Friday, February 16, 2018

Simplenote Outage Due to DMCA


We discovered shortly after that Google Cloud Platform, which hosts the web application, had shut down the site due to a DMCA notice for allegedly infringing content that appeared in published notes. We worked with Google to rectify the issue as quickly as possible and they reinstated the app yesterday morning.

Via John Gordon:

This needs a LOT more explanation.

Your data (temporarily) disappears because of something posted by a completely unrelated user.

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This doesn't pass the smell test. Normally service providers will send s copy of the DMCA take-down notice to their customer so they can either correct the situation or claim that they actually hold the copyright (e.g. when the SFWA sent a DMCA take-down to Cory Doctorow's website hosting Cory Doctorow's own novels, while claiming falsely they were a legally authorized representative of the copyright holder).

Either Google sent the notice and Simplenote failed to respond quickly enough, or Google screwed up, which is always possible as Google Cloud is different teams than the battle-hardened DMCA operators at Google Search or YouTube, but I wouldn't bet on it.

This shows that there are characteristics of a cloud provider that are not easily encapsulated on a bullet list. I once received a DMCA take-down on my blog, for an extensive quote the original author took issue with (I think he confused my site with one of the shady sites that scrape content from others to gain google-juice for nefarious SEO). My provider, Joyent, went to bat for me with the complainant, then gave me plenty of opportunity to respond (I ended up with an agreement with him to use a snippet instead of full quote). I'm not a particularly lucrative customer for them, so appreciate the effort they took in doing so.

This can happen with outdated contact information or emails that goto spam folders. I've seen it happen with Amazon Web Services and large sites, I completely believe it could happen with GCP.

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