Today we are happy to announce the Shapeways transparency report for 2015. This report is designed to give everyone in the Shapeways community insight into how our systems governing intellectual property disputes and third party access to Shapeways user information work.
What is a transparency report, and why publish it?
A transparency report is a public document that sheds light on how internal processes here at Shapeways work in practice. While the entire Shapeways community is impacted by our policies covering things like copyright disputes and privacy, in most cases individual disputes over those issues happen behind closed doors. This is a good thing in specific cases – community members should be able to resolve their differences outside of the spotlight. However, it can also make it hard for people who are not directly involved in a dispute to understand how the process works, or how those processes are working in aggregate.
The transparency report helps to summarize how our processes work and to give the entire community a better understanding of the trends emerging from them. It also helps the larger public and policymakers understand how systems grounded in law play out in reality. As we note in the report, it is impossible to evaluate the laws that control how Shapeways operates without understanding how those laws impact Shapeways and the Shapeways community.
What’s in this report?
I encourage you to check out the report itself, but some high level points are worth mentioning. The most striking is how trademark takedown requests are interacting with traditional copyright takedown requests. Last fall we, along with a number of similarly situated companies, raised concerns to the White House about a trend in takedown requests. We noticed that rightsholders were combining trademark claims with copyright claims. A side effect of this combination – intended or not – is to remove the dispute from the notice and takedown process that provides protections for users accused of copyright infringement.
This report puts some numbers behind that concern. Of the 761 copyright-related takedown requests we received in 2015, 582 (that’s 76%) also included trademark requests. As a result, 76% of the copyright takedown requests were outside of the notice and counternotice process established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That means that only about a quarter of the copyright takedown requests we get are actually covered by the DMCA process created by the U.S. Congress to govern such requests.
The report also contains some spaces without numbers. The report contains sections for requests for user information by governments and by third parties with court orders. Shapeways did not receive any such requests in 2015. However, we included these sections in the report so community members could be confident that the absence was because we did not receive them, not that we were avoiding talking about them. Along those lines, we have also registered our warrant canary with CanaryWatch.org.
We hope that this report is helpful to our community. If you have any ideas of how to make it better, feel free to hit me up via email at email@example.com or in the comments below.
image: flickr user ian mcwilliams