RestrainingOrderAbuse.com has been taken down by Wordpress (hopefully temporarily)

edited June 2016
I was informed by a couple of people that Todd Greene's website, RestrainingOrderAbuse.com, was offline. Wordpress states that it was taken down by Wordpress for alleged violations of their Terms of Service.

I have been in touch with Todd and know about some of the behind-the-scenes issues. It is my belief that Todd did not properly respond to multiple bogus copyright complaints initiated by his legal adversary, Jennifer Terpstra.

A number of us from the ELI Team (ExtortionLetterInfo.com) who are very familiar with battling and defending against bogus copyright accusations have tried to advise Todd and point him in the right direction. We have pointed him towards some standard DMCA counter-notification letters that I myself have written but he needs to draft it to Wordpress to combat illegitimate copyright accusations.

However, this is Todd's website and his fight. I can't write the letters for him and I can't defend him. He gets to choose whatever or however he wants to proceed. But I have no problems saying that it's my opinion he has not handled the matters properly and essentially compelled Wordpress to shut down his website. It is my belief that his account has been simply suspended and the content is not lost.

Todd is a well-intentioned individual and generally a nice guy. He has been wronged but he lacks the "street" knowledge, experience, insights, and general fight attitude that my team and I have to combat these things. It sounds like I am throwing him under the bus but it is quite self-evident by now that many of his readers know that ROA has been taken down without explanation.

ROA has been taken down because Todd has little experience, insight, and insufficient judgment and understanding to have nipped the multiple bogus copyright strikes on his account by Jen Terpstra. I want to make it clear that a few of us tried to assist him behind the scenes but he has been slow to respond and has made this issue more complicated than it has to be so this is the consequence.

For now, Todd can participate here and tell his stories as well as any of his readers if he chooses to speak out. This forum can never be a replacement for Todd's ROA website and his inimitable style. However, this forum can be a temporary outlet to discuss the matter. Todd never sought to be a website owner, blogger, or thought leader when he started ROA. I believe he started ROA to report on the injustices he has seen as well as tell his story. Obviously, ROA evolved over time but I think Todd has largely been pulled along by his circumstances vs. him truly embracing the important role ROA has for his readers as well his role as a website owner and publisher. He is a passive-aggressive and it has not served him well.

He is a victim of inexperience, lack of knowledge, and someone who is out of his element. I have always been a staunch defender of my reputation, my websites, my 1st Amendment rights, my right to publish, and my community. I have developed a team, attitude, skill sets, and unconventional resources to ensure I maintain it. He has not. He is still finding his legs in all of this. I am confident he will eventually gain his bearings and restore his content but for the moment ROA remains down.

To ROA readers, spread the word of this discussion thread. The takedown of ROA is a lesson all his readers will want to learn from.

Comments

  • A harsh lesson, but a lesson that should be learnt none the less.
    I also successfully defended against a bogus copyright claim and received a DMCA takedown notice from Christopher Boone, the individual that I am still involved in litigation.
    I responded swiftly and accurately to the claim, and my content was restored within a few days.

    I hope Todd gets it together quickly, as his website is a great source of publicity and information.
  • There are a few of us who are shaking our heads over what was a relatively easy fix to all this. Wordpress even provides a simple template to file DMCA counter-notification responses. To the best of my knowledge, he didn't do any timely DMCA counter-notification letters.

    Todd is unfortunately naive, a slow learner and has bad instincts when it comes to these types of matters.

    He doesn't comprehend that all web hosting services are obligated to follow the DMCA complaint process and if one doesn't choose to comply in a timely manner, he legally puts the web host in a potential liability position. No web host is going to sit by and let themselves incur potential copyright violation liability for any user.

    He is learning just how technically challenging and expensive it is to attempt to launch any Wordpress-based website without any technical knowledge.

    I hope Todd can get it together to recover his data but right now, it looks sketchy. I like Todd but his thought process is so dissimilar from me and my allies that none of us feel we can easily work with him. We would almost have to take it over to relaunch ROA which is not a project none of us want to undertake.

    Perhaps one of his readers will have the technical knowledge to give him free assistance in the back-end. But right now, it may be possible that Wordpress does not want to communicate or work with him anymore. It is also possible that he doesn't know the right thing to say to get Wordpress to cooperate with him.

    I have written lots of useful commentary on ROA and I am not happy my many written contributions appears lost (for the moment). If Todd starts ROA over from scratch, I will not be writing any more contributions until I feel he becomes a strong defender and responder of bogus attacks. I will be writing exclusively here. If he can be so easily victimized, it bodes badly for him and any website he hosts.

  • Wow Matt I just visited his site and seen it down. That sucks. But like you said we can only do so much. Part of my speech including copying threatened sites before they were pulled. If U would have suspected he was going down that path I would have copied it. Google cache is still available but that is a real pain to work through.

    I copied this wordpress site three months before it was suspended now it is deleted as it had pertinent info to a cause I was interested in. Then they failed to renew the domain and I bought that too. The site I copied for my cause is a static copy but I have kept it alive by copying and reloaded it at http://nappswatcher.com it is valuable to show it was more than just me with concerns.

    Anyone who invested as much time that Todd has and trust a third party to not delete it is deeply hurting. All the comments of support and research is now gone for him. Much better option is to control your data and upload you local works and in the event they delete you you still have the data to place somewhere else.

    Very troubling but maybe it will cause Todd to focus instead of, as often is the case, expecting others to stand in the gap for you.

    Best to Todd!

  • I just went to Todd's site to read an article he did regarding Eugene Volokh and saw it was down. I already had this site up so immediately came here because I know that Matt has contributed many times to Todd's articles.

    I guess my question is "HOW does one start a website and what are the major copyright concerns that we need to be aware of when we do?" I have started one from web.com. Should I change to a different domain site?
  • edited June 2016
    Hello Randy, it is very disappointing to see ROA taken down so easily. I am certain Todd is unhappy but he still has responsibilities to protect and defend his web content.

    It goes to show that a website owner must ultimately learn how to navigate strategies to prevent potential takedowns. Part of that is learning how to respond to bogus complaints and working with the web host provider.

    As usual, Todd will probably disagree with me and say how unfair the entire process is and how unfair Wordpress was.

    In my view, it is pretty easy to defend using the DMCA counter-notification process and most providers (including Wordpress) provide a template to defend. And if someone isn't willing to defend it, then a host provider has the right to take the content down. Why would they assume liability for someone who is unable or unwilling to defend what they wrote?
  • SS922,

    Todd chose to incorporate into his blog posts images and poetry he found of his adversary and made comments on them. The main issue is not that he used them and commented on them. He simply didn't know how to articulate certain defenses such as fair use, lack of copyright registrations, etc.

    But most importantly, as far as I know, he did not issue even a basic template DMCA counter-notification response in a timely manner. That is all it would have took.

    I have successfully defended myself MANY times over the years where someone tried to have unhappy content about themselves removed. There are too many scenarios that can come up.

    However, writing ABOUT someone is different from taking the chance of using someone else's photos or poetry. You can use someone's photo but you have to know how to defend it if a complaint comes up.

    As of now, it doesn't matter what hosting provider you use because the rules of defense are generally the same. Some services are simply more or less tolerant/forgiving than others.

    I just went to Todd's site to read an article he did regarding Eugene Volokh and saw it was down. I already had this site up so immediately came here because I know that Matt has contributed many times to Todd's articles.

    I guess my question is "HOW does one start a website and what are the major copyright concerns that we need to be aware of when we do?" I have started one from web.com. Should I change to a different domain site?

  • Wordpress is also known as Automattic Inc. (man my opponents biggest deficiency is the passion that learning causes me to have).

    Anyway here is a case involving wordpress and nappswatcher.com (a page I now own.) I was not involved in that case but it relates very close to the process serving dispute and other actors who pursued anonymity. Anonymity did not work for them. Automattic gave up the IP address and it came back to a very big international company in process serving. (sometimes speakers in the free speech environment may not be as idealistic as others. Speech can be a weapon for pecuinary strategical gain.) Those are the ones who sweat when challenged. Likely disappear out of the debate too. But I digress!

    I have memoralized the California SLAPP case in a web page here http://www.pstrade.us/nappswatcher/nappswatcher.files.wordpress.com/NAPPS_SLAPP/

    You can learn a lot about identification of web owners creators etc here at this case.

    That is one reason I dont publish anonymously as that belief may cause one to cross over into self incriminating arenas. Generally you can be found out if the risk reward makes it worthy of an attackers resources.

    Now there are ways around that but may save that for another discussion. Anonymity is as american as Publius and the federalist papers. But you have to be careful with anonymity because, as in this case, it may affect your credibility to a cause once forcibly identified and you retreat http://www.pstrade.us/nappswatcher/nappswatcher.files.wordpress.com/NAPPS_SLAPP/
  • edited June 2016
    Two takeaways from the above wordpress defense. One if you fight wordpress will likely join you. Two if you set it up where wordpress could lose as a non party they will join you. Losses to wordpress/automattic inc. could include a mass exodus of its users. They dont want that. That is why Matt is right, if you dont fight Wordpress wont either.

    Copy everything you find. If you are sued your defense and/or discovery will be well served.

    I have been publishing for over 5 years and statute of limitations for defamation is well passed for these concerns. Although that is not all defense there is. There is truth too!

    Take a look at the legal letters we tossed back and forth in 2013 at http://www.pstrade.us/notices.html

    That is why Fred Blum of Pennsylvania came into Florida for cyberstalking claim cause the truth and SOL defeated anything else.
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