Lumen (website)

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TypeWeb site
Official language
Wendy Seltzer
Formerly called
Chilling Effects

Lumen, formerly Chilling Effects, is an American collaborative archive created by Wendy Seltzer and founded along with several law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to protect lawful online activity from legal threats. Lumen is a "project" of the Berkman Klein Center.[1] Its website, Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, allows recipients of cease-and-desist notices to submit them to the site and receive information about their legal rights and responsibilities. Founded in 2001 in San Francisco, California, it later moved its operations to Massachusetts.


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 20 September 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. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
  3. ^ Don Marti, "Google Begins Making DMCA Takedowns Public", Linux Journal (2002/4/12) (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. "WILL FAIR USE SURVIVE? Free Expression in the Age of Copyright Control". National Coalition Against Censorship. National Coalition Against Censorship. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Chilling Effects Announces New Name, International Partnerships". November 2, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Chilling Effects On Chilling Effects As DMCA Archive Deletes Self From Google". Techdirt.
  8. ^ "Copyright Alliance Attacks As 'Repugnant,' Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability". Techdirt.
  9. ^ "Lumen Announces New Features of the Database". Archived from the original on 2019-11-03. Retrieved 2019-09-30.

External links[edit]