As you may, or may not, be aware, there is a segment of fan-fiction called “The Omegaverse”, which is one part Supernatural fandom, and two (or maybe three) parts bad wolf science.
What you may not be aware of, unless you read the rather incomplete New York Times story, which tended to focus on a genre of literature that features, estrus, involuntary impregnation, involuntary sex, male pregnancy, and a lot of other stuff that makes Furries look like Mike Pence.
It’s also kind of dull, unless it’s your thing, at least to me.
I am a cat person, thank you very much.*
What I find interesting is the use, and in this case abuse, of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) take-down provisions for a clearly unlawful purpose.
Well, that, and one the principals in the dispute committing perjury and lying to her fans, but again that is simply salacious, and does not address the larger issues here.
As many of you (OK, both of you) are are aware, the DMCA contains a safe harbor provision which says that so long as a platform responds promptly in response to a take down notice to material posted by a user, they cannot be held liable, much in the same way that you cannot sue a bookstore for a book that is defamatory, just the author and publisher.
What the process means is that there is very little upside for platforms to investigate whether or not an actual copyright violation occurs. They will simply take the material down when a DMCA complaint, and if the complaint is in error, or maliciously wrong, it is no skin off of their nose.
What this has resulted in is DMCA take down notices being issued to coverup evidence of anti-union activity, corrupt politicians covering up their behavior, to extort YouTube channels, for profit academic journals moving against professors who posting their own research, and, of course, Dr. Who fan Ood Knitters.
What happened in this case was that the author, whose innovation appears to be bringing heterosexual relationships into the Omgaverse, and her publisher, went after another author for literary features of the genre, rather than any actual plagiarism, and sent out dozens of DMCA take-down notices to attack a rival in the genre.
It’s a classic case of misusing the DMCA for non-IP purposes.
Well, Lindsay Ellis gives a hysterically funny description of what went down here, and why what happened was wrong, and why the DMCA needs to be fixed.
It’s an hour long, but it’s well worth the watch.
*No, not THAT sort of cat person, NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT, at least not from a literary perspective.