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After Celebrity Photo Leaks, 4chan Introduces DMCA Policy 134

Posted by timothy
from the they'll-get-right-on-that dept.
davidshenba writes In the wake of leaked private photos of celebrities, 4chan has added Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown policy to its rules and policies. Under this new policy, the site will remove any notified and verified "infringement." It is not clear how effective this could be, or how 4chan is going to handle the inflow of notifications to restrict the content provided by users.
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After Celebrity Photo Leaks, 4chan Introduces DMCA Policy

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  • by The-Forge (84105) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:28AM (#47824083)

    When I saw this I had to make sure it wasn't April 1st and that the article wasn't from The Onion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JosKarith (757063)
      Well, I always wondered what would be the straw that broke 4chan's back - now we know.
      4chan is as good as dead, just like Alt.Tasteless before it. Time for the hordes of trolls, sickos, wannabes and script kiddies to find another pit to infest. Wonder where it'll be?
      So long 4chan. It's been fun but in time, all things pass.
    • by synapse7 (1075571)

      I'm wagering this was forced on them.

  • So is 4chan going to hack 4chan for supporting the man?

  • by Wycliffe (116160) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:31AM (#47824103) Homepage

    I thought the whole purpose of 4chan was that "anything goes".
    If they start censoring it then all the people that are there will just move somewhere else that is not restricted.

    • by Himmy32 (650060) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:35AM (#47824119)
      They've had a good amount of censorship for a while. Especially after they starting providing information on member posting very illegal content. It didn't kill the site then.
      • by rockout (1039072)
        Whatever passes for censorship in this case is pretty much irrelevant anyway. The pack of photos that started this was almost instantly on piratebay, and after almost four days it's still there with about 27,000 seeders. That won't go away on its own for a while and you don't see piratebay taking it down. The initial leak just happened to be from 4chan; the next such leak could come from almost anywhere.
        • by rhazz (2853871)
          But a huge amount of what is posted on 4chan are just copied images or gifs created from (one would assume) copyrighted films/videos. And I'm not just talking about the porn sections. If they go down this path and actually enforce it I think it's very likely a number of the forums will dry up.
        • by scubamage (727538)
          You are 100% correct. This is yet another place where the victims (and they ARE victims), in their move to try and stop the information from spreading, completely ignored that the Streisand Effect is a very real and powerful thing. Honestly, a better approach would have been the Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian approach, "Ok, I can't get rid of this, may as well make an official distribution channel and make money off of it." But obviously, given the personal nature of the leak, they'd have to be ok with that de
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:36AM (#47824127)

      It would be like /. getting rid of Taco, making it impossible to follow comment threads, and selling out to slashvertisers. I mean, could you even IMAGINE that??

    • by rioki (1328185) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:37AM (#47824131) Homepage

      The funny thing with this is that, since the half life of most posts is something around one or two hours, the system will remove any offending post before the DMCA can be processed. I expect that 99% of all DMCA requests can be forwarded to /dev/null. So yea...


    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Since one of the "celebrities" was under age when the photos were taken I suspect that the ante with respect to the legal ramifications may be a little higher than just a nasty letter from a lawyer. That sort of thing tends to focus the mind.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Since one of the "celebrities" was under age when the photos were taken I suspect that the ante with respect to the legal ramifications may be a little higher than just a nasty letter from a lawyer. That sort of thing tends to focus the mind.

        Thats interesting. Since its then illegal to have those images it is not possible for anyone to give consent to storing them on iCloud.
        What is the legal status for hosting a server with illegal information on it?

        • by wiredog (43288)

          What is the legal status for hosting a server with illegal information on it?
          If they don't know, then they are not responsible. It's in the DMCA, or possibly the CFAA.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        From what I have heard, it is not that clear. Seems that few non-nude photos were done underage, while nude photos are already after 18. It was worded confusingly by lawyers on purpose to scare people away.

        If there are underage nude photos there, the lady in question is in a trouble herself...

        • Underage nudes without erect dicks, sex, or masturbation, in the photo are almost certainly legal.

          To be illegal, the photo must be sexualized, and the definition in law tends to not include nude shots on their own.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought the whole purpose of 4chan was that "anything goes".

      4chan has always had rules and restrictions. Things like loli and guro are not allowed to be posted outside of the Random board, certain boards are considered SFW and don't allow porn, and posters are required to be over 18 to post. All of these are enforced quite a bit, even so far as public bans for people who admit to being under 18 on the boards.

      Now this usually doesn't stop the users from just posting what they want (i.e. you can still find people posting porn on "worksafe" boards), but they do usually

      • Rule #1 has been "Don't post anything illegal" for a very long time. I just read moot's deposition where he explained 4chan for some trial on April 22, 2010. It was part of the rules then.

    • by fermion (181285) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:17AM (#47824433) Homepage Journal
      Like Usenet, it really isn't anything goes. Stuff that most people don't like is pushed off to alternative locations, there, bug not where anyone has to deal with it. What would kill 4chan, because evidently it runs with no significant budget or profit, would be a single lawsuit. By creating a belated DCMA policy, the site is protecting itself from such an event. Look at it this way. If Arthur Anderson had created a policy stating the conditions and intervals that documents would be destroyed, it might still be in existence today. But it did not, and panicked, and is gone. It is good that 4chan is being more forward thinking.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > If they start censoring it

      Start? They've been censoring discussions about this crusade against gamers rather heavily lately.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Come now anon, don't know that all gamers are misogynists, and the feminists who support this line of thinking believe that all men should be killed. I wish I was kidding on both points, but the "gaming media" and their 8+ articles containing 35-45% verbatim material say otherwise, along with the social justice warrior crowd that are attacking, doxxing, and threatening anyone who doesn't fall in step with their bigoted view point.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I thought the whole purpose of 4chan was that "anything goes".
      If they start censoring it then all the people that are there will just move somewhere else that is not restricted.

      it's a formal policy that really means nothing at all because practically speaking, the material disappears very quickly.

      It does however confer benefits like legal protection.

      And I think 4chan's founder has stated he's received many threats of lawsuits before, but no one ever followed through. But given celebrities tend to have a LOT

  • by Himmy32 (650060) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:33AM (#47824109)
    Image board like 4chan don't permanent host data. On the quick moving boards, images are gone before someone even could type up a DMCA request. Maybe they'll prevent that picture being posted again. I wonder how their members are going to react to new censorship.
    • You think the media publishers type up each individual request?

      • Re:Effectiveness (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:56AM (#47824267)

        You think the media publishers type up each individual request?

        I used to have a job where I handled them. They are pretty much auto-generated by companies that charge the content owners for each notice. Most are fake and it's a massive scam to steal money from them. We ended up deleting most of them as the data in them was clearly made up. Basically they are required by law to do "something" about DMCA complaint, and you're seeing it. The net effect will probably be nothing. We rarely got to then in under a week, so I suspect they will take even longer. By then, the threads would be dead anyway.

        • by Smerta (1855348)

          Serious question: Do you know of any instance where the originator of a bogus DMCA takedown request was punished?

          From what I understand, the originator can't just search for "Lindsay Lohan" on BitTorrent and Usenet, and fire out a bunch of takedown requests -- the signed/authenticated takedown notice stipulates that they are the owner of the material.

          Said another way, if you uploaded a Linux distribution and called it "Rihanna Nudes" or something, and Rihanna's people sent a DMCA takedow

          • No. The DMCA notice has two parts: one where you say (under pain of perjury) that you are indeed the owner of a copyright or the owner's designated representative (or whatever), and one where you say (no perjury here) that you have good reason to believe that something violates the copyright.

            I can't legally look for "Lindsay Lohan" on those spaces and fire out a bunch of takedown requests, because I need to swear that I have the copyright or am working for whoever does. Rihanna's people can indeed fil

      • by biodata (1981610)
        The point is, by the time a request has been submitted, received and acted on, the content has probably already expired and disappeared. Everything is temporary there. I can't see much actual censorship resulting from any of this. The memory of 4chan is not on the website, it's in the dark corners of its users' hard disks, where no censorship reaches. Enforce takedowns as much as you like, but once an image expires or is taken down someone else will post it, probably under a different name or with a sill
      • by Himmy32 (650060)
        No, of course not. The point is how quickly the images fall off the board. More than likely quicker than an DMCA request.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    He really couldn't care less about them.

    There is an auto-ban for unsavoury content that has been expanded to it.
    Most people will see 4chan and think all of these images are there forever, but they don't understand things vanish after so long, depending on the speed of the board. (RIP marked for deletion (old))
    Now that they have a legal page with DMCA, they can't do shit to the site, even though almost all posters know how to get around the filter by adding pixels, changing hue, sat, literally anything with

  • Technicalities (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04, 2014 @08:41AM (#47824169)

    Well with the ephemeral nature of 4chan posts, it seems like this is more of a technicality than anything. The big boards are pretty fast, so posts are automatically wiped after a few hours at most. Infringing content will probably be off the site by the time a content owner's lawyers have time to fire off an email. On slower boards, they can be up for days or maybe even months, but I doubt anyone would bother sending a DMCA for something on, for example, the papercraft board.

    All in all, it's probably just for moot to cover his ass and claim safe harbor, especially since content usually deletes itself in a few hours. Most of the time, he won't have to even do a thing.

  • Then Encyclopedia Dramatica [] will be the unbiased source on how long they will sarcastically abide the policy before they just trash the hell out of it and forget the whole thing and not care anymore.

    • by Megane (129182)
      I didn't read it in much detail, but apparently it's merely there so that they have a policy. And apparently it's intended to give the complainers hoops to jump until the subject of the complaint is auto-expired anyhow.
  • The legal owner of the copyright is most likely the person who took the picture, either the celebrity herself in the case of a selfie, or her boyfriend for non-selfies.

    4. Contact information about the notifier including address, telephone number and, if available, e-mail address;

    Basically, they're trying to build a full address book of everybody in the leaks.

    • You mean an address book of lawyers offices?

      4. Contact information about the notifier including address, telephone number and, if available, e-mail address;

      It did not say copyright owner.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:35AM (#47824589) Homepage
    many people think 4chan is a place where 'anything goes.' thats not the case. the /b board is where the most shocking content submission and conversation happens, and its arguably been the one 4chans owner moot (christopher poole) has had the most trouble handling in the past. Poole determined rather early on that he was willing to sacrifice 4chans freedom of speech so long as someone was willing to foot the bill for his posh new york condo and hipster pedigree. He used to at least make a passing attempt at participation by dredging up old 4chan memes like 'crescent fresh' but lately its mostly mods and ops in his name that enforce the christmas hat overlays and such. Its nothing new though, 4chan has had a DMCA policy for nearly a decade and will gladly redact link content and ban users for posting torrents.

    poole has always done the DMCA shimmy because while leaks like this draw traffic, they also have the ability to draw him into protracted litigation and harm his advertising revenue stream. hes worried about celebrities in this case growing a pair and sending him to court personally, or attacking his advertisers.
    • At least one of those celebrities was underage. He's worried about more than civil suits.

  • This is why I always copyright my nude selfies...oh wait, no I don't.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <> on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:51AM (#47824747)

    Kappa Beta Phi has announced that it has a under-aged drinking policy, which it expects it's members to respect.

    The NSA has a policy against eavesdropping on phone calls, which it pinky promises it will observe.

    And finally, Slashdot is instituting a "No Trolls" policy, which First Post, Natalie Portman Naked and Petrified.

  • by Sasayaki (1096761) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:52AM (#47824755)

    This probably won't work, because either:

    1) The influx of content will overwhelm 4Chan's very few mods.
    2) Trolls will flag every single image and overwhelm 4Chan's very few mods.
    3) 4Chan's very few mods will not care.

  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @09:59AM (#47824817)
    Post Ponies!
  • i thought copyrights had to be applied for like a patent?

    so i can take some nude selfies and then leak them and then sue for millions?

    i smell an Underpants Gnome method of profiteering brewing here, must be some stinky underpants if i can smell them from here
    • No, international treaty requires copyright not need to be registered (from the 70s I think)

    • by Sique (173459)
      No, since 1973 copyrights don't have to be applied for. It is sufficient that the Work of Art was created, and that the level of creativeness was high enough. And yes, in theory you could leak some Work of Art of you and then sue the people who distribute it. But the problem is: Your Work of Art has to be appealling enough for people to actually wanting to copy and to distribute it.
    • by ScentCone (795499)

      i thought copyrights had to be applied for like a patent?

      No. You own the copyrights on content you create, by the very act of creating it. You take a photo, you are the copyright holder, right then and there.

      so i can take some nude selfies and then leak them and then sue for millions?

      No, not on the basis of your holding the copyright. Not unless you can show that you'd normally make millions off of the use of that image anyway. Because unless you REGISTER the copyright, federally, you can only sue to stop infringing use and claim - at most - the customary fee you'd normally have collected if the infringing person had agreed to license t

      • by PPH (736903)

        You own the copyrights on content you create, by the very act of creating it.

        So the problem this will solve is answering all the subsequent posts of 'source?' or 'Who's that?' following an unidentified shot of some hottie going up on /b/.

      • Also, any copies GP leaks are perfectly legitimate.

    • How about this: everybody send me a dollar and I won't post nude selfies of myself on the net. Best way I can think of to make millions on this.

  • The only board this kind of thing could really matter on is /b/. Any of the others slow enough to persist threads for days (3DCG, oh no someone might post a 3D model of a cone) are benign and thus this policy amendment won't accomplish anything.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So there you have it, if you are rich enough to send DMCA notices, happy days, however if you are an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend without significant USA legal resources, you are fucked.

  • So people being beheaded and murdered is perfectly OK, but if someone posts a picture of your pink bits, it's time to get the FBI involved?
  • Since 4chan, by design, only keeps a (fairly low) specific number of threads alive on each board and rotates them out as they lose popularity, this seems odd and superfluous.

    Their response to any DMCA demand could be, "yup, it will be removed within the next day or two," without actually changing a thing.

  • If you get a DMCA take-down, that's proof its a real photo, not a fake.

  • I would argue that everything posted on /b/ is a parody.
  • You have a bunch of pictures that are KNOWN to have been taken by and stolen from people with enough money to launch some (for anybody else) seriously espensive lawsuits. With a functioning (if often moot) DMCA policy, 4chan is arguably immune from most of those lawsuits.

    If the people posting the offending images are willing to defend those lawsuits, it's got nothing to do with 4chan any more.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson