Edublogs, a website that supports approximately 1.45 million student- and teacher-created blogs, recently received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice in regard to a mental health questionnaire that was posted without proper permission. Even though the content was only published on a single site, and was promptly taken down upon request, a series of miscommunications led to all 1.45 million blogs being taken offline by their web hosting provider.
According to PC Magazine, the scientific scale in question is officially owned by education company Pearson and can be accessed in its original form with a one-time royalty fee of $120. Although several educators have insisted that the questionnaire should be freely available, Pearson has suggested that the willful or accidental misuse of the psychological tool could compromise results and have potentially dangerous clinical consequences.
As a result, Pearson filed a request with hosting company ServerBeach to ask its client, Edublogs, to take down the content in question. Edublogs quickly complied with the request, yet nevertheless had the entirety of its servers taken offline.
According to Ars Technica, there is a standard 24-hour grace period between content takedown requests and the disabling of hosting services. However, Edublogs saw its sites crash just 12 hours after notification.
ServerBeach and Edublogs have since restored the websites and begun discussing how to avoid similar mishaps through proper protocol in the future. But, as several intellectual property attorneys explained to Ars Technica, the fact that 300 words of content posted on a single site could derail the operations of millions of others is a clear signal that both publishers and hosts need a better understanding of the legislation.