by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 6th 2012 2:35pm
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 17th 2012 2:05pm
from the this-may-get-interesteing dept
And, of course, in true Streisand Effect manner, all this is doing is calling a lot more attention to the video... and BMG's ridiculous censorious response to the situation.
Update: And... as Michael Weinberg points out, BMG appears to only be targeting President Obama singing Al Green. There are tons of other clips of Al Green singing the song himself or others singing the song. All left up. Hmm...
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 5th 2012 9:23am
from the transparency-is-a-good-thing dept
Next up, Twitter showed how often it gets requests not to provide info, but to flat out remove Tweets (outside of copyright takedowns, apparently):
And, finally, they discuss copyright takedowns. This is actually an area where we've felt that Twitter doesn't always do a very good job, as there have been multiple stories of questionable DMCA-based takedowns.
We also receive a large number of misfiled, non-copyright complaints through our web form. We carefully review each report received, and follow-up with the reporter as appropriate.There may be room for improvement here, but it does appear that (unlike many companies), Twitter doesn't just roll over on every DMCA request.
Either way, it's great to see these kinds of transparency reports that really reveal some detailed info on just how often companies like Google and Twitter are asked to remove content or reveal info on users.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 13th 2012 10:54am
from the about-freaking-time dept
We want to let you know that we have implemented a global change in the standard takedown process that will benefit the whole Flickr community going forward.It's really quite amazing that it took this long for Flickr to realize this was needed.
When a photo is removed from the site based on a notice of alleged copyright infringement, we will temporarily show a placeholder and the member will have an opportunity to respond before the image is made unavailable.
If the alleged copyright infringement is found to be fraudulent, the image in question will be restored, and the photopage will look like before.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 1st 2012 10:36am
from the pebkac dept
The RIAA put up a blog post in which it listed out "five facts" to attack Google's transparency report claims. Except, this is RIAA math. If you actually read the "facts" you realize they're basically two points repeated over and over again: (1) Google limits how many searches they can do to find infringing material. (2) Google limits how many infringing domains it can report via its Webmaster tools.
There's a big problem with both of those claims (beyond the fact that "two" does not equal "five"). It's that neither "fact" appears to be really accurate. Google does have some tools that limit crawlers from automated searches, and perhaps the RIAA has been using such tools to try to find infringement. That would certainly explain its decision to DMCA reviews from media sites of musicians, or official release videos from artists' own accounts. Of course, that would also subject the RIAA to claims of falsifying DMCA notices, since they have to swear that they have a good faith belief that there really is infringing material on those sites, and they can't do that if they don't actually look at them.
As for the limits on submissions, well, as Ars Technica points out the only "limit" appears to be how many URLs can be submitted in a single submission. That seems to be 1,000 per shot:
But there's no indication that you can't just go back and then list out the next 1,000. There may be a few other safeguards within a separate program that Google has with "trusted" partners, but even then it appears to just be how many URLs can be submitted in a single batch, rather than a total limit. In fact, as Google told SearchEngineLand, the RIAA is simply wrong, and there are no actual restrictions besides how many URLs can be submitted at once:
We have never imposed any limit on the number of DMCA notices that a copyright owner or reporting organization may send us, although we do have some technical safeguards in our trusted partner program (where submitters may be using automated mechanisms to send large volumes) as a safeguard against accidental flooding of the system.And if you need any more proof that the RIAA is completely full of it, you just need to look at Google's own transparency report, where it shows that Microsoft filed more than five times as many DMCA takedowns as the RIAA and NBC Universal filed twice as many:
It seems that even if there was "a limit", which there does not appear to be, then the RIAA is not coming anywhere close to that limit anyway.
In other words, we can sum up the RIAA's complaint about Google's copyright transparency report as being "the transparency report is wrong, because we're clueless about how to work your tools." Given the RIAA's general (lack of) understanding about technology, perhaps that's not too surprising. But it is amusing to see them so stringently and publicly display their ignorance.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 30th 2012 10:34am
from the yay-dmca dept
Here, however, it appears to just be ridiculous bad processes in place to make sure DMCA takedowns are legit. There is, for example, the case of Warner Bros. sending a DMCA takedown for the IMDB page of its own movie, Wrath of the Titans. It also demanded that the Guardian newspaper's showing of the official trailer of the movie be removed from Google search. Ditto the official trailer on Apple's site and Hulu's site. And, let's not forget the BBC America news article about how the film might be "critic proof" as well as a page from Charleston South Carolina's newspaper, The Post & Courier about the film and telling people where to go see it. Though, I guess Warner Bros. lawyers didn't want you to see it at all, because all of those were DMCA'd for being in Google's search.
It's almost as if the lawyers at Warner Bros. are so clueless that they were actively trying to hide any legitimate marketing for the movie. I'm sure their colleagues in the marketing department must have been just thrilled about these efforts.
The TorrentFreak article lists out a bunch more takedowns, directed at news sites, often promoting the works in question:
The more you play around, the more examples like this you can find. Zuffa, the notoriously litigious folks behind UFC, demanded a Hulu link be disappeared from Google search, despite Hulu only posting authorized content.
In addition to the Warner instance mentioned above, the RIAA asked Google to delist a review of the album Own The Night published on The Guardian. The artist behind the album is Lady Antebellum, signed to RIAA-member Capitol Records.
Warner also reappeared later on, asking Google to delist a page on news site NME which lists information on the latest movies, which at the time included information on the movie Hall Pass. The same page on NME was targeted on several other occasions, including by anti-piracy company DtecNet on behalf of Lionsgate, who had info on The Hunger Games delisted.
Hollywood Reporter didn’t fare much better either. Sony Pictures asked Google to swing the banhammer against the popular news site after it published an article called “Trent Reznor Releases Six Free Tracks From ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Soundtrack” and Sony mistook it for a DVDRIP.
But as soon as Sony’s piracy fears on the first ‘Dragon Tattoo’ movie had subsided they were back as strong as ever with the sequel. This time the sinner was Wikipedia who dared to put up an information page on the movie The Girl Who Played With Fire. Luckily Sony were on hand to ask Google to delist the page.
Sony Music and the Estate of Michael Jackson tried to get a page on Last.fm for Slave to the Rhythm removed as infringing.
Let's see... we've got Universal Music/Interscope (by way of Web Sheriff) demanding that Google delete a link to Wall Street Journal post (reprinted from Mashable) embedding an official Lady Gaga video from last year. Oh, and that wasn't all. They also went after an MTV news article about the video shoot -- which did contain some footage that someone had shot from a distance, but that seems extreme to kill the whole article. Ditto for a NY Post article.
Sony Music Nashville was so worried about a Carrie Underwood leak that it tried to erase a Reuters archive page from 2008 that just lists a bunch of headlines -- none of which has anything to do with Carrie Underwood.
TorrentFreak noted above that the RIAA asked the Guardian to takedown its review of the Lady Antebellum album Own the Night, but that wasn't the only target. The RIAA demanded that Google remove a link to a review of Lady Antebellum songs on AOL's music site. Lady Antebellum was clearly so upset by AOL breaching its copyright that the band posed for a photo at AOL studios.
For most musicians, getting onto Pitchfork is a goal. For the RIAA? Well, apparently Pitchfork must be stopped. That's why it DMCA'd the tastemaker website for daring to post an article about Coldplay, in which they embedded a song directly from Coldplay's own YouTube account. The article even notes that the band had released the song to Pitchfork. Nice going RIAA, trying to stop your own bands from getting the publicity they seek.
Anyway, that's just after a little bit of searching... I'm sure we'll have more examples going forward... Thanks to the folks at Torrentfreak for their initial research which inspired some of these other findings as well.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 29th 2012 5:15am
Fox Issues DMCA Takedown To Google Over SF Chronicle Article... Claiming It Was The Movie 'Chronicle'
from the on-the-penalty-of-perjury dept
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.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.
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.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 25th 2012 5:06am
from the how-about-that... dept
However, what is interesting is that you can use the new system to play around and notice that Microsoft doesn't always seem to take down from its search engine, Bing, the same links that it orders Google to takedown. As we noted in our original post, there's been plenty of talk suggesting that Google isn't fast enough in taking down things upon DMCA request, but the company claims that they average less than 11 hours -- and considering that they're processing over 1 million takedowns per month (and are checking them by hand), that's pretty impressive. How long does it take Microsoft to take content down?
Well, you would think that if Microsoft is sending a takedown notice to Google to remove a site from its search engine, that it's almost certainly letting Bing know to remove it too, right? Why wouldn't it. But if you do some digging, you can find sites that Microsoft has ordered taken down from Google, but which are still available via Bing. Here's just one example. If you look through Google's transparency report, there's a specific search takedown request that was filed on May 11, so not too long ago. You can see the full ChillingEffects notice here as well. The takedown was sent, on behalf of Microsoft, by a company called Marketly, who appears to send a large number of takedowns, according to the Google data. In this case, Marketly had sent a takedown to Google demanding the removal of a bunch of URLs from its index concerning a variety of XBox 360 games, including DiRT 2. The 20th URL listed goes to a page on TorrentRoom.
Now, if you take that URL and put it into Google and Bing, you get two very different responses. First, there's Google:
This would suggest that, either Marketly and Microsoft decide to leave up certain infringing content on Microsoft's own search engine while taking it down from Google... or that Microsoft certainly isn't that fast at doing removals. And yet, why don't we hear the people who always bitch about Google complaining about Microsoft?
Of course, the data is also revealing some other interesting "issues" with Microsoft's takedowns. Kurt Opsahl, for example, noticed that Microsoft sent Google a takedown, you can view here, which claims that previous takedown notices, also from Microsoft, are in fact, infringing. This one was also sent by "Marketly" and suggests that they don't do much research to make sure the sites are legitimately infringing before issuing takedowns.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 24th 2012 12:03pm
from the data-data-data dept
The new transparency platform lets you dig in and see quite a few details about exactly who is issuing takedowns and what they're removing from search. It's using data since last July (when Google set up an organized web-form, so the data is consistent). It may be a bit surprising, but at the top of the list? Microsoft, who has apparently taken down over 2.5 million URLs from Google's search results. Most of the the others in the top 10 aren't too surprising. There's NBC Universal at number two. The RIAA at number three (representing all its member companies). BPI at number five. Universal Music at number seven. Sony Music at number eight. Warner Music doesn't clock in until number 12.
It's also interesting to hear that these reviews catch some pretty flagrant bogus takedown requests:
At the same time, we try to catch erroneous or abusive removal requests. For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company, asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspaper’s review of a TV show. The requests mistakenly claimed copyright violations of the show, even though there was no infringing content. We’ve also seen baseless copyright removal requests being used for anticompetitive purposes, or to remove content unfavorable to a particular person or company from our search results.It's good to see Google catch these, as plenty of other sites would automatically take such content down, just to avoid any question of liability. Of course, it doesn't catch them all. Some get through -- as we ourselves discovered a few months ago. That led us to wonder if this tool could drill down and find the details about takedowns targeting Techdirt,
Either way, this is really fascinating data and an interesting platform, shedding some significant light on just how often copyright holders are trying to take links out of Google, who's doing it and who they're targeting.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 23rd 2012 11:59am
from the some-might-find-that-a-good-thing dept
TorrentFreak claims that this AVG is the same as the maker of the popular anti-virus software, who almost certainly has no legitimate copyright claim to the video. And while there are other options out there, as well, it once again raises some questions about bogus takedowns, and the "silence first, ask questions later" process that is almost mandatory under the DMCA. Sure, the world isn't suffering much from a bogus Rickroll takedown (and some may argue they benefit), but just the fact that random third parties seem to be able to take down super popular videos raises serious questions about why we've set things up to work this way.