Sorry We're Closed
As reported on the SOTT blog earlier today, was shut down due to a legal demand by a gang called "Associated Content". It was sent to the Hotmail account of one of the editors on June 20, which obviously we didn't get since SOTT email is received at sott(at) Anyway, this morning we received the following from our server people:
Due to the below email, their is an abuse issue with your server. You have 24hrs to respond on how you will correct this issue before we null route the ip. Further complaints, without action may result in deactivation of your server.

Thanks for your cooperation.
An "abuse issue" in respect of a site that tracks socio-cultural energy and memes? A non-profit organization that disseminates information for research and discussion? Obviously, there is more here than meets the eye! So, let's have a look at the DMCA notice from Associated Content that followed:
To Whom It May Concern:

We would like to report the following violation of your Terms of Service outlined on your web site for "", a web site that your company hosts. Please view our DMCA complaint below regarding [LINK].

Please respond to the undersigned with your decision.

DMCA: 1. The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on [LINK]

2. It appears on [LINK]
3. Please contact us at

We are: Associated Content, Inc.
88 Steele St. Suite 400
Denver, CO 80209 F: 720-214-0293

4. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

5. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

6. Tori Hyman, On behalf of Designated Agent, Associated Content


Tori E. Hyman
88 Steele Street, Suite 400
Denver, Colorado 80206
P: 720-214-1000 | F: 720-214-0293
The question is, of course, what is "Associated Content"? I decided to do a little investigating. According to their site:
Associated Content is an Open Content Network. AC's platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers.

* Sources benefit in three major ways beyond the opportunity to publish: fair payment compensation, online discoverability and distribution through our partner sites. Anyone can become a Source.

* Associated Content publishes authentic, useful and informative content on nearly every conceivable topic, produced by real people sharing real-world expertise from diverse perspectives. Search our library to see what we have, or create an RSS feed of content that interests you.

* The depth and breadth of our library is the perfect match for our partners who desire authentic content for their own websites or to advertise against at If we don't have the content you need, our Sources can quickly and affordably generate credible, engaging content on any topic. Click here to learn more about what we offer our partners.

Corporate History

Associated Content was founded by Luke Beatty in Denver, Colorado, in 2005. Luke, who developed search advertising and taxonomy solutions at WAND, Inc. before founding AC, envisioned a business that would open the content economy to the world by allowing anybody to publish content in any form. Today, with its vast library of unique multimedia content, diverse community of Sources and scalable platform, Associated Content provides consumers, brands, and publishers with a wide range of quality content.
Obviously, the SOTT editor who selected this article should have checked out this site a bit better and, having done so, would have determined that it is not a reliable source for information. (Do some research into "WAND, Inc." too, just for fun. Their legal disclaimer page is a gas!)

But, even more curious is that this "take down" notice came as it did, without warning. I have never been able to get a server to take down my own material that has been pirated with such a letter... so it is curious that others are able to do so so easily, without even demonstrating that they have taken the necessary steps to notify the object of their nefarious intentions. One wonders about the "connections" that Associated Content may have?

Looking a bit further, it seems that this person - Juniper M Russo Tarascio, the author of the article in question - is rather militant about his/her "rights" in the financial sense. See this Link and this one. (SEE Comment section below for further information on this point.)

But there is still more. Victoria Strauss posts a warning on her blog: Associated Content: Something to Beware in which she writes:
Just by posting on the site, you're granting Associated Content the right to exploit your work in any way imaginable--and possibly to make money from that exploitation--without any compensation or consideration to you. [...]

If you accept a payment offer from the site, you must abide by the Independent Contractor Licensing agreement... [...]

with that agreement, you're required to renounce any financial compensation for Associated Content's use of your intellectual property. But there are two new wrinkles. The license you're granting may be exclusive--meaning that you could not exercise any of those rights yourself. And you must waive your moral rights. [...]

"Moral Rights" means any rights to claim authorship of any Work, to object to or prevent any modification of any Work, to withdraw from circulation or control the publication or distribution of any Work, and any similar right, existing under judicial or statutory law of any country in the world, or under any treaty, regardless of whether or not such right is called or generally referred to as a "moral right."

In other words, you aren't just giving up the right to earn money from someone else's exploitation of your work, or to object to someone else's use of your work, you're giving up your right to be identified as the author.
In short, nobody in his right mind and who is capable of reading the fine print should submit their writing to such "content" websites.

Apparently, Associated Content has pretty big britches - they have even gone after Google Blog services according to [LINK]

I think that what will do from here on out is to remove the text (and link) of any article we have received a complaint about, and replace it with the take-down notice so that our readers can know which sites to visit and which to avoid. With SOTT's growing readership, that should make some waves. But then, maybe it is SOTT's growing readership that is worrying somebody? Or am I being too conspiratorial?

It is, indeed, a "sign of the times."