Friday, March 4, 2016

Blog Takedown Fear

Last month, I received an alarming notification - one of my articles had somehow triggered a DMCA complaint and violated some kind of copyright infringement.  (Emphasis mine)
"Content that may infringe copyright has been discovered on the post(s) listed below, and it or they are now in "draft" status. You have three options: 
You may edit the post(s) to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the edited post(s) will again be visible to your readers.
You can delete the draft post(s). 
If you believe the post(s) do not infringe copyright, please fill out the form here: and we will evaluate your request. 
DO NOT republish the post(s) as-is. If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. 
The Blogger Team
Despite the fact that the majority of my posts involve reprints of long-lost Sunday comics, and borrowed elements from easily available stuff online, I was flummoxed as to what specific element of my controversial post had upset someone.  I sent a reasonable request to the blog moderator to find out what the exact nature of the complaint was.  If it was a specific sentence I'd written, I would've gladly changed it, journalistic standards be damned.  After several days agonizing over the best way to respond under 1000 words or less, I decided to go the direct honesty route:
"I'm curious as to the exact nature of the complaint. It's a REDACTED of a REDACTED that I thought deserved wider recognition. If I knew what the problem was, I could make the necessary modifications. I suspect the problem was having the link available on the front page. If that's all, then that's easily remedied. 
I've never had a problem with any of my other comic posts until now."

Though the available link was no longer on my front page (a side effect of having it reverted back to draft form)  I figured that it was probably an unintended consequence of having it openly linked as one of my favorite posts on my front page; but without the link being available anymore, I couldn't be entirely sure.  (I'm not linking it here, out of the vague fear that it could potentially backlisted against me)  I then received what amounted to little more than a form response: (emphasis again, mine)
At this time, Google has decided not to take action based on our policies concerning content removal and reinstatement. We encourage you to review the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for more information about the DMCA."
I did some perfunctory research online to see if any other bloggers out there had received warnings of this nature, and found out that the specific nature of said warning is to discourage pirates from filesharing and outright plagiarizing material for profitable use.  Since I did neither of those to the article involved, I could only conclude that the most likely culprit was that my post had the unfortunate result of having collected keywords designed to attract attention that somehow rubbed the wrong way.  Furthermore, the sheer amount of blog material out there would make it almost impossible for moderators to specifically target bloggers, save for the most outrageous offenders.  Even so, I was cautioned against putting my post back up, lest the authorities find out and use it against me again.

The prospect of losing my entire blog with all my writings (which I hadn't bothered to save elsewhere) was too frightening for me, so before I made the move to bring it back, I decided to back up all my previous posts, going back over Five Hundred articles of varying length over a span of five years.  But before I backed them up, I wanted to enlargen the images first.  When I initially started out, I was hesitant to use too many images, since there was a finite memory supply, and I wanted to ration the most useful posts for later.  Then, sometime in late 2012, image memory was no longer an issue, and I could post as many pictures as I wanted without fear of running out of space.
As an example, here's a resizing from the June Fbofw Calendar.
The added image memory also meant that size wouldn't be restricted to thumbnails, and clicking them to view the larger pictures wouldn't be necessary to get the jokes.  But that only applied for future articles, not my past posts, which would have to be manually changed.  I can understand why not very many bloggers would want to go to the trouble of making their earlier stuff easier to read, since there's a rather low probability that their archives would be worth plunging into, in favor of more recent stuff.  What particularly struck me while going through my archives was how much more comprehensive and in-depth my early writing was.  Ranging from an amusing description of a reverse-gendered Twilight werewolf Manga, to cartoony reaction shots, to parodic apocalyptic games, to recommending worthy European Comics, to making Archie worse in context.  An annoying (and unavoidable) feature was that some of my old Youtube links had expired, and I couldn't find suitable replacements for some of them.
While this may not look much different from the first image,
note that I've clicked on the Large image size, though the picture remains essentially the same.
I'm also something of a vicarious perfectionist, not wanting to save what amounts to a hastily written badly spelled rough draft.  While others save-scum multiple times every time they write a sentence, I prefer to go on lengthy writing sprees until I get all my thoughts down first.  There's a thrilling and terrifying window between seeing how much information I can jot down before I run the risk of having all my previously transcribed thoughts removed from memory.  It probably seems counter-intuitive, but I hadn't made any backup files of any of my written stuff before now.  I ascribe it to something similar to a gambler's high, where betters feel confident while having a spectacularly lucky streak, and wanting to see how high they can get before the statistical reality goes against them and sends it all crashing down.  I've kept to this mentality despite past threats of numerous power failures and computer meltdowns.
After I've chosen a different picture size, I went back to Original Size,
resulting in this extra-enlarged picture that stretches past the border.
When it came to actually saving the various posts, it was somewhat different from the seemingly easy instructions.  Saving my blog only saved the template, which I haven't changed much from the select few available options.  (I'm not much of a technological innovator, and am somewhat of a luddite when introduced to new technologies)  After finding out the proper procedure, I ran into another complication - I didn't particularly like the save function involved, which required clicking onto every single individual post I'd written, and either e-mailing them to myself, or another individual.  Instead, I opted to right-click the whole page, choose the "Save as" option, and save the entire Webpage there for every month I'd written.
After making sure that the image was back to its larger dimensions,
I chose X-Large to put the picture back to more reasonable viewing level.
The only flaw with this plan was that some articles of mine that I'd done were so long that they reduced the natural boundaries for a typical 10-post viewing on a single page.  So, my early years where I had multiple articles in a month required multiple savings of the same month.  Especially annoying were those where I was off by one or two posts, and needed to save those separately.  Another flaw was that this didn't account for the few posts that I'd put behind a cut to save on space, and those posts needed their individual pages.  The pictures at least are now of larger size, if considerably reduced to readable thumbnails.

If this blog disappears shortly after, you'll have some idea of the Draconian nature that rules the online world.

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