Kickstarter now identifies intellectual property disputes

Late last week, I wrote about how Kickstarter was quietly removing projects from their site, despite claiming otherwise. The removed projects were replaced with a simple message stating: “Sorry, this project is no longer available.”

To date, at least 14 projects have been taken down in this way (Kicktraq has a good list). Most of the takedowns seem to be related to intellectual property disputes.

Commenting on the story in a piece for Wired, I suggested that Kickstarter should be more transparent when it comes to this issue:

Dan Misener, who runs Kickstarter project-tracking site The KickBack Machine, says Kickstarter should be clear about its policies, and provide a public explanation when it removes a project. “There’s a built-in public education opportunity here, and it would indeed be more transparent,” says Misener.

This morning, I was pleased to notice that for at least one removed project, Kickstarter is now being more transparent about why it was taken down. The project page for enclave eyewear: twenty&twenty line now looks like this:

Project is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and currently unavailable.

Rather than an opaque “Sorry, this project is no longer available” message, the text reads:

enclave eyewear: twenty&twenty line is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and currently unavailable.

No need to check the servers — the rest of Kickstarter is doing just fine.

Thanks for your patience.

This does look like progress, and kudos to Kickstarter for making the change.

But it still doesn’t address my initial concern that Kickstarter is saying one thing and doing another. They continue to remove projects from their site, yet their FAQ still claims that projects remain on their site “Forever! Projects are not closed or taken down, they remain on site for reference and transparency.”