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MediaFire Restores Virus Researcher's Account But Not Individual Files 72

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the bad-robot dept.
chicksdaddy writes "The cloud-based hosting firm MediaFire has reversed a decision to suspend the account of virus researcher Mila Parkour after Naked Security raised questions about copyright violation complaints made against her by the mysterious firm LeakID. In an email to Parkour on Friday, MediaFire's director of customer support, Daniel Goebel, said that the company was restoring Parkour's access to her MediaFire account and apologized for the interruption in service. MediaFire also said it was asking LeakID, the Paris-based firm that accused Parkour of sharing copyrighted material, to 'confirm the status of the counterclaim [Parkour] submitted.' However, the firm is still blocking access to files that LeakID alleged were violating the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a strict copyright enforcement law in the U.S."
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MediaFire Restores Virus Researcher's Account But Not Individual Files

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  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:07AM (#41297355) Journal

    When you're being accused of violating one of the draconian MAFIAA laws, you are guilty as charged - until, of course, you are proven innocent

    That researcher, although having the account restored, still being blocked of accessing any of the disputed materials

    And the worst of all is, an American law, is dictating the behavior of the Internet, a worldwide structure.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:18AM (#41297391)

      I thought, the way DMCA was supposed to work is:
      1. Claim filed.
      2. Content taken down.
      3. Counterclaim filed.
      4. Content restored until a court order is received to take it down permanently.

      Why does it so often seem to end at step 3?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I thought the DMCA was only supposed to be usable in the US against US firms?

        Is it me or is this the second or third similiar takedown that slashdot has had up in the past month or two that was a DMCA claim being made by a foreign firm, possibly against a foreign individual or entity?

        Don't fear the idiot across the pond. Fear the idiot next to you who borrows the other idiot's club :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Phase Shifter (70817)

          Fear the idiot next to you who borrows the other idiot's club :)

          Speaking of idiots and clubs, who wants to claim copyright on a bunch of malware anyway? Isn't that like saying "Hey, I'm a cyberterrorist and I don't want you looking at my tools?"
          Just saying, sometimes it's tempting to troll right back.

        • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:57AM (#41297737)

          I thought the DMCA was only supposed to be usable in the US against US firms?

          Is it me or is this the second or third similiar takedown that slashdot has had up in the past month or two that was a DMCA claim being made by a foreign firm, possibly against a foreign individual or entity?

          Don't fear the idiot across the pond. Fear the idiot next to you who borrows the other idiot's club :)

          According to their wikipedia entry MediaFire is based in the US (Texas), AFAIK you don't have to be a US citizen to sue a US organization in a US court for breach of US laws (feel free to correct me if I am wrong). Especially if the MediaFire datacenter is in the USA. It's interesting to note that under the DMCA you seem to be guilty until proven innocent.

          • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @06:29AM (#41297887) Journal

            According to their wikipedia entry MediaFire is based in the US (Texas), AFAIK you don't have to be a US citizen to sue a US organization in a US court for breach of US laws (feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

            Nope, you are spot on. In civil cases you can usually sue in either the country where either party is based or in the country where the transaction took place.

            Normally though you always sue in your own country in order to force your opponent to have to deal with the hassle of finding representation in a foreign country and sending witnesses half way round the world. Unless of course one country has such bat shit crazy laws in your favour as in this case :)

            This is actually a good point. Maybe the DMCA was designed to help US lawyers by generating this additional revenue stream for them as companies flock to the US legal system to file this crap. In which case it will only change when an equivalent amount of revenue has been lost to overseas as tech companies abandon the US and that does not seem to have happened yet.

        • by crazyjj (2598719) *

          U.S. law applies to every country in the world. People stupid enough to think otherwise usually end up on a plane to the U.S. wondering why their government extradited them so fast.

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        I thought, the way DMCA was supposed to work is:
        1. Claim filed.
        2. Content taken down.
        3. Counterclaim filed.
        4. Content restored until a court order is received to take it down permanently.

        Why does it so often seem to end at step 3?

        Because step four is voluntary since keeping the content up is usually voluntary to begin with (even contracts are usually written such that they can be ended by either party on a whim). If step four were not voluntary, then a sneaky party could force a company to host material it objected to (a photoshopped image of its board of directors eating kittens) by having a friend claim a "mistaken" DMCA notice, then until the court order is obtained (never), the company would be forced to keep the objectionable

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:22AM (#41297419) Homepage

      And the worst of all is, an American law, is dictating the behavior of the Internet, a worldwide structure.

      Now now, no need to exagerate.
      Under DMCA only disputed files must be removed immediately, and those disputed files must be restored immediately if a counterclaim is made.
      Clearly MediaFire is applying only a very loose interpretation of this particular US law to the internet.

      • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:36AM (#41297469) Homepage

        The problem is that the DMCA is horribly unbalanced. Fail to honor a claim and you become a contributory infringer. Fail to honor a counterclaim and ... nothing. Make a patently false claim and ... nothing.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:04AM (#41297573)

          Horribly unbalanced laws are easy. You americans can force attention by abusing this law in a planned denial of service attack.

          Set up a group that issues takedowns against the sites of:
          * Your political parties
          * Your politicians
          * Governmental sites
          * Major content providers and their retailers

          The politicians will not enjoy this, not in the middle of an election campaign. And the content providers might notice some lost sales when their advertising is taken down for bogus infringement.

          Then the system will change. Ideally the dmca goes, more realistically there will be punishment for frivolous takedowns. But that is enough, one can then punish trigger-happy dmca abusers in the future.

          And if the punishments are too mild at first - set up a company for another round of targeted takedowns. When the punishments come, this company goes bankrupt and no one really gets punished. Repeat until the law improves sufficiently.

          • by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:45AM (#41297695)

            Horribly unbalanced laws are easy. You americans can force attention by abusing this law in a planned denial of service attack.

            Set up a group that issues takedowns against the sites of:
            * Your political parties
            * Your politicians
            * Governmental sites
            * Major content providers and their retailers

            The politicians will not enjoy this, not in the middle of an election campaign. And the content providers might notice some lost sales when their advertising is taken down for bogus infringement.

            Then the system will change. Ideally the dmca goes, more realistically there will be punishment for frivolous takedowns. But that is enough, one can then punish trigger-happy dmca abusers in the future.

            And if the punishments are too mild at first - set up a company for another round of targeted takedowns. When the punishments come, this company goes bankrupt and no one really gets punished. Repeat until the law improves sufficiently.

            This will only work for a short time until they catch on. Then they can simply use the provisions in the USA-PATRIOT Act, the various Executive Orders, and the revised NDAA to treat those responsible as "illegal/enemy combatants" and have them secretly killed or abducted and imprisoned indefinitely.

            "In Soviet..."

            ummm :-/

            Ah, screw it!

            It's gotten so bad those jokes are more tragedy than comedy anymore.

            Strat

          • by Anonymous Coward

            "I have altered the deal, pray that I do not alter it further" - Darth Vader
            You'll bet that the RIAA/MPAA wil lobby for even worse copyright laws than DMCA for the politician. So let sleeping dogs lie.

        • The problem is that the DMCA is horribly unbalanced. Fail to honor a claim and you become a contributory infringer. Fail to honor a counterclaim and ... nothing. Make a patently false claim and ... nothing.

          Not true. A false claim can result in a lawsuit; as per Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. IANAL, but she may have a case against the company that files the claim.

          • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @07:35AM (#41298239) Homepage

            I think he was talking about service providers like MediaFire here.
            Service providers can be sued for ignoring the DMCA complaint, they cannot be sued for ignoring a counterclaim. They can't be sued in the resultant court case either, but they can expect to run into lots of expenses.
            Therefore the cheapest and safest way to deal with DMCA for a service provider is to simply honor the DMCA complaint and do nothing else.

            • by Hatta (162192)

              Service providers can be sued for ignoring the DMCA complaint, they cannot be sued for ignoring a counterclaim.

              If you've paid for service and they refuse to provide it, you can indeed sue them.

              • by sjames (1099)

                Nah, they'll just exercise their option to terminate for any reason. They might or might not give you a refund for the month in progress.

            • I think he was talking about service providers like MediaFire here. Service providers can be sued for ignoring the DMCA complaint, they cannot be sued for ignoring a counterclaim. They can't be sued in the resultant court case either, but they can expect to run into lots of expenses. Therefore the cheapest and safest way to deal with DMCA for a service provider is to simply honor the DMCA complaint and do nothing else.

              I agree - the only reason I pointed out that the person who was claimed to have posted infringing material can sue someone who "makes a patently false claim..."

        • by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @06:18AM (#41297839) Journal

          Please understand, LeakID is working on figuring it out, but every time they try and open the PDF to see if it's actually infringing or not, it erases their entire computer.

        • Actually, making a false claim is considered a perjury, but that clause is almost never enforced.

          • by Binestar (28861) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @08:10AM (#41298535) Homepage

            Actually, making a false claim is considered a perjury, but that clause is almost never enforced.

            Sadly, that is a part often mis-read by people. The DMCA requires 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.

            Meaning, you say (not under penalty of perjury) that the information in the notification is accurate, then also say (under penalty of perjury) that you have the rights to send DMCA notices for your client.

            If you're sending notices proporting that you represent MGM but you don't actually represent MGM, you're in trouble. If you *DO* represent MGM, but are wrong about the copyright violation, there is no perjury.

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:59AM (#41297549) Homepage

        those disputed files can be restored immediately if a counterclaim is made if you trust that the safe harbor protections afforded by the DMCA will stop some rabid copyright troll with a shyster lawyer from bringing a bullshit suit against you, costing you money up front to defend it even if it's clearly without merit.

        FTFY. The attitude seems to be that it's safer/cheaper/sadistically funnier to keep penalising your own customers than to gamble on safe harbor.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually if you're dealing with a foreign company, they'd probably do it on the claim that the Berne Convention only requires that nations honor each other's copyright C&D requests and the putback provisions of the DMCA aren't covered by it at all, ie the French can sue after a proper putback because they don't care about that part of the law.

    • But although the point stands: America is definitely bullying the whole world when it comes to copyright issues, as far as I understood, this researcher is actually based in the US.

      - Team America, World Police. America, f*** yeah!

      • by someones (2687911)

        Not only USA. See the French.

        So... copyright idiots (= Content mafia) is killing the net.

  • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:30AM (#41297445) Journal

    A virus researcher is, of course, sufficiently wise to have local copies of all files because relying on a "cloud" provider is as sound as relying on that kid down the road who promises to keep all your personal documents safe in his dad's filing cabinet for a handful of sweets.

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Calydor (739835) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:41AM (#41297669)

    There really is only two ways this case should EVER be allowed to go:

    1) LeakID admits they don't actually have any kind of ownership over the malware. LeakID gets sued for knowingly sending false C&D notices under DMCA (or equivalent, not a lawyer).

    2) LeakID claims to have ownership of the malware. LeakID gets sued to oblivion for creation and distribution of malware.

    • Is a false C&D a civil or criminal offense? If it's criminal, good luck getting anyone to file charges.

      • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @06:40AM (#41297951) Journal

        Civil - there is at least one case of someone winning over a wrongful takedown. I can't remember the name now. I suspect it's probably not worth the time/money of a lawyer, which is why the content industry feels they are so safe in just blanketing with takedowns.

        • by The Moof (859402)
          Actually, there's a provision that states if you knowingly make a false claim, it's a criminal offense as well. However, I've never actually seen that enforced.
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Should that not just be perjury?

            • by morgauxo (974071)
              No, this is the legal system. Old laws like perjury don't apply because you need a new law with 'using a computer' appended to the end of it.
    • http://www.leakid.com/ [leakid.com]

      "our leaksearch ownership tool will alert you within seconds if your content is being pirated."

      ridiculously unprofessional site.

      they've got Lorem ipsum's for product descriptions and gramatical mistakes all over the place.

      • by Tolbin (1446277)
        With noscript you get black text on black background saying: "// Provide alternate content for browsers that do not support scripting // or for those that have scripting disabled. Alternate HTML content should be placed here. This content requires the Adobe Flash Player. Get Flash"
    • by Hatta (162192)

      1) LeakID admits they don't actually have any kind of ownership over the malware. LeakID gets sued for knowingly sending false C&D notices under DMCA (or equivalent, not a lawyer).

      You misread the DMCA. All you have to attest to is that you represent a rights holder whose rights are allegedly infringed. Not "the" rights holder, "a" rights holder. If you represent any rights holder, you can allege anything you want, about any file anyhere, without even a good faith belief that it is accurate and that'

  • "Cloud computing is the future", or at least that's what's being shoved down your throat. See how fun cloud computing is? By all means, put all your data "on the cloud".
  • by Anonymous Coward

    1 - The cloud is a liability.

    2 - Companies in the US occupied territories are liabilities.

    3 - The cloud host was spying on user files and reporting to 3rd parties.

  • by pnot (96038) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @06:59AM (#41298053)

    On the off-chance that this blows up into some high-tech conspiracy-theory spy thriller, Mila Parkour has the perfect name for the protagonist of said thriller. I assume the whole thing will culminate in a white-knuckle chase across the rooftops of Paris as Ms Parkour skilfully evades MediaFire's hired goons.

  • Why on earth would a virus researcher use cloud storage instead of his/her own server?

    I can see how the average person would find services like mediafire and dropbox useful, because they don't have the knowledge to setup their own server. But as soon as you are awarded (or awarded yourself) the researcher title in any field of computing, you should not hand your files over to someone else for storage. But if you do, and something happens, you should suffer the consequences and not make it onto the front p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @07:44AM (#41298293)

    I've had to deal with this guy before when Mediafire took out my entire account instead of the single file that was reported. Even with the company who filed the DMCA notice getting involved, he still wouldn't reinstate the files. Don't bother complaining to Mediafire about him either, because he's the one that gets your complaints. And his reaction to them is to close your support ticket and suspend your account.

    "Daniel G", as he shows up on the support site, is a power tripping dick.

  • ... LeakID, the Paris-based firm that accused Parkour ...

    I'm not sure they really want to mess with a Parkour girl... [youtube.com]

  • They're acting like this person kept the one and only copy of certain things on a file sharing site. How unbelievably stupid is that?! If that is the case, anyone deserves and FBI raid or copyright notice or random account closure or company bankruptcy so they can learn how unsafe that is. Now that their account is back online, just re-upload all the files.
  • Leakid v. Blogger [blogspot.co.uk]

    Leakid v. Grub [linuxquestions.org]

    Leakid v. Weird TV [blogspot.co.uk]
  • From the Contagio blog [blogspot.com] (where Mila Parkour works):

    ...who used LeakID services to crawl Hotfile links and file baseless copyright infringement notices en masse.

    The blog says LeakID is using bots to crawl Hotfile links. Wouldn't their copyright search algorithms be easily defeated by packing files into password protected RAR files before uploading them to a file hosting site?

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