The EFF received a false copyright takedown demand. Bad mistake.

Illustration: EFF (CC BY 3.0 US)

At the EFF's Deeplinks blog, the foundation posts a copyright takedown demand sent to it regarding an illustration used on an earlier posting. Given that the EFF is paramount among organizations fighting for more liberal copyright laws and employs numerous lawyers, activists and experts to this end, this already seems a tentative prospect. In this case, though, it turns out to be worse than that: the EFF's own artists created the illustration.

For EFF this was more amusing than threatening. We knew instantly that we needn’t worry about the implied threat, and if things went badly, we probably have more IP litigators per capita than any entity that’s not a boutique IP litigation firm. So we wrote back explaining the situation, and expect that will be the end of this.

But for many entities, it can be quite scary. Even if they are secure in their rights, the potential for a costly or time-consuming conflict may lead to a rational choice that a link is a low-cost solution. They might wonder if this misunderstanding will escalate into a DMCA takedown, potentially interfering with the availability of the page until the improper notice is resolved. Even if they disregard such a weak threat, dealing with it has the serious potential to take time away from running their operation.