Fox Issues DMCA Takedown To Google Over SF Chronicle Article... Claiming It Was The Movie 'Chronicle'

from the on-the-penalty-of-perjury dept

So, Google just revealed its copyright takedown transparency report and it's turning into the gift that keeps on giving. We've already discussed how it shows Microsoft DMCAing links that remain in Microsoft's own search engine... and now reader David Sanger points us to another amusing one. On March 14th, apparently BayTSP (one of the more well-known "anti-piracy" firms), working for Twentieth Century Fox (a News Corp. company), demanded the removal of a link to SFGate.com.

SFGate? That's the website for the San Francisco Chronicle -- the main newspaper in San Francisco. So what was infringing? According to the DMCA notice (which says the filing came from Irdeto, the company that acquired BayTSP last year), insisted that what was actually at that link was:
"The copyrighted work at issue is the film "Chronicle", which is owned by "Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation"
Now, wouldn't that be something if the SF Chronicle was distributing the movie Chronicle illegally? But, of course, that's hogwash. The truth is that BayTSP and Fox screwed up. The SFGate article is now back online and you can see it's just an editorial about how SF Muni (the local public transit authority) should let students ride for free. That has nothing, whatsoever, to do with the movie Chronicle. What's amazing is the word "Chronicle" doesn't even show up in the article. It obviously shows up elsewhere on the page. After all, it is the website for the SF Chronicle.

Of course, in filing this DMCA takedown, BayTSP -- who is a "trusted user" of the takedown system -- swears upon the following statements:
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described in all notifications submitted through the Program as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

The information in all notifications submitted through the Program will be accurate, and I swear, under penalty of perjury, that with respect to those notifications, I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
That's clearly bunk, however, since nothing on that page is even remotely related to the movie Chronicle. How do you have a "good faith belief" that there's infringement when you clearly didn't even take the briefest second to look.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Call me Al, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:19am

    There really needs to be a test case where a company gets smacked down for this kind of thing. Its such blatent rubbish but goes unpunished.

     

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      Richard (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 5:24am

      Re:

      Yes - and perjury is normally an imprisonable offence.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Applesauce, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:46am

        Re: Re:perjury is normally an imprisonable offence.

        "perjury is normally an imprisonable offence."

        Only when the little people do it.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Loki, May 29th, 2012 @ 9:30am

        Re: Re:

        Agreed. If the copyright industries can willfully violate existing laws with impunity and absolutely no repercussions, why should the rest of the world care about following the laws that they want passed?

        Sorry, but if your going to build your industries on the very ideas you are now trying to criminalize, willfully commit perjury, bribery (and openly brag/complain about it), and extortion without punishment, than nothing you have to say has the least bit of relevance as far as I am concerned.

         

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        TSO, May 29th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

        Corporations are people....

        thus, imprison BayTSP!

         

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    •  
      icon
      gorehound (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 6:35am

      Re:

      Love to see a week of Newspapers not carrying one film review or any Theater Listings.
      Remove any and all Mafiaa Content and put up all Kickstarter Links for New cool Indie Stuff.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

        Re: Re:

        I doubt it would ever happen (too many vested interests against it), but yeah, it'd be cool if it did happen.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Zen, May 29th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

      Re:

      If due process was not followed, in actually inspecting the site, surely this would be grounds for a defemation action against the issuer of the notice.

      Calling someone an internet pirate, given the industries claims piracy is theft, is calling someone a criminal. Issuing the takedown notice is doing so in public.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:22am

    1 out of millions

    come on Glynny! With all the millions of links our software produces us how are we supposed to check every on? it would be trillions of man hours!

    /s

     

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      Ninja (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:26am

      Re: 1 out of millions

      Funny you are asking this. TorrentFreak has an interesting article on the cost issue. And I made some quick calculations there too:

      Just think about Google transparency site released recently. I remember seeing numbers like 800k, 1M. Now if you consider Google gives these requests at least some depth of scrutiny they must need like 5 minutes to read the takedown and proceed with that minimum verification process then we are talking about 5 million minutes wasted, more than 83k work hours. That's a person working over TWO YEARS 24h a day, 7 days a week. So these 1M takedown notices cost Google something near 1,5 million dollars considering a $20/hour wage. Along with other material/processing not included. So I think a $10 fee would be the minimum rights-holders should pay. If you consider they claim one person sharing one music/movie costs them millions then they will be preventing further sharing so the investment is very profitable. Love when their twisted logic bites back.

      Obviously I may have made some mistakes here (wrong assumptions) but you can get the whole picture. Google has to scrutinize the takedowns because the copywrong tards won't do it properly beforehand. Makes sense they charge for it, no?

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:35am

    We could fund the ICE takedowns with all the perjury fines.

     

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    PaulT (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 5:37am

    This is exactly the sort of case that proves why I'm so insistent on real due process before takedowns, 3 strikes rules, etc. are implemented. Without any such guarantees, copyright holders will simply spam half-assed automated notices, and then innocent victims will either have to fight them in court at their own expense or lose their perfectly legal content (or even both, depending on the hosting provider).

    It would at least be nice to see those supposed perjury penalties used against people doing such things. There at least needs to be some human intervention to see if the content being attacked passes basic common sense tests (as the above clearly doesn't), and a human being associated who actually approved the takedown before being sent. Someone should at least be in the position to tell the court how a takedown notice was issued against innocent content based on a dictionary word, and I'd suggest the company be heavily fined if the only answer is "I dunno, computer told me to". If people are sending these notices, they need to be aware that there are consequences for false accusations.

    Until then, we see the same old story - ineffective and unworkable attacks, no effect on piracy, and a nice payday for lawyers at the expense of everybody else.

     

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    •  
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      DannyB (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 8:19am

      Re:

      The penalties absolutely MUST involve jail time. This cannot be adequately fought by merely a financial penalty. Otherwise they will simply consider it a cost of doing business.

      Jail time. Even just 10 days. That will very quickly cause them to spend at least as much time as Google must spend to scrutinize these bogus DMCA takedowns.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

      Re:

      I'd subscribe to the SF Chronicle if they pushed for perjury charges on this one.

       

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    identicon
    SEHumphrey, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:45am

    Perjury, eh?

    It's odd that the US gov't is so insistent on going after sports figures who perjured themselves in front of congress or grand juries (see Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens), when it doesn't seem to care about perjury that actually affects legitimate business operations.

    It would be interesting to see if one of these copyright trolls gets sued by a company. The issue (I think) is that perjury charges must be brought by the "state".

     

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      DannyB (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 8:23am

      Re: Perjury, eh?

      That is because congresscritters can understand football. Their heroes committing perjury makes them doubt in their own heroes and thus makes them feel bad. So they must do something. In other cases, the money from lobbyists makes them feel good. The sports heroes probably don't have good enough lobbyists.

      Dumb people need to have something to get excited about, and so there is sports.

      There is increasing evidence connecting the two so that we can conclude that brain damage causes football.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Aknen Hoidot, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:53am

    So true..

    "Only when the little people do it."

    That is SO true! Different rules for different people..

     

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    Hypnosis Blogger, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Purgery?

    This is a classic example of how politicians put "bite" into the law so that there will little abuse... after all, who wants to purger themselves and get imprisoned?

    The fact is, because prosecution is discretionary, these abusers don't get punished.

    So, as WE all suspected, the law was written SOLELY and COMPLETELY for the copyright holders without sufficient recourse for the public.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:58am

    With f-ups like this happening under existing laws, it still baffles me that some people still insist that the censorship and abuse concerns with legislation like SOPA/PIPA were unfounded and overexaggerated.

     

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    identicon
    AC, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:58am

    maybe nobody ever submitted the evidence to the DA?

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 5:59am

    Why is that evil fascist son-of-a-bitch Rupert Murdoch still alive? That Australian-born super-Hitler billionaire and his evil fascist corporations (including the fox propaganda ministry) are clearly evil and vile enemies of mankind.

     

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    •  
      icon
      G Thompson (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      Why do you think we allowed him to bugger off from Australia, renounce his Australian citizenship and become a Good Old American boy.

      A hint: It wasn't because we all liked him

       

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        Gwiz (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re:

        Why do you think we allowed him to bugger off from Australia, renounce his Australian citizenship and become a Good Old American boy.


        "Give me your tired old billionaire,
        Your upper class yearning to destroy TV,
        With silver spoon and not much hair,
        Send the shameless money grabber to me:
        I lift my lamp beside the paywall stair."

        - proposed changes to the quote on the Statue of Liberty

         

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    identicon
    quawonk, May 29th, 2012 @ 6:01am

    "Under penalty of perjury" what a laugh. Corporations write the laws, they don't have to follow them.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 6:19am

    Or everyone should start charging them for takedown notices.

    http://torrentfreak.com/should-websites-charge-a-fee-to-process-copyright-takedowns-1205 28/

    Maybe that would make them only issue verified ones...

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      Nice idea, although it would only be a short step to being accused of profiting through infringement because of the income from DMCA notices, and thus ending up in court

       

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        The eejit (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:21am

        Re: Re:

        At which point you can argue that there are no provisions for how DMCA procedures are processed, only that they are. A small administrative fee, say, $75,000 per notice, should do the trick.

         

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        •  
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          ltlw0lf (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A small administrative fee, say, $75,000 per notice, should do the trick.

          Even making it $75 would do the trick. If these guys had to pay anything, they'd use it less than they currently are. Right now there is no penalty at all for doing the wrong thing, and $75 could be more justifiable for being a "fee" for service.

           

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          •  
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            PaulT (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 8:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah, you do have to be careful not to lock smaller players out of the the process (e.g. if an indie film gets infringed upon, they probably won't be able to afford $75k to get it taken down).

            With or without a payment being required, I'd just prefer to see someone held accountable for wrongful accusations, and preferably a process to prevent automated notices being filed without human intervention. Simply having to pay people to check the content manually should stop most of the blanket notices.

             

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              The eejit (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 11:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hey, maybe it can be cheap for independent companies (say, $5) and for the big ones, my initial mentioned above.

               

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                That One Guy (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 10:24pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Perhaps make it a percentage of their yearly profits? That way a small company pays a smaller amount, but a big one pays a bigger amount. As long as the percentage stays the same for both, you couldn't even claim that it's punishing the bigger players more.

                That said, I prefer the jail time punishment mentioned a few posts up. For a big company even 75K would be pretty paltry, but jail time...

                 

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                identicon
                Russ1972, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes good idea, a scale-able fee. If you are an independent person with no affiliation then a smaller fee but if you have corporate affiliations then a higher. You have to say who you work for obviously cuz joe shmo wouldn't care about Narnia, it would be the movie company who would complain, so bang a higher fee.

                 

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2012 @ 2:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              How about this: Service starts free. For each bogus request $1 is added to the fee of your requests.

              I think that'd be effective.

               

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 6:24am

    how is this different from 99% of other 'take downs'? no one checks, no one examines because no one gives a shit. this is a ridiculous law! it needs changing so that PROOF, not suspicion or here say, leads to a 'take down'. if that 'take down' is then found to be fraudulent, the accuser should be punished more severely than a genuine 'take down'.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:02am

    Reverse 3 strikes

    If copyright holders want 3 strikes so bad, we should try it out on them first. After they send 3 takedowns that were found to be completely and undeniably false, like this one was, we revoke their privileges for sending takedowns. After that they have to mail in hand written letters signed by copyright holders. No printed or electronic forms allowed.

    After all, stopping all electronic requests like that would support their 3 strikes idea of not completely cutting people off. We would just be slowing them down. They always tell us that is acceptable so it should be acceptable to put this plan into place, correct?

     

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    ken (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Akin to DOS Attack

    This is akin to a Denial of Service attack. Why these companies keep getting away with this is unreal. There should be SEVERE penalties for this. They lecture us about "content theft" when this really is theft in every definition of the word.

     

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      The eejit (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 8:28am

      Re: Akin to DOS Attack

      Because a DoS attack isn't hacking.

       

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        Almost Anonymous (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: Akin to DOS Attack

        Disagree. For most legal definitions of "hacking", a Denial of Service (DoS) attack is indeed considered hacking.

         

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          The eejit (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Akin to DOS Attack

          No, it really isn't in the US, which is the most pertinent to the post.

           

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          identicon
          Ed C., May 29th, 2012 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Akin to DOS Attack

          DoS is absolutely not hacking, not even in a legal sense. Hacking is gaining unauthorized access to a system. A DoS attack is preventing authorized access to a server. They are literally complete opposites.

           

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  •  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:18am

    Around and around it goes

    Righthaven more or less vanishes so some firm has to step into the breach.

    Now BayTSP steps up to take the vacant position of copyright troll perhaps somewhat more intelligently than it's successor/

    Perhaps not.

    BayTSP, who swear in their automated statement that their automated "The Program" will identify only the guilty. Yet this indicates that it operates on keywords and little more. I can't see any other way it confused the SF Chronicle with the movie.

    What surprises me even more is that "The Program" didn't catch that well known pirate CS Lewis and his obvious misuse of the movie name in "The Chronicles of Narnia". This sort of rampant piracy just can't be allowed to continue!!!!
    /s

     

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    identicon
    jaded, May 29th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    30 days in County for each case of perjury

    That "... under penalty of perjury" phrase should be enforced with 30 days in county for each and every instance of DMCA takedown perjury. And if they have no specific person whose job it is to stand behind these takedowns, the executives themselves should spend that time in lockup.

     

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 9:23am

      Re: 30 days in County for each case of perjury

      And if they have no specific person whose job it is to stand behind these takedowns, the executives themselves should spend that time in lockup.

      I agree with your sentiment, but the buck stops with the boss: the executives should be the first ones thrown in the clink.

       

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    crade (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:57am

    "How do you have a "good faith belief" that there's infringement when you clearly didn't even take the briefest second to look."

    If they refuse to look, they can shut down whatever they want and have a "good faith belief".. If they bother to check the things they want to shut down, then they would have to lie and might get in trouble.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      > "How do you have a "good faith belief" that there's infringement when you clearly didn't even take the briefest second to look."


      These guys have a "good faith" belief that absolutely everything on the internet is infringing. It's delusional, but that's what they honestly believe.

       

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    DanZee (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Banking System

    This is sort of like the way the banking system had computers sign mortgage documents. No one actually read the applications, computers just dished out the loans. Here computers are just issuing takedown noticed. It's lucky the entire SFGate website wasn't taken down for infringing on the Chronicle film.

     

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    identicon
    wallow-T, May 29th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    "I have a good-faith belief that my keyword-matching system is 100% accurate in detecting infringement."

    I believe, I believe, I believe, and who are you to challenge my belief? :-)

     

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      identicon
      wallow-T, May 29th, 2012 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      Oh yes, this brings us back to the "Six Strikes" "Memorandum of Understanding" between content industries and ISPs.

      According to that Memorandum, the methods used to detect infringement are a Trade Secret. They may not be disclosed, and since they are (metaphorically) a sealed black box, they may not be challenged.

       

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    Mega1987 (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    I quote Papu-Papu: Tara-bubu!!!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 8:14am

    "How do you have a "good faith belief" that there's infringement when you clearly didn't even take the briefest second to look."

    Because if you falsely accuse someone of infringement and you are wrong, there is hardly ever any punishment. If someone accidentally infringes and they are wrong they can get fined huge sums of money.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    punishment for false positive

    is a false negative.

    they DON'T get to persecute a real copyright violation, starting with worst offender to least.

    this is the proper penalty for "crying wolf"

     

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    mlang (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Surely a fine in the range of $200 to $150,000 per incorrect takedown request would be reasonable?

     

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    Some Guy, May 29th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that Fox sucks."

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    google should make a crowdsourced takedown verification system. before being taken down, requests will go in a list and volunteers can go vote yea or nay on whether theyre a legitimate takedown. users who are trolling and voting everything one way can be filtered out by being given obvious cases of infringement and making sure they vote yea.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), May 29th, 2012 @ 11:28am

    How odd....

    Look at that... 55 comments over 6 hours and not one troll/shill popping up saying how hard copyright lawyers work to be accurate and how you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs or something. Guess there's not a lot of room for "creative re-interpretation" in this one.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Safe Harbor

    Any agent/rightsholder that uses DMCA without fact-checking the results first must not be allowed to attempt stripping of safe harbor for supposed non-compliance

     

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  •  
    identicon
    BuddyMc, May 29th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    What about this take down notice?

    Here is another great example of a bad take down notice. NBC issued a take down notice to the creators of a video shown on Youtube. The video was created several years ago by two guys for a political campaign and then Jay Leno's show played the video on air. Later Youtube received a take down notice for the video claiming copyright on it. The creators have the right idea, they are taking NBC to court over the take down.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120524/14064719069/copylaundering-jay-leno-airs-campaign -video-youtube-nbc-claims-ownership-original.shtml

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Somebody at Fox must be on the chronic(le).

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    This reeks of "takedown bot looking for keywords."

    It's about time we outlawed automated takedown notices.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2012 @ 12:35am

    Hahaha, BayTSP. Used by Odex to sue Singaporeans into paying for fansubbed anime Odex didn't even own the licensing rights to. And what happened in the end? Two individuals brought to court eventually went nowhere when it was found that one of them went home to Indonesia and the other was dismissed.

    Aside from the money paid to Odex through legally dodgy settlement letters, BayTSP is a joke.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2012 @ 2:27am

    A media company taking another media company to court? All it would need is for Righthaven to be mixed in to this and the irony would be complete.

     

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    identicon
    webgallry, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 2:02am

    Anonymous

    they DON'T get to persecute a real copyright violation, starting with worst offender to least.

     

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