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Indybay Pushes Back Against “Diamond Slavery” DMCA Takedown
by Indybay (indybay [at] lists.riseup.net)
Sunday Aug 11th, 2019 6:47 PM
DMCA memory hole threatens to swallow article published on Indybay in 2003 about working conditions in Romanian diamond factory.
On June 3, 2019, the Indybay collective received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice demanding that it takedown an article entitled “Romania: Diamond Slavery” which was published by the anonymous user “Romanian worker” on Indybay almost 16 years ago, on October 28, 2003. A similar DMCA notice was also sent to Indybay’s upstream Internet service provider, IO Cooperative, who forwarded it on to Indybay.

The purported author of the DMCA takedown notice, Stan Rusell, claims that the “Diamond Slavery” article, which alleges that “Israeli entrepreneur Menachem Zvik, owner of the MCR International Afumati Romania, is working diamonds by exploiting its workers in appalling conditions,” was copied from an identical post at https://globalnewsscoop.blogspot.com/2003/10/romania-diamond-slavery.html on a blog called Global News.

As far as Indybay editors can tell, the Global News blog was created only recently, so is unlikely to have been the original source of the article. The October 20, 2003 date on the Global News post could simply be manually backdated from the October 28, 2003 date on the Indybay article. Ironically, Global News could itself be violating Indybay’s copyright policy by copying the article for commercial use, given the fact that ads are displayed on the blog. And in any event, if the article “Romanian worker” published on Indybay did in fact infringe a copyright, it would be legally difficult to press a claim over a 16-year-old case of copyright infringement.

Deciding that the DMCA notice was likely an illegitimate attempt to have the “diamond slavery” article removed, Indybay contested the DMCA takedown by temporarily removing the article and sending a DMCA counter-notice, stating that the article was removed as the result of a mistake, misrepresentation or misidentification of the material. The DMCA imposes a ten-day window for the claimant to obtain a court order restraining Indybay from restoring the article, and after this waiting period lapsed, Indybay restored the article at its original URL.

So many years after the article was published on Indybay, it’s difficult to find more information on the “Diamond Slavery” story. The Indybay article links to an investigative piece by a Romanian newspaper entitled “Sclavi pe plantatia de diamante” (Slave on the diamond plantation) – which was originally available at http://www.expres.ro/investigatii/?news_id=135721 – however, this newspaper has since changed ownership and older articles are no longer available online. Likewise, only links to the newspaper article can be found on the Internet Archive, not the article itself.

Indybay would like to thank its DMCA “designated agent,” Ben Rosenfeld, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for their legal support.

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