Linkedin’s broken Copyright Infringement Process, Treating its Customers Like Criminals

Linkedin

Example screen shot of blocked content (its my opening address from TADSummit)

UPDATE: As of today (7th February) the Claim of Copyright Infringement has been revoked. My Slideshare account is reinstated. No apology, no explanation on how this came to pass, nor consideration of how this could be avoided in the future. As a paying Linkedin customer its an extremely poor experience.

This weblog spans both personal interest (the hassle Linkedin/Slideshare has caused to me) and telecoms technology (hundreds of some of the best thought leadership in programmable telecoms are being held ransom). I’ve been using Slideshare for over a decade, its been a great service, until this week. Over the weekend I received 3 Copyright Infringement emails from Linkedin / Slideshare. An example is shown below.

Then on Monday I had one of my customers asking how to download some of the content presented at TADSummit 2017. It was easy, all they need do is go to the TADSummit weblog, all the presentations are reviewed and they can download the material that was presented at a public event, publicly broadcast, and recorded for later public off-line viewing. We’ve done this for years. I go to the weblog to get the URL for the sessions they asked about, and all the SlideShare material has been removed, see example screenshot above.

The statement in that image, “This presentation has been removed as it was reported as violating SlideShare Terms of Service. It is no longer available.” is incorrect. Only 3 Ericsson presentations from 2014 and 2015 were reported. The hundreds of other presentations were not. And critically I have permission to publish those 3 presentations by the Ericsson presenters. I then went to my Slideshare account to work out what is going on and found its no longer available. I’d not receive any notification about that, thanks Linkedin great customer service! You do realize I’m a paying customer?

Example Copyright Infringement email from Linkedin:

“Dear jaquayle,

LinkedIn has received a Notice of Copyright Infringement submitted to us pursuant to our Copyright Policy (https://www.linkedin.com/legal/copyright-policy).

We have removed or disabled access to the allegedly infringing content identified in the Notice as Guidelines for using Ericsson’s exposed charging APIs.

Should you feel the Notice was submitted in error, or if you contest the removal of the allegedly infringing content, you may submit a Counter-Notice here https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/ask/TS-CNRCCI, upon which we may repost or allow you to repost this content, pending the filing of a lawsuit by the Notice claimant. Any assertions made by you in submitting a Counter-Notice are under penalty of perjury.

Regards,

LinkedIn Trust & Safety”

I immediately complained to Linkedin and made my contacts in Ericsson aware of the situation as they had approved the publishing of their presentations, like every other presenter at TADSummit and TADHack over the years. My Ericsson contact immediately got in touch with Ericsson legal HQ to find out what is going on. Now Ericsson is a large company, so legal at HQ can not confirm there is no Ericsson action as they can not speak for regional offices, but HQ wasn’t aware of anything.  They needed to know who was making the complaint, so they could see if they can solve the problem. I asked Linkedin for the complainant’s details so Ericsson could track down what is going on. As far as they are concerned I had permission. Linkedin’s response is shown below.

Response from Linkedin:

“Hi Alan,

 Thanks for your reply.
 
Your account was disabled due to multiple violations of LinkedIn’s User Agreement. As such, we have received your counter-notice and your account may be reinstated pending the outcome of the claim process. Please also know that due to LinkedIn’s Privacy Policy we are unable to provide the claimant’s information. LinkedIn will only provide such information pursuant to valid legal process enforceable in the United States. Legal process may be served on LinkedIn via fax (650-810-2897), in person, via certified mail or express courier at our corporate headquarters address below.
 
LinkedIn Corporation
ATTN: Legal Dept.
1000 West Maude Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
USA”

They assume I’m a criminal as Linkedin used the term “multiple violations of LinkedIn’s User Agreement” and the only violations I have received are 3 incorrect “Notice of Copyright Infringement” notices. Way to go in representing your paying customers. Guilty until proven innocent! Shame on you Linkedin / Slideshare, your Copyright Infringement Process is broken.

An anonymous complainant has now held ransom hundreds of presentations, some of best content in the industry on programmable telecoms that goes back over a decade. I have no idea if my account will ever be re-instated.

In discussions with a Copyright Lawyer reviewing the 3 presentations, the complaint likely came from Ericsson as it is the only brand / content common across the 3 presentations. The wrinkle is because anyone can mark content as inappropriate on Slideshare its possible someone with an Ericsson email address could raise a complaint, which could be enough for Linkedin to consider the complaint valid.

Here’s an example of a more humane approach LinkedIn could have adopted. Send an email to me on Sunday simply asking did Ericsson give you approval, as someone has raised a complaint and we’ve made that specific content unavailable until this is resolved. I would intro my contact in Ericsson who presented the material, and that would have been the end of the story.

Thanks for everyone’s support on Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ll keep you updated on this story. And please let me know which Slideshare alternative I should move to.

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