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Doctors Using the DMCA For Censorship

Posted by: , 17:33 AEST, Mon April 18, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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Doctors who don't want to see bad reviews posted about them online are using the services of a company called Medical Justice, which is using DMCA takedown notices to remove bad reviews

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has often been accused of being abused, and the latest case involves doctors trying to hide bad reviews from clients.

A company called Medical Justice has a service that uses the DMCA to get bad reviews of doctors, posted by their patients, removed from the web. Supposedly, Medical Justice charges doctors for this "service", doctors who would rather people did not find out if other patients had a bad experience with the same doctor or not.

Patients are required by doctors to sign an "anti-review" contract, in which they sign over copyright of any potential reviews and comments. It is via these contracts that allows Medical Justice to use the DMCA to remove bad reviews. 

To fight this, a new website called Doctored Reviews have been set up by Eric Goldman and Jason Schultz, a law professor at UC Berkeley. The website allows bad reviews to be posted, and they will resist any attempt to use the DMCA to silence patients. Other review websites, such as Yelp, have also resisted DMCA takedown requests from Medical Justice, and RateMD even has a "wall of shame" listing doctors who use the services of Medical Justice.

The creators of Doctored Reviews say that if this practice is not stopped, it can be employed by other companies to silence critics. So when you open a new bank account, your contract may include a section where something like this would prevent you from bad mouthing the bank on the Internet, for example.

This is only one of many examples where copyright laws, which are heavily biased towards content owners and copyright holders, have been used to censor freedom of speech on the Internet.

Do you think copyright law is too biased towards copyright holders, and that this bias is being abused to curb speech? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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