Western Union Uses DMCA To Remove Ad Promoting Bitcoin from Facebook

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Currently the bitcoin community is abuzz after reddit user Dave Aiello reported an image he posted was removed from Facebook.

Aiello who created a “side by side” image and tagged Western Union on Facebook on the fb.com/BITCOIN page on November 21st was prompted with the following notice on Facebook on November 24th.

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The image created using a banner on the left side from Western Union was posted and then later removed after Western Union used a DMCA claim that the image violated the Western Union copyright.

While many in the community has argued that the image constitutes fair use or parody the reality of the situation is that Western Union can make a claim against the image using the DMCA reporting tool on Facebook and the burden then shifts to the user posting it to show they are not violating the copyright of the reporter.

Coin Fire reached out to Western Union who declined to comment on the situation and Facebook who sent a boilerplate response stating:

Facebook is committed to helping people and organizations protect their intellectual property rights. The Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities does not allow posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark.

When we receive a report from someone claiming that content on the site infringes their copyright, we may need to immediately remove that content from Facebook without contacting the poster first.

If we remove someone’s content because of a copyright claim, they’ll receive a warning from Facebook that includes the contact information of the person or company who made the report and/or the contents of the report. If they believe the content should not have been removed, they can follow-up with them directly to try to resolve the issue.

In many cases this process is nearly automatic and Facebook makes it a policy to not comment on these matters without further investigation.

This of course has led to increased attention on Western Union from the bitcoin community via something known as the Streisand effect. Named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photographs of her residence in Malibu, California inadvertently generated further publicity of it.

Instead of the image simply being seen by the Facebook bitcoin page with just over 24 thousand likes the image is now appearing on several other sites with countless reddit threads created, Vox writing a full story and many more people picking up the story.

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“DMCA Friendly” Version

It has also lead to the creation of a “DMCA friendly” version of the image that is now being shared across Twitter, Facebook and other sites. Other images that Western Union has released are now the subject of more changes that are spreading across the community like wildfire.

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What are your thoughts about the entire situation? Let us know in the comments.

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Coin Fire

Coin Fire is a cryptocurrency news site started on June 6th of 2014. The site focused on hard-hitting investigative stories. Coin Fire was acquired by 99Bitcoins on October 2015.

1 Comment

  1. Western Onion no doubt will be one of the first dinosaurs to go extinct as Bitcoin gets adopted more widely. Their fees are borderline extortion and they rely on physical infrastructure. Just wait until Nigerian royalty starts using Bitcoin, because they seem to be WU’s main user base.

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