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Censorship Your Rights Online

The Algorithmic Copyright Cops: Streaming Video's Robotic Overlords 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can't-show-that dept.
thomst writes "Geeta Dayal of Wired's Threat Level blog posts an interesting report about bot-mediated automatic takedowns of streaming video. He mentions the interruption of Michelle Obama's speech at the DNC, and the blocking of NASA's coverage of Mars rover Curiosity's landing by a Scripps News Service bot, but the story really drills down on the abrupt disappearance of the Hugo Award's live stream of Neil Gaiman's acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script. (Apparently the trigger was a brief clip from the Doctor Who episode itself, despite the fact that it was clearly a case of fair use.) Dayal points the finger at Vobile, whose content-blocking technology was used by Ustream, which hosted the derailed coverage of the Hugos."
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The Algorithmic Copyright Cops: Streaming Video's Robotic Overlords

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  • He's a she (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:05PM (#41255257)

    Geeta Dayal is a she. Just sayin'.

    • by Havenwar (867124)

      Uhm, how was this modded flamebait? It's accurate. The summary uses the pronoun "he", while the author bio on TFA uses the pronoun "she".

      • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:19AM (#41258727) Journal
        English language has shown remarkable tolerance in accepting foreign words. When the scripts agree it even accepts foreign words as spelled in the source language even if it messes up the pronunciation rules of English. Rendezvous, San Jose, are examples.

        But why is there no attempt to borrow sentence construction and syntax from other languages when there is a clear benefit? So many languages have a gender neutral third person singular pronouns. For example Tamil has /avan/aval/avar/athu/ to mean /he/she/he or she/it/. Being Indian, I know Geeta is a typical Indian female name. But I cant tell a male first name from a female first name in many European, South American, Chinese and African cultures. And there are names used by both males and females in all languages. Gone with the wind had Ashley as a man's name. Agatha Christie wrote a whole mystery based on the idea Evelyn is a name used by both males and females. I think it was "Why didn't they ask Evans?" or Evil under the sun. Cant remember. There was an Indian MP by the name Kumari Anandan. Kumari with a short a is his home town used as first name. But with a long a, his first name translates as "Miss" in Hindi! He was assigned quarters along with female MPs and got routinely placed in railway sleeper coaches reserved for women!

        English desperately needs a gender neutral third person singular pronoun. Time to coin a new word, something like "ce" to mean he or she. It could pronounced "see" half way between he and she.

        Wish there is a bugzilla to file a ModReq on the English language.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          You can generally use "they" as a gender neutral pronoun.

          e.g. "if someone wants to perform fellatio on me, they are welcome to as I'm not fussy" as opposed to "if someone wants to perform fellatio on me he, she, or it is welcome to as I'm not fussy".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:06PM (#41255267)

    Might want to double check your pronouns.

  • by djnanite (1979686) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:09PM (#41255297) Homepage
    We have repeated cases of people going to court to dispute 'fair use', which shows that it is not well defined enough for humans to get right, let alone automated bots.

    Lay down specific rules for 'fair use' and then you can write an algorithm to respect those rules.

    (Just don't let RIAA/MPAA dictate the rules.)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:16PM (#41255363)

      But the RIAA/MPAA has already dictated the terms of fair use: Any use that brings us revenue is fair, and all others are not :)

      Reason I think we should stuff a hot poker up their asses and make copyright a flat 18 years for individuals and 5 years for corporations, with not extensions and a one year loss in term for each transferral of copyright (be it selling the copyright or merging/wholly owning the company).

      That would solve the current issues with it, provide revenue over the primary useful life of the material, cut into residuals sadly, but result in more long term innovation since not producing new material will result in bankruptcy rather than an endless stream of relicensing/remaking old material. If all actors/actresses got flat pay (same as 'staff') however it'd be no different than any modern non-IP related job.

      • by cheesecake23 (1110663) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:56PM (#41255719)

        But the RIAA/MPAA has already dictated the terms of fair use: Any use that brings us revenue is fair, and all others are not :)

        Funny, but unfortunately the RIAA/MPAA aren't that clever. If they were, they wouldn't issue takedown notices to all the free advertising they get in fan videos on Youtube of movie scenes and teens dancing to pop songs, which would be deemed fair use in any sane legal universe.

        Also, definitely not fair use but still remarkable: it's astonishing how they happily piss money away in their idiotic war on pirated films and music - imagine what this word-of-mouth marketing would cost them if they actually had to PAY for it.

        • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:04PM (#41256131) Journal
          Actually, Viacom sued google for distributing on youtube content uploaded by their own employees, both from their own offices and the employees homes.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            So they can do something and then sue someone else for it? That sounds like the perfect business model!

            • by symbolset (646467) *
              A reasonable court would find that representatives of the copyright holder publishing the material under the YouTube terms is a license grant. But a court had to weigh in on this anyway, and Google had to pay lawyers money to say "but they said....".
              • by JosKarith (757063)
                So the real winners of this snafu of a legal system are the lawyers who created it in the first place? Whodathoughtthatwouldhappen?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tqk (413719)

        Reason I think we should stuff a hot poker up their asses and make copyright a flat 18 years for individuals and 5 years for corporations ...

        Nope, too generous. They're both flawed concepts, and too easily gamed. Zero years for both. Compete on your merits, damnit! Don't expect us to help you with legislative crutches. These are the rules the rest of us are expected to go by. Welcome to reality. Suck it up.

        • by cygnwolf (601176) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:59AM (#41259001)
          So you'd be perfectly fine with big corporations, with the big advertising budget, publishing a tiny indy band's music, claiming it was performed by one of their own? With their ability to advertise the crap out of it, the budget to claim that the tiny band was the one copying the work, and without copyright to back them up, the little guys are screwed. This isn't the same as a patent and claiming 'they stole my idea'. Copyright actually protects the creative work itself. Sure, it's a flawed system, but it is a very important one. TGP, however, does have some good points about there being an appropriate duration on the copyright.
      • by slacka (713188) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:30AM (#41258811)

        Agreed. Something has to be done. Censorship and wrongful take downs are just one aspect of the many problems with our copyright laws. My biggest issue with them is that they prevent young artists from remixing anything from their generation. This needs to be fixed by repealing the DCMA and reforming these draconian copyright laws.

        Before Disney, copyright granted authors protection for 28 years. I’m fine with that. The problem is it’s pushing 100 years now. This stifles our culture and innovation.

        For example, Star Wars was released in 1978, so it should have gone into the public domain by 2005. With existing laws, George Lucas retains exclusive rights to butcher the SW universe until 2072!!!! 95 YEARS! Imagine what new aspiring authors could do with his work, instead of the sterile Jar Jar crap that Lucas served us, recently? Thank you, copyright.

        Do you think your favorite authors would not have created their material, if it was not protected for 70 years after their death? The copyright system is designed make companies, like Disney and RIAA, rich at the expense of our freedom.

        The irony is Disney made its fortune by ripping off the great works of others. Walt Disney was a master of this. At its origins, Mickey Mouse was a parody of the Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill Jr. And almost all of their great work since then has continued this tradition of copying. Just to name a few: Pinocchio, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Jungle Book, Sleep Hollow, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid,

        With the RIAA, SOPA and Courtney Love’s excellent essay on how they screw over artists should give you an idea of how this industry works. http://www.salon.com/2000/06/14/love_7/ [salon.com]

        If you want to know more, Kirby Ferguson's series "Everything is a Remix" at
        http://www.everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/ [everythingisaremix.info]
        is a great watch!

    • by FirephoxRising (2033058) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:17PM (#41255373)
      I agree, they shouldn't be allowed to run these bots until they have a perfect algorithm, which will be never. These high profile examples should be enough to allow the EFF to do something? The bots should at the very least have to "request" a violation check, not an immediate take-down.
    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:38PM (#41255553)

      We have repeated cases of people going to court to dispute 'fair use', which shows that it is not well defined enough for humans to get right...

      Pretty much bullshit, "fair use" is indeed well defined.

      But the bigger issue *is not* the "bots", it's the media outlets that accept "take down notices" from bots.

      In other words, I'm questioning the legality of machine generated "take downs" that have no human interaction. I'm suggesting that it is not strictly legal and media outlets could certainly make an argument that such automated "take downs" constitute an unfair burden and so are invalid.

      Seriously.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A lot of people (especially online) have a big misunderstanding of what "fair use" is.
      The misconception is that there's a set of rights that we have to use copyrighted material, and when the copyright holder doesn't respect those rights he's just being a jerk.
      Actually, "fair use" is just a defense you can use when sued for copyright infringement.
      And it's almost entirely up to the discretion of the court to decide whether or not you'll get off with that defense.
      There's no actual set of rules, and that's the

      • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx. b c .ca> on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:29PM (#41256281) Journal

        Actually, "fair use" is just a defense you can use when sued for copyright infringement.

        In Canada, the equivalent concept is not a defense for infringement, the equivalent concept creates an exemption to infringement in the first place. So, if your usage was fair, as determined by law, then your defense if you should happen to get sued for infringement would simply be that you didn't infringe on copyright in the first place.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          In Canada, the equivalent concept is not a defense for infringement, the equivalent concept creates an exemption to infringement in the first place. So, if your usage was fair, as determined by law, then your defense if you should happen to get sued for infringement would simply be that you didn't infringe on copyright in the first place.

          That's the case in the United States, too, according to the language of the copyright law (Title 17) itself. If something is Fair Use then by definition it is an exclusion

      • by jthill (303417) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @10:19PM (#41256521)

        PP is, in every relevant way false.

        Fair use is, by statute declaration, not copyright infringement at all. Copyright holders have no authority at all to forbid any fair use.

        PP might as well have said a lot of people have a big misunderstanding of what "innocence" is, that "innocence" is just a defense you can use.

        The criteria for fair use are laid out in statute law and have decades of case law to back them. Courts have the same discretion in finding the boundaries of fair use as they have in finding the boundaries of any other law, and the same responsibility. There's nothing at all remarkable about that discretion, it's why they're called "Judge".

    • by Mr. Shotgun (832121) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @10:58PM (#41256679)

      Unfortunately the example from the summary are not fair use cases, more like original producers vs hangers on. The content publishers are using bot's without checking the results. They need to have some guy checking the flags and using sanity testing to verify if the flag is correct. I mean come on, NASA vs some newspaper in Cincinnati, who in the fuck is more likely to have produced footage from the curiosity rover on Mars. Or DNC coverage, who has the copyright, the DNC or a news organization rebroadcasting what the DNC made? Some types of people accept what a program says as the gospel truth, which leads to fuckups like the content flagging and Knight Capital. Computers are tools, not overlords as someone else said.

    • by curunir (98273) * on Thursday September 06, 2012 @11:12PM (#41256733) Homepage Journal

      The problem with your argument is that fair use is not a right. Instead, it's a defense against infringement. Even if something is within the boundaries of fair use, no one is required to respect that...it only protects you from being liable for infringement. So when someone (or some machine) denies that fair use, there's nothing legally wrong with doing so.

      The problem isn't (yet) with the definition of fair use, it's with the lack of protection of fair use as a right. For the purpose it serves, fair use is defined well enough...it describes enough to explain the intent and purposefully leaves the interpretation to judges and juries. To protect against cases like the one in the story, we need to first make it against the law to deny fair use...then we can worry about more explicitly defining what is and isn't fair use.

      • The problem with your argument is that fair use is not a right.

        I think that this would fall under those "self-evident" rights. You start with rights to use everything, then the constituion gives rights to writers and inventors to their works and inventions, for a limited time. (Real property rights are left to the states, except that the government can't take things from you without paying for them)

        To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

        After those rights expire, all use is fair.

    • by Kim0 (106623)

      Lawyers and lawmakers earn more on unspecific, complicated or vague rules.

  • by Nirvelli (851945) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:12PM (#41255331)
    President Obama,

    The DMCA has deleted your wife from the internet! You must repeal it immediately!

    Sincerely,
    A Concerned Internet Citizen
    • by fm6 (162816) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:29PM (#41255467) Homepage Journal

      I'm sure he'll get right on it. All he has to do is get repeal past the Republican majority in the House and the permanent Republican fillibuster [cnn.com] in the Senate.

      • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:13PM (#41255843)

        What makes you think that Obama wants to repeal the DMCA? With the amount of support and money he is getting from Hollywood it is not surprising he is not mentioning copyright at all.

        • by fm6 (162816)

          I'm sorry, I can't always remember to use a smiley when I make a joke.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's also because he's friendly with the Clintons. When he was President, Bill Clinton did a lot of work deregulating media monopoly/ownership laws. The big 5 or whatnot owe their current situation to that camp, so that's probably why major media tries to always downplay his mistakes, ridicule his critics, and hype up his successes.

          It's kind of a scary "special interest" when you really think about it. It's almost like legalized blackmail, if you look at it from that angle. The sad thing is that American c

        • by grahamm (8844)

          But what he (or his wife) could do is sue the pants off the company which claimed to own the copyright in the speech which his wife was giving and caused the takedown.

    • President Obama,
      The DMCA has deleted your wife from the internet! You must repeal it immediately!
      Sincerely,
      A Concerned Internet Citizen

      The president would then propose repealing the internet... just like any normal greasy politician. After all, the internet is not a direct result of lobbyist-promoted legislation so it must be the cause of the problem, not that fine well-lobbied DMCA piece of legislation which can clearly only cause good things.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:13PM (#41255333)

    the trigger was a brief clip from the Doctor Who episode itself

    In itself, the tech has shown an impressive quality if a brief clip was recognized in realtime.

    Would anyone blame the hammer because it's an excellent tool to drive nails under one's... well... nails?

    • by Required Snark (1702878) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:45PM (#41255627)
      This technology was designed to find infringement. It was not designed to find cute images of puppies. There is nothing in the code to recognize fair use. The technology is intrinsically broken. Perhaps it could be fixed, but there is no incentive to make it work fairly.

      A lot of technology is like OxyContin: it is very easy to abuse. The manufacturers/deployers make money and never suffer the negative effects. It's disingenuous to say that the technology is neutral and does not embody an business/political agenda. In this case allowing fair use would make the system much more complex, and might render it useless. For example if there were meaningful fines for false positives then those using this technology would have to act differently. Hell will freeze over before that happens.

      • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:43PM (#41256033) Homepage

        This technology was designed to find infringement.

        I seriously doubt that. I think it was designed to find matching content and CLAIM it to be infringement while really having no means whatsoever to determine that.

      • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:58PM (#41256101)

        This technology was designed to find infringement. It was not designed to find cute images of puppies. There is nothing in the code to recognize fair use. The technology is intrinsically broken.

        Correction: as demonstrated, the technology is excellent (in its recognition capabilities). Also as demonstrated, the use of the technology for certain purposes (police copyright infringement) is broken.
        It doesn't mean that for other purposes (finding images of cute puppies included) the same technology cannot be excellent.

        My point: don't blame the "robots", blame those who use them as "overlords". Otherwise, you'd be only adopting the same position to those who would very much like to ban/criminalize a technology (e.g. encryption? The use of Tor?) only because they can be used for copyright infringement or drug trafficking.

      • It was designed to find potential infringement on consumer-oriented sharing services where people can sign up and post or stream video without any screening beforehand. On such services, the fast majority of videos that get caught will in fact be blatant infringement, not fair use.

        There are two ways to stream on UStream and avoid the risk of a false positive. First, you can use the paid service, instead of the ad-supported service. They assume that people who are actually paying are probably not pirates, an

        • by azalin (67640) on Friday September 07, 2012 @02:27AM (#41257561)
          Shifting the blame by the use of facts, away from "big media" companies to (dumb) festival organizers, is not allowed around here. It relies on common sense, complete fact checking and considering both sides. Therefore it must not be tolerated and opposes groupthink. Sorry about that. /sarcasm
          Let's check facts first before we start ranting. Otherwise we (and our legitimate issues) look silly.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      Whether something is infringing or NOT infringing, cannot be determined by matching content alone. Anything that only looks for matching content is intrinsically and fundamentally broken. Anyone who would design it that way and claim it to be correct is a liar and a fraud.

      A hammer is not expected to detect if the target happens to be a screw. Claiming something merely detects that some content matches some other content is fine. Jumping to the conclusion that because it matches, it must therefore be inf

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by c0lo (1497653)

        Whether something is infringing or NOT infringing, cannot be determined by matching content alone. Anything that only looks for matching content is intrinsically and fundamentally broken. Anyone who would design it that way and claim it to be correct is a liar and a fraud.

        Correct. But that's exactly my point: the anyone who would etc is to blame and the reason for the blame is not because they designed the technology, but the way they use it (or claim it can be used) - is the second part of the logical conjunction that renders them liars.

  • penalties required (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:15PM (#41255361)

    The solution is to implement penalties for false takedown requests. Say, $25 per user per stream.

    • by Drishmung (458368) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:48PM (#41255647)
      The problem with that is that the *IAA don't, strictly, make a takedown request. This is a proactive service that Google/Ustream et al offer well above the DMCA requirements. So, there is no way to penalise them for what they will claim they didn't do.

      Instead, make the takedown request cost up front. It costs Google/Ustream etc. to implement the bots. It seems reasonable that those benefiting from them should pay.

      I suggest something like:

      • You put $x up front into our account, @$y per implemented block, sufficient to process n takedowns. (n = $x/$y).
      • Any takedowns in excess of 'n' will not be processed.
      • At the end of the month, you will be rebated m x $y where 'm' is the number of undisputed takedowns.
      • Disputed takedowns will not be reblocked. You must file a DMCA takedown f you wish to dispute the case.

        Still not perfect, but if the studios don't like it there is always the DCMA.

        (What Google get out of this is essentially the interest on the money for a month---not much but enough to compensate them somewhat).

    • by PPH (736903)

      $25? Too cheap.

      If an unauthorized download can cost someone from $20,000 to as high as $80,000 [cnn.com] per song, lets make the false takedown requests cost the requester the same thing.

      Have Google/YouTube and others require requestors to post a bond for the amount prior to honoring it. If the request proves to be in error, the poster or actual copyright holder gets the proceeds. If not, the requestor gets the bond back.

  • Hugo Weeps (Score:2, Troll)

    by fm6 (162816)

    The Hugo Awards, he said, were not using the paid “pro” version of Ustream’s live streaming service. The paid version of Ustream does not use Vobile.

    “The Hugo Awards were using the free ad-supported capability,” Hunstable said. “And unfortunately Ustream was not contacted ahead of the time about their use of the platform.”

    I think the lesson we should take from that is this: if you're broadcasting copyrighted material, you need to contact the streaming vendor and work with them to make sure there's no interruption.

    Which is not to defend the interruption. It seems pretty unfair to automatically take down a live stream just because it might have unauthorized content. Though one can't really complain about it when you're using a free ad-supported version of the service. Next time, the Hugo people will presumably do their homewor

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      Ahh so the new rule is you must pay the copyright overloards to ensure the content you create isn't taken down by default, something really, really stinks in that statement.

      It stinks like the existing publishers are trying to enforce a system which necessitates paying them a percentage of your revenue else like protection racket organised crime your content will suffer an accident. If you do not see the criminality implicit in your statement then you deserve to be arrested, ignorance of the law is no exc

      • Re:Hugo Weeps (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:48PM (#41255651) Homepage Journal

        You're not paying the copyright overlords. You're paying the video distribution system. If you're using the system for free, you can't expect them to take the lawsuit risk for you, so you shouldn't complain if they impose a stupid filter robot. So pay a fee (which probably gets rid of those ads people love to complain about) and show them you have permission to use the material you're broadcasting, so they can safely turn off the filter.

        This is nothing new. "Clearance" has always been a major part of making movies and TV shows. (You know why the little kid in E.T. ate Reese's Pieces? They couldn't get permission to use Skittles.) Creative people have to work with the system, in part because it's the same system that allows them to profit from their work.

        Mind you, I'm not defending the copyright overlords, with the legal sledgehammers and retroactive copyright extensions. But as fucked up as the system is, it's the one we've got, and the problems of dealing with it are nothing new.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Do you not understand how organisation like the Mafia implement a protection racket. The Don or Boss doesn't go out roughing people up, nor does the Consigliere, even the Caporegime doesn't go out and rarely do the soldiers pay a visit (they tend to visit latter in the piece), it's associates who go out and do the dirty work, those with the least links bank to the Capo. Now that holds true for them all whether it be the Triads, Yakuza or the RIAA/MPAA. Something else interesting all of them at various time

          • by fm6 (162816)

            So, anybody who tries to get money out of somebody else for any purpose is a gangster? As the anarchists used to say, Property is Theft? Whatever. I don't think that's a concept that's going to catch on.

  • However the content is removed, be it by an AI skimmer, a human, or a copyright holder or troll sending takedown notices, we keep missing one key part of the equation.
    That part is the fact that there is little to no recourse for those that have legitimate content taken down. In this case apparently uStream was silent and ignored things. How hard would it have been to get a human to look at the stream? Shouldn't your NOC have a few people on hand to do this at all times?
    Another case, takedowns on youtub
    • by James McGuigan (852772) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @09:36PM (#41256309) Homepage

      We live in an economic system based primarily on the concept of scarcity. Money is valuable because nobody ever seems to have quite enough of it, just like diamonds and gold. The law of supply and demand, there is more demand than supply.

      The internet and the information age changes all that, its economics that is based on abundance. For the cost of a broadband connection we can give every human child access to the entire digitized archive of the collected works of the human race. The cost of doing this even 100 years ago would have been astronomical and beyond the reach of even the richest philanthropists. The old business models based upon everybody getting a percentage of the production costs break down then the production costs become zero. We have so thoroughly eliminated the nature of scarcity with information that our scarcity based economics, upon which we all depend for our basic survival, has deemed everything that abundance touches to be worthless. Rather than creating "utilitarian" value, it is seen as destroying "valuable" scarcity.

      If you want economics based on abundance/gist-culture to actually work, then content effectively needs to be paid for in advance, with the risk of not-recieving, rather than our debt based culture of buy now pay later, where we only buy the hits after they have proven popular.

      Copyright is about trying to maintain the concept of artificial scarcity in an environment where it doesn't naturally exist. But assuming that copyright has its place, there are checks and balances, but they don't all operate at the cost level and the speed we are used to in internet time.

      The old school system of checks and balances are the courts and the legal system, You can spend a huge quantity of time, energy and money to argue your case and get a ruling from a professional judge. This works well when you have a small number of large, rich corporations with known fixed addresses and assets. Under the old school system, for things like copyright, most private individual use tended to simply fly under the radar and nobody made a big fuss about it regardless of the technicalities of the law. So disregarding morals, we are now down to game theory.

      Now Mr Joe Blogs with his modern broadband connection could easily broadcast more copyrighted music than half a dozen fully funded commercial radio stations from a decade ago. Mr Joe Blogs has very little in sue-able assets beyond a bankruptcy order and by the time the cogs in the legal system have turned, he has managed to transfer more data than could fit on a supercomputer from 25 years ago. Joe blogs wasn't as issue when all he had was a mix tape and 5 friends, now he has a mix computer and 5 billion friends. Plus there are now a hundred million Joe Blogs on the internet doing exactly the same thing. So we have innocent until proven guilty, with a very high cost and high standard of proof required to enforce copyright, with the burden resting fully on the copyright holders.

      So the copyright holders go to the politicians and say they cannot effectively enforce their business model, so they ask for the risk model of the checks and balances to be changed. Hence the DMCA, we want to be able to just send a letter and then shift the burden of proof onto Joe Blogs to argue his case, plus we want legal liability to rest with registered companies with static address who have something to lose if we have to take them to court. Guilty until proven innocent, but at least with the right of appeal.

      But still the DMCA only works at the speed of the postal system, and requires human interaction, which is still orders of magnitude slower and more costly than "internet speed" which we all now mostly take for granted. Hence the advent of AI copyright bots that can at least operate at "internet speed", but the people who create them are on the payroll of the copyright holders and their definition of "failsafe" is to block content first and ask questions later. The checks and balances then start to operate, but they can only proceed a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by confuscan (2541066)
        This is a perfect example of an arms race where one side has no governor (my hat tip to the earlier Jefferson reference). James succinctly described the rationale and process by which DCMA laws came into being. However, the fatal flaw is that DCMA enforces no penalty for excessive false positives. Consequently, as a content owner, it is in my best interest to take down first and ask (actually, they never ask) questions later. Businesses are driven to maximize the value of their product. Creating scarcity is
  • Unfortunately (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:44PM (#41255617) Journal

    Unfortunately, this has only agitated people who already were against automated copyright filtering and DRM. It's like telling eskimos snow is cold. No, we'll have to wait until the MTV music awards are knocked offline by copyright bots before anybody who didn't already know about them gets wind of it.

    • by Chrontius (654879)
      Go post your idea (as a hypothetical, not a suggestion!) on 4chan. Then when 30,000 /b/tards, working independently, report the MTV music video awards as copyright infringement and it's automatically pulled by the googlebot
      • or hypothetically file take downs for ALL political speeches for the rest of the election season, then it will hurt those in power. Those people WILL fix it then.

  • I'm waiting for Amanda MacKinnon Gaiman Palmer [amandapalmer.net] to write a song about the incident. That would be cool. (I am assuming that Brad Hunstable [ustream.tv], who by the way has deleted all the comments on his blog (at least one of them was vaguely supportive). would be less happy to have her turning her attention to him).
  • The fundamental problem with the current situation is that there is no "pain" (e.g., financial penalty) for these erroneous takedowns and that's the problem with DMCA. I wonder what the online world would look like if there was an equivalent "3 strikes" rule for false takedowns. After that, the escalating financial penalties kicked in, with damages going to the aggrieved party. Business understands money. Frame action and inaction in that context and business tends to behave in a predicable fashion, most o
    • by bws111 (1216812)

      Surely the contract you signed with whoever is hosting your content states the penalties for failing to host your content, doesn't it? What's that, no contract? Well, maybe you can try a warrantee claim, and at least get back the money you paid them to host your content. What's that, you didn't pay them anything? And you actually expect them to somehow owe YOU something?? That is a good one.

      The problem is not the DMCA, or that there is no "pain", the problem is that some people actually think they are e

  • Law enforcement in cities where protests are expected to take place, will pull out some of their internal training videos, then put them up on big screens around areas where they expect a protest.

    Then, when a LiveStreamer catches some of that training video, the bots will automagically shut off the protester's live feed.

  • by Carcass666 (539381) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @08:33PM (#41255959)

    The DMCA will probably never be overturned in the US, there is too much industry money behind it, and we know what feeds the political machine in the US.

    If some third-party copyright trollbot interferes with the legitimate viewing of a webcast event, there has to be a law firm somewhere that, for the notoriety alone, would be willing to file a class action suit alleging damages of inconvenience and anguish on the behalf of thousands of viewers. Moreover, the broadcaster could sue for the costs of their broadcast that was interfered with. It costs real money to do a good quality webcast, trolls should be on the hook for diluting the value of a broadcaster's investment.

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      Not when there is a one way facing no class-action arbitration clause in the terms of service we so blithely click on.
  • by imp (7585)

    ... skynet lives and it is testing its metal...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is just a part of a much bigger problem, and that is who is responsible for the behaviour of rouge A.I.? Soon we'll have to face this problem head-on. With the military drones and robots being more and more autonomous, it's only a matter of time before DARPA comes up with the Terminator(TM), capable of autonomously deciding on the killshot. Then it's a matter of time before this machine makes a mistake killing a civilian or a war journalist and we'll find ourselves in the deepest legal shit humanity ha

  • by Punto (100573) <puntob AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 06, 2012 @10:04PM (#41256447) Homepage

    If I remember correctly, these take down notices have a section where the issuer of the notice swears "under penalty of perjury" that the information on the notice is correct. When it turns out to be incorrect (or even when it isn't but no human ever checks the results from the bot), is that actionable? In a civil court? What is "penalty of perjury" exactly?

    • That's for corporations and rich people so they can lawyer bomb any peons who dare to use the system against them to highlight the ease of abuse of the DMCA.

    • At least one of them wasn't a takedown, though. The Hugo award thing was an automatic response during a streaming event. It's a thing Ustream does of its own initiative (probably requested/extorted by content holders, but still) to cut down on copyright infringement on its service. It would be hard to argue against it in court as well, considering this automatic filtering only applies to customers using the free version of Ustream's service. The only reasonable solution I see is for people to let Ustream kn
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        At least one of them wasn't a takedown, though. The Hugo award thing was an automatic response during a streaming event. It's a thing Ustream does of its own initiative (probably requested/extorted by content holders, but still) to cut down on copyright infringement on its service. It would be hard to argue against it in court as well, considering this automatic filtering only applies to customers using the free version of Ustream's service. The only reasonable solution I see is for people to let Ustream know that this isn't okay and to stop using their service and anyone else who uses Vobile (justin.tv also does).

        it would be very easy for hugo awards to sue ustream for libel though. they flat out said that the stream was copyright infringing.

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      There are no takedown notices involved. What is so hard to understand about that? These are services used by the hosting providers (YouTube, UStream, et al) themselves to help them determine what content they will and will not host. And guess what! They can refuse to host your content for any legal reason at all (including 'we just don't want to').

      All of this babble about 'takedown noticies' and 'fair use' and such is just distraction. These actions have nothing to do with that, and are simply a busine

  • I would support my son taking an iPhone-building internship. Foxconn conditions might suck, but I'm not fundamentally opposed to students doing physical work.

  • How about if take-down notices from grandmas infected machine went to youtube for everything posted, legal or otherwise. Youtube either ignores all take-downs, complies with all of them or gets the law changed to make incorrect take-downs cost real money.

    The other option is to only accept take-downs delivered by certified mail.

  • Apparently the trigger was a brief clip from the Doctor Who episode itself

    Having just watched the ending of Season 2 of Doctor Who ("Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday"), it's clear who is behind these copyright bots: Cybermen!

    "Copyright violation found! Delete! Delete! Delete!"

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