WordPress pulled down 10 blog posts from Retraction Watch, a website that tracks retractions from scientific research papers, after a news site in India complained that it had violated U.S. copyright law by plagiarizing those posts.
Ivan Oransky — executive editor of Reuters Health and one of Retraction Watch’s managers — wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the posts, which were about former Duke University cancer researcher Anil Potti, were in fact originally created by Retraction Watch and not the site — NewsBulet.in.
Oransky, after being notified of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice by WordPress parent company Automattic, confirmed his suspicions that Retraction Watch had been plagiarized.
“If you click on any of the NewsBulet.In URLs provided in the takedown notice, you will indeed find the text — and images — from ten of our posts about Anil Potti. But as will be abundantly clear to anyone who does so that our text was placed on NewsBulet.In, not the other way around,” wrote Oransky.
“That’s driven home by the fact that the site did not exist until October 2012, according to a WhoIs search. All but one of the Retraction Watch posts they cite appeared before they even existed,” said Oransky.
Potti, an Indian-born professional, was the subject of controversy in 2011 over his embellished resume and research.
In order to counter negative press over controversy, Potti hired in 2011 Online Reputation Manager — a reputation management company — to establish websites that praised his work.
A notice by GoDaddy on Online Reputation Manager, however, currently reads, “This domain name expired on 01/22/2013 and is pending renewal or deletion.”
The domain — according to WhoIs.net — is to Domains by Proxy, LLC, an anonymous domain registration site.
“We have responded to Automattic with a counter-notice, and look forward to a speedy resolution of this situation, beginning with the Potti posts being reinstated,” he said.
Ars Technica first reported the story Tuesday, noting: “This the latest in a long line of spurious DMCA takedowns, but it’s the first that Oransky and Marcus have dealt with (Oransky said they’ve had a single cease-and-desist letter about a copyrighted image).”