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DMCA STRIKES AGAIN: SOME 2600.COM PAGES REMOVED FROM GOOGLE
Posted 7 Jul 2004 08:41:29 UTC

We received a curious letter in our email the other day from the legal department of the popular search engine Google.

Apparently, they had received an even more curious letter in their email from the folks at AirTran Airways, which used to be called Valujet but changed its name after some negative publicity under their old name. After that name change, someone decided to hack the AirTran website, and we have a mirror of the hacked site.

AirTran apparently doesn't want people to know about their former plane-crashing ways, so they invoked our old friend, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Under the DMCA, any service provider who provides access to material which allegedly infringes copyright must remove access to that material upon official notice from the copyright holder or risk being held liable themselves for contributory copyright infringement.

The bulk of the material mirrored on our website is almost certainly a parody protected under the First Amendment. (We also included a mirror of the original home page for archival purposes.) Despite this, AirTran decided not to ask us to remove the material but to demand that Google remove it from its search results. So, pursuant to its DMCA obligations, Google has removed some of the pages in question from its search listings. Thus, a search for "AirTran" on our website returns fewer results than it might and a note on the bottom of the page explaining why.

Google has a history of responding in this way to DMCA takedown requests, most famously when the Church of Scientology demanded that Google stop pointing to noted Scientology critic Xenu.Net.

It remains unclear if this is the start of a campaign to get the ValuJet pages removed from our site entirely, or just an ineffective attempt to prevent people from learning about them. We'll certainly post any updates we get.

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