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Update: And, of course, now that they’ve drawn much more attention to the whole thing, Microsoft has withdrawn the takedown.

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Companies: cryptome, microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft Uses DMCA To Force Cryptome Offline”

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Freedom says:

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).


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

max.elliott (profile) says:


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.

ScaredOfTheMan says:

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.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

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.

Luci says:

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?

Ralph-J (profile) says:

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?

x71927 says:

"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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.)

Bob Webster (profile) says:

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

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.


Network Solutions Customer Support

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

Anonymous Coward says:

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.”

eagle says:

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

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.

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