It came to my attention when one of my photos was deleted because a company called Degban had filed a copyright infringement notice against me.
Of course Degban didn't own the copyright to my photo. They hadn't even seen my photo. They were working for a porn company called Wasteland. They had found a link to my photo on a blog. That blog also contained the word 'wasteland'. That was it. There was no other connection. Because my photo had been linked to by a blog that had also mentioned the name of their client's business their system had automatically sent out a Notice of Infringement.
Degban later claimed that their system had been hacked but were so bad at lying that they said the hack had happened several days after they'd filed this particular Notice of Infringement. D'oh.
I ought to add that Wasteland were fantastic about the whole thing. They were appalled to discover how Degban were behaving - there were countless other examples of them filing bogus takedown notices - and they were quick to fire them as a result.
When they receive a takedown notice Flickr are obliged to respond. They are obliged to remove the photo from view. What they're not obliged to do is delete the page it lives on, delete all the comments left on it and render any links pointing to it useless. But that's what they were doing. For reasons they were unprepared to discuss.
All of this meant that when a Notice of Infringement was successfully contested - as in my case - they were unable (or unwilling) to restore the content they'd removed. (Which is their obligation). Every blog that had linked to that photo (and there were many) was now pointing to a deleted page. I still had the photo - I had a copy of the original - but the photo's history was deleted.
I kicked up a bit of a stink about it. Obviously that wasn't my first reaction. My first reaction was to try and politely engage with them and ask them to explain their policies and consider changing them. But when they did their best to ignore any polite enquiries then I made it my business to kick up a stink. And lo the stink was kicked.
And when tech-journalist Jack Schofield started asking questions of their PR team suddenly the unresponsive company were transformed. The Head of Intellectual Property Rights for flickr's parent company, Yahoo! was on the phone a day or two later and promising me that they were going to look into changing their policy.
It would be impossible to retread the whole saga here, but if you're interested in the grisly details of Degban's weasly dishonesty and Flickr/Yahoo's intransigence you could point your eyes here and read my previous post on the subject. It contains links to other earlier posts too, so if you really have the appetite you could pass an afternoon going back to the beginning and working forward. (There's also a good summary in this Tech Dirt article if you just fancy a quick refresher.)
Anyway... it's taken a while but I'm delighted to say that the story now has a happy ending.
I'm pretty chuffed about that.