Yahoo’s Censorship is Bullshit
Image by Thomas Hawk
[I am CEO of Zooomr]
Update: I did an interview with Jeff Diehl earlier this afternoon about Yahoo’s Censorship of this image. Jeff is the plaintiff in the EFF case against Michael Crook and runs the site 10 Zen Monkeys. You can red the interview here.
Yahoo needs to change how they handle bogus DMCA takedown notices.
I am resubmitting this photo that they deleted previously but I’m pissed for a few reason’s.
The photo above is of Michael Crook. Michael Crook is an internet bully who used craigslist to bait a bunch of guys into responding to "Casual Encounters" ads and then collected personal information about them, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Then he published all of that information publicly on the internet destroying these men’s lives.
There was a backlash of people who felt this was an asshole move for someone to do and many people, myself included, published a photo of Crook from an appearance that he made on Fox News (fair use from an editorial perspective and an image in any regards that Crook did not hold copyright over). Crook was on Fox News talking about his websites which reportedly also make claims that dismiss the Holocaust, etc.
Anyways, obviously there were a lot of men pretty upset after being victimized by Crook, so I could understand his desire to not have photos of him showing up on the internet. But with karma what goes around comes around sometimes.
But what I’m pissed at Yahoo about is how they handled all of this.
What Crook did is basically sent a bogus DMCA notice to tons of sites. I got takedown notices for Thomashawk.com and Zooomr both where I published his photo as well. Boing Boing got one. Lots of people got them.
But Yahoo handled this all in the wrong way.
Shortly after recieving a bogus takedown notice from Crook, Yahoo simply deleted the photo page from my stream showing Crook. They didn’t give me a time limit to try and appeal this decision. They didn’t make it temporary. It was permanently deleted.
What’s worse is that they deleted all of my metadata associated with this image. This included a long stream of discourse between Flickr users in the comments section of the photo.
Irrespective of any DMCA claim about the image. Yahoo could have simply taken down the image, but left all of the metadata associated with the image. Now (if memory serves correct) about 40 people who commented and expressed an opinion on the topic have been silenced. Their thoughts and comments permanently (best I can tell) deleted from existence by Yahoo. This in my book is censorship and it’s not right.
Subsequent to this deletion of my photo on Flickr I sent Flickr staff an email complaining about this and pointing to the blog post by Boing Boing documenting that Crook was abusing the system.
Still, my photo was not reinstated.
Finally I received a notice from Yahoo, only after Crook rescinded his DMCA notice (likely as part of a settlement with the EFF soon to be announced) that if I wanted to I could repost the photo.
The problem is that even though I’m now reposting this photo all of my metadata associated with the previous image has been destroyed. This is not right and Yahoo needs to change their policy on how they handle things like this in the future.