Kickstarter Transparency Report 2014

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Kickstarter's mission is to help bring creative projects to life. As part of that mission, we work to foster creativity and artistic expression, while always striving to be clear and transparent about our policies.

Today we’re reinforcing our commitment to those values by releasing this transparency report. It details requests and claims we received in 2014 about projects and members of our community, from people and companies with copyright or trademark complaints, and from law enforcement and government entities. Transparency around these requests can help to ensure that they are being made for the right reasons.

Copyright Claims

Like many internet services, Kickstarter receives notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from people and companies that say material on our site infringes their copyright. We evaluate each notice to ensure that it meets the formal requirements of the DMCA, that it isn’t directed at material that qualifies as fair use, and that the material is actually copyrightable. If a notice about a project is valid, we put a hold on the project and remove it from public view.

The DMCA allows the project creator to file a counter-notification disputing the claim. In some cases the dispute is resolved and the project can continue its funding. In others it isn’t. All DMCA notices that result in a project being hidden are published on the project page and at Chilling Effects.

  • We received and evaluated 282 DMCA claims in 2014.
  • We rejected 159 — or 56% — of these claims. 
  • We took some action (like removing images or videos, or hiding the project from public view) in response to 123 — or 44% — of these claims.
  • A project may receive more than one report. The 282 claims we received involved 240 separate projects, or 0.3% of all projects launched in 2014.
  • 46 projects are currently hidden from public view as a result of a DMCA claim.

Here’s a breakdown by category of the projects that were the subject of DMCA claims:


Category Projects
Design 45
Technology 44
Games 40
Film & Video 35
Publishing 13
Fashion 11
Food 11
Music 11
Crafts 8
Art 7
Comics 7
Photography 3
Theater 3
Dance 1
Journalism 1

Trademark Claims

Trademark claims aren’t covered under the DMCA or any similar statutes. We evaluate each claim, and if it is valid, we take appropriate steps, which may include hiding the project from public view.

  • We received 28 trademark claims in 2014.
  • With 12 claims we took no action. 
  • With 12 claims we hid the project from public view. 
  •  With 4 claims we asked the submitter to resolve the issue with the project creator.
  • 10 projects are currently hidden from public view as a result of a trademark claim.

Government and Law Enforcement Requests

We cooperate with requests from law enforcement and governments to the extent required by law, and after evaluating the legitimacy of the requests.

  • In 2014 we received 8 requests for user information from government and law enforcement agencies. Of those agencies, 6 were in the United States and 2 were in Europe. 
  • Of the 8 requests, 3 were in the form of subpoenas, and we released some information in response. We did not produce any information in response to the other 5 requests. 
  • Governments sometimes serve requests for information — usually related to national security — that restrict a service provider like Kickstarter from revealing that they’ve received or responded to such a request. These requests most frequently come in the form of National Security Letters or orders from a FISA court. To date, Kickstarter has not received any national security requests for user information.

Resources

For more on how we handle claims and requests like these, see our copyright policy, our trademark policy, and our guidelines for law enforcement.

This report is just the start. We plan on releasing this data annually. If you have thoughts on how we can make it more useful, or any other feedback, drop us a note: transparency@kickstarter.com.

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