Jesse’s short-lived victory


Self-proclaimed former Selous Scout David Israel Ben Jesse managed to have The Insider website shut down for just 30 hours before it was reinstated following strong representations from the publisher that he had no case and that it was unfair for the hosting company to shut down the site without giving The Insider a chance to defend its stories.

Jesse had complained to the hosting company that Education Minister David Coltart had “solicited a Mugabe journalist to publish false and fictitious information” about him, his wife and his two minor children.

He filed a the 21-page complaint with the hosting company after which it ordered The Insider to remove stories about Jesse within 48 hours or the site would be closed. The Insider insisted it could not remove the stories because Jesse’s complaints were baseless.

Jesse has now been asked to file a proper complaint proving his case.

An email sent to him by the hosting company read:

“We have been contacted by you in connection with alleged infringement by one of our customers of certain intellectual property rights allegedly owned by you.

“However, your notice you provided was inadequate and did not substantially comply with the notice provisions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the corresponding notice provisions set forth in our Terms of Service.

“In order to substantially comply with the DMCA and our TOS, you must send a “Proper Notice”, as defined below:

“Proper notice” contains the following:

  • a. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
  • b. Actual identification of the material you claim violates your copyright, or if there is more than one violation, a representative list.
  • c. Sufficient information to enable us to locate the material you claim infringes your copyright. Please include the URL, rather than a description of the content.
  • d. Information that enables us to contact you. Anonymous DMCA complaints will not be honored.
  • e. The following statement: “I have a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”
  • f. The following statement: “Under the penalty of perjury I state that the information contained in my complaint is accurate and I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright I claim is infringed.”

“As you may know, we are a web hosting company. We are not responsible for the content posted by our customers who create and place content on websites that we host. We further do not “monitor” the websites that we host or prescreen the content placed by our members on their sites. However, when we become aware of alleged illegal infringing activity by one of our customers on a hosted site, which would be a violation of our TOS governing the member sites, we take such situations seriously, investigate promptly, and take appropriate action. “

The Insider’s website was reinstated shortly afterwards.

This was a major victory for The Insider as way back in 2002 Jesse managed to get another United States organisation to stop syndicating Insider stories. He also managed to get Google to bar searches for stories on him. Jesse tried to stop The Africa Report from publishing stories by the editor of The Insider but he declined because the two had worked together for more than a decade.

The Insider will be publishing the stories that Jesse wanted killed from tomorrow.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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