If I understand correctly, the "right to be forgotten" legislation and related efforts allows a content owner (human) to prevent derived works from being displayed in a search engine about themselves.

Suppose we simplify the problem a bit, and I were to create an alias/A.K.A. for myself. Is there any way I can copyright, license, or publish unique content under this pseudonym that allows me to arbitrarily or wholly revoke discussion about that content?

For example, the corporate personhood of Apple prohibits discussion and derivative works regarding their private and internal API's. None of these topics are visible on Google, even there are underground websites that discuss such content. How can an individual leverage similar rights?


What legal frameworks allow me to publish unique and original content that also gives me the legal authority to:

  1. Remove that content from search results with the broadest international law support (in whole, or part)

  2. Remove that content from the republisher, or derived work (DCMA takedown equivalent)

I'm guessing the right tools is some combination of Copyright, IP licensing, and NDA.

I am unsure if the recipient/3rd party observer must consent to these terms of use prior to reading the content.

Is there any example of how this would be done in practice?

  • @Dawn, what prohibits fair use? A mutual NDA? That term is what I'm looking for May 24, 2016 at 17:05
  • I'll write this up as an answer...
    – user3851
    May 24, 2016 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


One big hole in any scheme that relies on copyright is that it could not preclude people talking about the previous content or talking about you. This is well established First Amendment law. For example, see Near v. Minnesota 283 U.S. 697 (1931), which holds that except in rare judicially established exceptions (relating to military information, obscenity, and inciting acts of violence), government censorship is unconstitutional. Thus, no statutory scheme could be used to prevent third parties who happened to have seen the material while it was freely available from re-iterating what they had seen, or talking about it, or talking about the author (you).

People could even reproduce portions of the published content. Some types of reproduction would be protected as fair use in the US, especially if the reproduction is for the purpose of criticism. (17 USC 107, and this previous Law.SE answer)

The closest approach would be to protect your work as trade secret, making sure that anyone that you share it with agrees to non-disclosure. But, if you "publish unique content under this pseudonym" there is no way to "arbitrarily or wholly revoke discussion about that content". If the cat gets out of the bag, while you may have remedies against the person who violated the non-disclosure agreement, you would not be able to prevent third-party discussion or reproduction.

  • Thank you. On a similar note, there any way to prevent 3rd parties from publishing sensitive information about an individual, such as medical records, a SSN, thumbprints, a DNA sample, or other PII? I'm in the computer security industry and looking to apply a novel technical solution together with (hopefully) some legal teeth May 24, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    @LamonteCristo That's better asked as a full separate question, for each of those types of things. There are statutes but these vary from state to state and apply differently to each of those things.
    – user3851
    May 24, 2016 at 21:30

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