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CDA Government The Courts News

DMCA Abuse Widespread 224

Posted by Zonk
from the anyone-really-surprised dept.
Doc Ruby writes "Via TechDirt, the news that despite the intent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it's very popular to abuse the law by using it merely to compete, without legal basis: 'Supporters of the DMCA claim that only an occasional improper takedown notice gets through. Some new research suggests otherwise. Over 30% of DMCA takedown notices have been deemed improper and potentially illegal.'"
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DMCA Abuse Widespread

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  • Power to abuse? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dubpal (860472) * on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:34AM (#14107425) Homepage
    If you asked those Swedish guys over at thepiratebay.org (a search engine for .torrent files), I'm sure their data would show higher than 30% abuse.
    Their legal threats [thepiratebay.org] page is a hoot.

    On a more serious note, laws like the DMCA that put (arguably) too much power at the hands of copyright holders were always going to be susceptible to abuse. Remaining on the subject of torrent search engines, lokitorrent.com pulled its site down after threats from the MPAA who cited the DMCA, without even going to court. (They later went to court, where it was ruled that the domain owner release all visitor data to the MPAA.) With power like that, where's the incentive not to abuse it?

    • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Prospero's Grue (876407) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:36AM (#14107433)
      With power like that, where's the incentive not to abuse it?

      Agreed. To use a phrase I heard some time ago; it's how we ended up with a legal system instead of a justice system.

      • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:39AM (#14107451) Homepage
        anyone with half a brain (sometimes less) can realize that the DMCA was only passed because the copyright holders felt they needed a way to 'protect' themselves. So, they pay the gov't to make a new law that really ONLY protects the copyright holders.
        • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @01:16PM (#14108060) Homepage
          And P2P pirates really ONLY serves themselves, not "to promote the progress of science and useful arts". If we try to pretend that copyright is a balance between the creators and consumers of IP, there's not much doubt that neither side is playing very nice. The problem is that they are trying to give pirates the shaft, and instead end up giving the consumers the shaft. Not a very nice way to behave, and it makes pirated products stand out as vastly superior because mp3s are delivered in the format I want, aren't infected with rootkits and don't restrict my playing or burning to special apps I neither want nor need. Will giving consumers what they want lead to piracy? Yes. Will not giving consumers what they want lead to piracy? Moreso.
      • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:5, Informative)

        by richwmn (621114) <rich.techie@com> on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:44AM (#14107471)
        Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Used as the basis for Animal Farm by George Orwell
        • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by meringuoid (568297)
          Used as the basis for Animal Farm by George Orwell

          I'm not certain that's quite what happened. The Animalist Revolution was corrupted not by power per se but by Napoleon. Had the Revolution remained under Snowball's leadership it would probably have been rather more successful; however, Napoleon and Squealer (who were already complete stinkers) took every opportunity that came their way.

          It wasn't so much that power corrupted, as that power attracted the corrupt and gave them even greater scope within whi

          • It wasn't so much that power corrupted, as that power attracted the corrupt and gave them even greater scope within which to practise their corruption...

            That may or may not be what Orwell was trying to say; I think the Snowball/Lenin conflict was just a retelling of the Trotsky/Lenin conflict. However, my personal belief about power is that power itself corrupts, no matter how wonderful the possessor. Sometimes the corruption leads to the possessor's downfall before it leads to public harm (Carter, Clinton
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I prefer..

          "Power attracts the corruptible"
      • I keep thinking things have to reach a tipping point eventually, where the law is demonstrated to be such an ass that the only sane thing would be to put it down humanely.

        Evidence mounts and mounts (no pun intended), but I'm still waiting patiently for the scales to tip.
      • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:27AM (#14107596)
        And it is also proof that we as a society are circling the drain.

        I am an engineer, scientist and hacker at heart. and because of the DMCA and patent laws I am forced to be a criminal to continue to invent, engineer and think.

        when you make laws that overnight put a wide swath of the populace into the criminal segment then you know that the corruption that is leading towards complete opression is nearing completion.

        Personally I cant wait for all of you to look suprised when they mandate that every american is required to have a passport and use it for interstate travel. and I'm betting that it will be here before 2008.

        So I simply acknowlege that I must break laws to continue and therefore move myself into the underground. Release the information on webboards in free countries like the Former soviet union under a untraceable psyudonym.

        Thanks American Government! The past 8 years have taken all of the countries brightest and made them criminals of the state.

      • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bullfish (858648)
        It always has been a legal system, where you legally try to get justice rather than taking the law into you own hands. Truth is, you are not entitled to justice, you are entitled to due process. It is one of the inherent difficulties if the courts are to be truly fair, they can only hear your case and render their best judgement. This is anywhere and not just in the US.
        • Truth is, you are not entitled to justice, you are entitled to due process. It is one of the inherent difficulties if the courts are to be truly fair, they can only hear your case and render their best judgement. This is anywhere and not just in the US.

          The problem is (and the thrust of the article was) that the process is being subverted by the use of legal threats - many of which are unfounded.

          For all the cases that the RIAA has initiated, I don't know of a single one that actually was decided at trial

    • A helpful guideline: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:40AM (#14107454)
      Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

      cf: DMCA, Patriot Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act (UK), Enabling Act (Weimar Germany)...

      • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:47AM (#14107486)
        on the Prevention of Terrorism Act (UK), it is interesting to note that Tony Blair said it would never be used to prevent legitimate protesters. then, a matter of days later, it was used to eject a pensioner who objected to the war on Iraq from the Labour party conference. how the hell is a pensioner objecting to a war a terrorist?
        • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:59AM (#14107525) Homepage Journal
          Minor point, I think the act was used by the police to prevent him from re-entering. They just used regular bouncers to eject him.

          Sometimes the police deliberately push the envelope on what they consider to be bad laws in order to provoke reconsideration of the law. There's a possibility that this is one such example, by a policeman who doesn't like the totalitarian direction that we are taking. Not all police support the creation of a police state, it gives them more work to do for one thing.
          • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot&nexusuk,org> on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:36AM (#14107634) Homepage
            Minor point, I think the act was used by the police to prevent him from re-entering. They just used regular bouncers to eject him.

            You are correct - the bouncers ejected (read: assaulted) him and then the police "detained" him under the anti-terrorism laws.

            Then to add insult to injury, Blair still tried to push through a law that would allow the police to detain anyone for 90 days without charge, defending it by saying the police were very responsible and would never abuse a law.

            This is a prime example of why excessively broad laws are always a bad idea - whilest it may improve the ability to legitimately target people doing wrong it will always be abused by someone as well.

            Through all the IRA attacks whilest I was young the constant message delivered by the UK government was that if we changed the way we lived because of terrorism then the terrorists have won... well I guess we know who's won now then don't we? (Amazingly enough, Blair used the "if terrorism changes the way we live then they've won" speech in a justification of curtailing civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism!)
            • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:51AM (#14107701)
              (Amazingly enough, Blair used the "if terrorism changes the way we live then they've won" speech in a justification of curtailing civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism!)

              That was funny, but the most entertaining piece of hypocrisy on this issue is this:

              On the 90-day internment law: Blair says that the police want to be able to imprison people without charge for three months for investigation and interrogation. He says that on this matter the police know best and we should listen to them and give them what they need to make us safe.

              On the late opening law for pubs: police representatives say that it will be a disaster and lead to even greater alcohol-fuelled public disorder and random violence. Blair completely ignores them and goes right ahead with changing the law so that (starting today) we British people are free to drink all night if we see fit to do so.

              I'm not sure quite how these two Mr Blairs manage to live together in the same skull. Libertarian and fascist in one. Or maybe he's hoping that we'll all be to pissed in the pub to get pissed at him...

              • I'm not sure quite how these two Mr Blairs manage to live together in the same skull. Libertarian and fascist in one.

                I'm not so sure that there is a conflict between the two. Think about it. Fascists want to merge the corporations and the government into one single entity. Libertarians (at least based on their Slashdot posts) want to abolish government power completely, leaving corporations the only entities with any power - which, of course, will lead to them merging into cartels and ultimately a singl

          • Sometimes the police deliberately push the envelope on what they consider to be bad laws in order to provoke reconsideration of the law.
            This is utter bullshit. First of all, cops are too stupid to think about doing such a thing, and cops like their power too much to willingly risk losing it.
            • I have had friends who were police officers, and they aren't all like Chief Wiggum. Some of them are genuine, public-spirited heros. Sure, there are bad apples, some go in for it just for the power, and some are corrupted by it, but not all. As for them all being stupid, well, all I can say is that if you're trolling then you got me.
              • I speak from experience. Cops will try anything to get you in the wrong. Like when I was hassled for taking pictures of old busses; I was standing on the sidewalk and while hassling me, they tried to get me to step on the adjacent private property so they could charge me for tresspassing.
                • Trespass is a civil offence, not criminal. The police would have no grounds to arrest you. Maybe the police in the states are all stupid bastards, but that isn't the case in the UK.
              • I'll be blunt. I think even the best-intentioned police officer will allow the power to go to his or her head. It's inevitable for any such position where the state gives an individual or an organization such privileges and responsibilities. It's this recognition of how the organs of the state will inevitably behave that is the foundation of the very idea of constitutional limitations on the use of power by the state. I don't particularly blaim the police, it's simply what happens. Most don't want to i
        • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:00AM (#14107526)
          how the hell is a pensioner objecting to a war a terrorist?

          Bushian reasoning:

          1) This is the War On Terrorism.
          2) You are either for us or against us.
          3) If you are against us in the War On Terrorism, then that makes you
          4) A Terrorist.

          Blairian reasoning:

          1) I'm doing the Right Thing, because I'm a pretty straight kind of guy, ok?
          2) And I think Jack has the right to make his speech without impolite interruptions.
          3) And we really shouldn't get sidetracked by theoretical arguments about civil liberties, because terrorism is really a very serious threat.
          4) And I should point out that I had absolutely nothing to do with the incident itself.
          5) And I don't think that a blame culture is very productive at all, just ask Peter or David, so it really isn't helpful to go talking about whether anyone should resign.
          5) It's in the past now, so we should all move on and deal with the new problems that are ahead of us, going forward into a better and fairer Britain in the 21st century.

        • It's that whole "If you're not with us, you're against us" logical fallacy that seems to be the "in" thing with terrorist-crazed politicians nowadays.
    • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Starker_Kull (896770)
      Actually, if you RTFA, the problem wasn't the DCMA (in this case - I hate the stupid thing), but the interpetation of it in the case ALS Scan v Remarq - as quoted;

      "However, in the recent case of ALS Scan, Inc. v. Remarq Communities, Inc., the court found that the copyright owner did not have to point out all of the infringing material, but only substantially all of the material. The relaxation of this specificity requirement shifts the burden of identifying the material to the service provider, raising the
    • Re:Power to abuse? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GeckoX (259575)
      They may be 'in the right' (thepiratebay.org), but do you really feel that attitudes like that are going to make things better for us in the long run? Their responses are crass, rude, childish and feel like school yard mud flinging.

      I personally do not feel like attitudes like this will do anything but make things worse for us in the long run.

      I'm glad someone is standing up for our rights, but this is NOT going to sway popular opinion in a good way.

      Can we maybe find some examples of people that are fighting
  • I like it. Maybe it's been around for a while, but I like the idea better than "Generic man being gagged." So Kudos to whoever made the new YRO icon.
    • There are now a bunch of "subcategories" for YRO. The "gerneric man being gagged" is still there as the icon for the Censorship subcategory. This article is in the CDA subcategory.

      But I feel a little stupid at the moment... What does "CDA" stand for? Constitutional Dummy Association?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Shocked and dismayed.
  • by jurt1235 (834677) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:45AM (#14107479) Homepage
    SARCASM ON: From the rules and regulations of the DMCA user group (Not publicly accessible, so this will cause a take down notice):
    Article 2b:
    Wrongful notices.
    An notice is considered wrongful if the party who send the notice is sued for this notice, and the highest court willing to hear the case decides that the notice has been send wrongful.
    Article 2c:
    Allowed wrongful notice percentage.
    If not more than 60% of the notices gets rejected by a court, the sending of these notices will be considered as an occasional mistake due to the murky nature of the person or company who got the notice initially. :SARCASM OFF
  • by Elrac (314784) <carl@NOSpAm.smotricz.com> on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:46AM (#14107480) Homepage Journal
    The real disease is the fact that the USA's elected lawmakers are, in many if not most cases, susceptible to pressure and/or bribery by the industry. This is how many of these asinine laws originated.

    Unlimited legal campaign contributions, indeed!
    • I disagree. The corruption is not so much in the elected officials as the people who elect them. If the winner of the election is the one who spends the most money, then it is the fault of the electorate for putting to much stock in propaganda, not the fault of the candidates for producing it. If the electorate voted for the candidate who represents their interests, not the one with the best slogans, then campaign contributions would not be an issue.
      • Hey, if we're all that corrupt, where's all the baksheesh I've got coming?

        I demand my unfair share, right now or I'm going back to voting ethically and intelligently.

      • No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Create an Account (841457) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @12:12PM (#14107778)
        If a weak man foolishly walks into an alley in a bad part of town and gets mugged, he is foolish, true. But that does not remove the blame from the mugger.

        If a woman wears provocative clothing in a bad part of town late at night and gets raped, maybe she was foolish for attracting attention, but she is not to blame for the rape. The rapist is.

        If you leave your home unlocked and you get robbed, you will probably feel angry at yourself for leaving the house unlocked. The blame for the robbery, however, is purely the robber's.

        If the American electorate is overly susceptible to media influences, call them gullible. That does not make the shark-like actions of the corporations any more acceptable. Even using the metaphor of a shark (they shouldn't be blamed; it's in their nature) is a better reason to take precautions against them, not a worse one.

        If you're still reading this, I had a previous discussion on slashdot where we talked about some of this:

        http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=167485&cid =13964842 [slashdot.org]
        • by dwandy (907337)
          Your "weak man", "woman" and "b'n-e victim" are definitely all the victim of crimes, and yes, in each case, it was the perpetrator who is guilty and 100% responsible for the illegal activity.
          The difference is that as long as corporations are acting within the law and take advantage of laws, or even get laws created - even if these actions are immoral - they have done nothing illegal. The mandate of a corporation is to maximise return for shareholders. If they can get a law passed that forces every househol
          • The difference is that as long as corporations are acting within the law and take advantage of laws, or even get laws created - even if these actions are immoral - they have done nothing illegal. The mandate of a corporation is to maximise return for shareholders. If they can get a law passed that forces every household to give them $100 every year, then so be it.

            I accept that what they are doing is legal. I do. Really. The problem is that it is bad for us (people), and they (corporations) get to dec
      • No, because much of the money that gets given to candidates is given by either the minority of people, with lots of money, or by non-voting entities such as corporations. If each voting entity (person) was only allowed to give a small amount, maybe $5000, and non-voting entities (corporations) were not allowed to give money, then there would be a lot less corrupted things going on, since candidates would have to get a large number of people to give them money, instead of a few very rich people to give them
    • And you forget that they typical elected US lawmaker lately seems to have an IQ lower than 60. Espically when it comes to technology.

      honestly, as an american I am utterly disguested at the rampant idiocy that governs the American Government. The problem is the morons that keep re-electing these idiots.

      If we had an upper age limit I think things would change. If the House of Represenatives was full of 21-40 year olds that actually worked for a living instead of having their entire life spoon fed to them t
    • "the industry" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      When it comes to the legal 'industry' they are IN it.. Not just being bribed.

      Thats the beauty of being an attorney, the more stupid laws like this, the more money to go around.

      And remember, you get paid even if you lose.


    • In all fairness, we have the power to kill the DMCA right now without any help from the congress. The real prop that's holding up the DMCA is societies own belief in the copyright system, kill that and the DMCA will follow.
  • Highly disturbing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sdo1 (213835) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:49AM (#14107494) Journal
    Over 30% of DMCA takedown notices have been deemed improper and potentially illegal

    What I find most disturbing about that statement is that it implies that something a bit less than 70% of DMCA takedown notices are not improper and not illegal. That is a law that is far over-reaching, draconian, and designed for abuse. I guess that's what happens when one lives in the good 'old U.C.A (United Corporations of America).

    -S

    • What is highly disturbing about the not improper and not illegal uses of the DMCA Takedown Notice. It is just a legal notice that a copyrighted work is being distributed, and offers a lawsuit-free chance to take it down, with no damages for the time it was up being collected.

      Sure, the 30ish% abuse rate is disturbing... but there's nothing to see here talking about the other 70ish%.
    • by jc42 (318812) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @12:02PM (#14107741) Homepage Journal
      What I find most disturbing about that statement is that it implies that something a bit less than 70% of DMCA takedown notices are not improper and not illegal.

      Actually, that's a standard logical fallacy; it doesn't imply any such thing. Even if the 30% figure were accurate, it can only be a minimum estimate until the cases are settled in court. But most are settled out of court, mostly for financial reasons (the cost of an individual fighting a corporation), so their legal status can never be known. If you want to make an inference like this, you should read it as "at least 30% of takedown notices are invalid".

      But note that that 30% only applies to the specific sample studied, and it wasn't at all a scientifically-chosen random sample. The sample was what statisticians call "self selected", so as a statistic, the number is rather bogus.

      This isn't a criticism of the people who did the study. If you read TFA, you'll find that they didn't claim that 30% of DMCA notices are improper; they stated clearly that about 30% of the cases they studied were improper.

      So that 30% isn't a statistic; it's merely an example of the DMCA's effect on a small sample of people who are willing to go public with their story. TFA doesn't actually teach us much about the overall impact of the DMCA.

      But I suppose that's a bit too precise for a /. discussion. Radical over-generalization (along with reasoning from the inverse) does seem to be the order of the day hereabouts.

    • I guess that's what happens when one lives in the good 'old U.C.A (United Corporations of America).

      But what do you expect? Socialism?

      Isn't capitalism all about the capital and who controls it? It is a democracy one day every four years or so, but the rest of the time, capitalism rules the roost.
  • The ESA vs HoTU (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:56AM (#14107515) Homepage Journal
    The ESA (Entertainment Software Association), a body representing many software companies, sent a threatening letter to Home of the Underdogs [the-underdogs.org] a few years ago, demanding that they cease the sale of all copyright materials from their website. They state to be standing behind the DMCA.

    IDSA is providing this letter of notification pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and 17 USC =A7 512 (c) to make you aware of material on your network or system that infringes the exclusive copyright rights of one or more IDSA members.
    ...
    IDSA has a good faith belief that the Internet site found at theunderdogs.org infringes the rights of one or more IDSA members by offering for illegal sale one or more unauthorized copies of one or more game products protected by copyright...


    Anyone who has seen this website knows that they do not sell games at all and never have. They provide abandonware downloads - games that have been out of print and not for sale for many years - in the interest of the preservation of culture.

    Just another example of clueless bullies hiding behind the DMCA, seemingly for financial gain, but for properties not even for sale! Read the full letter and the webmaster's commentary for full details. http://www.the-underdogs.org/partdeux.php [the-underdogs.org]
    • So, uhm... exactly how long does a product need to be out-of-sale to be considered abandonware? And does that mean out-of-sale at your local supermarket? Out-of-sale anywhere in the whole world? Not available at eBay? Unable to purchase the rights from the copyright holder? Because I'm pretty sure somebody's still willing to sell it if you give them enough money.

      The property is still for sale, even though you might not like the price.
      • Most abandonware really is - in many cases, it's not longer possible even to determine who the copyright holder actually is.

        HOWEVER:
        Abandonware, however reasonable and ethical it may seem, is not a legal concept, and copyright law doesn't care if you can't find the original author. There really isn't any wiggle room here at all. Now, that is at least partially a failing of our copyright system - requiring registration, for example, helps prevent this sort of thing - but as it currently stands, abandonware

        • Most abandonware really is - in many cases, it's not longer possible even to determine who the copyright holder actually is.

          Most of them are games companies that went out of business and their assets got purchased by a competing company, even if it only got shelved. It would not be very hard to track down the copyright holders of these games, if you really wanted to. The whole concept of abandonware is basicly to test if the copyrights are still being enforced, even though copyright doesn't expire by lack o
      • "Abandonware" is a grey term. The purpose of Home of The Underdogs is to preserve out of print and unavailable software. Some of the titles mentioned in the ESA's letter were 20 years old. How often do you see DOS games for sale anywhere? These are pieces of history whose best interests are served best by gamers, not by publishers who would rather sit on the IP forever.

        And exactly how much of the profits of an Ebay sale do you think publishers and designers see?
    • No, it is still infringement to have a copyrighted game on the web. Those notices are correct.

      The problem is that copyright lasts far too long, not that they are being told to take down copyright games. It should be that those downloads would be legal, even if the company was trying to sell them retail.

  • by saskboy (600063) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:57AM (#14107519) Homepage Journal
    With the fall of the Canadian Liberal government coming on Monday, Canada will be safe from Bil C-60 the Copyright Act amendment until at least the early Spring. This gives our American oppressed neighbours time to find a job north of the 49th, and spend time backing up their "content protected" CD collection to hard drive, or iPod without fear of abuse from the local constabulary.
  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @10:58AM (#14107520)
    I mean, does anyone here really think that if a law puts that much power into the hands of an organized business cartel, that it's NOT going to be abused? Did anyone here NOT see this coming? Frankly, with a law as broad and Monopoly empowering as the DMCA, it was only a matter of time. And not a very long amount of time either.

    Now, keep in mind, this is coming from a registered N.Y. State Conservative Party member, who listens to Rush Limbaugh every day, and voted for W. TWICE.

    The amount of Individual Freedoms this law steals from people is abhorrent. It offends every Freedom loving, Patriotic bone in my body. Unfortunately, Most people don't see this as a priority. Like many of our laws, it's a "Creeping Freedom Stealer". Much like the old story of the frog in the frying pan, most people won't notice it taking thier Freedom until it's too late.
    • Now, keep in mind, this is coming from a registered N.Y. State Conservative Party member, who listens to Rush Limbaugh every day, and voted for W. TWICE. The amount of Individual Freedoms this law steals from people is abhorrent. It offends every Freedom loving, Patriotic bone in my body.

      This is strange. I suppose that a twice dubya-voting NY conservative rush-limaugh listener would lose no opportunity to trumpet that the DMCA was passed by a cigar-sucking democrat...

    • I mean, does anyone here really think that if a law puts that much power into the hands of an organized business cartel, that it's NOT going to be abused? Did anyone here NOT see this coming?

      Of course it's going to be abused, for the same reason that centrally-planned economic systems are always abused. The participants decide that economic rent-seeking through legal games and political manipulation is a lot less work than actually producing good products or services for a competitive market. Adam Smit

  • by repruhsent (672799) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:01AM (#14107530) Homepage Journal
    The DMCA really is a good thing.

    Congress passed the DMCA a long while back (a few years now, IIRC). It's obviously withstood the test of time; if there was something illegal about it, the Supreme Court would have already overturned it. So, I don't see where anyone can complain. Obviously the only people who have problems with it are the software/movie pirates, and piracy is bad, right?

    We should all just try to get along with the DMCA instead of constantly badmouthing it. It's obviously a valuable and appropriate used piece of legislation.
    • I certainly agree. I mean, the RIAA and MPAA go through all that trouble and expense of drafting the legislation, making sure it is everything they wanted and more, and bribing^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcontributing to the campaigns and special luxuries of our esteemed and irreproachable congressbeings to get the DMCA passed through our pristine halls of legislation. So shouldn't they be allowed, nay expected, to use it as much as they wish? This is America, damnit! We believe in private property here, and if a man
    • Congress passed the DMCA a long while back (a few years now, IIRC). It's obviously withstood the test of time; if there was something illegal about it, the Supreme Court would have already overturned it.

      Fallical (odds are that isn't a word, but whatever) reasoning... I know this is a bad example for copyright issues, but Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation were around for almost 100 years before it was ended, and there was a lot wrong with it... just because there is something wrong does not mean that som

  • At least that's what they tout.

    And now they are in power, they want a more and more powerful government in all areas - the only thing they are willing to downsize are social programs.

    Don't get me wrong, the Democrats suck too.

    George Washington was right when he told the American people to avoid a two party system at all costs.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:31AM (#14107606) Journal
      George Washington was right when he told the American people to avoid a two party system at all costs.

      I am not an American, so this may not be accurate, but it is my understanding that Washington opposed the idea of political parties altogether - not just the situation that exists when you have only two. He believed that all candidates should stand on their own beliefs, not on a platform that is only a lose fit for their opinions but popular with a large, unthinking, group of the electorate.

    • same here. Then I grew up. There a lot of different factions in each political party. In the republican camp, there's the big military faction. Yep, that's big government. There's the social conservative. Yep, that's big government. There's the corporate welfare faction. Yep, big government once again.

      Face it. If they're IN government, they're for government. The problem is there are still a lot of people who believe the lie.
  • The DMCA certainly does have its problems, both in initial design and in abuse of it 'in the field.'

    However, let's put things in perspective. What is *really* the bigger problem right now - a few (even a few thousand), bad yes, abuses of the DMCA or the completely out of control wanton disregard for copyright law that exists in many internet corners? The defenders of P2P for LEGITIMATE use lose their credibility if they are not equally realistic and aggressive in condemning and thinking of ways to stop

    • The defenders of P2P for LEGITIMATE use lose their credibility if they are not equally realistic and aggressive in condemning and thinking of ways to stop illegitimate use.

      We already did - but for some strange reason, telling the music & movie industry "Stop pricing discs to earn a dollar profit for every cent you spend and you'll remove the incentive for piracy" didn't get greeted with much enthusiasm! :o)

      • Actually, I know your comment was tongue in cheek, but recall nevertheless that prior to the introduction of all those $1 / song services, these messageboards were teeming with messages that said, flat out, "charge a fair fee, say, $1 per song, and then we will have an alternative and not need to pirate."

        The lesson from that adventure was basically that there are a lot of people here with convenient ethics.

        • I imagine lots of those people are using such music stores now. The fact that they're selling like hotcakes seems to indicate so. I'd be happy to pay a quid a song, just so long as it was high-bitrate non-DRM. Otherwise, I may as well get the CD.
    • What is *really* the bigger problem right now - a few (even a few thousand), bad yes, abuses of the DMCA or the completely out of control wanton disregard for copyright law that exists in many internet corners?

      Abuses of DMCA. Wanton disregard for copyright law doesn't seem to be harming anyone - or at least I haven't heard of any entertainment company going under from them - whereas abuses of DMCA harm real human beings.

      Also, one must wonder: Why are Elvis's songs still under copyright, when the man h

    • What is *really* the bigger problem right now - a few (even a few thousand), bad yes, abuses of the DMCA or the completely out of control wanton disregard for copyright law that exists in many internet corners?

      There's only about a million thing wrong with this line of thinking. One REALLY, REALLY obvious one being that there are internet site outside of the US.

      The defenders of P2P for LEGITIMATE use lose their credibility if they are not equally realistic and aggressive in condemning and thinking of w
    • What you call "out of control wanton disregard for copyright law" was not a criminal act in the United States until the 1997 NET Act. File sharing has been happening since the beginnings of the internet. Does alt.binaries.* ring any bells for ya?

      Don't try to paint it as something new enabled by P2P. What IS new is the idea that sharing files without making a profit is the domain of hardened criminals. What you are witnessing is the same thing lawmakers witnessed during prohibition. Copyright law has

  • Partisan tactics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:23AM (#14107583)
    I don't get you US consumers. What can you do to resist? Slashdot is great for bitching and whining but other than awareness-of does little to correct the issues. I don't need to yet in my country (Canada) but you guys from my point-of-view need to engage in some armed insurrection. Not physical arms of course, somebody might get hurt. Instead how about organizing and really using the first box in the defense of liberty, the soap box?

    Here's the quote about boxes if I remember it right:
    There are four boxes to defend liberty with: the soap box, the jury box, the voter box and the ammo box. Use in that order.
    • Shouldn't the jury box and the voter box be switched?
      • Not when you constantly have to vote the bastards out like here with our Liberal party at the moment (massive kick-back scandal and all they have to really say for themselves is "we paid back all the money!", yeah, only because they got caught). The system is already corrupted, we're not starting from step one so everythings mixed in at all stages. Knock some laws down while slowly turning the tide of voting against whoever happens to suck most.

    • There are four boxes to defend liberty with: the soap box, the jury box, the voter box and the ammo box. Use in that order.

      I think "they" got hold of the same list, and their response plan went something like this:

      • Soap box -- let's consolidate all the news outlets in the country under a few corporate trees. Then fire a few warning shots at any reporters who don't get the memo.
      • Jury box -- No prob. Push the right of appeals so that everything can go to the SCOTUS. No jury there, and we can pack it wit
  • by wellybog (933647) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:30AM (#14107605) Homepage Journal

    This story just served to remind me how pointless it is to try and enforce law on the internet.

    Perhaps the various copyright enforcement agencies would do better if they changed themselves into education agencies.

    It doesn't take a genius to understand that piracy kills the product being pirated. Most people like the own the "genuine" article too though (so you make your money in the long run).

    Oh hell... this is a big old can of worms. They invent an anarchic network topology (the internet) that is self sustaining and deliberately uncontrollable - then they try to control it.

    How stupid is that.

    • Perhaps the various copyright enforcement agencies would do better if they changed themselves into education agencies.

      They would never do that, because educated people would learn that just as the industrial revolution forced the commoditisation of the labor force and the ugly death of the slavery system, the information age is forcing the commoditisation of information and the ugly death of the copyright system ... and would realise those arguments about "property" rights are completely bogus.

      An educa

  • Chilling Effects (Score:5, Informative)

    by Misch (158807) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @11:38AM (#14107645) Homepage
    ChillingEffects.org [chillingeffects.org] keeps a library of submitted DMCA takedown notices.
  • But the 30% figure is meaningless. First, it appears to be a purely subjective determination. It's not as if 30% of the notices were determined to be served in violation of the DMCA by yhe courts.

    And second, and MUCH worse, is where the notices were obtained. "900 notices collected by the Chilling Effects project."

    The sample is NOT an average sample thus the results are flawed. Of course the notices submitted to the Chilling Effect project are going to be egregious. Why else would anyone submit them?!
  • I heard that someone actually had the audacity to put a small piece of tape on the outer edge of one of those DRM'ed Sony CD's to disable the copy protection. What brazen defiance of the DMCA! I'm waiting for the lauch of the ??AA's program of lawsuits to put such vile criminals behind bars where they belong!
  • by argoff (142580) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @12:16PM (#14107798)
    Attacking the DMCA is like attacking the leaves of a vine, and not the root of it. No matter how hard you pluck off those leaves, they will always grow back in some other form untill you attack the root.

    The root of the problem here is societies own belief in copyrights. The DMCA is simply taking it to it's logical conclusion, along with the continuious extensions, and all the other abuses associated with copyright. People need to stop looking at copyrights as ever being a benefit, but rather as a burdon that was bearable 25 years ago when the biggest issue was copy machines and copyrights only lasted a few years. Not anymore. The burden copyrights require is too much to bear in the information age. Contrary to the hype, copyrights don't help many artists, and are anti free market. They are moral sewage that has robbed our culture and given it to hollywood, and they make it so that software companies who would otherwise strive to serve us - strive to controll us. The copyright system needs to die and take it's place on the trash heap of history.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Posting anonymously since I'm a third year law student currently looking for a job :)

    The solution to this is actually pretty straightforward; Report the attorney to their state bar association for a ethics breach. In sending out as takedown notice the signing attorney needs to sign the statement stating that there is a good faith belief that there is copyrighted content on the website. If it's patently obvious that there isn't such work then the signed statement is false. Realize that while attorneys repres
  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Thursday November 24, 2005 @02:46PM (#14108511) Homepage
    A service provider must satisfy the following critical elements in order to qualify for the "safe harbor" or protection from liability provided by subsection 512(a) (note that subsection 512(k)(1)(A) defines "service provider" as used in subsection 512(a)):

      (e) The service provider must not modify the communication selected by the Internet user [512(a)(5)];

    so, if you "modify" the email to put "X-Spam" tags in it, you no longer qualify for the "safe harbor" provisions.

    in fact, if you put ANY headers with the message, then the communication is "modified".
  • DMCA victim (Score:3, Interesting)

    by romka1 (891990) on Thursday November 24, 2005 @02:49PM (#14108527) Homepage
    I fall in those 30% for sure, the hosting companies when recieving DMCA notice will not bother to validate it and will not bother to hear a counter argument in your defence, its easier for them just to unplug your server, even though the law states that they have to allow for a site owner to defend against the take down notice.

    Especialy if the content of the site is somewhat questionable and the company issuing the take down notice is big (like microsucks)

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