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10 Years Later, Misunderstood DMCA Is the Law That "Saved the Web"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-perfect-the-understatement-of-the-year dept.

The Internet 205

mattOzan writes "On the tenth anniversary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [PDF], Wired Magazine posits that the DMCA should be praised for catalyzing the interactive '2.0' Web that we enjoy today. While acknowledging the troublesome 'anti-circumvention' provision of the act, they claim that any harm caused by that is far outweighed by the act's "notice-and-takedown" provision and the safe harbor that this provides to intermediary ISPs. Fritz Attaway, policy adviser for the MPAA weighed in saying 'It's not perfect. But it's better than nothing.'"

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205 comments

PERFECT? (-1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537777)

perfect to these anal warts would be making it legal to kick down random doors and seize peoples property without any due process at all. wait maybe it is perfect?

Safe Harbor made innovation work (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537783)

It's true, the notice-and-takedown is a bitch for the user but without the safe harbor that it provides, the service providers would do a lot more validation and the web 2.0 would not be so user oriented.
Now the DMCA applied to hardware makes me scream so it's not perfect but the safe harbor is one thing that they got right.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537809)

Now the DMCA applied to hardware makes me scream so it's not perfect but the safe harbor is one thing that they got right.

It would be righter if there were actual penalties for falsely sending a takedown when you don't have the authority to do so (you don't actually own the copyright to the material).

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537827)

There is - perjury. The problem is that nobody pursues it.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (5, Insightful)

DinkyDogg (923424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537941)

Since it's mostly massive corporations issuing the takedown notices against individuals, being able to pursue perjury charges in court is rarely feasible.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538001)

Pardon my legal ignorance, but isn't perjury a criminal rather than civil offense? Or at the very least, up to the state to prosecute rather than up to the individual?

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

yammosk (861527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538239)

... up to the state to prosecute rather than up to the individual?

If the state does not prosecute... your move...

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (0, Offtopic)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538491)

Yes, you are correct*...I think?!?!

Typically, perjury [wikipedia.org] is decided by a judge, in court, although it may be a civil or criminal case. (IANAL!)

*
The judge presiding has a lot of say as to whether a case deals with civil, or criminal law. It may start as a civil case that SEEMS civil, that turns into criminal jurisdictions as seen by that judge.

There are filters above this level to level out abuses:
appeals, challenges, etc.

Depending on the judge, and subsequent rulings on appeals, etc., it could go either way. Wacky shit.

Welcome to AmeriCorp, INC.

Those of us that care enough will resist, others will happily graze^Wgo their pointed out direction.

On that sarcastic note: (if you are gullible,Heh! Heh! if not, then disregard ...I've a bridge to EVERYWHERE for sale here in Oklahoma (not Arizona,...What does it matter?) REAL CHEAP, only 38 KhajillionBazillionThousandEleventyMillion Dollars, and 38 cents....price negotiable)

I'm calling it the "Sen. Ted 'da toobs' Stevens/Goatse Bridge to Everywhere"

P.S.
Sorry for the senseless rant. I got on a soapbox and found myself foaming at the mouth.

My sincere apologies. :-) And forgive/forget the Three Dog Night reference!

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (3, Informative)

FearForWings (1189605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537989)

Nobody prusues it because congress knew the clause was a joke when they made it a part of the law. I can not find one instance where perjury charges have been brought against false and/or purely malicious DMCA take-down notices. The reason being is that the DCMA being a federal law, your local/state DA doesn't care, and good luck getting the feds to ever go after corporate corruption, unless they aren't paying their taxes.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (5, Informative)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538065)

There is - perjury. The problem is that nobody pursues it.

Everyone misunderstands that clause. The penalty is not perjury if you don't own the copyright. The penalty is perjury if you didn't have a "good faith" belief that you own the copyright. So if you send your take-down to something that has a similar name to your movie, you can prove that you had a "good faith" believe that it was your movie, even if it was something else.

THAT is why nobody pursues it. It's almost impossible to prove that the person did committed perjury. They really need to fix that clause because, as it stands, it's completely toothless.

Perjury (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538141)

Perjury by the legal establishment and it's practitioners is given a nod and a wink. It is only perjury if you or I do it.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (5, Insightful)

DinkyDogg (923424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537931)

The DMCA allows anyone to issue a takedown notice of anything, without any proof that it's infringing, and requires the person who uploaded the content (or the accused, in cases of filesharing) to reveal his identity in order to contest the claim. Scientology has used this to censor criticism from those who want to remain anonymous. The RIAA uses it to bully college students who are better off taking the blame for copyright infringement even if they are innocent rather than revealing their identities so they can be sued without a subpoena. ISPs should not be liable for what their customers do with that connection at all. Why is the DMCA, which makes ISP liability contingent on responses such as "terminating repeat offenders" and taking down content without any proof of copyright infringement a good thing?

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (4, Interesting)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538047)

It is neither desirable nor easily practical to conceal the identity of the accused; in fact, it is desirable and practical for the opposite to happen.

What do you have against people being able to publicly confront their accusers and be confronted in turn?

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538183)

It is neither desirable nor easily practical to conceal the identity of the accused; in fact, it is desirable and practical for the opposite to happen.

What do you have against people being able to publicly confront their accusers and be confronted in turn?

What do you have against anonymous speech?

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538295)

What do you have against anonymous speech?

Absolutely nothing!

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (4, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538315)

It is absolutely critical, in many cases, to conceal the identity of the accused. Otherwise, political and satirical material, which is some of the most protected speech, may be blocked by fears of discovery for using completely 'Fair Use' quotes or video, and taken down immediately and with little recourse with fraudulent 'DMCA' notices.

Two laws. (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539093)


Trouble is, the DMCA is two laws rolled into one. On the one hand you have the way hosting sites such as Youtube are not held responsible for copyright violations of user-uploaded content so long as they immediately withdraw material on allegation of infringement. This is what the article is saying is responsible for current sites such as Youtube, MySpace and others. This is a supportable argument (i.e. you may or may not agree with it, but there is certainly a case to be argued). On the other hand, you have the restrictions on circumvention technology. An entirely distinct law that most people here would probably agree is far less supportable from the viewpoint of social good. Yet these two very different things have been rolled into one, probably to increase the chances of getting the latter part passed. This has the effect of making it much harder to evaluate or debate the DMCA law in the USA.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538209)

It would be righter if ISPs would honor rebuttal DMCA notices and put the content back up, as the DMCA requires.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537821)

nonsense. there is no safe harbor when a mere letter takes you offline with no burden of proof on the accuser. not only that but the dmca has been misused in courts to stifle competition. this should a dark day for us all.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537881)

who said it was safe harbor for you? it's safe harbor for the ones providing you service. as long as they turn you off at the mere accusation, they're safe.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (-1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537915)

and your ok with that??? what the fuck kind of moron are you?!?!?!

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (4, Insightful)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537999)

Well the alternative before the DMCA safe harbour is that sites like Youtube would be held accountable for every single copyright violation on them. Think about that for a moment before you go calling someone a moron. The DMCA is far from perfect but, as was previously stated, is better then nothing for certain cases.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538351)

Except the net was functioning just fine for many years before the DMCA with plenty of copyrighted data scattered around. It certainly helped a lot of the copyright holders(free advertising). All it did was turn copyright draconian. So what's the reason for it's existence again?

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538503)

And it was nowhere near as big or popular as now, and there was absolutely nothing like Youtube around.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538775)

as long as someone thinks the DMCA actually improves things i'll call them a moron. Lets get one thing straight, websites like youtube weren't ever responsible for content posted on them (nor should that have been) and you don't NEED the DMCA to make that happen. you certainly don't need the DMCA for that just as we don't need it being used by printer manufactures to shut down generic ink cart makers because they are circumventing some crappy content protection scheme.

it's a terrible shitty law so please stop this insane attempt at putting a positive spin on it.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538025)

The kind of moron who'd prefer to have big corporations blowing away individual websites whose content can be reposted anonymously than to have it such high liability to be an ISP that no-one can afford it? I know I'd prefer to be able to pay $5/month to have my simple website hosted than have to pay $50/month to cover the ISP's insurance in case someone posts a pop song on their personal site.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (3, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537855)

If there was no DMCA, we wouldn't need the safe harbor.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (4, Insightful)

jelton (513109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537967)

If there was no DMCA, we wouldn't need the safe harbor.

Except for that pesky Copyright Act of 1976.

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538165)

You are - I hope - aware that the DMCA only applies to the US. And there are indeed *some* developed countries outside the US and they provide content and platforms for your web 2.0 too!

Re:Safe Harbor made innovation work (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538439)

In many of those countries there have been serious issues with this. Various (e.g. German) Wikipedias have to be much more careful than the English edition since their contributors are mostly in their home countries. Look at the cases in Europe against Google's image cache and news headlines systems. I think these problems would have been much worse if there wasn't clear competition from the US which makes it clear to judges that if they make a stupid judgement, services will simply move offshore to companies which are fully out of their jurisdiction. When they make judgements, these have to be able to be applied in the real would and that means that to be able to control Web 2.0 they have to leave some space for it in their own legal system.

In other words, this is one of the few areas, possibly the only one in the area of intellectual restrictions, where the US has really been leading the world in a good way recently.

Not perfect, but not all bad. (1, Insightful)

phanboy_iv (1006659) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537795)

The anicircumvention things should go, certainly, and the illegal search-and-seziure stuff should be purged, but the article makes a good point. Without the explicit "fair use" bits, the Web wouldn't look like it does today.

"Journalism" Wired Style (5, Interesting)

devloop (983641) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537911)

TFA is a total fallacy, there is not even a weak attempt at justifying the conclusion
that the DMCA has had any sort of beneficial effects on technology, much less
"catalyzing the interactive '2.0' web".

There is as much of a cause/effect relationship between the two as
there is between the DMCA being enacted and my balls growing gray hairs the same year.

Here's a link to the definition of Non sequitur: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_sequitur_(logic) [wikipedia.org]

Just your typical lame eyeball whoring by Wired, nothing to see move along.

Re:"Journalism" Wired Style (1)

burris (122191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538213)

They aren't talking about interactive technology, they are talking about sites where users interact with each other by uploading content. If a site was on the hook for infringing material uploaded by their users then no site would be able to publish something without first vetting it. A site like YouTube couldn't exist, there is no possible way to clear hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded daily by people all over the world. All you would have are sites that publish exclusively from "content partners" like iTunes and Hulu.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537913)

This is ridiculous. We had fair use before the DMCA.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537927)

Without the explicit "fair use" bits, the Web wouldn't look like it does today.

Fair Use existed as US common law over a hundred years ago.

Without the DMCA, those (media) companies would have had to file lawsuits that would have quickly and explicitly carved out the limits of fair use, which would be good for us and not for them.

The DMCA did not give us, the end users, any benefit that I can see.
Even if you want to argue benefits, I don't think it will take much to show the negatives have far outweighed any positives.

One good bit wrapped in something awful... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538081)

Right you are. The only part about fair use in the DMCA is that it (allegedly) doesn't change it any.

Thought it does leave abuse-prone Notice & Takedown problems. Granted, the Safe Harbor in the law _is_ a huge help and I wouldn't want to give that up. But that doesn't mean that the Takedown procedures shouldn't be reformed (or removed).

So there's really only one good part of it: the Safe Harbor. If you ditched the rest of the bill tomorrow, I doubt anyone but the MAFIAA would miss it.

Which must be why they're singing its praises right now. I mean, it is an election season and they have clueless people to manipulate so that they'll think it's something wonderful.

But they always do stuff like that. They want us to see only the fava beans and chianti and ignore the rest of the bill they ordered...

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (1)

burris (122191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538333)

Without the DMCA, those (media) companies would have had to file lawsuits that would have quickly and explicitly carved out the limits of fair use, which would be good for us and not for them.

Without the DMCA, there wouldn't be any photo or video sharing sites, for instance. Every time one of their users lost one of those lawsuits the site would be on the hook for secondary infringement. Nobody would take that kind of risk. Sites would only publish stuff from "content partners" they could trust or maybe a small set of users they could conservatively moderate. Anyone foolhardy enough to ignore the risks would be snuffed out as soon as they got big enough to attract attention.

The DMCA did not give us, the end users, any benefit that I can see.

Sites like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, WordPress, Google, and hosting providers all rely on the safe harbors provided by the DMCA. That's an undeniable benefit for end users.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538573)

Forget about any kind of website relying on user-generated content. As far as I can tell, the laws on the books would've held websites liable for every incident of infringement - thus any user video website (Youtube) couldn't exist, Wikipedia possibly couldn't as well (numerous instances where content was plagiarized), blog hosting (any user posting copyrighted content could shut down the provider), etc.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (3, Insightful)

rakslice (90330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538701)

>Without the DMCA, those (media) companies would have had to file lawsuits that would have quickly and explicitly carved out the limits of fair use, which would be good for us and not for them.

I'm not sure I would trust the courts to make the right decisions about fair use when it comes to the Internet.

From the bits and pieces of US court rulings I've heard since the Internet gained popularity (~1993 to present), I've noticed a trend: When US courts are faced with cases involving technology they don't understand the details of, they sometimes ignore the existing well-established law that anyone familiar with the technology could see was obviously relevant and instead toss a coin and follow one party or another's 'creative' (i.e. off-the-wall) theories without anyone providing substantial arguments in support of any of the theories.

I can't remember every unquestioningly-accepted theory that has led me to this conclusion, but off the top of my head, the highlights are:
- Treating domain names as property
- Applying trademark restrictions to queries (e.g. DNS lookups and web searches)
- Deeming linking to a document to be the same as copying or distributing it
- More generally, assigning responsibility for actions automatically carried out by a computer to [any of: the computer's owner, operator, designer, manufacturer, programmer] without suggesting negligence or giving any other reason for this at all

In any case, all of this means that I'm a little uncertain where (or in what ballpark) a US court would put the boundaries for fair use on the Internet. =)

I'm not saying that the DMCA is the answer (it's about 180 degrees from it), but I think another law clarifying things for the courts was (and still is?) what is needed.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (2, Insightful)

rakslice (90330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538733)

Er... I meant to say that another law clarifying things for the courts is needed _in_the_US_. If you happen to live in a country where courts seem to be able to understand the details of new technology and figure out how existing law applies to it (*cough* http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/27/2134214 [slashdot.org] *cough*) then no special laws plz.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538731)

Fair Use existed as US common law over a hundred years ago.

He said "fair use" but he very obviously meant the Safe Harbor provision.

The DMCA did not give us, the end users, any benefit that I can see.

So you've never used YouTube, Flikr, etc.? Because they would all be shut down (ala. Napster) for contributory copyright infringement as soon as the first copyrighted and non-fair use material was uploaded to the respective sites.

Napster wasn't the only example, just the most well known and recognizable. Innumerable web sites were sued into oblivion before the DMCA... It was a free-for-all, with numerous sites trying to do such things, because as soon as any one was big enough to get noticed, it would disappear suddenly.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538789)

I suppose this entire thread could be killed by an analogy to World War Two and Hitler.

If it wore not for Hitler we would have no nuclear energy or computers today because those where products of that war. Does this give WWII or the Nazis a Good Light? I hope not.

These things would have come about on their own. As would the concept of Safe Harber, if Fair Use was proven insufficient. But there is more damage from DMCA that remains. The concept of Fair Use, which was quite suitable for centuries has been obliterated in less than a generation. The benefactors? Mostly the legal profession. Everyone else is paralyzed with the notion that anything they do might become a legal issue.

DMCA is preventing creativity from being developed and expressed because no one can afford legal costs in free software.

Re:Not perfect, but not all bad. (4, Insightful)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538519)

Hmmm, I somehow have this feeling that stating the whole of the web would look significantly different because of a single law in only one of the countries that are on that web, is a bit presumptious.

Darth Vader (0, Offtopic)

Konster (252488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537817)

"Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral. I want that ship, not excuses."

"Lord Vader, there nothing we can do, the ship is protected under the Digital Millennium Falcon Copyright Act."

"..."

Re:Darth Vader (2, Informative)

jelton (513109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538021)

Headline: 10 Years Later, Misunderstood DMCA Is the Law That "Saved the Web"

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices of anti-copyright extremists suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

-1, Troll (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537833)

This article is complete and utter bullshit.

How about we celebrate rape and murder too, while we're at it? After all, if it weren't for rape and murder, we wouldn't be living in this violence-free Utopia.

Re:-1, Troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538389)

I see you were just as excited as I was when the number of US casualties in Iraq exceeded the number of US dead in the World Trade Center bombing. And I bet the 300,000 or so Iraqi dead from the US invasion and occupation were equally excited at our bringing them a reign free of Hussein, free of violence, and free of terror.

Well... (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537835)

TFA basically says the DMCA could be much, much worse. True. Any law of this nature is going to piss someone off. Any law of this nature is going to be abused. Any law of this nature is going to contain something odious for someone.

But this is /., so cue the small-but-vocal crowd of hysterical anti-copyright trolls.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537921)

Have you ever had the need to copy a DVD? How about ripping a CD so you can use it on your portable media player? Perhaps you use VLC?

The DMCA makes all of these things illegal in the US. I'm very happy that your great saviour law that could be worse hasn't reached my country. Any law that makes everyone a criminal has no place in law.

Re:Well... (1)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537947)

Where do you live; and what are your nation's policies regarding immigration?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538083)

Canada. Truth be told, the DMCA is probably inevitable here. But we the people are fighting the good fight. As far as immigration goes, I have no idea. (but I will say, that music is free to download (but not upload) here, as we pay a small fee for every blank CD we buy)

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537997)

Have you ever had the need to copy a DVD?

only illegal under the DMCA if you're using DeCSS or similar to decrypt it first ("breaking a technological lock"). not all DVDs use CSS (although, yes, most do); and making a backup/archival copy of a DVD you own has not been shown to be illegal.

How about ripping a CD so you can use it on your portable media player?

again, only illegal if you're "breaking a technological lock". format-shifting for personal use is not explicitly illegal under DMCA or any other law.

Perhaps you use VLC?

only illegal when it breaks CSS to play a DVD -- again, "breaking a technological lock". if VLC does any other breaking of encryption, these uses are also illegal under DMCA. (but honestly, that's the only example i can think of.)

or maybe you're referring to the fact that VLC can be used to play formats protected by patents? if anything, that's not illegal to have, or to use, only illegal to distribute.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537943)

Quite right. Might I suggest Bill C-61 as an example of a worse DMCA?

Yes! It saved the web! (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537839)

I also credit my wife for her strict "anti-pr0n act". Being forced to keep such activities underground has allowed me a much more extensive viewing regimen.

On a more serious note, this analogous to the Boll Weevil Monument [wikipedia.org]. The Boll Weevil taught farmers about crop rotation, among other useful lessons.

Would someone mind doing a car analogy?

Re:Yes! It saved the web! (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537879)

The Internet is sort of like the internal combustion engine. And the DMCA ushered in a new era of flying, time-traveling, Mr. Fusion-powered DeLoreans.

Re:Yes! It saved the web! (4, Insightful)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537907)

How a 'bout a whac-a-mole(TM) analogy?

As a result of whacking the mole on the head with a mallet when it tries to pop up out of four of the five holes, the DMCA is responsible for the mole's successful appearance out of the last hole.

Re:Yes! It saved the web! (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538665)

Would someone mind doing a car analogy?

I can do a car analogy analogy...

It's like a car analogy. Even a good one is still bad and serves to confuse the issue more than it does enlighten people. And then you have everyone picking on your car analogy because they don't actually understand what an analogy is... "But a car has wheels! I don't understand."

Have you ever noticed that after you have used the word 'analogy' more than a few times you start to wonder if you spelled it right? And wonder if it's even a word in the first place?

Safe Herbor? (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537845)

Would that be the very safe harbor they are trying to remove in the new copyright law that's pending?

Because our ISPs totally need the protection (1, Informative)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537851)

any harm caused ... is far outweighed by the act's "notice-and-takedown" provision and the safe harbor that this provides to intermediary ISPs

Revenue:

Comcast [thestreet.com]
AT&T [pcworld.com]
Verizon [pcworld.com]

These billion-dollar companies are charging us exorbitant rates for service and still don't have enough balls to stand up to the other bullies on the block (ex. MPAA & RIAA)?

Re:Because our ISPs totally need the protection (3, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537877)

They have no financial incentive to defend you, and all past activities suggest they'd kick you to the curb and say "Use someone else for your ISP" regardless of whether or not that's possible.

I mean, do you really want Comcast fighting for your rights?

DMCA saved me (4, Interesting)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537857)

Being a Tor server operator, I get a couple copyright infringment letters and take down notices here and there...I just reference DMCA and they go away. Seems to work well.

flawed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25537859)

by that logic the european laws that banned jews from almost every profession except banking was a good thing because it made so many people richer for having a massive presence in the banking industry...

Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (4, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537869)

It's kind of like praising No Child Left Behind. Something like it was necessary, but did we have to have the result?

In an economy where knowledge, software, and creative work is paid for, you do have to have some legal protection for those works. Despite what some may wish, this isn't a Brave GNU World where everything is free as in give it all away. People want paychecks.

That said, what we desperately need is a system that both protects the copyright of these works, and allows common sense fair use for the end customer. We don't have that with a Wild West kind of no-copyright system, and we don't have that with the DMCA.

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (3, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537937)

your confused, GPL doesn't mean it has to be free. i can sell my work under the GPL and not provide public access to it at all, i just have to give the source to people who buy it off me that's all. remeber it's distribution that triggers the requirement for providing the source, nothing else.

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (3, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538187)

And they are then free to resell, or even to give away your work. All that hard work and the bastards are just giving it away for free!

Wait, maybe the GPL is about being free. (Free speech, and free beer. CentOS is the perfect example of the GPL in action. Even if RedHat already give away the source to everyone.)

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538269)

From the GNU FAQ:

"[I]f someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public."

So what's the difference?

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537945)

Critiquing something includes acknowledging its merits where they exist. You have to give credit where credit is due. It all plays back into making a "better" DMCA for the future.

Like the old adage: "You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater."

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538231)

In an economy where knowledge, software, and creative work is paid for, you do have to have some legal protection for those works.

What you need is a way to incite people to add something valuable to the public domain.

Some create for their own benefit and share for the betterment of all. Some create and set free to drive up demand for a product or service they offer. But often (not always!) someone needs to pay the creator.

Say, for the sake of argument, that we all get taxed some more, and the Science and Useful Arts Council hands out contracts (i.e. money) to worthy applicants to produce a work. Upon completion, the work enters the public domain.

Let's see: creators have a chance to get paid if they're good. The work is free for all to use.

It seems like you don't have to grant exclusivity of rights for any period of time before letting works enter the public domain.

Would this model work in practice? I'm not convinced. But it hasn't been shown that the all workable models require taking away peoples' rights.

Copyright is an employment program: it's about creating jobs in music, writing, programming and others. Its current mechanism is very old, and I think it would do us all well to consider new mechanisms.

-- Jonas K

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538479)

In an economy where knowledge, software, and creative work is paid for, you do have to have some legal protection for those works. Despite what some may wish, this isn't a Brave GNU World where everything is free as in give it all away. People want paychecks.

What about being paid for your labor, as plumbers, carpenters, cashiers, etc. are? They get paychecks without requiring anyone to police and ensure they paid over and over for the same work.

Re:Praising the DMCA is going a bit far (4, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538583)

In an economy where knowledge, software, and creative work is paid for, you do have to have some legal protection for those works. Despite what some may wish, this isn't a Brave GNU World where everything is free as in give it all away.

The question is: if such protections didn't exist, and every piece of "intellectual property" would thus be created either because someone wanted to or someone wanted it to exist enough to pay someone else to make it, would the world be better or worse off ?

People want paychecks.

At this point, I wonder if we'd be better off by repealing the copyright laws and simply paying the MAFIAA an annual "protection" cost equal to its current profits. The MAFIAA would get its paycheck, we'd end up paying less money overall due to less waste, and get rid of the perverting effects the copyright cartels have on our society and technology (such as DRM). It would be a net win for everyone.

That, or we could simply point out that people wanting to be paid doesn't mean that they should be. Unless, of course, I'm entitled to be paid every time someone views this comment.

To be fair (5, Informative)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537917)

The DMCA is an umbrella act of at least five different acts (well, four and a few miscellaneous stuff). The article's praise is for the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act, whereas most of the criticism over the past decade is actually aimed at the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act.

Re:To be fair (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538681)

Could I have one, only one, example of "2.0 website" that could not have existed without the DMCA ? Because I have a bunch of examples of websites that could not exist because of it.

Draconian Media Copyright Act (5, Insightful)

SickFreak (578067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25537981)

I've always felt like the DMCA is like an authority figure that tries to sound lenient by saying, "You know, we could have made it a lot worse..." or "Aren't you thankful you can still have your toys/music?"

Not one user ever says, Gee, I wish that today I could do *less* with my music today than I could yesterday.

The DMCA is a corporation-driven, draconian rule that is abused on both sides, by the enforcers and the afflicted. Increased government regulation is rarely the answer to any of our societal/economic ills, much less so in the case of digital media.

A completely different DMCA could have worked, too (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538033)

A variant of the DMCA that merely granted ISPs the safe-harbor in exchange for identifying who placed the content online, and required a court order from a federal judge for a takedown, would have worked just as well in terms of enabling content hosting providers like YouTube. The RIAA and MPAA would certainly have not liked it. So while the safe-harbor aspect of the DMCA certainly had its benefits, other aspects of the DMCA clearly do not.

It's time to make some revisions on the DMCA, such shortening the takedown period, and requiring a federal judge's temporary restraining order to extend it. There should also be a minimum base damage liability for a false or fraudulent takedown (I propose $250 per day). Thus, even for individuals not making any money from content, there is something to recover from all those embarrassing days their content was gone. There should also be $25 processing fee paid to the ISPs per takedown. No more freebies.

I'm sure a lot of people reading this would argue that it should just go away. Well, that is very unlikely to happen.

Re:A completely different DMCA could have worked, (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538841)

If there should be a processing fee, then that fee should be paid by the accused if the content is found to be infringing.

Impossible to gauge? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538069)

Despite the problems and abuses, it's impossible to gauge what the internet landscape would look like today had it not been for the DMCA

Er, you could look at the Internet landscape found in other countries that didn't have a DMCA-style law in 1998.

Responsible for Web 2.0? (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538079)

So if not for a draconian law that takes away fair use rights and introduces excessive and harsh penalties for minor infringements, we wouldn't have a buzzword laden technique for dynamically changing the content on a web page withuot a full refresh.

I don't think I've heard anything this absurd, even on slashdot, in quite some time.

(And yes I know I've over-simplified, but come on people!)

Re:Responsible for Web 2.0? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538241)

we wouldn't have a buzzword laden technique for dynamically changing the content on a web page withuot a full refresh.

The two-point-oh-ness is in the back-button-breaking communication with the server without doing a refresh. We've had javascript that could muck around with the page for some time now.

-- Jonas K

Re:Responsible for Web 2.0? (2, Insightful)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538327)

User-generated content would not have had a place to flourish if it were not for the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. You'd have a hard time arguing with that. Any person who is not a member of of the **AA agrees that many of the copyright infringement rules included in it are crap. But it is certainly plausible to argue that benefit of user-generated content outweighed the impacts of draconian rules on DeCSS, etc.

Re:Responsible for Web 2.0? (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538347)

User-generated content would not have had a place to flourish if it were not for the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

Funny, I remember plenty of content before the DMCA came into force.

There, that wasn't hard to argue at all now was it?

Re:Responsible for Web 2.0? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538361)

Imagine a world without the DMCA, where videos mocking the business school graduates and advertising people who came up with 'Web 2.0' could have discredited it and left it dead on the vine. Imagine all the dancing bears, freed from their pointless jobs of serving Web 2.0 applications for no other reason than to make the demo look interesting. Imagine a world where IP lawyers have to actually win their case to get paid, instead of being 'big stick' used by people to harass those who cannot afford to have such big sticks as part of their corporate staff. Imagine, indeed.

I don't know about you... (2, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538123)


I don't know about you, but for me it says a lot that the mere fact that any law is being backed by a MPAA policy advisor makes me distrust it more.

illogical. (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538235)

The article contains a serious flaw in logic. Given the legal environment of the DMCA, if the internet we have now is a Good Thing, then how does that imply that the DMCA is the cause, without considering how much potentially better things could have been instead?

This kind of false rationalization is neither legitimate news reporting, nor is it respectful of those who have fought against the abuses of a poorly conceived and implemented law.

After all, it's a bit like saying that because my car got towed yesterday, I wasn't able to get into a car accident. That I had no car to wreck does not mean I am better off for having it towed--in fact, it is very probable the time and money I spent to retrieve it could have gone to something much more rewarding and useful.

Sweet Irony (3, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538263)

Sounds like the typical "I've done nothing wrong" diatribe of a man who refuses to admit a mistake despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary: http://www.google.com.au/search?q=bogus+dmca [google.com.au]

I'm not impressed, and since I'm outside of the US, I've a good mind to make a bogus DMCA complaint to Wired's Teleco and get the apologist's blog taken down.

Jumped the shark (1)

srh2o (442608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538271)

I know Wired has long since jumped the shark, but with this one they landed in the tank.

-1 troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538309)

What other piece of legislatrue allows you to remove youtube videos you don't like?

It's not perfect. But it's better than nothing? (3, Interesting)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538475)

I have to really wonder about this. The DMCA only applies within US borders. Piracy is alive and well. There is thepirate bay, somewhat lame video sites tudou.com and youku.com, and I can still find a ton of infringing material on Youtube. I can't for example upload a 20 second clip that Sony owns an interest in without it getting pulled based on keywords. I've had to deal with offline storage sites that to be fair take a takedown notice as license to terminate an account period without resolve.

Without the DMCA I have to wonder if the web would still be the wild wild west of 2000, and if so would it actually be better. Piracy is pretty damn good advertising.

It isn't perfect! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538569)

In fact it's far from perfect. The "Safe Harbor" provisions are useful but really badly implemented.

Since we all agree that it isn't perfect perhaps it could be made a little better. Something like providing notice and allowing time for a response before the takedown.

Where Was the Democratic Process (3, Insightful)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539047)

The MPAA's Attaway, who calls himself the lobbying group's "old man" for his 33 years of service, recalls that the DMCA was a compromise from the start. "The ISPs wanted safe harbor provisions in return for their support for the anti-circumvention provisions, which was one of the major and most important compromises in this legislation," he says. "It's not perfect. But it's better than nothing."

This MPAA lawyer speaks of a compromise between themselves and ISPs. As if they are the only parties involved.

What about the 300 million actual human bodies that the politicians are supposed to represent? Attaway knows what the MPAA and the ISPs wanted. Does he have a clue what the actual human beings wanted? Did congress?

Evidently the MPAA has successfully convinced Washington that those humans should be considered as "customers" and not "voters".

The article gives unfair credit to Bill (0, Flamebait)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539119)

From the article: "President Clinton signed into law exactly a decade ago Tuesday."

Well good job Bill! (cheers). By the way, you're the same joker who signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed a portion of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (forbidding banks from speculating in stock markets), and thereby caused the current housing mess & rampant bank failures of 2007-8 and approximately 1.5 trillion in taxpayer bailouts to the rich fat cats on Wall Street (corporate welfare).

Nice job there ol' buddy.

thank goodness (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539169)

my interactive web 2.0 was catalysed in time. i just dont know what i would do if the DMCA hadn't made the web safe for scientology.
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