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Victims Fight Back Against DMCA Abuse 111

Cadence writes "The DMCA is being used a lot recently to demand takedowns of all sorts of content on the Internet. But how many of those DMCA-fueled demands are abusive? Lately, some victims of takedown demands have begun to fight back with the help of the EFF, including some against Viacom: 'Finally, a Viacom executive admitted last month that less than 60 of his company's 100,000 takedown requests to YouTube were invalid. John Palfrey of Harvard's Berkman Center wonders what rights those 60 people have? We may find out. The EFF called for people who had videos pulled inappropriately to contact the group, though the EFF tells The National Law Journal that it cannot comment on its future legal plans. One of the reasons companies misuse the DMCA and cease-and-desist copyright letters is that the tools can quickly accomplish what they want to have happen; stuff they don't like goes bye-bye in a hurry. When the alternative is moving slowly through the court system, letters look like an excellent alternative.'"
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Victims Fight Back Against DMCA Abuse

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  • by PhoenixFire213 ( 839961 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:04PM (#18379635) Journal
    Who said they were mistakes? They only said they were invalid ;)
  • by timias1 ( 1063832 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:23PM (#18379909)
    If Viacom admits to 60 out of 100,000 blatantly obvious misuses of the takedown notice, I wonder how many could be considered questionable by society at large. It would interesting metric to see how far from the center Viacom thinks.
  • Search Method Used? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @04:47PM (#18380239)
    It'd be interesting to know just what kind of search method was used to issue these takedown notices. Does a GREP search script have the legal authority to send a cease & desist order without human intervention? It's hard to imagine all 100,000 cases were human reviewed...
  • Re:I swear... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:07PM (#18380515) Journal
    Yet another reason to invoke the corporate death penalty. We must demand revocation of corporate charters if we are ever to see a turnaround. We give them this authority. Time to it back, or progress will remain up against a brick wall, and groups like Viacom will own exclusive access to all sensory inputs...if Microsoft didn't get there first.

    If there is to be any conviction for perjury in this case, it will be some some poor, mid-level bastard who was convinced he was doing the "right thing" who will take the fall. The people who arrange all this will walk away very rich indeed.
  • Re:I swear... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @05:17PM (#18380643) Journal
    You'd be surprised how infrequently anyone is prosecuted for perjury.

    It's very rare in civil cases & TFA suggests that VIACOM is only learning about these non-infringers when they tell YouTube that they did not infringe.

    I think increasing the cost of a DMCA takedown notice would resolve the issue. Add an automatic 'you were wrong' penalty if anyone sends out more than X notices or some other arbitrary criteria.

    It'll only hit the people pumping out the takedowns and (if the penalty is large enough) will force them to do something more than robo-checks of the alleged infringing material.
  • by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Friday March 16, 2007 @07:05PM (#18381653) Journal
    Because even if it takes the reviewer 1 minute to decide on each upload, those 100,000 videos would take 1,666 hours to review. And if they sit on YouTube for a week, all the pirates will have downloaded them already. To get them reviewed in one work day it would take 208 people. And you think those 208 people are going to have less than a 0.06% error rate?

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson