Lumen (website)

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(Redirected from Chilling Effects (group))

Logo since 2015
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersCambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Created byWendy Seltzer

Lumen, formerly Chilling Effects, is an American collaborative archive created by Wendy Seltzer and operated by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.[1] It allows recipients of cease-and-desist notices to submit them to the site and receive information about their legal rights and responsibilities.

The archive was founded in 2001 with several law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to protect lawful online activity from legal threats. Originally located in San Francisco, California, Lumen later moved its operations to Massachusetts.


Original logo until 2015

The archive was founded in 2001 by Internet activists who were concerned that the unregulated private practice of sending cease-and-desist letters seemed to be increasing and was having an unstudied, but potentially significant, "chilling effect" on free speech.[citation needed]

The archive got a boost when Google began submitting its notices to the site in 2002. Google began to do so in response to the publicity generated when the Church of Scientology convinced Google to remove references and links to an anti-Scientology web site, Operation Clambake, in April 2002.[2] The incident inspired vocal Internet users and groups to complain to Google, and links to the Clambake site were restored. Google subsequently began to contribute its notices to Chilling Effects, archiving the Scientology complaints and linking to the archive.[2][3]

Starting in 2002, researchers used the clearinghouse to study the use of cease-and-desist letters, primarily looking at Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 512 takedown notices, non-DMCA copyright issues, and trademark claims.[4][5]

On November 2, 2015, Chilling Effects announced its renaming to Lumen,[6] as well as a number of international partnerships.


Lumen has been praised for providing and promoting transparency on the use of copyright takedowns.[7]

The Copyright Alliance has criticized Lumen for republishing lists of URLs named in takedowns as part of its database. It argued that this defeats the purpose and intent of sending takedown notices to search engines in the first place, as they would subsequently be added to "the largest repository of URLs hosting infringing content on the internet.".[8][7] While the Lumen database formerly used to show full URLs, in 2019 the URLs were redacted to only display the website names and the number of URLs from each site, with the full URLs only to be made available to authorised users.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". About Us Page. Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Gallagher, David (April 22, 2002). "New Economy; A copyright dispute with the Church of Scientology is forcing Google to do some creative linking". New York Times. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Marti, Don (April 12, 2002). "Google Begins Making DMCA Takedowns Public". Linux Journal. (describing Google's response to the Scientologists and subsequent decision to contribute to
  4. ^ J. Urban & L. Quilter, "Efficient Process or 'Chilling Effects'? Takedown Notices Under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal (March 2006)
  5. ^ Heins, Marjorie; Beckles, Tricia (December 2005). "WILL FAIR USE SURVIVE? Free Expression in the Age of Copyright Control". National Coalition Against Censorship. Brennan Center for Justice. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  6. ^ "Chilling Effects Announces New Name, International Partnerships". November 2, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Masnick, Mike (January 12, 2015). "Chilling Effects On Chilling Effects As DMCA Archive Deletes Self From Google". Techdirt.
  8. ^ Cushing, Tim (March 18, 2014). "Copyright Alliance Attacks As 'Repugnant,' Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability". Techdirt.
  9. ^ "Lumen Announces New Features of the Database". Lumen. May 9, 2019. Archived from the original on November 3, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.

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