Feeds

EFF accuses Warner of spamming DMCA takedown notices

Computerized checking misses the mark

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has accused Warner Brothers Entertainment of using a flawed computer program to send out takedown notices without proper oversight.

The claims were made in an amicus curiae (friend of the court) filing in the ongoing legal battles between the entertainment industry and Hotfile, which distributes content that is often illegally shared. In 2011, the MPAA sued Hotfile and its owner Anton Titov, who promptly countersued Warner for requesting media takedowns of content to which it did not own the rights, under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Much of the legal battle is still sealed, but according to the brief, Warner has acknowledged that the notices were sent out incorrectly, saying they were mistakes churned out by the software while searching for content. The EFF brief points out that such practices are barred under the terms of the DMCA.

"The law requires the sender of a takedown notice has to have a good-faith belief that their copyright is being infringed," Mitch Stoltz, staff attorney at the EFF told The Register. "The system they are using appears to only be looking at file names, and sending out notices with no human review of the requests, or even an automated review of the file in question."

In essence, the EFF claims, Warner is attempting to set a precedent that would allow DMCA takedown notices to be used for competitive advantage. By being able to blame the whole thing on computer error, companies would have a "perverse incentive to dumb-down the process," the brief reads.

The EFF points out that over a third of takedown notices received by Google are false, and warns the problem will get worse if Warner wins this point. Based on some of the practices with takedowns El Reg has seen, the EFF has a point. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.