DreamHost Does Not Obey The Law

I am about to have an appointment with the attorney general of my state to see if I can have Dream Host subpoenaed.

Dreamhost is hosting a site that stole images of me without my consent and said horrible things about me.

It’s called libel and character defamation along with copyright violation (my images are all copyrighted by ME not BY THEM!)


That is the URL in question. I contacted Dreamhost because the whois search showed that the name servers were directed to dream host.

I sent them a letter telling them that I want my images removed from that site and here was their reply:

"Unfortunately, we are not in a position to judge the merits or validity
of customer content, and as such do not assert editorial control over
the content of their sites.

However, if you believe that this individual is violating your
copyright, please submit a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright
Act) notification to us at jeff@dreamhost.com. Please be sure to
include specific URLs of the infringing content (ie. image locations).

Thank you,

  • Jeff C.
  • DreamHost Web Hosting"

I called my state representative (I am his webmaster) and he is helping me to get into contact with the General attorney. If Dreamhost refuses to protect my privacy and safety then the law will!


Did you “submit a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notification to [Dreamhost] at jeff@dreamhost.com”? Because that’s what they asked you to do. From what you’re saying it sounds like you’re ignoring that step entirely. Also, have you contacted the website-in-question’s owner? He is the one who is directly responsible for any copyright infringement, not his host (Dreamhost). Any attempt to initiate a lawsuit against Dreamhost will fail under these circumstances. Please don’t waste you money on legal action. Take a nap, grab a cold drink, and “submit a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notification to [Dreamhost] at jeff@dreamhost.com,” or contact website-in-question’s owner.


It does seem pretty drastic, especially if you haven’t done the steps the poster above mentioned.
First port of call is webmaster of the site. If they say no, then contact DH. Seems strange if you’ve gone straight for the throat as it were.

G’day, Anonymous.
Sorry to hear that someone has put up your portraits without your consent. Please be aware that without a DMCA complaint notice, DreamHost is not authorized to take any action.
All the best,

You do need to do the DMCA, especially since your site is promoting ‘stock photos, illustrations, free downloads, layouts and more’ in your Title, and your site’s meta keyworks is “llustration blog layouts illustrations ware free flash professional graphics templates design royalty stock photos”. I realize the photos in question are in your personal area, and you specify ‘don’t steal’ Just create the DMCA complaint notice and dreamhost will do what they need to. It is the law!

Does the DMCA even apply in this case? A single image is almost definitely “fair use.” (I could sue a few dozen sites if that were illegal!)

The best thing to do is go after the site owner and see if you’ve got a case with them – the web host really has nothing to do with it. (They don’t own or have responsibility for the content – the original creator does.)

hey mark, it was five photos from a personal library, and she states, ‘don’t steal’ for viewing only non those pages. I would like to learn more about the DMCA…must go googling the internet now.

plus, read this, I realize it doesn’t mean much, but they do claim that dreamhost has no responsibility for their site.


Thumbnail-size images, there to make a point in a debate over an apparently controversial person who participates in online discussions, are probably fair use. If she sues Dreamhost over this (particularly if she does it without going through the DMCA steps clearly stated), she deserves to be countersued, and I hope she has to pay sizable damages to Dreamhost for her attempts to abuse the law against them.

– Dan

All right, if you click on the image you get a bigger one, so maybe that’s a copyright violation… that’s for a judge to decide if it gets there. I wouldn’t want Dreamhost to be the judge, jury, and executioner on issues like this.

– Dan

Uh, did the state rep you contacted tell you not to submit the DMCA? Because it looks like DreamHost is well within the law and that they would like to stay that way. DH can’t just take down every site they are requested to. They have to follow proper legal steps.


Why would you post a link to the infringing page when you obviously don’t want it to be noticed?

“The first rule of not being seen: do not stand up.”

A lot of people who get offended by stuff seem to go out of their way to take actions that give the “offensive” material much more publicity than it ever would have received otherwise. It makes you wonder if the “offended” parties really crave attention more than anything else.

– Dan

And, by the way, good for Dreamhost for not (so far) caving into vague legal threats and bluster and shutting down a customer’s site. It’s bad enough that the DMCA lets people get sites shut down based on possibly unsubstantiated allegations of infringement (this law is full of bad provisions, some of which might eventually be overturned as unconstitutional, one hopes), but it would be even worse if hosting providers yanked sites based on threats that didn’t even follow the procedure outlined in the law, because the allegedly aggrieved party was either too lazy, too incompetent, or too blinded with anger to think straight.

The only thing a provider can reasonably do based on such threats/requests is either to pull the entire site or to do nothing. You certainly don’t expect Dreamhost to go in and edit particular items out of a page in a client’s site; I, for one, certainly wouldn’t want them going in and changing things within my site! With the only action being the website equivalent of the death penalty, I would hope that a good hosting provider won’t be too quick to apply it based on the slightest allegation.

– Dan

Although, the site in question appears to be a wiki, using the same software as Wikipedia, though it seems to disallow anonymous editing; perhaps if somebody registers with that site, they’d be able to edit out the offending stuff.

– Dan

If you take a look at the page history, it’s already been edited a bit. The last edit was by the site’s owner, at which point it looks like it was locked. Other pages allow editing (although you do have to be logged in).

Copyright applies to any original work, so if the photos in question are actually hers, then she does have recourse. “Fair use” probably does not apply here, because the web site is available to the general public; not just the individual’s personal use.

The DMCA limits the liability of ISPs from transmitting copyrighted materials, but does place a responsibility upon them to remove copyrighted materials.

It appears that Dreamhost has a reasonable process in place to comply with DMCA and give those whose copyright has been violated an avenue for relief:



`(A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:

`(i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

`(ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

`(iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

`(iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

`(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

`(vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.[/quote]

Fair use does permit, in some cases and to some extent, the copying of copyrighted materials for the purpose of commentary, as seen for instance in book reviews that include quotes from the book being reviewed, and movie reviews that show brief clips of the movie. Whether a particular instance of this is fair use or not is to be decided by a judge and jury (if it gets that far) based on some “balancing tests” that consider such things as the size of the excerpt in relation to the work as a whole, whether it harms the original market for the work, and whether the use is necessary to the purpose for which it is used.

– Dan

Here’s a related article I just read about copyright in the U.S. and its effect on Martin Luther King Day:

How copyright could be killing culture

From the site:

Welcome to Encyclopediadramatica, the ultimate compendium of internet parody.

parody=wide berth for fair use, as it should be.