copyright douchebags
  2. The hosting provider, for being pussies and caving in rather than protecting their client.
  3. edublogs, for taking the dispute public rather than simply fighting it. They could have done both, but it looks like they caved and went public to try to win moral support.
  4. A legal system that rewards parties that can afford their own legal team while penalizing parties that can’t. If it’s too expensive or risky to fight a silly or unfair takedown request, the system is broken.