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Questionable "Best Effort" Copyright Enforcement 123

pmdubs writes "Princeton University Professor Michael Freedman, creator of CoralCDN, discusses how he received around 100 pre-settlement letters in one month from various copyright agencies after invalid BitTorrent tracker requests were issued through CoralCDN's proxies. Interestingly, the participating agencies made no effort whatsoever to verify that the Coral nodes were actually running BitTorrent, which they weren't! He questions just how much effort agencies take to reduce false positives when it comes to DMCA notices. Considering the credence that network operators give to such notices (they'll often cut your service upon receipt), it would seem that the answer is 'not enough.'"
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Questionable "Best Effort" Copyright Enforcement

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  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:13PM (#30372446) Journal

    Sounds like a good plan to me.
    I'll try this the next time I have to sign something.

    Simply edit it slightly to my advantage, film myself doing so (in case they then do the same, and in court, it'll be a question of which is the original), sign it, turn it in, and let them sign it / approve it.

    Changes to a contract (especially for property) have to be agreed upon by both parties so that there is a meeting of the minds [wikipedia.org].
    It's one of the foundations of our common law.

    Suffice it to say that your plan would never fly in front of a judge.
    At best, the judge would say there was never a contract and you need to GTFO.
    At worst, you could end up getting charged with fraud.

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:55PM (#30372802) Homepage

    He questions just how much effort agencies take to reduce false positives when it comes to DMCA notices.

    I think the answer is absolutely no effort at all. Here [boingboing.net] is a notorious example where a busybody associated with a professional writes' association sent out a slew of automated DMCA notices, including some totally erroneous ones that caused authors' work to be taken down after they had intentionally put it up. Actually, they appeared to the service providers to be DMCA notices, but the guy who sent them out now claims that they weren't; this is because a real DMCA notice is supposed to be sent under penalty of perjury.

    I experienced one of these myself recently. I've written some books that are under CC licenses, and various people have (totally legally) posted copies of them on Scribd. I got an email from Scribd saying that they got a DMCA takedown notice from a publisher for one of my books. Turns out that some contracted in SF hired by the publisher issued the notice without checking carefully. Apparently the title was similar to one of their books. They didn't bother checking the name of the author. So they're going after me for violating the copyright on my own book. Great. I called the contractor in SF, and they said, "Oops, never mind." So theoretically they've exposed themselves to prosecution for perjury. If I called the DA in San Francisco or in my own jurisdiction and asked them to prosecute, what do you think the chances are that they'd do it? Zero, I'd guess.

    I wonder if anything the EFF can do about this in the courts. It really sucks.

  • Re:False DMCA fee? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gravitron 5000 ( 1621683 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:47AM (#30376404)
    Actually, it is extortion. There is no service being offered, just a statement that says "Do as we say, or we will make your life unpleasant".

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.