Feeds

EFF accuses Warner of spamming DMCA takedown notices

Computerized checking misses the mark

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
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
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.