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Nielsen Sends Wikipedia DMCA Takedown For Station Descriptions

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the for-our-eyeballs-only dept.

Censorship 278

RockMFR writes "A DMCA takedown notice sent by Nielsen Media Research to the Wikimedia Foundation has resulted in the deletion of over 300 pages on the English Wikipedia. The pages were 'templates' and categories that listed television stations within various geographical markets in the United States. Discussion of the deletions has focused on whether this type of information can actually be copyrighted, though the content of the takedown notice have not been made public."

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Facts (5, Insightful)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 6 years ago | (#25088927)

are not copyrightable. There is no "question" here.

Re:Facts (-1, Redundant)

Mr_Congeniality (878687) | about 6 years ago | (#25088953)

I absolutely agree.

Re:Facts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089067)

Shut up, you sycophantic nigger. My cottons needs a-pickin'. Git back out to 'da fields o I git mah house nigga on yo ass.

Re:Facts (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089531)

Lets see how vocal you are after you've had your penis run through a cotton gin a few times, you piece of shit. Let's also see how much of a funny man you are when I get 20 angry black men together to find out how many large foreign objects they can shove in your asshole, you worthless excuse for a human being. Fucking Republican trolls like you are what's brought this country to financial ruin and the brink of civil war. Go back to your little fucking shack in the hills and STAY THERE -- after we've rounded up everyone in your worthless, inbred family and STERILIZED THEM and CUT OUT THEIR TONGUES. If I knew where you lived I'd cut your FUCKING head off and put it on a POLE outside my house as a WARNING against allowing 50-IQ ANIMALS to ever exist in the first place. Now go fuck your MOTHER or something and GET OFF THE INTERNET.

Re:Facts (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089705)

Hold on just one moment there, my probably african-american friend. Abe lincoln was from the GOP, and he was the one who freed slaves in states that had succeeded from the union. The democratic party, on the other hand, DID bring the country to civil war, DID ruin the economy, DID inbreed, DID live in the hills, etc... at least up until the south became republican as party values shifted.

i should probably be making a comment on the irony of using AC to yell at AC to get off the internet in a "your rights online" thread.... but then i would deserve a lecture on using AC to chastise AC for yelling at AC!

Re:Facts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089775)

Oh comon, look at Bush's recent 700 billion-dollar bailout... ... Neo-Con's are the new Democrats ... Libertarians are the new Republicans

Re:Facts (0, Offtopic)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | about 6 years ago | (#25089711)

Wow! I heard his mind snap all the way here in Canada.

Re:Facts (-1, Flamebait)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 6 years ago | (#25088971)

That's why it was a DMCA notice and not an actual legal threat. Are we clear on the difference?

Re:Facts (4, Insightful)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 6 years ago | (#25088993)

You have to own a copyright for it to be a valid DMCA takedown notice. So no, we are not clear.

Re:Facts (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 6 years ago | (#25089087)

Well, see, DMCA notices tend to fall into one of a few categories:

- Unnecessary (attacking non-threats)
- Invalid (as per your statement)
- Bullying (of organisations that couldn't afford to pay a lawyer to have the (generally absurd) accusations overturned)

There's a few instances where their use actually resembles something legitimate, but most of the time they appear in the hands of large companies when the cause is unjust, absurd, etc. I would therefore posit a connection between DMCA usage and illegitimacy and/or stupidity of a complaint.

Re:Facts (4, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | about 6 years ago | (#25089547)

It's probably because they basically give out a power of injunction to a copyright owner, over a third party(an isp is a common receiver), without any kind of judicial review.

The fact that they aren't systematically contested in court cannot help, but on the other hand, that might be a design goal...

Failure to differentiate patents from copywrite (1)

wisty (1335733) | about 6 years ago | (#25089777)

Let's add a fourth category to Unnecessary, Invalid, and Bullying. Failure to differentiate patents from copywrite. A template or classification system is essentially a "system and method", so it really falls under patents, not copywrite (protection of creative works). Unlike literature or software, a classification system is not a work of art. So why not sue using the patent (if they wanted one)? OK, I'm not a lawyer, and they may have a case. I'm still pissed off at the concept.

Re:Facts (4, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | about 6 years ago | (#25089215)

You are both right... but DustyShadow, you forget... you do not have to own a copyright in order to issue a DMCA takedown notice (you only need to own a copyright for it to be a valid DMCA takedown notice).

Yeah, you are supposed to own the copyright (or legally represent the owners for such matters, etc)... but big companies play this game quite often - and if fought, turn around with a "we're sorry" and never get penalized.

Re:Facts (5, Interesting)

omeomi (675045) | about 6 years ago | (#25089617)

You are both right... but DustyShadow, you forget... you do not have to own a copyright in order to issue a DMCA takedown notice (you only need to own a copyright for it to be a valid DMCA takedown notice).

Isn't there some potential penalty for issuing invalid DMCA takedown notices (even if it's never enforced)? I could swear there was some talk of legal action against the recent Scientology Youtube DMCA notices...

Re:Facts (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | about 6 years ago | (#25089657)

Yes, there is... dunno where my long-buried copy of the DMCA is though.

IF I remember correctly, the problem is proving that the person/entity who issued the takedown notice did so for some criminal or monetary gain, not knowing that their usage was incorrect. Tough to prove, as, IIRC, others have found out who have tried to fight them - and it requires the entity who put up the takedown notice to file suit, followed by finding their claim unjustifiable, followed by a countersuit or some such.

This is from a 5 year old memory of having read that section (and me being too lazy to Google it again)... so anyone, please feel to correct me or expand on this.

Re:Facts (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | about 6 years ago | (#25089665)

so for some criminal or monetary gain, not knowing that their usage was incorrect.

Should have read:

so for some criminal or monetary gain, knowing that their usage was incorrect.

(remove "not")


Re:Facts (5, Funny)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 6 years ago | (#25089505)

Valid? DMCA notice?!?!?

I'd like to see that!

Re:Facts (4, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | about 6 years ago | (#25089089)

Actually a DMCA notice IS a legal threat and holds a lot of weight both ways. It can both be used as evidence that an attempt was made to contact the rights abuser that was ignored, as well as if the DMCA notice was in fact invalid and the "rights holder" did not in fact hold the claimed items, it is evidence for fines to be placed on the "rights holder" for illegally claimed ownership.

Unfortunately the second part is rarely if ever applied which is why we have the situations we do now. If even one major organization was forced to play the massive fines they are supposed to, it would be the end of frequent applications.

Formation of facts? (5, Informative)

phorm (591458) | about 6 years ago | (#25089063)

I believe that in some cases, however, compilations can. In that case - though I could be wrong - specific arrangement of facts could be considered copyrighted if it were copied verbatim, like OCR'ing a phonebook or something of the sort.

If memory serves cases have gone for and against this though, so it's not that clear-cut.

As noted on the admin page, "The entire categorization schema that was in place was copyrighted by Nielsen and could not be used under our GFDL license," so it wasn't just that the information was used, but that it was copied pretty much directly.

Re:Formation of facts? (4, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 6 years ago | (#25089111)

You are correct in that some compilations of facts are copyrightable as compilations, though that copyright does not extend to the facts within. However, like all copyrightable works, in order for a compilation to be copyrightable, it must be creative. In this case, the selection and arrangement of facts must be creative. Selecting all the facts, and arranging them in a pedestrian fashion would not qualify. This is why, for example, the white pages in phone books are not copyrightable: the selection is everyone with a listed number in the area covered, their names, their numbers, and their addresses, and the arrangement is alphabetical, by last name. It is the acme of an uncreative work. This is all discussed at length in the famous Feist decision by the Supreme Court; I'd suggest reading it. If it's uncopyrightable, verbatim copying is A-OK. There is absolutely no 'sweat of the brow' doctrine in the US.

A creative phone book would be one that didn't list everyone, and perhaps arranged them in some creative fashion. A listing of your favorite places to go, arranged by how much you like them, would probably qualify.

Whether the material at issue here is copyrightable or not, I couldn't venture an opinion, not having seen it.

Re:Formation of facts? (4, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | about 6 years ago | (#25089583)

They should also send a take down notice to another illicit site as well then.

I for one welcome any DCMA notices and other infringement notices be sent immediately to a near damn mirror.

It's practically un-american that anyone can access those same details via Those weezles have been indexing this exact same information for ages under the pretense of "licensing."

In fact, I thought the details were rather verbatim so these two problem children probably get the warez from the same place.

Re:Formation of facts? (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about 6 years ago | (#25089129)

You might be thinking about the situation in Europe, where database compilations are copyrightable; but this doesn't apply in the US.

This proves (0)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#25089075)

...that TV stations don't exist, they're a Hollywood movie script. They must be, if the station itself is subject to the DMCA.

Re:Facts (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | about 6 years ago | (#25089341)

Facts are not copyrightable. There is no "question" here.

But how Nielsen organizes and interprets those facts may be. How it defines a broadcast market. How it defines a station's target audience.

The advertiser wants to know which FM stations own the drive time market in Miami. He doesn't give a damn if they have an out-of-town zip code.

Re:Facts (4, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 6 years ago | (#25089683)

But how Nielsen organizes and interprets those facts may be. How it defines a broadcast market. How it defines a station's target audience.

The only thing that Nielsen "defines" in this case is their own name for the DMA. The FCC defines the DMAs.

Nielsen does have extra groupings and organizations of stations that cross DMAs, but AFAIK, those weren't part of Wikipedia.

Re:Facts (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#25089429)


Re:Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089471)

are not copyrightable. There is no "question" here.

... as the phone company found out many years back. When someone published their own version, it was found that the names, addresses and numbers were facts. It was only the particular presentation (format?) that the phone company could copyright.

Not sure what happened a couple of years back when major retailers bitched at websites which pre-published their Black Friday(?) sale prices.

captcha: abused

Spineless? (3, Insightful)

eggman9713 (714915) | about 6 years ago | (#25088965)

Mod me flamebait if you want, but I thought Wikipedia was all about information being free. For having the tendency to cave so easily, makes me wonder what kind of people are really running the place.

Re:Spineless? (2, Informative)

NiceGeek (126629) | about 6 years ago | (#25088985)

It's called the law. If you get a takedown notice you HAVE to comply. If someone files a counterclaim the information can be put back up.

Re:Spineless? (4, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | about 6 years ago | (#25089041)

Actually you don't have to take it down but you risk being sued as a result. So the above poster who said there is a difference between a takedown notice and a legal threat really doesn't know what she is talking about.

Re:Spineless? (3, Interesting)

eggman9713 (714915) | about 6 years ago | (#25089079)

Wasn't there some sort of ruling that parties who DMCA notices are required to do research as to if they really have merit?

Re:Spineless? (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#25089297)

Yes, that was in Lenz v. Universal [] .

Re:Spineless? (3, Interesting)

archkittens (1272770) | about 6 years ago | (#25089789)

if you want safe-harbor, and wikipedia does, then you comply. if wikipedia doesnt comply, it loses safe-harbor for a lot more than a claim from a statistics company. DMCA takedown notices being used more often than cease and desist letters (nearly functional equivalents), is in my opinion, better. a cease and desist letter doesnt grant amnesty to wikipedia or youtube or whomever for having the content as long as they comply. i would say DMCA takedown notices are more of a legal compromise tactic than a threat. whether the notice has the right to make that compromise or not doesnt matter much, wikipedia has an unbreakable shield as long as they comply.

notice that wikipedia itself does not consider the DMCA takedown notice to be a legal threat: [] , though that might be an oversight

Re:Spineless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089195)

It's called the law. If you get a takedown notice you HAVE to comply. If someone files a counterclaim the information can be put back up.

No you don't you can file a COUNTER NOTICE to tell the people serving you with a DMCA why they are full of shit, and then not have to take it down.

Then they have to decide to actually try and sue you in front of a judge for copyright infringement.

Since a list of facts (Geographic regions and TV stations) Is not copyrightable, absolutely no creative aspect what so ever having been included in it. This would die fairly quickly.

Neilsen's claim is based on HOW the list is organized, however thats pretty shaky legal ground since again while upon creation there may have been some creativity in assigning different broadcast zones, there is not now. Because of Neilsen's prominent position in their market even new stations are set up to conform to the existing organizational structure. It has become generic.

While it may be Neilson's list, it also does happen to be the facts now. This broadcast area is served by this station. Its a bare fact. And something as basic as an alphabetical sorting is pretty much the definition of obvious.

Re:Spineless? (4, Interesting)

sukotto (122876) | about 6 years ago | (#25089821)

I suspect you're trolling but I'll bite. There's nothing stopping wikipedia from trying to verify that the takedown notice is legit *before* removing the info.

"We received your request to takedown [list of pages] that you allege fall under your copyright.

We comply with all valid DMCA notices. Before we comply, you must provide proof, in writing, that demonstrates both
A) That this material is copyrighted
B) That you are the copyright holder.

We need that information to combat frivolous and questionable takedown notices. Please provide the above information by [date 30 days in the future] to avoid the legal action we take against persons who send us baseless threats

Thank you very much

[Name here]"

Re:Spineless? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 6 years ago | (#25089519)

I have to agree, It's pretty pathetic to just give in when someone lodges a complaint what happened to the good old response emails telling the cry babies where to cram it?

content of the notice? (1)

musiholic (94408) | about 6 years ago | (#25088983)

I'd really be curious to see exactly when was stated in the notice to make them take the info down. Has there been any talk of it being made public?

Re:content of the notice? (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 years ago | (#25089435)

It was s atandard DMCA notice.
Wikipedia is run by scrawny little neo-hippies.

They are idiots, cowards, and liars.

More and more I don't watch TV... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25088987)

Television has become more annoying lately anyway...

False or fraudulent takedown notices (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#25089007)

... should be a criminal offense. And a serious one, too.

Actually, the ability to force someone to cease speech on simple "say-so", without ever having visited court first, should never have become law in the first place. I believe DMCA takedown notices will eventually be determined to be a classic case of unbridled "prior restraint".

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (5, Informative)

void* (20133) | about 6 years ago | (#25089091)

I believe DMCA takedown notices will eventually be determined to be a classic case of unbridled "prior restraint"

Of course, I think they should be done away with, because they are far too easily abusable - but I don't think the courts will ever consider them as "prior restraint" - because the content has to already be somewhere for a DMCA notice to be issued.

Say, hypothetically, that I took a paper you wrote and posted it on my blog. You issue a DMCA takedown notice - but I've already posted it, otherwise you wouldn't have even known I had it.

If you could send me a DMCA to prevent me from putting anything up in the first place, that would be prior restraint. As I understand it, though, that's not how they work.

Good point (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#25089175)

So... not prior restraint. But it certainly IS restraint of speech, without due process.

Re:Good point (1, Informative)

conlaw (983784) | about 6 years ago | (#25089419)

Yes, Jane, it is a restraint on speech; however, I don't believe that Nielsen is a governmental entity. The free speech provision of the Bill of Rights only forbids governmental actions. In fact, the Bill of Rights originally applied only to the federal government; various Supreme Court cases have held that the Fourteenth Amendments makes these provisions applicable to states, municipalities, and other "governmental entities."

The only free speech rules that would apply in this case are any applicable state laws on the subject.

Re:Good point (4, Insightful)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | about 6 years ago | (#25089647)

Whether Nielsen is a governmental entity or not is quite irrelevant here. The DMCA notice being used to restrain free speech takes its power from the threat of legal penalty which would be inflicted by the government.

Now it may be true that this notice isn't valid, and therefore doesn't have the actual force of the government behind it (the article is sort of short on details there so I don't know), but the fact that the DMCA is constructed such that companies have every incentive to obey take down notices whether valid or not means that the law, and hence the government is responsible for the restraint of free speech, at least indirectly.

Re:Good point (1)

dachshund (300733) | about 6 years ago | (#25089769)

Technically, it's not Nielsen that's restraining speech. The Federal Government passed this law and it (and the state courts) are generally responsible for enforcing it. Thus if the law results in restraints on speech, the government can be held accountable. (Theoretically, of course.)

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1)

sohp (22984) | about 6 years ago | (#25089101)

From Wikipedia: "anyone who makes a false claim of infringement ... is liable for the damages suffered by the other parties, including legal fees."

The law is very one-sided about it though, and recovering damages is prohibitively expensive. Oh yeah, there's also the fact that the law states that a counter-notification to restore the material must be sworn under penalty of perjury, unlike the original takedown notice, which just needs to be a good-faith attempt, with no criminal penalty for falsehood.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 years ago | (#25089169)

Being liable for damages is not the same thing as a criminal offense.

$346,217.12 damages (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089181)

I was looking for TV station information, by geographic location, and I went to check good-old Wikipedia.

I made a promise to myself that if I found the information there, I was going to hit the donate button and send $346,217.12.

Alas, I didn't find the information.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089307)

"Oh yeah, there's also the fact that the law states that a counter-notification to restore the material must be sworn under penalty of perjury, unlike the original takedown notice, which just needs to be a good-faith attempt, with no criminal penalty for falsehood."

This do you say?...not true. Both the takedown notice AND the counter-notice need to be sworn to.

From the US Code, Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 512, Paragraph (c) Subsection (3) "Elements of notification":

(A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:
Snipping sub-sub paragraphs i-v, which aren't relevant to this conversation
(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Read it for yourself if you like.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089709)

The original notice merely needs to state, under penalty of perjury, that the issuer is an authorized agent of the rightsholder -- not that the info is accurate. Note the placement of the perjury clause. The counter-notice has a slightly different requirement (again, note the specific placement of the clause). I don't know if there are any court opinions that address the matter, but the wording of the law about the two notices *is* different.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089119)

False or fraudulent notices ARE a criminal offense. The question is what constitutes "false or fraudulent"

It is a requirement for the filer of a DCMA takedown notice to certify, under penalty of perjury, that:
* The own or represent the owner of copyrighted material
* Identification of the specific work being infringed.
* Identification of the specific work which infringes the copyright
* A "good faith" notice that the alleged infringer is not licensed or permitted by law to infringe the work.

Because of the perjury clause, it is in fact illegal to file a DCMA notice for a work you don't own, or on an work that doesn't infringe something you own.

The trick is, while outright fraudulent notices are illegal, weak ones are not. The problem is in the "good faith" clause for whether there's a license and/or the work is used in accordance with the law.

"Fair use" arguments fall under question of whether your right to use a work is permitted under the law. Unfortunately, all the copyright owner has to swear to is "I don't think that your usage falls under fair use." How flimsy that belief is allowed to be is debatable.

What I think we need here is a solid legal precedent for what constitutes "reasonableness" for the good faith clause.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about 6 years ago | (#25089147)

It is a criminal offence.

The notice contains the following statement:

"I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that the information in this notice is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of $copyrightholder, the copyright owner of the intellectual property rights. I have a good faith belief that none of the materials or activities listed above have been authorized by $copyrightholder, its agents, or the law."

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089747)

The loophole is actually embedded in that statement. What is certified under penalty of perjury is that the information in the notice is accurate and that you are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder, NOT your good faith belief. So the notices are usually worded in such a manner as to be accurate, even in the case that they don't actually don't own the copyright. That just makes their good faith belief mistaken.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1)

me at werk (836328) | about 6 years ago | (#25089223)

I'll let Scientology know [] !

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 6 years ago | (#25089465)

Perjury is a criminal offense, and it is serious.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1)

RicoX9 (558353) | about 6 years ago | (#25089757)

Perjury is a criminal offense, and it is serious.

Tell that to my ex-wife, who perjured herself many times over in our divorce trial. The judge could have cared less.

You really have to piss a judge off for them to take perjury seriously. It's one of those things that they have the discretion to ignore, apparently.

Re:False or fraudulent takedown notices (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about 6 years ago | (#25089763)

Well, naturally. A lot like barratry charges; both could fix a lot of BS we see if any judges cared.

You insensitive cl0da! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089023)

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Purge the cache, check the archives (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25089057)

the same URL with &action=purge [] followed by scrolling down to "Nielson DMCA Takedown" may be needed to see the discussion.

Also, when this rolls into the archives, one of these two links should have it: Archive 169 [] , Archive 170 [] .

From TFA (4, Informative)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | about 6 years ago | (#25089069)

The entire categorization schema that was in place was copyrighted by Nielsen and could not be used under our GFDL license.

the DMCA notice included at least the use of Nielsen's 'Designated Market Area' (DMA) classification system. As our Media market article says, Nielsen coined the term and holds a trademark on it. The takedown notice may have included more, but I think it is fairly clear that much at least was an issue. Hence

It looks like they used a categorizing scheme originally produced and copyrighted by Nielsen, which could warrant a legit takedown request - the complete takedown of the pages (especially such a large number of them), however, seems to be overkill.

That you can get a copyright on something like that, to me, seems ridiculous, but then again, I don't make money by selling people their own production numbers back to them.

that seems to be the problem, yeah (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 years ago | (#25089125)

Nielsen obviously can't prevent Wikipedia from having templates listing, say, television stations in the New York City area, even if it happens to be the same ones Nielsen lists. They at least have a borderline claim on using the specific names and numbers from their Designated Market Area system, though.

Well, there's yer problem (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 6 years ago | (#25089377)

Nielsen coined the term and holds a trademark on it.

DMCA takedown requests are meant to be used in cases of alleged copyright violations. Trademarks and copyrights are two different things, so Nielsen's recourse in this instance does not include filing a DMCA takedown request.

If trademark protection is the only thing at stake here, the original editor could easily file an un-takedown request and tempt the fates as to whether Nielsen files a lawsuit against them or Wikimedia Foundation for improper use of trademarks (a suit they would likely lose, since it would be difficult to prove that their trademark was actually misappropriated).

One has been undeleted (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25089073)

Apparently Toledo TV [] has been undeleted. (Mirror [] in case it goes again.)

How in God's name is an association of TV station titles to markets in which they can be received copyrightable?

It's a clean remake (5, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25089153)

The Google Cache [] is different, at least for now. The key difference: The words "Nielson DMA#."

The Internet Archive also has older versions [] .

Re:It's a clean remake (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25089171)

Yeah, I just noticed that looking at the talk page. So wait, are Nielson claiming copyright over a number? A number clearly publicly available since Wikipedia can link to their results?

it's more than that (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25089261)

We don't know the whole story but this much is being guessed about:

Nielson divides the country into "Market areas" some of which are stand-alone metro areas and some of which are combinations of cities which may contain "creative content." For example, if the metro areas A, B, C, and D are in close proximity, you can combine them in dozens of ways, ranging from lumping them all together into 1 market area, having 4 separate market areas, or one of several combinations of 2 or 3 market areas. Doing this across the country creates a list which is potentially copyrightable because it contains the creative thought that went into deciding just where to combine the metro areas into the market areas.

Re:it's more than that (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25089649)

Huh. So were the articles / categories in question copying information by using the same market areas? And if so, how can they claim copyright over "the area of Toledo"?

I realize this is more complicated than it seems at first glance, but it still seems frivolous on Nielson's part. It's a shame that the DMCA requires such quick action on Wikipedia's part (i.e. deleting the articles in question rather than updating them to remove the "copyrighted" information).

I can't speak for Toledo (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#25089733)

The DMCA announcement probably took a shotgun approach and all templates which used the trademarked terms probably got the "zap first ask questions later" routine.

Suppose there was a TV station halfway between Toledo and Detroit. Which market area is it in? It's in whatever market area Nielson puts it in. That's enough to establish a plausible claim to copyright. Plausible meaning you won't get laughed out of court, not that you will win.

Everyone should be outraged! (0, Troll)

Improv (2467) | about 6 years ago | (#25089077)

Because if there's one thing an encyclopedia must have, it's a list of all the television stations in the United States.. and every single episode of every single show, all with original reseach about each.. and show schedules... :)

Two can play at this game (5, Interesting)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 6 years ago | (#25089081)

I get marketing research phone calls from Neilsen subsidiaries doing surveys. If I have time, I do them. Now I'll tell them *NO*. You can't have it both ways, Nielsen. I suggest other readers do the same.

They also mailed me a survey when I bought a new car. My prize was 'a chance' to win some petrol. An hour of my time for 'a chance'. They seem to have an inflated view of their own self-worth.

In this episode: A marketing research company learns about public relations.

Re:Two can play at this game (4, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 6 years ago | (#25089165)

I get marketing research phone calls from Neilsen subsidiaries doing surveys. If I have time, I do them. Now I'll tell them *NO*. You can't have it both ways, Nielsen. I suggest other readers do the same.

You'll just get Firefly canceled.

Re:Two can play at this game (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 6 years ago | (#25089425)

I'm skeptical of that. It's Nielsen's extensive use of extremely questionable surveying methods that causes Firefly's viewers to be undercounted in the first place. Few people in the Firefly demographic actually respond to Nielsen's phone surveys, and those who do are *not* representative of that demographic.

The sooner they abandon such junk statistics, the better. Why not have the cable companies just pass on their aggregate statistics, and satellite TV, the info on the descrambler?

Did not RTFA... are they sending a DCMA to the FCC (3, Interesting)

thesandbender (911391) | about 6 years ago | (#25089131)

Not sure what information the pages had on them, but you can get a lot of technical information on stations from the FCC. Including the the exact lat/long of their antenna, it's height above sea level, output in watts, etc. [] You can also easily get programming information at I'm not sure what Neilsen is trying to "protect" here.

Re:Did not RTFA... are they sending a DCMA to the (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 6 years ago | (#25089523)

Nielsen produces marketing data, like viewership numbers and which station belongs to which market, etc. The technical data from the FCC is publicly available.

The problem is that any listing of TV station relies on those Nielsen numbers because every station crafts their programming and coverage based on those numbers. Further, the FCC uses them in some of their rules! There's one rule that says a station is allowed to exceed the FCC power limit to "match the coverage of the largest station in the market." Well, if you can't get a list of stations in your market, how are you supposed to know which station is the largest?

whos next? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#25089137)

are they going to sue the FCC for their database of commercial television and radio stations?

this is just too crazy and frivolous?

In protest we must (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | about 6 years ago | (#25089173)

stop watching television!

That'll show them.

Also our IQs will go up several points.

Re:In protest we must (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 6 years ago | (#25089209)

I don't own a TV. Nor do I pay for TV licensing.

What's taken so long... (0, Troll)

owlnation (858981) | about 6 years ago | (#25089233)

While I don't agree with the DCMA, nor most copyright laws in most countries, I do wonder why this hasn't happened before, and indeed is not a regular occurrence. Wikipedia is absolutely full of plagiarized material. Almost every single movie page is more or less ripped verbatim from imdb, just as one small example.

I would have thought that wikipedia was a lawyer's wet dream come true. I mean sure, they don't have a great deal of money (especially since Jimbo keeps dipping his hand in the cash register), but there's still some money to be made there. I really can't understand why Wikipedia has had such a free ride so far.

Idiots. (4, Funny)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | about 6 years ago | (#25089277)

I have one thing to say to the dumbasses that filed this DMCA notice:

09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

Information of public record (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089345)

I took a look at the Toledo page.

If all the pages fit that template I honestly can't see anything in there that would not be part of the public record easily obtainable by other means.

Thus collating the information in a single repository would only serve as a public service.

It strikes me to think that the information provided here is of the same as recording all the weather information for every city in the US for the Date January 1st 2000. The information is just simply factual in nature.

Yet another example of how the US legal system needs a complete and total over hall. The Patent / Copyright systems are now completely governed by corp greed and legal muscle.

When this sort of public information can be censored at will you are now looking at a system that fundamentally has steered away from it's democratic roots.

I'm feel ashamed for you, the people of the United States. I hope you can dig your self out of this mess.

DMCAs should be made public... (1)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | about 6 years ago | (#25089363)

Because whoever submitted the DMCA notices should have read the wikipedia submitting policy. We should be busy edit warring those things.

but ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089387)

If you look at the Google Cache for one of the pages, you can see that there was actual Nielson-owned data shown and available for download - which does violate their copyright.

Now I'm Worried (5, Interesting)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 6 years ago | (#25089405)

This DMCA notice now makes me worry about my own site. It uses the same list, which is in fact the same list the FCC uses in its own rules and regulations. I've started investigating alternative listing methods, but none of them make sense because they all organize their "target city" by DMA! Listing by state is stupid because a station in New Jersey always targets New York or Philadelphia. Without being able to use the Nielsen DMA, the whole system of listing stations goes to hell.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the FCC making rules that cannot be read because some company has a copyright on it. Examples:

When digital TV stations were signing on, the FCC said commercial stations in the top 100 markets have to be on the air by 05/01/2002. If you don't have permission to look at Nielsen's "copyrighted" list, then how would a station be able to know what market they're in? Not every station is subscribed to Nielsen's data.

In 47CFR73.622(f)(5), the FCC lists an exception that allows stations to expand coverage to match "the largest station in the market." How do you know which stations are in your market if you're not allowed to look at Nielsen's market boundaries?

This whole thing rubs me the wrong way, and makes me nervous.

I wish they'd fight the DMCA notices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089701)

I know why people don't fight the DMCA notices with counter-notices: it's too expensive and could lead to litigation.

But I really wish they would in cases like this :( Maybe the EFF will step in if whoever was hit by the notice asks them to?

This is bovine Feces (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25089421)

The problem with this, you can go to [] to get pretty much ANY information that they publish.

Also, the WRTV (World Radio and Television Handbook) has been in existence for literally decades. This lists EVERY known station in the WORLD, their location, power output, frequencies of operation, sometimes antenna structures, etc., etc., etc... WAY more than Neilsen ever produced.

NOW, if the information was gleaned directly from Neilsen, then yes, it's copyrightable. BUT, if they only used, or ANY of the radio afficianado sites on the internet (and I know of literally a hundred plus) to look up information, then it's complete bullshit.

HOWEVER, as someone else had said, it is wrong for them to take the pages down, just on a DMCA. WRONG. The DMCA was enacted to protect things. The DMCA should be followed, but a standard should be set that after the DMCA has been followed, the offending pages removed, their should be some type of review to see if the pages where, in fact, in violation.

Anywho, it's funny. Nielsen is trying to copyright information available on the internet from nearly every government spectrum management association.


Re:This is bovine Feces (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 6 years ago | (#25089485)

You misunderstand. This is not technical data, this is marketing data. Which viewers watch which stations, when you buy satellite which local stations you are allowed to see, which markets are larger and smaller than each other, this is the data that Nielsen produces. The technical data is publicly available.

DMCA is getting out of hand (1)

Maestro485 (1166937) | about 6 years ago | (#25089449)

DMCA notices are the PATRIOT act subpoenas of the digital world. Nobody really knows what they can or can't say about what they've received, and no one really knows what their rights are if they contest it.

If I contest a DMCA notice, I have to potentially represent myself against an army of really expensive lawyers. If I contest a PATRIOT act subpoena, I'll probably be tossed into prison for trying, and then I'll have to go up against an army of lawyers.

Strange how the difference isn't all that different.

Re:DMCA is getting out of hand (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 6 years ago | (#25089545)

America has always been like that.

If you do anything someone doesn't like your screwed. You don't even have to do anything at all, if someone wants money they can sue you for damages and if you can't afford to go to court your screwed.

The American Senate is completely bought! (3, Interesting)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | about 6 years ago | (#25089457)

This only demonstrates to me that laws such as the DMCA (given their extremely wide scope and the relative inability of any USian citizen to challenge a (good or bad) takedown notice without spending a fortune on lawyers and court fees) could only have been passed by a body that only has the interests of commercial corporations at heart.

Surely information such as the reception range of various television stations quite rightly is public information.

DMCA notices shouldn't have been needed for this. Simply going in and making the requisite modifications, or asserting that certain information is copyrighted, and then citing proof of copyright should have been all that is required.

And besides that, isn't the Neilson corporation about producing viewer statistics not about regulating the reception areas of the transmitters for various television stations?

safe harbors action (1)

drDugan (219551) | about 6 years ago | (#25089517)

as I understand it, in order to stay within the 'safe harbors' provision, the website operator has to take down content basically immediately and then review, and give the chance for the poster/publisher to respond.

I'm curious - on Wikipedia, is a DMCA takedown he same technically as a community-driven "delete"?

Does the community do the copyright review or are there staff at wikipedia that make the call?

Wikipedia - Edit this page? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089551)

Why didn't they just edit Wikipedia? Seriously, why go to the trouble of a DMCA take down notice?

Organizing facts can add value (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 6 years ago | (#25089595)

Consider the value Mendeleev added to the names of the elements when, instead of listing them in alphabetical order, he organized them into the Periodic Table.

Consider the value Tom Lehrer added to them when he arranged them to make a funny song out of them.

WWWLD? (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | about 6 years ago | (#25089621)

What would Wikileaks do?

This is why companies want to move to other countries, or in some cases the ocean. []

Confused. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about 6 years ago | (#25089637)

Listing TV stations that are sorted in geographical order is a copyright infringement?

How can that be? makes no sense to me.

Beside, how can Nielsen Media Research own this type of listing in the first place? Aren't these stations already OWNED as is? How can Neilsen Media Research even think that they are the only entity allowed to own such a list and I assume dictate who else can either display it or use it? Anyone can browse the various websites these TV networks have, and come up with a list of their own.

Websites like for example, list TV shows, are they going to get sued for being able to list the stations based on geography?

See listings [] as an example.

I think the Neilsen Media Research is overreaching themselves and certainly, when push comes to shove, if this ever went to court, they would lose. After all, they do NOT own any of these stations to begin with. Anyone can come up with this type of list. These TV stations are are businesses, I've never heard of anyone not being able to list a bunch of businesses by geographical order yet.

What Nielsen appears to be saying. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089659)

OK, having actually READ TFA and some other postings about this topic, here's what this appears to be about.

Wikipedia wanted to list all the TV stations for each major television market.

But how do you define what stations are in a given "market"? For example, does the "New York City" market area include Newark, NJ? What about Trenton, NJ? Does it extend into Connecticut? If so, how far?

Ultimately, the way you group a set of locations into regions is somewhat arbitrary, and there are a lot of ways to do it. For example, the US Census Bureau has one set of metropolitan areas they use to report major statistics. Nielsen has their own grouping of cities (and therefore stations located in those cities) into markets.

Nielsen's grouping is not identical to other public groupings like the US Census bureau's. It's what they feel are the appropriate groupings for television advertising marketing, since that's who their customers are. And they put work into developing and refining their classification scheme.

What appears to have happened is that Wikipedia wanted to list television station, and wanted to organize that list of stations by Nielsen market area. Heck, take a look at the delete log in the original post--they were even calling their organization "Nielsen markets."

Nielsen's position, as I understand it, is that Nielsen's mapping of cities (and therefore stations) into markets is their own unique work, which is not public domain, and it's not OK for Wikipedia to use Nielsen's mappings without their permission. If Wikipedia had used a different organizational scheme for the same data (e.g. US Census metro areas), Nielsen likely wouldn't have had an issue with it.

Please note I'm not trying to play apologist for Nielsen or the DCMA here--I'm not a huge fan of the DCMA or US definitions on what's "copyrightable." However, I do prefer looking at a case on it's individual merits to knee jerk "anyone using the DCMA must be evil!" arguments.

Area Man (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 6 years ago | (#25089661)

Now, I'm just your average Area Man, but I think this would be a whole lot simpler if people didn't waste so much time watching TV.

- RG>

fr1s]t stop (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25089717)

and d1straction OpenBSD, as the tha7 the project
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