Air Force The Latest To Make Illegal False DMCA Claim

from the time-to-hire-better-lawyers dept

We’ve seen way too many bad DMCA takedown notices over the years, but this latest one may be the most ridiculous yet. A lawyer representing the Air Force has issued a takedown notice on an advertisement that the Air Force released publicly about its cyberdefense initiatives. There are so many things wrong with this, it’s difficult to know where to start. First off, the Air Force was using this as an advertisement that they wanted displayed as widely as possible. In fact, the Air Force specifically sent the ad to sites like Wired asking them to run it. Second, and more importantly, as a government-produced content, it is not covered by copyright, and therefore not subject to the DMCA. Third, even the Air Force’s own website notes that the video states: “Information presented on the Air Force Recruiting website is considered public information and may be distributed or copied.” Fourth, Wired notes that the Air Force’s marketing chief, who sent Wired the video in the first place, has no clue that the DMCA takedown notice was issued and doesn’t understand why it happened. Wired eventually discovered that a law firm representing the Air Force sent the takedown notice — and is violating the law in doing so. In a takedown notice, you need to swear, under threat of perjury, that you either have the copyright or represent those who do and that the content is infringing. It would certainly appear, under that basis, that the lawyer issuing the letter may have perjured herself, issuing a false DMCA takedown notice. Of course, as a lawyer, you would think she would know that.

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Comments on “Air Force The Latest To Make Illegal False DMCA Claim”

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bored now says:

Just for clarity

Under the DMCA, only the part about “you either have the copyright or represent those who do” is sworn under penalty of perjury. The assertion that the content is infringing is a statement of good faith belief, i.e. not sworn under penalty of perjury.

The lawyer may well have perjured herself anyway, of course, just on the first part.

And aren’t lawyers despicable creatures anyway? Shakespear had it right!

Stymie says:

Re: Just for clarity

Shakespeare did have it right; but you don’t understand the context. Shakespeare said that in order to destabilize the government, the first thing you need to do is kill all the lawyers. The meaning of this, of course, is that a country without laws will quickly descend into anarchy.

I’m so damn tired of seeing people misquote this piece of fiction, and even more tired of self-righteous pseudo intellects who think they are making a great argument by misquoting a famous play. Stop it.

BeReasonable (profile) says:

Re: Re: Just for clarity

Um, no. You don’t understand the context. Shakespeare uses this line as the capper to a whimsical discussion of utopia, as in “how do we start off building a utopia, i.e. the perfect place?” Is the answer free beer? No. Is the answer health care for all? No. Is the answer a beer-dispensing sexbot capable of correcting your humors and curing gout? No. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

MLS (profile) says:

Re: AF Claim to Copyright

Darn…Hit enter instead of tab. Hence the empty comment window.

Having dealt with DoD attorneys for many years, it is abundantly clear that in this and related areas of law they are abyssmaly and blissfully ignorant. This article is hardly surprising given my experience.

I daresay that the firm submitting the notice is not one that deals with any regularity with Title 17, our copyright laws.

If they are ignorant... says:

Re: Re: AF Claim to Copyright

or not familiar with this section of the law, as officers of the court should they not take the time to do a little research before signing an affidavit?

Also, if the attorney didn’t even bother to check on the copyright status, I don’t see how the claim of infringement rises to the level of good faith belief.

I sure hope all involved are held accountable.

cutter892 says:

Doesn't Help

There are good lawyers and there are bad lawyers just like any other industry. The problem is in the laws them selves. Are laws are so hidiously complex it’s not uncommon to here a prosecutor go “Under Title 23, Section 84, subsection D, Paragraph 72, lines 3-6. Person X has clearly broken the law.” It is because of these types of laws where all the loopholes, mistakes and ignorance can happen. How is the common law abiding person suppose to realize and know this. As for Title 17 that should be the first to get rewritten with common sense. Of course I realize that is going to be a pipe dream of mine for some time.

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