Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Victims Fight Back Against DMCA Abuse

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hey-not-so-fast dept.

Censorship 111

Cadence writes "The DMCA is being used a lot recently to demand takedowns of all sorts of content on the Internet. But how many of those DMCA-fueled demands are abusive? Lately, some victims of takedown demands have begun to fight back with the help of the EFF, including some against Viacom: 'Finally, a Viacom executive admitted last month that less than 60 of his company's 100,000 takedown requests to YouTube were invalid. John Palfrey of Harvard's Berkman Center wonders what rights those 60 people have? We may find out. The EFF called for people who had videos pulled inappropriately to contact the group, though the EFF tells The National Law Journal that it cannot comment on its future legal plans. One of the reasons companies misuse the DMCA and cease-and-desist copyright letters is that the tools can quickly accomplish what they want to have happen; stuff they don't like goes bye-bye in a hurry. When the alternative is moving slowly through the court system, letters look like an excellent alternative.'"

cancel ×

111 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Poll Troll Toll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379539)

What's better...

DMCA Abuse [impoll.net]
Drug Abuse [impoll.net]
Sex with a mare [impoll.net]

Since Viacom can sue Google... (1)

Mizled (1000175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379571)

Since Viacom can sue Google for 1,000,000,000. Then each of those 60 people should be able to sue Viacom for 1,000,000,000. That'll show them.

Sue Google, you mean. (2, Informative)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380005)

Actually, the user should probably sue Google in this case. Viacom is only liable if it's a bad-faith notice or improperly field; an honest mistake where they actually believed that it was infringing on their IP rights is permissible.

*Google/YouTube*, on the other hand, is only shielded from a lawsuit by the uploader if the takedown procedure was followed and Google/YouTube notifies the uploader in a timely fashion and accepts and properly handles any valid counter-notification letter provided by the uploader before the deadline expires. If they didn't notify the uploader, their bad -- not Viacom's. If the subscriber was notified but failed to send a proper counter-notification letter, no lawsuit. Well, one more case -- if the subscriber was notified, sent a valid letter, and Viacom followed up with a lawsuit against the individual -- OK, then Google/YouTube is shielded from subscriber suits.

Viacom should get the brunt.... (3, Insightful)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380577)

What about that was Google/YouTube's fault? If they are served with a take down notice, they have to take it down. If they delay they can face huge lawsuits for not acting in a timely manner. All YouTube did was obey the law, a law that is being abused far to often and abused in this instance. If my content was taken down, I would go after Viacom for filing an unlawful take down, since they have to claim ownership of my material to use the take down. There are two fronts here, on one side Viacom violated the law by using the DMCA on material that was not their own, and on the other, they infringed on the rights and free will of the people who's material they had taken down. They are just trying to use the same tactics the RIAA uses when they attack a massive group of individuals and don't care about collateral damage. In this case, just like the fail RIAA lawsuits, the collateral damage has a chance to fight back.

Re:Sue Google, you mean. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381363)

Uh... Its a free video upload site. Why would anyone cry that much over a deleted video?

Re:Sue Google, you mean. (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381415)

Depends what it is. I could see an uploader being pissed if it's

(a) his content, and
(b) he's deliberately uploading it there for a promotional effort -- like teasers for content he's offering for $

60 out of 100,000? (4, Insightful)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379577)

He says they made fewer than 60 mistakes out of 100,000 notices? I'd say that's pretty good... it's a 0.06% error. Any system is going to have mistakes, but it seems like they've worked out bugs and they're doing a good job.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379595)

I thought the same thing, I doubt a human would have such a low failure rate.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379717)

I thought the same thing, I doubt a human would have such a low failure rate.
Why wasn't a human reviewing each of the videos? If a human was reviewing the videos for which takedown notices were sent, how did they not notice the obvious, such as parody clips featuring different actors?

Whether it's 60 of 100, 60 of 100,000 or 60 of 1x10^9, those 60 are still abuses of the DMCA and should be treated as such, including liability for Viacom.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380159)

If somebody's uploading entire TV series -- and this does happen -- episode by episode, breaking down each into pieces, and accurately describing them -- it doesn't really seem necessary to watch each individual piece. Identify the bulk-uploader, take a look at a couple, flag the entire series of uploads as infringing.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380255)

If somebody's uploading entire TV series -- and this does happen -- episode by episode, breaking down each into pieces, and accurately describing them -- it doesn't really seem necessary to watch each individual piece. Identify the bulk-uploader, take a look at a couple, flag the entire series of uploads as infringing.
I disagree. If each upload is to be treated as a separate violation of the DMCA, then it is the responsibility of the organization filing the takedown notice to ensure that each upload is, in actuality, infringing.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380785)

said by someone whose IP is not infringed every few seconds.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383039)


said by someone whose IP is not infringed every few seconds


Or someone who values free speech over profits.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381487)

I disagree. If each upload is to be treated as a separate violation of the DMCA, then it is the responsibility of the organization filing the takedown notice to ensure that each upload is, in actuality, infringing.

Or watch a handful, establish that they are by and large infringements and flag them all. What judge is going to complain that you flagged 90 videos of 'Different Strokes' when 2 were some guy's backyard stunt video? You've already established a pattern of behavior.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382511)

If you want to cut corners and save costs by not reviewing each video, I don't mind -- just be prepared for the liability stemming from the ones you took down in error. I'm sure you can establish optimal review rates, it's a very simple calculation.

Oh, and patterns of behavior -- they don't count for much in court.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (2, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381653)

Because even if it takes the reviewer 1 minute to decide on each upload, those 100,000 videos would take 1,666 hours to review. And if they sit on YouTube for a week, all the pirates will have downloaded them already. To get them reviewed in one work day it would take 208 people. And you think those 208 people are going to have less than a 0.06% error rate?

Re:60 out of 100,000? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382481)

Immaterial. They should still have the burden of positive validation of infringement before taking action under the DMCA, and liability for failing to meet that requirement.

And your calculation is way off, since there are not 100,000 per work day.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382187)

Because Google can take your video down if you fart. As a legal matter, they probably take the videos down because a take down was initiated, without any concern over legitimacy; they don't really benefit by 'going to bat for the little guy', and it would actually cost them money to do a proper review, so if they get a notice, down it goes. Not to comply with the DMCA, but to avoid the cost of dealing with it.

If you were paying an isp and something similar happened, well, that would be different wouldn't it?

It's not Google. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382637)

Viacom should be the one required to review them, and the little guys (and Google) should be able to sue Viacom for these mistakes.

Re:It's not Google. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382661)

My point was that even if Google could sue Viacom for the mistakes, they would just go ahead and take the videos down anyway; it's the least expensive thing they can do, and basically shields them from any and all liability. The little guy gets 'screwed' out of free video hosting.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379613)

He says they made fewer than 60 mistakes out of 100,000 notices? I'd say that's pretty good

      No he only admitted to 60 mistakes... it's not the same.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379775)

No he only admitted to 60 mistakes... it's not the same.
Isn't that worse?
They knew or now know (to be determined in court) that those 60 did not infringe on their copyright.

You'd think a well written DMCA law would lay out what the consequences/penalties are in those situations.

If they knew about it and went ahead anyways, that's worse than accidentally DMCAing some videos & discovering post-facto that it was a mistake.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379917)

If they knew about it and went ahead anyways, that's worse than accidentally DMCAing some videos & discovering post-facto that it was a mistake.

If you RTFA, it's pretty obvious that the latter is the case. Obviously you weren't going to do that, but even so I don't understand how you concluded that "mistakes" means intentional abuse.

I swear... (4, Informative)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379961)

You'd think a well written DMCA law would lay out what the consequences/penalties are in those situations.

"I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is infringed."

Re:I swear... (3, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380515)

Yet another reason to invoke the corporate death penalty. We must demand revocation of corporate charters if we are ever to see a turnaround. We give them this authority. Time to it back, or progress will remain up against a brick wall, and groups like Viacom will own exclusive access to all sensory inputs...if Microsoft didn't get there first.

If there is to be any conviction for perjury in this case, it will be some some poor, mid-level bastard who was convinced he was doing the "right thing" who will take the fall. The people who arrange all this will walk away very rich indeed.

Re:I swear... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382237)

You are basically asserting that if we got rid of corporations that we would end up with a better class of person. The middle level guy is either a fool or prefers to risk the consequences to keep his job. The people running the corporation would always do whatever they could to exploit other people. Corporations are only capable of doing what the people working for them are willing to do.

Re:I swear... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382845)

Not all corporations, just the ones that engage in criminal actions. And I do believe the mid-level guy should "hang" also along with the officers. The slap on the wrists they receive now is a sad joke, and it's on us. It is we who have to reclaim our authority. We must dictate the conditions of the sale. We should do it consciously with our currency. But since a tiny minority control the majority of the money, we must use other methods to set the rules. One would be to vote for a government more sympathetic toward the citizenry as opposed to big business.

Re:I swear... (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18385219)

"One would be to vote for a government more sympathetic toward the citizenry as opposed to big business."

Are those things necessarily in opposition?

Re:I swear... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383455)

If there is to be any conviction for perjury in this case, it will be some some poor, mid-level bastard who was convinced he was doing the "right thing" who will take the fall. The people who arrange all this will walk away very rich indeed.
Pssst, "if there is to be any conviction for perjury in this case, it will be some some" guy who signed the dotted line on the takedown notice.

That's the wonderful thing about legal notices, someone has to sign it & that person (&/or their lawyer) can directly be held accountable. BTW - you can always sue that person's boss & employer and let the court sort it out if you think they directed "some poor, mid-level bastard" to do their bidding.

Re:I swear... (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380643)

You'd be surprised how infrequently anyone is prosecuted for perjury.

It's very rare in civil cases & TFA suggests that VIACOM is only learning about these non-infringers when they tell YouTube that they did not infringe.

I think increasing the cost of a DMCA takedown notice would resolve the issue. Add an automatic 'you were wrong' penalty if anyone sends out more than X notices or some other arbitrary criteria.

It'll only hit the people pumping out the takedowns and (if the penalty is large enough) will force them to do something more than robo-checks of the alleged infringing material.

Re:I swear... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381397)

There needs to be something to stop takedown notices from people who dont like what you have hosted as well.

I've gotten one or two but I've been able to fend them off mainly because I use dedis.
I've heard of people on shared hosting where the files just get deleted without warning.
It scares the shit out of shared hosts.

Re:I swear... (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382295)

If it's a DMCA takedown notice, for immunity (from the uploader, not the one claiming infringement) the service provider is supposed to notify the uploader so that the uploader can file a counter-notice. At that point, it's between the uploader and the one alleging infringement.

Re:I swear... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383841)

"You'd be surprised how infrequently anyone is prosecuted for perjury."

Tell that to Scooter Libby... ;)

Re:I swear... (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18385129)

You'd be surprised how infrequently anyone is prosecuted for perjury.

Even in criminal cases where someone has blatantly lied...

I think increasing the cost of a DMCA takedown notice would resolve the issue.

e.g. Getting rid of the whole idea and requring a "court injunction" before any "takedown" happens.

Re:I swear... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383191)

So the person who has had the rights infringed by Viacom, does not have to sue, all they have to do is file a complaint and their local law enforcement agency will pursue Viacom for perjury, and whom ever was silly enough to sign the DMCA take down notice will have a nice little rest in their local federal hotel.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

snaz555 (903274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380139)

No he only admitted to 60 mistakes... it's not the same.

It means 60 out of 100,000 were able to conclusively prove their innocence.

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379617)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If you don't know Clarus from Carl Sagan, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real Mac users. Keep your filthy PC fingers to yourself.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379649)

What kind of user uses Mac anyway? Maybe the BeOS people will tolerate them.

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379965)

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real Mac users.
Do real Mac users know how to stay on topic?

Re:ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18382507)

Keep your filthy PC fingers to yourself.

Aw, c'mon, it's just a little stink-finger from your girlfriend. Although she did call me a dirty, dirty boy, so maybe, I guess.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (2, Interesting)

PhoenixFire213 (839961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379635)

Who said they were mistakes? They only said they were invalid ;)

Re:60 out of 100,000? (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379637)

Yeah, unless you're one of the sixty.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379689)

He says they made fewer than 60 mistakes out of 100,000 notices?
Yes, according to an unsourced slashdot story, an unnamed viacom executive made this claim in some context, at an unspecified time.

That's good enough for me! The system works!

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

JcMorin (930466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380477)

1,000,000,000 for 100,000 videos... this means 10 000$ each videos. They should sue them for 600 000$ at least!

Re:60 out of 100,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380527)

So if someone only gets into a car accident 0.06% of the time they should be given a free ride?!

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380529)

But if you're one of those 60, that's 100% of you.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

jagspecx (974505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380661)

He says they made fewer than 60 mistakes out of 100,000 notices? I'd say that's pretty good... it's a 0.06% error. Any system is going to have mistakes, but it seems like they've worked out bugs and they're doing a good job.

Ohhhh... you're not going to like it when your company tries to roll out Six Sigma.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18381085)

wait until it's your head on the chopping block with 60 other people, and then come back and tell us it's not a big deal. the biggest problem with people is that a problem doesn't exist until it effects you, then it is the biggest problem in the world and you can't understand why no one cares.

i wonder what it cost those people, who were probably hard working people that didn't have ample funds for a lawyer.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383253)

the biggest problem with people is that a problem doesn't exist until it effects you, then it is the biggest problem in the world and you can't understand why no one cares.

And let us remember that this works both ways.

The problem is ... (2, Informative)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381469)

That they are committing a crime when they send a DMCA takedown request for content that they don't own the copyright. 1 is too many. Its like saying I drive sober 100,000 times in my life so i shouldn't get in trouble for the 60 times that i drive drunk. Perjury is a crime and our legal system should not ignore it. Hell just ask scooter libby about perjury .

The statute also establishes procedures for proper notification, and rules as to its effect. (Section 512(c)(3)). Under the notice and takedown procedure, a copyright owner submits a notification under penalty of perjury, including a list of specified elements, to the service provider's designated agent.

DMCA Text [copyright.gov]

Re:The problem is ... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381863)

Frankly, if they're doing something to make it right, I don't think it's all that big a deal. If they aren't then it's a problem.

In any case, I can't really get outraged over a few mistakes, particularly when Viacom is just protecting their rights. I know that's not a popular sentiment around here, but that means nothing to me. I can't get caught up in the 'corporations must act perfectly, but individuals can do whatever asshole things they want as long as their victims are rich' mentality. The rich aren't naturally evil. The 'poor' aren't naturally noble. And free entertainment is not a moral high ground.

Re:The problem is ... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381961)

Its like saying I drive sober 100,000 times in my life so i shouldn't get in trouble for the 60 times that i drive drunk.

No, it's like saying that a cop pulls over people he thinks are driving drunk 100,000 times, and 60 of those times it turned out they were sober. That's pretty good policing.

Re:The problem is ... (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383819)

Pulling over someone that you suspect of dui is a crime? You're analogy fails. Sending a DMCA notice for content you don't own is a crime. Its funny how people overlook crimes because its some big business thats committing them.

Re:60 out of 100,000? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18385077)

He says they made fewer than 60 mistakes out of 100,000 notices? I'd say that's pretty good... it's a 0.06% error.

He has admitted to the 60. There's no way to know how many of the other 99,940 might also be mistakes. Also he has an interest in mimimising the number of "mistakes" admitted to. The "error rate" would depend on how many of the 100,000 requests involve a good chance that there is infringement of Viacom's copyright.

Here's one improperly pulled video (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379655)

Here's One video that was improperly pulled [typophile.com] (it was a parody, not a copy, and most definitely not someone rebroadcasting a Viacom segment without permission).

And, yes, I do think Viacom has a right to defend their copyrights, but pulling parodys is clearing going too far.

Re:Here's one improperly pulled video (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379993)

Well, the DMCA does have a counter notifaction mechanism. It's not very good but it does limit the harm done by malicious or mistaken takedown notices.

Round and round the mullberry bush? (1)

Dunghopper (323267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380341)

Well, the DMCA does have a counter notifaction mechanism.
It seems this is, at least in part, the means by which Viacom has detected the 50 mistakes "so far".

Says Michael Fricklas:

... we're achieving an error rate of .05% - (we have under 60 errors so far)... we'll know more as users respond to communication from YouTube.
Also FTA:

Mr. Fricklas asserts that "Under DMCA, I believe that YouTube needs to retain the material and repost it if an individual believes that the copyright notice was in error."
If all it takes is a 'counter-notification' to get the content back up, why doesn't everyone just throw back a counter-notification, pending a counter-counter-notification, ad infinitum?

Re:Round and round the mullberry bush? (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380451)

If all it takes is a 'counter-notification' to get the content back up, why doesn't everyone just throw back a counter-notification, pending a counter-counter-notification, ad infinitum?

It doesn't quite work like that:)

After a counter notification, the submitter has taken full responsibility for the legality of the work, and authorises YouTube to give contact details to the complainant. And further takedowns must be ignored by YouTube. The dispute is now between the poster and the complainant.

Re:Round and round the mullberry bush? (5, Informative)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380763)

If all it takes is a 'counter-notification' to get the content back up, why doesn't everyone just throw back a counter-notification, pending a counter-counter-notification, ad infinitum?
17 USC Sec. 512 [cornell.edu] is not worded recursively. User uploads content to system or network controlled or operated by Service Provider. Copyright Owner sends take-down notification to Service Provider alleging that content uploaded by User infringes valid copyright. At that point User can send counter-notification to Service Provider stating that material was taken down as a result of mistake (perhaps of law) or misidentification of material. Service Provider forwards a copy of the counter-notification to Copyright Owner. At this point, Copyright Owner can do nothing, in which case the material must be posted back within 10-14 business days of receipt of the counter-notification. The only way to prevent re-posting of the material is for Copyright Owner to file suit against User and to then notify Service Provider. There is no counter-counter-notification---just a lawsuit.

Still, contrast this with the European Union's takedown procedures, laid out in Directive 2000/31/EC [eu.int] , Article 14(b), which limits the liability of a provider who "upon obtaining... knowledge or awareness [of illegal activity or information], acts expeditiously to remove or to disable access to the information." As one blogger put it, "the main difference between the U.S. and the EU on matters of notice and takedown is that the EU removes all of the formalities that exist under U.S. law and, with them, all of the protections." [plagiarismtoday.com]

MINUS 3, TROLL) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18379787)

similarly 6risly

Typo (1)

Tyrsenus (858934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379845)

"less than 60 of his company's 100,000 takedown requests to YouTube were invalid."

I think you mean VALID rather than invalid if you're trying to make a point against DCMA.

How many would we think are questionable (2, Interesting)

timias1 (1063832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379909)

If Viacom admits to 60 out of 100,000 blatantly obvious misuses of the takedown notice, I wonder how many could be considered questionable by society at large. It would interesting metric to see how far from the center Viacom thinks.

FT (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18379953)

Who found these 100,000 videos? Do they have people watching videos on youtube full time?

Re:FT (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380017)

Probably a script that searched youtube by titles of their copyrighted media and then saved the url for some unlucky intern to watch and flag for copyrighted content.

Re:FT (2, Informative)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380121)

Same way the users are likely to find them. Search. Subscriptions. Channels. And realizing that a single uploader may be responsible for a large number of obviously infringing videos -- if he's uploading entire seasons of television shows, with multiple parts per episode, labeled as such, it's probably unnecessary to watch every single video that matches the pattern.

I just tried a search for 'season episode'. 21,500 results reported. The first page includes 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. I look at the user's page -- Yoshi118. He's listed the episodes he's uploaded and appears to post a bulletin on next uploads. If it's easy for users to find, why would it be difficult for Viacom to find?

Re:FT (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380249)

They probably just had a spider search for all their show names and log the urls that turned up, then they had a program put those URLs in a prepared paper form, whereafter they were brought to google in some manner.

When You pull Open Source project Demo videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18382319)

There were a quite a few cases of that from viacom taken down Open Source projects Demo videos placed on googles site to save on there own downloads. That is the clear 60. Some of these project have over 1000000 members. So finding 100000 would be a small number. Most posted in there mailing list did anyone know of any other cases. The class action effect. Open Source projects love that method.

If you are going to screw up don't screw up with Open Source projects. Very quickly do you get millions of hunters looking for more defects. And they were lucky it could have been billions.

An error rate of (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380065)

less than 60/100,000 = .0006 x 100 = .06%. (Cross fingers. Beware of public math.)

But oh, NO! These sixty precious individuals have been harmed for life! Post traumatic stress! An early death! Liability! Liability! Liability! PROOF the DMCA is FLAWED! 60 people GOT A LETTER, and they subsequently transformed themselves into a pool of shaking jello on the floor unable of even the faintest response. Get a lawyer. Sue! Sue! Sue!

On the other hand, you could get a life. Can you point to anything else with a lower error rate? The police? The military? Your code? Your 'hit rate?' Your life?

No.

Re:An error rate of (3, Insightful)

Wingnut64 (446382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380445)

Legal notices containing the phrase "I swear, under penalty of perjury" and "I am the copyright owner" should not be very tolerant of any error rate; especially considering that the hosting companies often comply without even looking at the content in question.

PROOF the DMCA is FLAWED!
If there's no accountability for parties that commit perjury while using this law then I think we can agree that it's flawed?

Re:An error rate of (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380729)

Common it was just a blojob. You would have lied too.

Since when does perjury mean much. Except when we are trying to get the president or vice president? WE definatly have some mixed signals going on here.

Re:An error rate of (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381381)

Perjury doesn't mean being wrong. It means being intentionally wrong.

Re:An error rate of (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383587)

It means being intentionally wrong.
 
What about negligently wrong?

Re:An error rate of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380545)

Unfortunately I have a % that is lower than 0.06%. It's 0.00% and it's the percentage of times God has successfully killed you...

Re:An error rate of (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381061)

printf("%.2f\%\n", 0.0/0.0);

nan%

Re:An error rate of (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380757)

Sure it's a low error rate. I mean anyone sending out 100,000 notices is bound to make a few mistakes.

And that's exactly the problem. These DMCA takedowns are not random emails saying "oh, might want to review this file when you get a chance", but are part of a legal process. Once the notice has been sent, the material has to be taken down. The power of these notices is very large, and hence the potential for abuse is large.

A DMCA takedown notice includes the language "under penalty of perjury" because they are legal notices and need to have actual legal weight behind them. (If it's merely a suggestion, then YouTube wouldn't be required to take down the material.) Making a few mistakes means you that you are guilty of perjury, and can be sued on that basis.

The low error rate is irrelevant. Those are 60 cases of perjury, and each one should be prosecuted. Perjury should not be taken lightly. Viacom should have been more careful before trampling people's rights. Yes, that means that they should not have sent out 100,000 notices without more careful attention. The answer is not to accept that "mistakes happen" but to force companies sending notices to BE MORE CAREFUL.

Also, the 60 errors did not merely receive a letter. Their material was taken off of the site. Yes they can re-upload it and probably didn't suffer much material harm. The point, however, is that their freedoms were limited, however minimally, due to Viacom's illegal actions. This type of abuse of the law subtly restricts everyone's freedoms, and I see no reason why we should let it slide.

Imagine the situation without the DMCA (1)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381671)

And that's exactly the problem. These DMCA takedowns are not random emails saying "oh, might want to review this file when you get a chance", but are part of a legal process. Once the notice has been sent, the material has to be taken down. The power of these notices is very large, and hence the potential for abuse is large.

If the DMCA "safe harbour" [cornell.edu] takedown procedures did not exist, then service providers might be liable for monetary damages for hosting infringing works after something as simple as one of those "random emails." The service provider would have knowledge of the potentially infringing material and potentially be liable for some form of secondary infringement (that's the theory that killed old-Napster).

The takedown procedure does not require that a service provider take down material. A service provider can ignore the takedown notice, or never even register to receive such notices. In that case, the service provider would act in the same legal world that existed before the DMCA.

A service provider in such a situation might respond much more drastically to informal, "random emails" than a service provider who is open to takedown notices. Such a service provider might police its users much more actively, possibly removing materials without even an allegation of infringement being raised.

The DMCA takedown provision just provides an option that enables service providers to be much more hands-off when it comes to user content. Service providers who use this provision can let copyright owners do their own policing (and is actually required to re-post borderline works if the users posting the material is willing to dispute the infringement claim).

Re:Imagine the situation without the DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18381985)

....or, you could do notice and notice, rather than the unfair notice and takedown system in the US. And with Viacom suing Google, I suppose we all see how well the DMCA "protects" hosts.

If you really want a notice and takedown system, why not put it in a SEPARATE law, instead of conflating that issue with making copy protection circumvention illegal.

Re:An error rate of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18380791)

The point is that DMCA takedown notices shouldn't be sent unless the sender is sure there is an infringement.

Word games (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380099)

One of the reasons companies misuse the DMCA and cease-and-desist copyright letters is ...

First you have to prove that the DMCA is being "misused", and wasn't intended for this purpose since day 1.

Re:Word games (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380555)

First you have to prove that the DMCA is being "misused", and wasn't intended for this purpose since day 1

Okay [chillingeffects.org] ... Done.

Re:Word games (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382489)

First you have to prove that the DMCA is being "misused", and wasn't intended for this purpose since day 1.
As long as you can accept that no law is intended to drive (wealthy) people to perjury, then I think we can safely say that it's being misused.

Search Method Used? (2, Interesting)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380239)

It'd be interesting to know just what kind of search method was used to issue these takedown notices. Does a GREP search script have the legal authority to send a cease & desist order without human intervention? It's hard to imagine all 100,000 cases were human reviewed...

Re:Search Method Used? (1)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380995)

It'd be interesting to know just what kind of search method was used to issue these takedown notices. Does a GREP search script have the legal authority to send a cease & desist order without human intervention? It's hard to imagine all 100,000 cases were human reviewed...

No. The takedown (and putback) procedures in the "safe harbour" [cornell.edu] provisions of the DMCA requires the takedown notice to include a "physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed," a "statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law," and a "statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed." Software cannot have a good faith belief about anything or attest to the accuracy of anything.

It is possible that someone might have a good belief that the information obtained from an automated process correctly identified infringing materials and possibly rely on such a process as the basis for a notification. But, if the use turned out to be trivial or erroneous, the person signing the statement might still open up some potential liability; especially if that person had reason to believe that the automated process was not sufficiently accurate to rely upon it (until an actual case arises, who knows whether a rate of 60 misidentifications out of 100,000 is too unreliable for someone to have a good faith belief in the process).

The point is that belief and the ability to attest to something are human activities. Technology may be leveraged to aid in forming a belief and analyzing the accuracy of data, but reporting information is not the same as saying that the information can be relied on for a specific purpose. We decide whether to rely on such information (or whether to build systems that rely on such information, again without "belief," just a reaction that ultimately must derive from human judgment).

mega-corporations are evil (1)

2fakeu (443153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380271)

i wanna kick them all in the nuts! ;)

no seriously, anyone realized that cyberpunk is already among us? we got to fight back!

OTOH (3, Informative)

sakusha (441986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380745)

There is another side of the story. I have personally found the DMCA to be invaluable in protecting my interests against greedy, unscrupulous corporations. The little guy (like me) has so few tools to protect his rights, the DMCA allowed me to stop a corporation from misappropriating my works, without having to resort to expensive litigation. All I had to do was file a few letters, I even copied the text from sample DMCA letters in the archives at Berkman. It was easy, and a hell of a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer. Result: total victory against the infringer.

Re:OTOH (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380947)

I'd be interested to hear about the specifics of your situation and/or thoughts on the matter, etc., and I think others here would too. Have you written about this on your website or anything?

Re:OTOH (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18383799)

I've written a few brief notes on this case in other threads on Slashdot, but I've never laid out the full story. And oh boy is it an amazing story. But I've been hesitant to lay out the details for fear of becoming the target of rabid anti-DMCA nutcases. I am still considering how to proceed with the matter, I'm sure I will eventually reveal all, but not today.

Re:OTOH (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381517)

Result: total victory against the infringer.

Yes, but at what cost? The lives of thousands are being dragged through the legal muck of the court system and millions more of us live with the constant threat of that action looming above our heads, even for content that we have already paid for, because we want to format shift our purchases. Not to mention the effect on scholarly research, especially as it pertains to cryptography and other selected topics in the fields of Computer Science and Mathematics. The consumer gets fewer devices with unwanted DRM encumbrances because the hardware manufacturers don't want to fight a long and drawn out court battle over a couple of missing features in their products. The list could go on, but I think that you get my point. At the end of the day is the pain of so many thousands, perhaps millions, worth the price of you not having to go to court to protect your work (which you could do anyway and have always been able to do under the current and previous systems)? I suppose that depends upon your point of view, but it is worthy of discussion and some serious thought at the very least. So enjoy your Pyrrhic Victory [wikipedia.org] if you must, but remember that the next time the DMCA strikes you may be facing the wrong end of the legal stick.

Re:OTOH (1)

forand (530402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381715)

Well gosh since it seems to be working for you then we should certainly not look further into those who are using the DMCA inappropriately. Come now why is this anecdotal evidence relevant to the conversation at hand?

FOSS counterattack (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382271)

Come now why is this anecdotal evidence relevant to the conversation at hand?

The above comment might lead to a lot more little guys zorching big corporations in the pocket book when said big corporations have used copyrighted works without permission.

For instance: FOSS authors might find circumstances where they could invoke the DMCA against a company that incorporated their work in a product distributed without source code by a company that refuses to come clean.

Make enough pain for companies with bucks on the line and you may find more lobbying against DMCA. Meanwhile, guys with big money for big lawyers will be fighting back - and anything THEY come up with can be cloned for use against the MAFIAA.

Since the real point of going against DMCA abusers is to eliminate (at least) the abuse potential of DMCA, getting more big guns fighting on that side of the battle is on-topic.

Headline is redundant (0, Offtopic)

Atario (673917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380941)

Since the DMCA is a form of abuse.

Sounds OK to me... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18380969)

a Viacom executive admitted last month that less than 60 of his company's 100,000 takedown requests to YouTube were invalid

Less than 60 were invalid? So most of the 100,000 *were* valid?

Or is this just another case of the /. janitors not proofreading properly *again*?

They only have the power to do so IF... (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381057)

.. you give it to them. Solution, dont give it to them.

Maybe I'm just stupid, but there has ALWAYS.... (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381739)

Maybe I'm just stupid, but there has ALWAYS been a way to reverse a DMCA takedown notice, in fact the DMCA tells you how to do it as it's included in the act. The ISP isn't liable and can repost the stuff if you follow that procedure. It's along the lines of a letter back to the ISP saying that in fact the item is under YOUR copyright and you swear under penalty of perjury that it's true and you accept full liability, you also have to include all your contact information so that the organization that sent the original notice can sue you if you lied in your reply. After 15 days of receiving the second letter from you which the ISP is obligated to send back to the original complaint the ISP is free to post the information. The 15 day window allows the originator to open a court case and seek an injunction.

So the ISPs should explain that to the takedownee (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382305)

... there has ALWAYS been a way to reverse a DMCA takedown notice, in fact the DMCA tells you how to do it as it's included in the act. [recipe deleted]

Seems to me that an ISP that takes down a customer's content in response to a DMCA takedown notice should provide a notice to the customer that includes (in addition to the complainant's identity and address so customer can sue HIM) a recipe for making the response required to let the ISP put the content back up.

Unacceptable (1)

Brian Ribbon (986353) | more than 7 years ago | (#18382593)

I've used some of the words in that article previously and I'm going to sue you for $100,000,000,000 unless you remove it within 30 seconds.

here is a solution (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18384295)

We will create a committee. Whenever an ISP or website will recieve such a letter, it will be forwarded to the committee that will check whether it is an infringement. Not realistic eh?

I got a notice (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 7 years ago | (#18385309)

I got a DMCA take-down notice from youtube about 2 videos I posted, claiming copyright infringement. The problem? I shot those videos myself, and they were just a pair of F/A-18 fly-bys with no added music or other sounds.

Now, after receiving the notice I felt aggrieved, then pissed off, and then discouraged when I discovered the hoops I'd have to clamber through to get my vids reinstated. It just wasn't worth it, so I deleted the emails and have sworn off posting anything else to Youtube.

An Appropriate Punishment (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18386431)

An appropriate punishment for DMCA (and related) abuse should be the immediate surrender of the IP in question into the public domain (in addition to a large fine and compensation paid to the victim, of course). Let's start punishing corporations for abusing the law
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>