EFF accuses Warner of spamming DMCA takedown notices
Computerized checking misses the mark
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. ®
Re: Oh, well, that's okay then.
So you would be happy serving 20 years hard time for a murder you didn't comit as long as 2 real murderers went down too? Same principle.
I really really really wish people like you could be held to your own standards. It would at least get you off the streets and optimally out of the gene pool!
Drive Warner crazy
Upload random, uncopyrighted files with names such as "X-Men", "Black Swan", "[whatever is hot at the cinema at the moment]" then cite them for DMCA violations. Wonder how long it would take before they implode.
I always wondered.
What if I record myself washing dishes, named the file "not The Avengers (2012).avi" and seeded it on a Bittorrent site. Wouldn't Warner have to download and "share" my file to be able to even check what is was, wouldn't they be in violation of my copyright while they were checking for their own? If they would be innocent of crime because they were checking for the own content, couldn't one of the poor bastards being sued by them claim that he has an irrational fear of someone trying to share his own files under false names, and therefore needs to check EVERY file on the internet and make sure it's not his. After all, that's exactly what Warner is doing.