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Automated DMCA Takedown Notices Request Censorship of Legitimate Sites 192

Posted by timothy
from the totally-unpredictable-outcome dept.
Techmeology writes "Microsoft has sent automated DMCA notices to Google demanding the removal of several legitimate URLs from its search results that Microsoft claims were facilitating the distribution of illegal copies of Windows 8, including links to BBC news articles, Wikipedia pages, U.S. government websites, and even Bing! The erroneous DMCA notices are being sent automatically by rights holders, who are increasingly using such techniques."
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Automated DMCA Takedown Notices Request Censorship of Legitimate Sites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:03PM (#41581031)

    An automated notice should fall afoul of the portion of the notice which must be sworn under penalty of perjury. You know, the part that says you are the person who owns the copyright to the work you're claiming (not under penalty of perjury) is being hosted illegally at the listed URL(s).

    Captcha: victim

  • Bad law is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ATMAvatar (648864) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:05PM (#41581045) Journal
    With zero penalty for bad takedown notices, even those sent in bad faith, I'm amazed this hasn't happened sooner and on a much larger scale.
  • by doug141 (863552) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:07PM (#41581055)
    dcma takedowns, it should be.
  • by chowdahhead (1618447) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:07PM (#41581063)

    Right now rightsholders and the anti-piracy outfits they employ have absolutely no incentive to improve the accuracy of their automated takedown systems, so perhaps it’s time for them to be punished?

    That is the problem--they have nothing to lose. If automated detection can't differentiate between illegal, fair use, and completely unrelated content (as in this case), then someone needs to be held liable for that junk.

  • by cwills (200262) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:19PM (#41581135)
    A DMCA takedown notice for something that doesn't belong to you is simply theft, and should be treated as such. If the whole purpose of DMCA is to protect the owner of some property, it needs to work both ways.

    If I called a towing company claimed that the car you had parked in your driveway was mine and that I wanted it towed to my house, that would be theft.

  • Nothing to lose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:23PM (#41581155) Journal
    Microsoft has nothing to lose from this. Removing legitimate sites from Google's index only helps Bing.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @11:44PM (#41581247) Journal

    A DMCA takedown notice for something that doesn't belong to you is simply theft, and should be treated as such. If the whole purpose of DMCA is to protect the owner of some property, it needs to work both ways.

    If I called a towing company claimed that the car you had parked in your driveway was mine and that I wanted it towed to my house, that would be theft.

    huh?

    This is more like your neighbor called and got your car towed from the front of your house (or driveway). Why they are doing it is because they don't bother to check that the car is yours, and belongs there. And since it's not against the law to call up and get someone else car towed, they are doing it to every car they see.

    Now, if I was Google, I'd just start charging for bogus requests. Wouldn't charge for legitimate requests, but charge like $1 or so for every bogus request that comes in. If a place has an outstanding balance of too much, then do not process any more requests from them until they pay up.

    Since this is about money, make them pay.

  • Re:at the sentence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by green1 (322787) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:14AM (#41581603)

    The point is that you should not be automating something that claims to be 100% accurate under penalty of perjury at identifying content on the internet when we know that it's simply not possible to write such a thing.

  • Free speech (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:21AM (#41581645) Homepage Journal

    At one time, media companies in the US relied on the Free Speech protections like the guarantee in the Constitution to ensure their livelihood. That motivated them to defend free speech rights for everyone.

    Media in the US is now mostly controlled by 5 large corporations, and they no longer rely on free speech for their livelihood. In fact in some quarters they now view it as more of a threat.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:54AM (#41581781)

    Pinning responsability for the bot on someone would be difficult

    No it wouldn't. If you can't find a manager, director, CEO, etc. who can be held responsible, then just hold the Company as a whole responsible. If the Company is allowed to contribute money to an election, then it's only fair that the Company can be held liable in general for perjury, libel, etc.

  • by dcollins117 (1267462) on Monday October 08, 2012 @02:10AM (#41581831)

    I don't think that's ever been done, and to make things worse how do you get a bot to face penalties of perjury? Pinning responsability for the bot on someone would be difficult and would most likely get put on the most junior coder or somebody that's left MS.

    Well if that's the case, what legal standing does a bot have to make a DCMA claim? I would argue - none.

  • by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Monday October 08, 2012 @06:12AM (#41582825)

    You should create a corporation and sign your computer over to it. Then if it does get sued just have the corp sell you the computer for 1$, then let it go bankrupt in the suit. Isn't capitalism great?

  • by theCoder (23772) on Monday October 08, 2012 @08:23AM (#41583659) Homepage Journal

    Because, AIUI, the part of the DMCA takedown request that is backed under penalty of perjury is that Microsoft owns the copyright to Windows 8. There's nothing in the takedown certifying that the site is in fact infringing on that copyright. Since no one disputes that Microsoft owns the copyright to Windows, there's no perjury. Just annoyance.

    Of course, IANAL, etc, etc.

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