Tumblr responded to a DMCA takedown request from a Canadian photographer who didn’t like that I had used a couple of his pictures to illustrate an interesting trend. Instead of simply removing the two pictures from one blog, Tumblr canceled my entire account and in the process shut down two other blogs that had no complaints against them.
Tumblr wasn’t interested in hearing my “fair use” appeal to its Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown. In fact, they never responded to my appeal or repeated emails. (Unless you count the notice I received from Tumblr more than a year after they deleted my blogs.)
Tumblr is notorious for its heavy-handed approach to copyright enforcement. This pleases copyright maximalists, but not those who believe in a liberal interpretation of copyright law in the Internet age.
Tumblr ranks dead last among online platforms in terms of protecting users from baseless copyright and trademark complaints, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (See chart below.)
I’m not alone in experiencing Tumblr’s draconian DMCA enforcement. As I first noted in August 2013, Tumblr has deleted a number of high-profile blogs for questionable reasons.
A quick search on Google and Twitter reveals a number of people who have faced the same knee-jerk action by Tumblr in shutting down blogs for alleged DMCA violations.
Oh hey, yesterday was the one month anniversary of my Tumblr being deleted overnight due to a probably bogus DMCA claim.— Matthew Lawrence (@BeefcakeFactory) July 7, 2015
my tumblr got terminated and I'm just here anxiously waiting for a response from tumblr and the dmca— Max S. (@EZpeace) November 10, 2014
So Tumblr has thereatened to shut down my account because I never contested DMCA complaints that they make impossible to contest.— Eric Mortensen (@ericmortensen) August 20, 2014
Articles about Tumblr’s heavy-handed, user-unfriendly DMCA policy:
Tumblr Complies With DMCA Takedown Requests From A Self-Proclaimed Future-Alien From Another Planet. (Techdirt; June 23, 2015)
Tumblr deletes one of its most popular users for copyright violations. (Daily Dot; June 19, 2015)
Tumblr Blog Ban Shows Terms Of Service Trump Freedom Of Speech (BuzzFeed; June 16, 2015)
Why Tumblr’s DMCA policies are ridiculous and disingenuous (Hexeosis; June 12, 2015)
Petition Tumblr to change its terms and how it handles copyright infringement! (Change.org; March 2015)
Tumblr users panic as accounts are deleted for copyright violations. (Daily Dot; Feb. 19, 2015)
EFF Ranks Service Providers For Who Stands Up To Copyright/Trademark Bullies (Techdirt; Oct. 27, 2014)
Fear and Loathing: Tumblr, Music and Termination (Leftover Takeout; July 2014)
Escher Girls complains about copyright infringement notices. (Escher Girls; July 2014)
Tumblr Shuts Down Popular Blogger: Who’s Next? (Hubspot Blogs; July 29, 2013)
Photos: Tumblr screenshot showing what a deleted Tumblr blog looks like (top); Twitter comments from Matthew Lawrence, Max S. and Eric Mortensen; and Who Has Your Back? chart from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.