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What is the takedown policy at Hubpages?

  1. kschang profile image92
    kschangposted 4 years ago

    This wasn't in the FAQ under "Publishing Rules and Policies", and learning center was kinda vague, so I thought I'd ask for a clarification here.

    Under what circumstances will Hubpages UNpub a hub based purely on a third-party complaint? I don't mean flagging, but a real letter or e-mail or fax sent to Hubpages, similar to manner of a DMCA takedown.

    What credentials must this third-party present to make Hubpages consider a takedown and have the hub flagged with "legal"?

    The reason I am asking is very simple. One of my hubs was hit with the "legal" flag. HP forwarded me the complaint. The other party did not identity his position or authority, only stated he works for this company (which the hub reviewed) and he claimed to have found a bunch of mistakes, copyright violations, and libelous content. However, he never did explain what exactly was wrong with the mistakes or libelous content.  He cited a bunch of trademarks that wasn't even owned by the company in question. He never identified himself as a lawyer or has authority to issue takedown notices.

    As far as I know, takedown notices are usually signed either by a company officer (that can be easily verified through public records), or by a lawfirm / lawyer that identifies itself as having been retained by certain company in question. Or in some cases, the owners themselves. I have never heard of any one sending takedown notices and never identified his own relation to the company or his authority to do so.

    Thus, I am surprised at Hubpages actually taking down my hub just on the word of this person whose bonafides and authority to issue such was never questioned, much less verified.

    Subsequent e-mail conversation with this person (He CC'ed Hubpages, not me) showed that this person identified himself as a "consultant" (not legal consultant) for the company in question. I was not aware that consultants can act on behalf of their clients much like an attorney would.

    I understand Hubpages must protect itself and its users, but please have a clearly defined policy in place, like what sort of takedown notices will you accept.

    I am not here to debate whether Hubpages should have taken down my hub or not. I am here to get clarification on what constitutes an appropriate takedown notice that hubpages will accept and act upon.

    1. relache profile image87
      relacheposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      The TOS/TOU explains how these sorts of situations are handled.  You remember the TOS, right?  It's the legal document that you agreed that you had read and accepted as the rules for the site which were "signed" and which you agreed to be legally bound by when you took the actions which resulted in joining the site.  You will want to re-read points #5 and #6, http://hubpages.com/help/user_agreement

      Admin has repeatedly made it clear that they do not and will not discuss any specific individual take-downs or scenarios that involve the moderation (unpublishing) of someone's Hubs in the public forums.  You'll only be able to email them directly about your issues.

      1. kschang profile image92
        kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        relache, as I said, I am NOT asking about the TOS, or what constitutes libel and blah blah.

        I am asking how does Hubpages know they are dealing with a genuine takedown, not some random nutjob PRETENDING to be someone with authority to do so.

        This is a GENERIC question, NOT specific to any hub in particular. It's request for Hubpages POLICY clarification.

    2. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      As far as I can tell, I'm very much like Guy Adams, who got his Twitter account banned for criticizing NBC too much about their Olympic coverage, though Twitter's position is he posted "private" info... NBC head's corporate email address.

      Unlike Guy Adams, my hub has not been restored. Apparently NBC had retracted the complaint, so the rumor goes.  So how long do I have to wait? Shouldn't THAT be in the policy?

      "Twitter’s policy is to automatically comply when someone files a ticket alleging a privacy rules violation, and then works with the user whose account was suspended to bring it back online. That’s a good policy to stop harassment or abuse — unless the policy itself is abused, which it seems NBC may have done. But even in that case, if the account can be brought quickly back, there’s little permanent harm done."

      http://m.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/07/tw … rossroads/

    3. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      It's now Tuesday evening, not a peep from the other side.

      The other side's main MLM consultant just "parted ways", promptly went pushing some other MLM, and predict the company won't last six months and will be hit by the government like an avalanche.

      They're clearly desperate to erase any sort of "negativity" on the net... and I'm the lowest hanging fruit, thanks to Hubpages.

    4. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      It's now WEDNESDAY, not a peep from the other party.

      Hubpages, are you guys listening? How long are you going to tolerate one of your member'ss  hubs "held hostage" by a guy who didn't even PROVE he has the right to issue a takedown notice, gave NO explanation for "untrue" and "libel", and so on?

      And why have you continued to classify the Holiday Inn Website as "affiliate links"?

    5. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Hub is back online.

      Thanks to Hubpages for keeping track.

      1. Dale Hyde profile image87
        Dale Hydeposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Great news! smile

  2. relache profile image87
    relacheposted 4 years ago

    It's abundantly clear what HubPages' policy is, at least to me.  Their priority is the site overall, maximizing their protection, minimizing any liabilities or costs.  And they minimized their risks as quickly and cheaply as humanly possible, completely in line with their stated terms.

    As the content owner, any responsibilities or burden of proof in regards to disproving the validity of the takedown notice against your written material or the uthority of the person who filed it falls to you.

    1. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      So any Joe Schmoe can claim they're "injured" by my claims and can send a demand to Hubpages taking down my hub?

      I don't imagine you'd be getting an e-mail from David Beckham any time soon. He's rather proud of his tats. But one of his fans, theoretically, *could* e-mail Hubpages claiming to be his agent and you are using his photos without his permission, and thus, benefiting off his fame, diluting his name recognition, and so on and so forth.

      THEORETICALLY speaking of course.

      How does Hubpages know what requests are to be taken seriously?

      It seems you're arguing that Hubpages *should* take the better be safe than sorry approach: take down ANY hub that gets a complaint, whether the complaint's source is suspicious or not.

      I'd like to hear it from THEM.

      1. tussin profile image61
        tussinposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Hubpages does indeed take the "better safe than sorry" approach and deletes articles that have even the smallest hint of legal issues.  I don't think that is the best policy, however, it is their site and they are free to run it how they see fit.  You really have no recourse since you don't own hubpages and have no say in how things are run. 

        I'm sorry you were hit with this dubious claim of libel and copyright infringement, but you could always try to present your counter evidence to the hubpages moderators and see if your hub can get republished.

        Failing that, why don't you put the article on your own site.  Then if you personally receive another takedown notice for it, you can engage with this "consultant" directly.

      2. relache profile image87
        relacheposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Then, as I said earlier in this thread, you will need to contact admin directly, which on this site means an email to them.  As you are asking for further clarification of a situation that pertains to your account, they aren't going to discuss it in public.

        1. kschang profile image92
          kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I am seeking a clarification of policy in general.

          1) What sort of criteria does HP use to "vet" the takedown requests? What format must it in, and what are the required elements?

          2) How long does the hub author have to respond to such a request? I.e. file a COUNTER-takedown / take-up?

          3) Where is this policy published?

          Here's Youtube's version, for comparison (not exactly the same)


  3. Lisa HW profile image83
    Lisa HWposted 4 years ago

    Obviously, I can’t speak for HP; but just for purposes of discussion…  Sometimes it may not even matter whether the person making the complaint is “legitimate” or a “nut-job”.

    If the reason given to you didn't specify whether or not HP just took the individual's word for it (that  your Hub had "iffy-ness" in it), did you e.mail staff and ask whether they just took the other person's word for it or else a) did checking into the facts, or b) were just able to recognize "iffy-ness" when they see it?

    For example (and an extreme one), if I (without legal background and/or without working at "X" company) were to see a Hub that said that ABC Toy Company recommended marbles for two-year-olds, I might flag that Hub, have HP people at it, and think, "Everyone knows that marbles are not recommended for two-year-olds."  Staff wouldn't need to know whether I have x credentials/expertise in any number of related areas (child care, child health, legal issues, statistics on marble choking, etc. etc.)  It's just an "everyone-knows-that" kind of thing.  In some cases, they probably don't need to know the qualifications of the person complaining.  The probably just look at the thing and see that there's bad information and/or risk of liability (of one type or another).

    What I see a lot of on here (and I have no idea about the Hub you wrote and had taken down, and haven't even (sorry) ever seen any or your Hubs, so my remark here is only in general terms) is that a writer, who isn't adequately familiar with "the big picture" or else "the microscopic picture" or else with generally good practices when it comes to presenting material/information,  will do a little research (or even not do any), and ends up with something that looks good to him but not to the number of people who are more familiar with that larger picture, more microscopic picture and/or generally good practices that (even if the writer isn't as familiar with that stuff) "everyone" else often knows.  (Obviously "everyone" is an exaggeration, because if the writer doesn't know it that means a lot of other people don't either.  Still, it's stuff that a very large percentage of the general population generally knows.)

    So, in an example like the marble-comment Hub above, if a sixteen-year-old, part-time, retail clerk flagged it and told HP, "I think you could be sued because someone on your site implies that marbles are OK for two-year-olds, or else says, "ABC Toy Company recommends marbles..." there'd be no particular need for staff to look much beyond the complaint because "everyone knows" that marbles are not recommended by "anyone who knows" for two-year-olds; and whether or not the writer and/or the site could be sued for by ABC Toy Company a) is a separate issue that doesn't even matter because the Hub's already coming down based on other grounds, or b) staff could recognize could possibly sue on its own grounds (of one sort or another) and not want to even have to worry about it (especially if the points-of-contention weren't as obvious and clear as in something like the "marble-point" Hub).

    In other words, people (staff or "complainers" or anyone else) don't always need to be qualified experts to recognize something "iffy".  It's up to a writer to know that he can present (if necessary, if required, or if he doesn't want the risk of having something deemed "iffy") plenty of back-up facts in plenty of reliable sources; and leave no question about whether or not what he's presented might be "iffy" in one way or another.  Even something as simple as a more careful choice of words can make the difference between a piece of writing that looks out-and-out questionable/potentially questionable to anyone reading/judging it. 

    If a nut-job e.mails HP and says he's the president of ABC Toy Company and that the company didn't recommend marbles for two-year-olds (or else didn't recommend them without supervision), right off the bat it's obvious to HP staff that could potentially be an issue.  It doesn't always necessarily even matter if the person is a nut-job or actually who he says he is.

    TOS pretty much makes it clear that when we sign on we agree with the thing that if HP (or whatever other site) doesn't like/isn't comfortable with something we write they don't allow it.  The writer who is comfortable in his own ability to recognize that he's covered all the bases, and who knows that he has done that with a particular piece of writing, can always publish the thing somewhere else.  On the other hand, sometimes if a site won't allow some questionable things that site is also (whether they really care about this or not) actually protecting the writer from the same kind of potential legal (or other) problems.  One problem on a site like this is that writers don't always know when they've "covered all the bases" because they're new to the game of baseball and don't  know what, exactly, "covering" and/or "all the bases" actually involves.  Even with that, though, it doesn't always really matter much who complained/flagged.  I just matters that the HP person/people who reviewed it didn't like it/weren't comfortable with it.

    The question Hubbers should be asking isn't, I don't think, what the credentials/credibility of the "complainer" are, but whether whatever it is that HP didn't like about the Hub is related to the fact that it's their site and they don't "x" on it, or to something that could cause the writer problems regardless of whether he posted it on his own, private, site.

    (I don't really think the permission example is necessarily the best one, because using a picture of someone else with permission/license has its own process; and a person can either prove permission or license or not.  The person who can't does run the risk that comes with not being able to prove permission and having to take something down; but again, the person who knows to be good and sure he has "provable permission" isn't going to run into the same problem.)

    1. tussin profile image61
      tussinposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Excellent explanation!

    2. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      As I said, I don't want to make it into a I vs. HP debate.

      In this particular case, I asked the other party to detail what he considers to be problematic with my hub last Thursday.  He claims he needs LOTS of time to get back to me, even though it's over the weekend. 

      It's now Monday afternoon and I have NOT heard back from the other party.

      I've e-mailed HP Team multiple times, and the other party had been CC'ing HP Team with our e-mail conversations.

      The answer from HP teams is "you need to work it out with them (it's out of our hands)".

      I was told if I achieve two items (remove a logo even though it's fair use) and send them a statement that my hub is true and not a TOS violation they'll put it back up. It had not happened.

      In their haste in classifying links, they even deemed website of a major HOTEL CHAIN to be an affiliate link (which was linked to demonstrate location).

      Apparently, if this guy NEVER got back to me, my hub will remain offline INDEFINITELY.

      Seems to be a very "convenient" way to force someone offline, which is why I am asking HP this particular question, as I believe this is pertinent to all hubbers.

      1. galleryofgrace profile image81
        galleryofgraceposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        May I add that many companies simply do not want anyTtom, Dick or Harry using their trademarked words or names. The credibility of the writer is of no importance. Companies must control how their "copyrighted and trademarked" items are used.

        1. kschang profile image92
          kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          That's not what I asked.

          For this particular case, this guy haven't even proven himself to have the authority to issue takedown notices. Furthermore, I checked on Justia trademark search and his company don't even own the trademarks of the three TM he cited.

          It's NOT a TM/Reg issue.

        2. tjp profile image59
          tjpposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Millions of people do it and it's okay to cite a company if done correctly. The internet is basically word of mouth for these companies. It's free advertisement for them. They shouldn't care unless people are talking negatively about them. Which I might add is legal too..

  4. Dale Hyde profile image87
    Dale Hydeposted 4 years ago

    I look forward to reading any response from the team should you get one.

    Sorry you are having this issue.

  5. calculus-geometry profile image84
    calculus-geometryposted 4 years ago

    So in a nutshell, someone who did not have the authority to do so made claims of infringement against you, and some of these claims were in fact false.   Hubpages's moderators did not look into the legitimacy of these claim and unpublished your hub.  And so far Hubpages has not replied to your appeal.

    I don't like to be negative, but you might have to bang your head against the wall for a long time before you are vindicated.  In the mean time, why don't you repost the article somewhere else?  If you are in the right and the other party is in the wrong, you have nothing to lose.  For now your article is offline and no one can read the information you have to offer.  I for one am quite curious about the company or product that you reviewed and what the company and this supposed representative found so objectionable.

    I have seen a couple of user profile pages that contain links to articles that were denied by Hubpages and are now reposted on other sites or personal blogs.  You could do the same in the mean time until you get this sorted out with Hubpages.

    1. kschang profile image92
      kschangposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      It has been republished on a scam-busting website. I'm not linking to it from here.