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Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber 389

An anonymous reader writes German newspaper FAZ reports (google translated version) that, after facing false DMCA claims by "FirstCrist, Copyright" and threatened by YouTube with takedown, a youtuber running the German version of Islam-critic Al Hayat TV had to disclose their identity in order to get the channel back online. Later, the channel staff got a mail containing a death threat by "FirstCrist, Copyright", containing: "thank you for your personal data. [...] take care your house gets police protection!" Employee names are now on Al Qaeda black lists.
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Terrorists Used False DMCA Claims To Get Personal Data of Anti-Islamic Youtuber

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  • Yay, humans! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:34AM (#48323967)

    The species and its imaginary friends are full of entertainment.

  • Lol! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:35AM (#48323971)

    There must be some massive cognitive dissonance going on in media circles at the moment..

    • Re:Lol! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:12AM (#48324069) Homepage Journal

      There must be some massive cognitive dissonance going on in media circles at the moment..

      That's assuming that these laws weren't intended to be bad from the beginning. Never assume and all that, sure, but just look at 'em.

      • by TrollstonButterbeans ( 2914995 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:32AM (#48324137)
        How does American Law apply to Europeans and people in Germany --- or do US companies carry the American flag with them when they provide services in Europe and such?
        • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @08:43AM (#48324377)

          How does American Law apply to Europeans and people in Germany --- or do US companies carry the American flag with them when they provide services in Europe and such?

          By treaty.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo&world3,net> on Thursday November 06, 2014 @09:17AM (#48324545) Homepage

          European companies get a lot of legal threats from the US, especially DMCA take-downs. It's got so bad I set up dmca@ my domains to automatically reply with "wrong country fuckwad", just in case any of them are not coming from bots. I get various threats to sue me too... Well, good luck with that. Even if your stupid court decides to try and grab jurisdiction the ruling will have no meaning to me, and I never wanted to visit your stupid country anyway.

          It's incredible to think how much money these people pissed away on lawyers without even bothering to figure out if I was in the same country as them.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          Google is a US company, so they have to abide by requirements under US law in order to benefit from some protections against lawsuits over activities by any users, even EU users.

          However, now that it has been made a matter of life and death; I wonder, if this doesn't represent an opportunity for the public to express outrage over the DMCA counternotice requirements.

      • Re:Lol! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @09:42AM (#48324655) Homepage

        That's assuming that these laws weren't intended to be bad from the beginning.

        They were intended to have a low burden of proof, and little penalty for claimants in order to facilitate copyright holders protecting their profits.

        By design, us little people are expected to obediently comply so that our corporate copyright overlords can protect their interests.

        In this case, " bad " is in the eye of the beholder ... so all of us who watched this crap happen to the world, thought it was bad at the time, because it was so badly written.

        The copyright cartel and politicians who did this on their behalf (and got generous bribes/'contributions') ... they were having none about how their badly written laws were one-sided, unfair, and required far too little proof. To them, they were 'good' laws, because they entrenched protection for corporate profits.

        Lawmakers no longer care about if a law is 'good' or 'bad', or even some of the bad consequences which can be envisioned. All they care about is keeping their corporate overlords happy.

        So, in that regard ... mission accomplished!

        Shitty laws, passed by incompetent people, written by industry lobbyists, and then foisted on the rest of the world by the US government in order to protect the interests of multi-national corporations, to the detriment of everyone else on the planet.

        Thanks, America ... this really is your fault.

        I really hope that this is a wake up call about just how terrible some of these laws actually are. Because most of them are so one sided as to be laughable (if it wasn't so draconian).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by chihowa ( 366380 ) *

          You had me until this:

          Thanks, America ... this really is your fault.

          By blaming the malice or incompetence of the rest of the world's governments on the dirty stinking Americans, you absolve everybody else of responsibility for their actions. Bad American laws are internalized by other countries (especially OECD members) because their lawmakers have the same goals.

          • Re:Lol! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @12:04PM (#48325807) Homepage

            Well, there's the whole US threatening trade retaliations to countries which didn't.

            Yes, those other countries passed the laws.

            But, yes, the US government applied pressure on those governments to more or less force them to pass into law things which had been written by industry representatives.

            So, yes, I do blame US foreign policy, and the fact that your government is so beholden to the copyright cartel that you more or less shoved this crap down the throat of the rest of the world.

            America has hitched their cart to IP, and has been trying to ensure the world does the same. The badly written, one-sided laws which favor corporations, and don't require proof or accountability ... that was pretty much the US.

    • by mrops ( 927562 )

      Sir you misunderstood the article, its about how bad people abuse anything they can. Now you aren't saying guns are bad just because Al Qaeda uses them or food is bad, bad people eat food to stay alive There... cognitive dissonance resolved.

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:40AM (#48323987)
    So someone submits a false DMCA, and Youtube accepted this without requiring any proof. They then forced the youtuber to provide proof that it wasn't a copyright violation. They then provided said youtuber's personal information to the person submitting a false DMCA.

    What in the actual fuck?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:43AM (#48323991)

      Youtube and other service providers have to accept it whenever they don't have proof if they want to be safe. I am pretty sure youtube actually did everything they were required to do by law here and nothing more. Which just tells you how fucking awful the DMCA is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Youtube and other service providers have to accept it whenever they don't have proof if they want to be safe. I am pretty sure youtube actually did everything they were required to do by law here and nothing more.

        That assumes that there always is an option that doesn't violate any laws. Considering that Germany has pretty strict privacy laws I'm guessing that they are violating laws no matter what they do here.
        They decided to go with the variant where they screw over the little guy rather than show the finger to the copyright industry because it is the path of least resistance. As a result they provided Al Qaeda with a useful tool.

        There is of course a way to follow the laws. Instead of having an automated service th

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          There is of course a way to follow the laws. Instead of having an automated service they could do the work necessary to validate copyright claims. They chose not to because profits are more important than not hurting people or following the laws.

          That's easy to say. But YouTube make not be able to provide that service and comply in the way you describe. It's worth remembering here that profits are more important than providing the service. The whole reason YouTube exists in the first place is because they expect to turn a profit now or later. It's not that hard to destroy a low margin service by requiring expensive costs like elimination of automation to comply with your rules.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What in the actual fuck?

      The idea of imaginary property is so frail that it needs massive legal edifices erected around it, and those create security risks for both person and real property.

      But, ya know, profits above all, right? Let's get some of that back to the campaigns, eh?

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @09:32AM (#48324605) Homepage

        But, ya know, profits above all, right?

        This is precisely the stance of the US on such things, and why they've been pushing other countries to adopt IP laws which are even stricter than they've been able to pass domestically.

        So, yes, profit above all is precisely why we have terribly written laws, with low evidentiary threshold, very little recourse when companies use it incompetently/maliciously, and which more or less say "if you comply, we won't grind you into dust ... if we're morons or lying, there's no penalty for us".

        While nobody saw these laws being used by terrorists, at least not that I'm aware, the holes in these laws you could drive fleets of trucks through have been known from the start.

        But the copyright cartels have bought and paid the politicians who created these laws, and foisted them on the world. Because the entire process around copyright has made lawmakers beholden to corporate profits, and protecting them before people.

        So, yes, if the mere threat of a DMCA(/whatever treaty in your country) causes companies to take action with ABSOLUTELY ZERO PROOF and NO RECOURSE ... this is exactly what you get.

        The laws weren't written with the intent of being challenged, or with any proof required on behalf of the claimant. Everything presumes that all of us are guilty, and that the copyright people would be able to legally skirt around the niceties because it was convenient for them. False claims are nothing more than an "oops".

        Welcome to the global oligarchy, my friend. The loopholes they paid to have put in for themselves are exploitable by someone else who knows the secret to navigating around them.

        But these weaknesses have pretty much been built into them by design. Because the people who bought them wanted it that way.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @06:56AM (#48324015)

      This is exactly what happens. It's not just baddies, corporations do it thousands of times a day. Until DMCA takedown requests are required to submit proof of ownership and have escalating penalties for false/fraudulent claims, this situation will only get worse.

      People also lose their accounts. Google won't even tell the people why their Youtube channels have been deleted. You'll get a vague "broke terms", but the reality is people hiding in their corporations do it daily.

      And before any of you wankers say "it's a free service, who gives a shit", please GFYS.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        This is exactly what happens. It's not just baddies, corporations do it thousands of times a day. Until DMCA takedown requests are required to submit proof of ownership and have escalating penalties for false/fraudulent claims, this situation will only get worse.

        People also lose their accounts. Google won't even tell the people why their Youtube channels have been deleted. You'll get a vague "broke terms", but the reality is people hiding in their corporations do it daily.

        And before any of you wankers say "

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, someone submitted a false DMCA and legally forced Youtube to shutdown the channel. Do you really expect Youtube to be able correctly verify al or even any copyright claims? If they make a single false move they're liable. YouTube has no want to know if the parties have personal licensing agreements. The person controlling the channel responded to the claim which Youtube forwarded to the submitter just like they say they do. Youtube can't get in the way. They say 'here, you two work it out.' The l

    • by sosume ( 680416 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:03AM (#48324041) Journal

      I'd say YouTube faces a hefty compensation, a fine and a criminal investigation. For disclosing personal information, possibly leading to attempted murder, and breaching privacy laws. But. Somehow they cannot trace the accounts posting videos of atrocities.

    • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @08:39AM (#48324355)
      That is actually how the DMCA is written to work.
    • When a company like YouTube is served with a DMCA, they have two courses of action: 1) Take down the content or 2) Fight the DMCA and be liable for copyright infringement. Many times, companies will just blindly take down content since they can't judge the legality of all DMCA requests. Once the content is taken down, the uploader is informed and can either accept the take down or can counter that the DMCA wasn't valid (because they are the copyright owner, because the content is in public domain, because

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        How do you propose the DMCA notice issuer identify the uploader without collaboration from the service provider?

  • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:14AM (#48324075) Homepage

    The solution is to require anyone that wishes to submit DMCA requests has to have a DMCA license number and be registered with the country that the company resides in for the lawful take down.

    That way youtube can confirm that the email address and license number match the organization that is requesting the DMCA.
    To confirm the validity of the email, a random string is sent back and needs to be replied, or a link sent to the email that they have to click on to complete the DMCA.

    Make it cost prohibitive to get a license so that only proper organizations can do this. If people monkey around, they get their license revoked and have to re-apply and risk being banned from receiving a license.

    Problem solved, DMCA requests become more sane.

    • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:21AM (#48324103)
      that makes way too much sense, therefor will never be allowed in either the US or the EU.
    • The problem is that these islamists have very deep coffers. They could even lose 1 million dollar buying 1 license to make a statement against one other anti-islamist...

      I would add that making a license cost prohibitive will block little content producer from submit a rightful DMCA notice :(

      Problem not solved :(

      • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @07:47AM (#48324181) Homepage

        I didn't mean a price way out of bounds, but say, 1000$, so people won't DMCA everything they see as those thousands add up really quickly if they're doing it wrongfully.

        But also that applying for a license can be a process, where you investigate the applying company before approving it. If there are signs that this is the same people who did false DMCA's before, you just deny their license.

        It's not perfect and won't work 100% of the time, but it would certainly help.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This will never happen. The DMCA was written specifically to allow fraudulent take-down notices to be issued. The perjury provisions in the law apply only to whether the filer is an authorized agent of the person he claims to represent.

      If I claim to be sony I would commit perjury. But if I work for sony, I can claim that any video violates sony's copyright without it being perjury.

    • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @08:21AM (#48324289) Journal
      The current law is broken, there is no need for the law to require YT to give away the personal info of either side to anyone other than a judge - but your answer is "fuck the little guy"?
      • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 )

        I posted a response as someone mentioned the little guy. Cost prohibitive doesn't have to imply the initial license, but high enough that people wouldn't want to keep applying or lose it.

        1000$ for a DMCA license might be reasonable to put it under control and ensure only people who should be issuing DMCA's do so, or else risk losing their license and needing to re-apply for it.

        If licenses are free, everyone will just make 1000's of "licensed" accounts to do the same thing over and over like a spammer.
        It cou

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          This makes no sense. I am a part-time musician. I don't make but a few hundred bucks a year on arrangements and what not. If some company decides to use one of my compositions for a YouTube commercial, you really think I should have to pay $1000 to ask them to knock it off?

    • The solution is twofold: to charge those issuing DMCA notices for the necessary checks to make sure the notice is correct/legal and to issue substantial fines for incorrect/illegal DMCA notices.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Then people won't be able to DMCA Disney when Disney rips off their work. The DMCA will become a tool that only rich individuals and corporations can use.

      Just get rid of it. It's stupid.

    • This is unnecessary. All they need to do is add in the 'under penalty of perjury' wording to submitting a DMCA request. A DMCA rebuttal has the threat of perjury associated with it, but the DMCA takedown does not. It's asinine. A few very expensive lawsuits would quickly reign in DMCA abuse.
      • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 )

        I think they need to focus on prevention, as random submissions are hard to trace.(E.G why every digital crime in the world isn't already solved)

        If you had to submit a license which is accountable and can be revoked, that changes the game.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )
        Asserting ownership of copyright in a particular work is already under penalty of perjury. A notice under OCILLA must contain "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." (17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi))
    • Make it cost prohibitive to get a license

      I'd have it scale with the number of works that a copyright owner seeks to claim in notices of claimed infringement, such as 35 USD [copyright.gov] for a copyright registration [copyright.gov] on a work or a set of works published in a collection. This way both small-time individual authors and big-time work-made-for-hire publishers pay appropriate fees.

    • then only rich and powerful companies have licenses. This is a bad idea.

      not only will it all but prohibit all potentially legitimate use, it will not stop illegitimate requests like this, or even patent trolls, as they will have funds to pay.
  • If I were going to start such a channel. I would create a Nom De Plume (fake name). I would go to store and buy a burner phone that doesn't require a name. I would then create my channel using Nom De Plume and that phone number. Done deal!

  • by Bruce66423 ( 1678196 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @08:10AM (#48324257)
    They are so frightened of the truth, or the freedom to spread information, that they have to scare people into not doing it.
  • by Roodvlees ( 2742853 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @08:42AM (#48324373)
    I wonder if there will be push back against the DMCA system now that it helped terrorists. Like there has been push back against encryption.
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @09:01AM (#48324467) Homepage Journal

    Google isn't the problem here, they did exactly what was expected of them. The law itself ("safe harbor") isn't really a problem either. The problem is that there's no meaningfull check and balance. It's a very one-sided thing. The law wasn't written by all parties invoved, it was written singlehadedly with one side's interests in mind.

    If someone cries "rape!" and gets a man arrested, and then we find out that it was just a girl scorned that didn't like her BF had cheated on her, SHE is now up for legal charges "filing a false statement" as well as a target for a civil suit.

    No such balance exists with DMCA. Anyone can file a DMCA claim, and the recipient is legally obligated to take action. They're not [i]required[/i] to take action, but if they don't, they accept legal responsibility if the DMCA filing was lawful. So it's not really "optional" for them, even though it may appear so.

    Then, if the filing turns out to be iffy, inaccurate, or even deliberaly misleading, there are NO penalties or liabilities of any kind for the person that filed the fraudulent DMCA notice.

    This has several effects, and only some of them are really noticed. First, the victim has no recourse. They have no legal basis to sue the filer. No law has been broken, so law enforcement has no teeth either. But it doesn't stop there. The victim's only possible relief is a civil suit against the middleman tha received the notice. (google in this case) They have a pretty good defense since they can argue (as above) that although not legally obligated, they actually WERE obligated, indirectly. Also, google has no recourse against the filer. If they have to stage a legal defense against the victim, it's on their nickel, they can't recover any of the costs from the filer because google acted "voluntarily".

    The only way out of this for google is to do research before acting on the notice. This causes all sorts of problems because not promptly taking the material down forfeits their protection, and there will be a cost to this, which is unrecoverable, regardless of the outcome.

    Provisions for accountability need to be added to the law. Not so much to protect the victim, but to protect the intermediary, so they can act in the victim's best interst instead of as the filer's whipping dog. Do that, and it would (A) reduce the number of false claims, (B) make people think more carefully about filing a claim, (C) give the intermediaries some teeth to go after fraudulent filings. Once that's in place, the back end of the process will only be activated when there's a much better change it's necessary and appropriate.

    Looking to change the back end of this process just isn't productive. The changes need to be made in the middle.

    • Is it really true that there are no penalties and liabilities of any kind for the person that filed the fraudulent DMCA notice?

      If that's the case, is there anything stopping us from creating and deploying tools that submit [fraudulent] DMCA notices for every single piece of content hosted on Youtube and similar sites, effectively crippling every part of the web hosts user-submitted content and provides an interface to submit DMCA claims? Wouldn't such blatant [legal] abuse of the DMCA be enough to attract
      • Is it really true that there are no penalties and liabilities of any kind for the person that filed the fraudulent DMCA notice?

        In theory someone could get charged with perjury.

        In practice, all you have to do is say you acted in good faith and nothing at all happens.

        The system really has no checks and balances, and starts from a presumption of "anybody saying this is a violation of their copyright is assumed to not be lying". There is no threshold they need to cross, they just make the claim.

        Which is why or

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @12:13PM (#48325859) Homepage

      The law itself ("safe harbor") isn't really a problem either.

      Actually the law is the problem here, USC 17512 [cornell.edu]:

      (g)(3) Contents of counter-notification
      (D) The subscriber's name, address, and telephone number, (...)

      combined with (g)(2)(B):

      (B) upon receipt of a counter notification described in paragraph (3), promptly provides the person who provided the notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) with a copy of the counter notification

      There's no provision to keep your identity a secret, so anyone willing to commit DMCA fraud can reveal who their opponent is. Note that the DMCA only cares about the service provider's liability and their ability to recover costs from fraudulent notices. It it not a shield for the accuser, if you want to sue them for "filing a false statement" you can. But just like taking you to court and being wrong generally isn't a crime, neither is a wrongful DMCA notice unless you can prove it was deliberately false. At any rate it's unlikely it would help here, the courts would probably never manage to pursue it while they already got what they wanted.

      The purpose of providing this counter-notice is that you now have a dispute (claimant and counter-claimant) that the courts would like to see settled outside of court. That part should have been optional and shouldn't need to involve revealing your identity though. I think it's reasonable that your personal information is part of your counter notice and kept in escrow at the service provider to avoid "Mickey Mouse" filing counter notices, but you should get one of three choices when it comes to passing it on:

      a) Use your contact information as legal contact address, like today. Basically, you represent yourself.
      b) Provide a legal contact address, basically your lawyer and a case ID but which doesn't reveal who you are.
      c) Decline to provide a legal contact address, see you in court. They can subpoena your identity if they want.

      As it is though, the DMCA makes this form of abuse of process essentially required for the parties involved.

  • Under the European Data Protection Directive (EU LAW) [europa.eu] personal data is protected from unauthorised disclosure.

    • DMCA effectively authorizes disclosure. Problem fucking solved.

      Sorry, if it comes to a pissing match between EU law and US law for a US-based company hosting on US-based servers and infrastructure, EU law won't even come in second place.

      I suspect that's by design. Sick and sad, but true nonetheless.

      If you want your rights to be protected, don't use US-based services. You're just voluntarily surrendering all your rights if you do.

  • Employee names are now on Al Qaeda black lists

    This desperately needs a citation.

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