Microsoft: Disrespecting the DMCA?

Microsoft is well-known for making some inventive uses of the DMCA, a law that it, by all accounts, supported. However, it’s become apparent to me that Microsoft only cares about the DMCA when its rights are the ones on the line.

As many know already, Microsoft runs several services in which it allows users to post content to the Web including MSN Groups and MSN Spaces. These services, like all similar ones, are vulnerable to plagiarism and I have found at least three confirmed incidents of it on them.

However, Microsoft has been not just merely uncooperative, but downright obstructionist when trying to deal with these incidents.

On June 13, I filed an abuse report on an MSN spaces account. In an autoreply back, I was sent to the Microsoft’s “Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement“. It’s a similar trick to what Lycos uses, a trick which can force you to redo your entire complaint if you didn’t remember to save it. Luckily, I had saved it to a OpenOffice document and I prepared a fax using the same information and sent it to the listed number.

The next day, the fourteenth, I received an email back from the copyright agent letting me know he’d gotten the information and asking me to, in the future, send them via email. I agreed, apologized for the faxed correspondence and waited to hear back.

Instead, nothing happened.

A week later now the work remains up and, despite two requests for an update, I’ve heard nothing from Mr. Weston or Microsoft in general.

The DMCA is very clear. it says that “Upon receiving proper notification of claimed infringement, the provider must expeditiously take down or block access to the material.” I hardly consider more than a week to be “expeditious”. Microsoft, supposedly the great lover of the DMCA, has refused to comply or at least offer the common courtesy of an update.

All of the other DMCA complaints I filed on the same day have been fulfilled and two other notices that I have sent to Microsoft in the interim have gone completely unanswered. Microsoft is the only one dragging their heels and I can’t imagine why.

That is, unless it’s a classic case of being able to dish it out but not take it.

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