Time Inc’s New Scam: Abusing the DMCA

Times are tough for the media industry, and any way to raise funds and abuse copyright law seems to be fair game, at least if you’re Time Inc.

We received a DMCA takedown notice and a demand for $1500 today from Time Inc for running a shot of the cover of People Magazine.

The cover is fair use, and People Magazine was rightly credited. But what is confounding is that the SAME COVER is currently on just about EVERY MAJOR NEWS SITE on the planet (the screenshot is taken from my local paper The Age.) Indeed, People Magazine has in the past offered covers to news sites as part of their promotional efforts.

I’ve taken the picture down, and instead embedded video of a local news report from NBC Austin that shows THE EXACT SAME COVER.

Our delightful new host Rackspace has also threatened to suspend our account over the original image, despite the very clear fact that it was NEVER hosted on their servers: all images being uploaded to this site are hosted on Amazon S3/ Cloudfront.

Here’s the DMCA request and licensing demand in full. I won’t be paying the $1500: this is an abuse of the DMCA and clearly constitutes fair use.

The Inquisitr
PO Box 8164
Camberwell North VIC 3124 Australian

Re: Copyright Infringement – DMCA Takedown Notice

Dear Sir or Madam:

We have been instructed by the Law Department of Time Inc., the corporate publisher of People Magazine and People.com to put you on notice of a copyright infringement. It has come to our attention that you have posted without permission or compensation, People Magazine’s October 26, 2009 cover of Jaycee Dugard from People.com, (the “Unauthorized Work”) on your website, “www.inquisitr.com” at http://www.inquisitr.com/42524/pics-jaycee-dugard-does-first-interview-with-people-mag/ (the “Website”).

Your publication of the Unauthorized Work is an infringement of the copyright of Time Inc. Attached with this letter is a copy of the Time Inc. Work.

This letter is an official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We hereby demand that “www.inquisitr.com” immediately cease and desist from infringing the copyrighted material of Time Inc. and confirm in writhing that it will do so and that it will not republish the Unauthorized Work.

In addition, we hereby demand that “www.inquisitr.com” reimburse Time Inc. in the amount of U.S. $1,500 (U.S. $1,500.00 per image) for its unlawful act. We reserve all rights to take legal action.

I have a good faith belief that use of such copyrighted material would not be authorized by of Time Inc., its licensing representatives, or the law. The information provided herein is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I hereby swear under penalty of perjury that I am authorized to act on behalf of Time Inc. for matters pertaining to notification of infringement of its exclusive rights in its copyrighted material.


Dhiraj Merchant
Mindcrest Inc.
One East Wacker Drive, Ste. 2900
Chicago, IL 60601