Many in the Usenet community are wondering why completion rates seem to be dropping and content disappearing from news servers. At first some thought the issue surrounded a particular group of Usenet providers. Now it seems like several top providers are in the same boat. Are they having technical issues? Or are they simply complying with DMCA takedown notices? We don’t know for sure but we suspect they are complying with the safe harbor provision of the DMCA which requires the removal of infringing content on request of the rights holder. The same provision that protected YouTube in their copyright infringement case earlier this year.
Please take into account that we’re all geeks. Meaing we’re giving you our unqualified opinion. For those unfamiliar with the DMCA it stands for “Digital Millennium Copyright Act“. The DMCA includes the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act” which provides safe harbor for online services like Usenet providers, YouTube, ISP’s, etc. as long as they follow the guidelines which include promptly removing infringing material based on the copyright holders request.
Since most Usenet providers are based in the U. S. the DMCA and safe harbor protection could be very important to the future of Usenet. Not complying with takedown notices could mean the end of Usenet as we know it. Now that you understand why newsgroup services are compelled to comply we would like to show you how and why the DMCA removals can effect Usenet completion. When at times it just appears like the content went missing.
Let’s take a look at a couple scenarios:
Content is unavailable via NZB file
Perhaps you go out and find an NZB file for the content you wish to download from Usenet. Then when you go to actually download the files they are missing.
The headers are in my newsreader but the articles are missing
Perhaps you download headers on a frequent basis. One day you decide to mark some content to download. Although you see the headers in your newsreader the articles no longer exist on the news server.
DMCA takedown request
In both scenarios it’s possible the content you are trying to download was part of a DMCA takedown request. Meaning the content was infringing and the rights holder requested that it be removed from Usenet. So while it was once on the news server it had to be removed and no longer exists to download.
Again we’re not saying that all Usenet completion issues are due to DMCA requests but it appears more frequent so we thought the topic was worth mentioning. If you are having technical issues with content you don’t feel should fall under the DMCA then we suggest you contact your Usenet provider for technical support. If the problem persists you can always visit Newsgroup Reviews to explore your options.