Microsoft Uses DMCA To Force Cryptome Offline

from the abuse-of-dmca dept

You may recall late last year we wrote about how Yahoo got upset about the security website Cryptome publishing their "surveillance guide," which details the process (and prices) for law enforcement to request information from Yahoo. Yahoo got upset and issued a DMCA takedown notice, which Cryptome fought. Cryptome has published similar documents from a variety of companies. Recently, for example, it published one from Microsoft, and... once again it's faced with a DMCA takedown. Microsoft sent the DMCA takedown to Network Solutions who refused to stand up for Cryptome, leading to the site being taken offline. Even worse, Network Solutions didn't even wait until its self-imposed deadline to take down the site. As soon as Cryptome filed a counternotice (which would actually give NetSol a reason to keep the site up), NetSol took the site down.

This is a massive abuse of the DMCA takedown process by Microsoft. The DMCA is designed to stop people from sharing copyrighted information not for the purpose of hiding documents -- and especially not for the purpose of trying to suppress the release of important information.

Furthermore, this kind of move has only served to do one thing: call much more attention to Microsoft's surveillance guide, which, yes, is now much more widely available. On top of that, it's made clear that Network Solutions will immediately buckle under DMCA threats -- so if they're your register, perhaps it's time to look elsewhere. Microsoft is a company that should know better than to abuse the DMCA to stifle free speech, and it seems quite likely that they will end up regretting this decision.

Update: And, of course, now that they've drawn much more attention to the whole thing, Microsoft has withdrawn the takedown.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    yozoo, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 7:57am

    huh?

    "Microsoft is a company that should know better than to abuse the DMCA to stifle free speech"

    The company that creates guides for spying on people should know better then to abuse DMCA (which is designed to be abused). Im not sure why you think that?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    MS now stands for R.E.T.A.R.D.

    thats right they now stand for it and everyone that works, associates etc

     

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  •  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:13am

    what wouldyou say to proof they spy

    updates turned off , they dont care and in fact they have in recent updates BACK doored all pcs to call home

    I REPEAT ALL
    remember that comment by them that they OWN YOUR PCS

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Freedom, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:16am

    Good ISPs?

    I'd be curious if anyone has any good ISPs to recommend that do stand up for rights. Obviously, GoDaddy is another popular one, but if memory serves me right, they pulled a site in Arizona just because a few folks got upset (think it was a site that posted public info about where the police were or something like that).

    Freedom

    P.S. Sure glad we don't have censorship in the US like China (argh!).

     

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  •  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    I AM SPARTACUS

    NOT in usa
    your all pwned
    one left in canada
    = teksavvy

     

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  •  
    icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Huh? v2

    I'm confused. Is Microsoft contending that they have a copyright on classified documents? If there is any malfeasance at all, wouldn't this be more akin to theft of trade secrets?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      boobuntu, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 10:20am

      Re: Huh? v2

      They claim to have copyright over the document that they published. Which is in fact technically true. Im not sure if Cryptome has paraphrased or published directly. Either way, it's another feather in the cap of abolitionists everywhere.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    bob, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Donate

    At
    http://cryptomeorg.siteprotect.net/

    Get the 14 year Archive for $25.

     

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  •  
    icon
    max.elliott (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Confused

    Is Network Solutions their host or their register? If they're the host, this is very bad news, but if they're just the register, move your domain to another register and continue operations as normal within 24 hours. Heck, tell a few sites your IP number and have the traffic come in without the aid of the "name shortcut" industry.

    In most cases you can get another account at another provider in a day or two and be up and running again, even if they were your host.

    I can remember when you managed your own name shortcuts and DNS was for those folks who couldn't use their hosts file. Now get off my lawn, you punk kids.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:58am

      Re: Confused

      both-

      "Network Solutions shut Cryptome.org and has placed a "legal lock" on the domain name, preventing its transfer, until the "dispute" is settled. Some recent files are available now and the full collection is being transferred."

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Rooker, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

        Re: Re: Confused

        "Network Solutions shut Cryptome.org and has placed a 'legal lock' on the domain name, preventing its transfer, until the 'dispute' is settled"

        I'm sorry, but... WHAT? Is that even legal? If that's not a massive violation of the FTC Act or some other anti-anticompetition law, it ought to be.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Confused

      if they're just the register, move your domain to another register and continue operations as normal within 24 hours

      I think you meant "registrar", and NS locked the domain name specifically to prevent Cryptome from moving to another registrar.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    What's the point?

    Seriously MS? What's the point? That's it, its too late, it up, its out, its live on the interent. Its been copied thousands of times already, and probably living on multiple trackers, websites, IRC rooms, etc etc.

    Why waste your time looking like a douche for issuing DCMA notices? All you did was make Cryptome look like martyrs and you look like you have something to hide.

    Everyone knows law enforcement has access to anything in the cloud, because laws have not kept up with technology.

     

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  •  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Just another reason

    Just another reason why I refuse to give MS another penny. I won't purchase any system in the future with MS operating system software, I won't voluntarily or knowingly visit any MS owned web site and as a software engineer I will not do any development that specifically targets MS systems. Their behavior over the years has consistently been egregiously anti-competitive, unethical, and dishonest.

     

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  •  
    icon
    EdB (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    ... so if they're your register ...


    I believe the word you wanted there is registrar. Just sayin' ;)

     

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  •  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    FYI

    Microsoft withdrew the DCMA claim, it seems.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Luci, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Crappy, isn't it?

    Network Solutions actually did exactly what they said they were going to do. They shut off the site when they got the counter-claim.

    "...upon receipt of a Counter-Notification from you, Network Solutions will disable your site for “not less than 10 days, nor more than 14 business days following receipt of the Counter Notification..."

    This is what they sent to Cryptome. Note they said they would disable UPON RECEIPT... So... yeah... Sucky service, huh?

     

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  •  
    icon
    Ralph-J (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Microsoft not at fault regarding takedown

    Microsoft filed the DMCA notice only to have the allegedly infringing content taken down, not the entire site. It's not their fault that Network Solutions leave it to the site owner to take down the document at the threat of disabling the site.

    Microsoft's only fault might have been the use of a DMCA notice in the first place. Although, I haven't yet heard a legal argument for why the public should be entitled to this "important information". Yes, it could be a bad business decision not to publish the document, but how does this override their copyright claim to it?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    x71927, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    "Spying Guide" not so much

    I think it is important to note that really the description of the MS document is incorrect. It doesn't have anything to do with "prices for spying" or anything of that sort. All it is is a handbook generated by MS so that a law enforcement agency or governmental agency that has a search warrant, subpoena, or court order to get certain information from MS can ask for the correct information, and interpret the information. It doesn't have to do with some shady "prices" unless you consider the cost to the government of obtaining a search warrant for a particular user account some "price" MS is demanding. Really the purpose of the document is to ensure that some prosecuting attorney in Podunk Ak won't send in a warrant for the specific chat conversation this user had with that user of MSN chat, because this document clearly explains that they do not retain that data. It also explains what information MS will release to a subpoena versus what they release pursuant to a warrant (which to be clear is not a policy they set but one demanded by Federal Law).

    Really the point I am trying to make is that the description of these documents as being so very shady is misleading, although I will grant that MS's response is a little ridiculous, they are correct the document does have a prominent copyright notice on it, but really the document seems far to benign to be worthy of the kerfuffle that MS caused by going DMCA after it.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

      Re: "Spying Guide" not so much

      I think it is important to note that really the description of the MS document is incorrect. It doesn't have anything to do with "prices for spying"

      So who here claimed that it had "prices for spying"? (Although I could see why some M$ apologist might like to create such a straw man here. More sleaze.)

       

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  •  
    icon
    Bob Webster (profile), Feb 25th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    A response from Network Solutions

    Dear xxxxxxxx,

    Thank you for contacting Network Solutions Customer Service Department. We are committed to creating the best Customer experience possible. One of the first ways we can demonstrate our commitment to this goal is to quickly and efficiently handle your recent request.

    We do apologize about that the Web site was brought down. However, the domain name CRYPTOME.ORG is back online and the current Registrant is able to make updates to the Web site. We checked the Internet and were able to resolve to http://cryptome.org/.

    We value your business staying with Network Solutions and we hope you will not be moving your services out of Network Solutions.

    We hope this update has been helpful. However, if you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department.

    Please do not respond to this E-mail. If you have any additional questions, you can reach us by phone at 1-888-642-9675, from outside the U.S. or Canada, please call 1-570-708-8788 and provide Service Request # 1-452491624.

    Thank you for choosing Network Solutions.

    Sincerely,

    xxxxxxxx
    Network Solutions Customer Support

    (c) Copyright 2010 Network Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

      Re: A response from Network Solutions

      We do apologize about that the Web site was brought down.

      An apology? That sounds like an admission of guilt, to me.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      vyvyan, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 10:38pm

      Re: A response from Network Solutions

      "We checked the Internet..."
      sounds pretty funny in a formal letter.

      just like Galileo wrote to pope:
      I checked the universe and found that Earth is still revolving round The Sun. I hope you will find this interesting and include it in your next Sunday Scientology Talk...

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Spanky, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    re

    I just love the fact that, the minute some sleazy corporation (but then, that's redundant) tries to pull stuff like this, the documents end up all over the world on hundreds more web site.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 11:19pm

    Often the stories and information posted on Techdirt are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact.

    That said, I have a song: "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Today, I'm quite well established in my own ring elsewhere.

    "Wild desire.
    YOU went down down, down, and the flames went higher.
    And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire.
    The ring of fire."

     

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  •  
    identicon
    eagle, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Thank you Microsoft, your wealth of ignorance astounds me.

    We should all thank MS and Network Solutions for introducing hundreds of thousands of people to cryptome.org.

    If it wasn't for this foolishness I might have never known about cryptome, and worse I might have used Network Solutions and my domain registrar.

    Now I have a new favorite site and know better than to trust network solutions to even attempt to fight for my rights to free speech.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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