A Glimpse Of The Future Under SOPA: Warner Bros. Admits It Filed Many False Takedown Notices

from the is-this-what-we-want? dept

While entertainment industry execs still continue to pretend that it’s obvious when things are infringing, they continually ignore the very real concerns raised by many of us about SOPA/PROTECT IP/ICE seizures. The concern isn’t about taking down the infringing content. It’s about the overreach of these efforts, and how it can and will be used to take down other, legal content. This is not some hypothetical scenario. We hear about bogus DMCA notices being issued all the time, and now we have a perfect example of what a future under SOPA would be like, as Warner Bros. has admitted in court that it issued a bunch of takedowns for content it had no copyright over — including over some software that it just didn’t like.

As you may recall, Warner Bros. was among those who sued the cyberlocker Hotfile for infringement. Hotfile hit back, pointing out that it had worked with Warner Bros., and even created a tool to make it easier to issue takedowns. And Warner Bros.’s response was to takedown tons of content that it had no right to. In responding to these countercharges, Warner Bros. flat out admits that it did exactly that. It says that sometimes it just did basic keyword matching, which caught all sorts of other content it had no right to, admitting that it never checked the actual file to make sure it was infringing.

Warner admits that, as one component of its takedown process, Warner utilizes automated software to assist in locating files on the Internet believed to contain unauthorized Warner content. Warner admits that it scans and issues takedowns for The Box (2009), a movie in which Warner owns the copyrights. Warner admits that its records indicate that URLs containing the phrases ?The Box That Changed Britain? and ?Cancer Step Outsider of the Box? were requested for takedown through use of the SRA tool.

It also issued a takedown over some open source software, simply because a Warner Bros. employee didn’t like it (the software was a download manager that the WB employee thought could be used to infringe.) It also admits that it took down some software that it distributed, but over which it had no copyrights and no rights to issue a takedown.

Even more hilarious, is that Warner Bros., in its response to the Hotfile countercharges, seems to suggest that it’s preposterous to think that it should have to actually check to make sure files are actually infringing… even as it appears to be making the argument that service providers should do exactly that:

Warner further admits that, given the volume and pace of new infringements on Hotfile, Warner could not practically download and view the contents of each file prior to requesting that it be taken down through use of the SRA tool.

And yet, we’re regularly told that YouTube should be responsible for checking the content of every video uploaded. Among the other mistaken downloads were the text of a Harry Potter book, which may be infringing, but Warner only has the copyright on the movies, not the books.

After all of this, Warner Bros. tries to brush this off by saying it doesn’t really matter, since most (though not all) of the content it took down was infringing anyway, so I guess it thinks it was doing other copyright holders a favor. Of course, that’s not how the law works. The fact is, some copyright holders want to give their works away for free, and don’t need or want some Hollywood giant taking it down for them.

Either way, this once again undermines so many of the arguments of the copyright players:

  1. That it’s “easy” or “obvious” to determine what is and what is not infringing. Since Warner Bros., (like Viacom before it) can’t seem to get this right themselves, why do they continue to insist that it’s so easy.
  2. That it’s “easy” or “obvious” for service providers to monitor and stop infringement directly. If even the copyright holders themselves — who have less content to review and more knowledge of what’s actually infringing — can’t get it right, why do they claim that service providers can do this?
  3. That laws like SOPA won’t be used to take down non-infringing speech. Once again, the evidence shows that they did exactly that. It’s just that under SOPA, Warner Bros. would have been able to completely kill off Hotfile prior to its ability to make its case in court.

Think of this as a preview of what we’d get under SOPA, with companies like Warner Bros. and Viacom, with their history of bogus takedowns, continuing to do so, but rather than just blocking content they have no rights over, they’d actively shut down sites and companies. In what world does that make sense?

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Companies: hotfile, warner bros.

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Comments on “A Glimpse Of The Future Under SOPA: Warner Bros. Admits It Filed Many False Takedown Notices”

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130 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Fines for copyfraud

You beat me to it. Exactly what I was going to say. I’ve said it several times in the past, and will again.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

There should be a $150,000 statutory damages for each false instance of a DMCA takedown notice. That would be better than this toothless “penalty of perjury” nonsense. Courts don’t care if rich or powerful people perjure themselves.

CN says:

Re: Re: Fines for copyfraud

There should be a $150,000 statutory damages for each false instance of a DMCA takedown notice. That would be better than this toothless “penalty of perjury” nonsense. Courts don’t care if rich or powerful people perjure themselves.

Well, if the perjury penalty involved the CEO doing jail time, 6 months minimum for each one (consecutive, not concurrent either), then maybe that would be sufficient as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

“That laws like SOPA won’t be used to take down non-infringing speech. Once again, the evidence shows that they did exactly that. It’s just that under SOPA, Warner Bros. would have been able to completely kill off Hotfile prior to its ability to make its case in court.”

Troll argument: But the other files they took down were infringing too! Clearly they knew this, even though it wasn’t their content. Since they can easily know this for others content, Hotfile should be able to do the same!

anonymous says:

Re: Re:

they didn’t know what they were taking down because they already admitted that they didn’t look! admitted that they were unable to look at every file, while insisting that it is easy to ‘see’ what should be taken down! while insisting that whosoever they say should be able to ‘see’ what should be taken down! on top of which, they had no right to remove anything that was not theirs anyway. the only thing they could/should have done, after checking that each of someone elses files were infringing, was to tell the content owner and leave it at that! but, as per usual, when they do something wrong, it’s ok, it’s brushed under the carpet. when it’s anyone else, all hell is let loose in the form of of law suits etc!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“But the other files they took down were infringing too! Clearly they knew this, even though it wasn’t their content. Since they can easily know this for others content, Hotfile should be able to do the same!”

1) Many of the non-Warners files weren’t infringing.
2) Warners themselves stated they didn’t actually review the files, just used an imperfect keywording tracker for words similar to their titles.
Did you even read the article, or was it too much trouble, boy?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

>>If sopa passes, I sure hope a lot of people don’t start sending take downs to all the services that the RIAA and MPAA and their friends use.

As I understand SOPA it won’t be possible for an individual to file a claim like they can under DCMA. You will have to go through the government to do it. Supposedly the government will have a responsibility to do “due diligence” before taking action. However, we have seen in the ICE domain procedures that due diligence seems to consist of a federal employee being told by his industry handler that the content is infringing. I am sure that under SOPA there will be industry reps with direct pipelines. Maybe they will just give federal employees offices at Disney studios or something like that so that the destruction of the Internet can be expedited. The complaint of a private citizen would probably get lost in the system, especially if it was against a big media company.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, the system already works to favor big corporations, who can try to claim ‘oops‘ and be subject to the high court treatment of lesser damages for issuing a non-intentional take down notice. OTOH, individuals would have a tougher time claiming an accidental take-down and would have a greater chance of receiving greater damages for intentionally taking down something they don’t have privileges to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You might not be far from the truth.

At risk of infringement I quote Arthur C Clarke

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

The industry and the politicians don’t understand the internet, it is advanced technology that they simply cannot wrap their minds around, to them it surely must seem like magic.
If the techs can make the internet work by magic, then surely they can magically detect copyright infringement.
They are the magicians after all and magic can do anything.

Actually, the further truth is that as economists don’t really know how economies work, they are magic too but if they seem to work with copyright then they presume copyright is one of the necessary magical components necessary for a successful economy as are patents.
It may explain why rational argument fails to get through to them, it’s all magic!
Copyright and patents etc are essentially the same as their lucky pants and/or the cargo cult of their choice.
They can’t really defend them, they sure as hell don’t understand how they work and have no evidence to prove they work but they are sustained by belief.
They are absolutely certain that these fetishes are essential and given that they are, having more enforcement to ensure they get to keep their lucky pants is obviously even essentialer.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Youtube/Google is supposed to spend billions to perfect a system that protects someone elses product. Google is rich, its their job to make the world safe for the media companies.

They don’t care what it takes to protect their product, as long as someone else has to pay for it and they can extract more money if the system isn’t up to the industries demands. It doesn’t matter than it is completely impossible, someone needs to spend money and do it… and why should it be the copyright holders who wring money out of content for lifetime + 3000 years?

keiichi969 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually it should be worse.

Lets take the standard claim of “Potential infringement” and “Making available”

Well, WB is clearly preventing “Potential use” and they are “Making unavailable” so obviously it should be $150 per false claim, times 6 billion people.

What, if the RIAA can use this kind of math, why can’t we?

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, I think that this sort of thing only serves to reflect how much of a pain in the ass DMCA, and how it is almost impossible for rights holders to be able to stem the tide.

Warner has to end up relying on automated software to go out and hopefully identify infringement. They are forced to scan the internet on a daily basis looking for infringement, and with anything less than a Google sized data center and a staff of hundreds, they have no way that they can even hope to spot all infringements.

So the machine makes some errors, and there isn’t enough people to capture it all.

For me, this is the balance answer to the old “youtube can’t check all their uploads”. Warner cannot possible check all of the individual cases that are out there, they depend on automation and sometimes mistakes happen.

Wake up… DMCA doesn’t work, the safe harbor provisions are not helping anyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Warner cannot possible check all of the individual cases that are out there, they depend on automation and sometimes mistakes happen.

Fixed it for you.
Warner cannot possible check all of the individual cases that are out there, they depend on an unworkable business model and should spend their enforcement money on finding a new one.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I would suggest WB create their own WBFlix.com and charge a low monthly fee to stream all content instantly”

Problem: this will never happen, and it would be doomed to failure from the start if they did. They would insist on high prices to cover their initial investment, then insist on anti-consumer policies to restrict when, where and how the content could be streamed. They might get a few bumps by being the only place to stream the new Batman, for example, but it wouldn’t be a long term success.

Then, when it inevitably failed as being an utterly unattractive product, they would blame its failure on piracy. In the meantime, they would probably have also tried restricting other content avenues in order to promote their streaming services, losing them even more money.

Another AC says:

Re: Re:

I believe you got it right when you said “… and how it is almost impossible for rights holders to be able to stem the tide”

Trying to hold back an over-whelming tide is a fools errand… why companies keep trying harder and harder to fight an un-winnable fight is beyond my comprehension.

Your argument is interesting but your conclusion seems flawed – when the collateral damage affects rightsholders it’s unacceptable (i.e. technology provides great new innovations but rightsholders have trouble enforcing their rights = bad) but when the collateral damage affects everyone else, it’s OK? In what universe exactly?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“but when the collateral damage affects everyone else, it’s OK? In what universe exactly?”

I think the mistake you are making is assuming that this is an entirely adversarial situation, when it is not.

The “collateral damage” argument is pretty much bullshit end to end. SOPA will not stop your ability to make your own videos, it will not stop you from making your own songs. It will not stop you from making your own software, and best of all, it will not stop you from using ANY method you want to distribute it.

Once you start to understand that this isn’t aimed at stopping any of your legal endevours, and in fact will likely clean up a whole swath of the internet to make your projects easier to find, you can understand why everyone is in fact on the same side, against piracy, against misuse, and against the companies that are sucking the life out of the music and movie industries worldwide.

My only point is that if Mike is going to keep on with the idea that Youtube is “too big to check”, he should cut Warner some slack because the internet is a whole lot fucking bigger than youtube.

hothmonster says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“SOPA will not stop your ability to make your own videos, it will not stop you from making your own songs. It will not stop you from making your own software, and best of all, it will not stop you from using ANY method you want to distribute it.”

It will when I make a short story called “The Box” and warner brothers bot sees it and gets the site I was distributing it on shut down. If they can’t be trusted to use the limited powers they have properly why should we give them way more power and assume everything will work smoothly?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The choice for you to allow an “innocent host” to eat it for you means your rights are limited.”

but that’s part of the “collateral damage” involved. Just because a few IP holders want various privileges, everyone must sacrifice their various rights, and the only response you have is “Too bad, so sad.”. No, these IP holders aren’t entitled to the privilege of forcing others to sacrifice their rights just because some IP holder wants the privilege of forcing others to abide by, police, and enforce their monopoly wishes. No IP holder is entitled to requiring that the government, service providers, and others undergo the burden of abiding by, policing, and enforcing their privileges and IP holders are not entitled to forcing others to sacrifice their rights just to satisfy their monopoly wishes. You are not entitled to affecting the behavior of others just to enforce your monopoly privileges.

Another AC says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“SOPA will not stop your ability to make your own videos, it will not stop you from…”

Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that none of what you said in this paragraph is actually true.

Mike’s point doesn’t appear to be that Youtube is “too big to check”, rather that “it is too big to check” AND companies like Warner Bros. insist that it is not at the same time. Given Warner Bros. struggles with HotFile (which I assume is significantly smaller than YouTube in terms of content), surely you can see the hypocrisy in that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If you think Warner is only checking Hotfile, you would be sadly mistaken.

If you think that Hotfile isn’t a busy site, you would be mistaken.

If you don’t think it’s a hell of a lot of work to check Hotfile, consider only the number of entities that hold copyrights on movies, music, or software, and multiply that by the number of files on Hotfile, and that is the number of checks that need to be done.

It’s “too big to check”, and too significant a burden for the innocent copyright holder to bear.

khory (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The thing is Warner is only checking for its own stuff. Service providers are expected to check every file, wade through all of the possible entities that own copyrights and then determine infringement on content that they aren’t the owners of. How realistic does that sound?

I honestly don’t think this is realistic to expect either group to be able to keep up with. Some will always get missed.

The current system doesn’t eliminate piracy and neither will SOPA. At least the current system allows services to operate and provide legal uses and benefits which I think outweigh the negatives.

I really think the best bet would be for content owners to work to distribute their content in more convenient ways at prices that don’t turn people away. Convenience is a huge factor, the success of Netflix and the like prove this.

Will the pirates disappear? No, but this way content producers can further capitalize on their works to keep those record quarters and CEO raises rolling in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So what? Some infringement just isn’t going to be caught. That’s always going to be true just as it is with every crime or tort. Even in the most brutally oppressive regimes there is not enough control to shut down everything so the fact that it’s not 100% effective enforcement currently is not a valid argument for stepping up enforcement.

The copyright holder is not innocent in this exchange by the way. They’re the beneficiary of the enforcement. They’re the interested party. They’re certainly not an innocent bystander, quite the opposite.

khory (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You won’t be able to distribute anything if service providers decide that the liability involved is too high. SOPA kills sites before they even get a chance to defend themselves. Who would provide services in that environment?

Regardless of the aims of the bill, the methods it is using to “clean up a whole swath of the internet” will do more harm than good.

The liability it places on service providers is unrealistic. Youtube users add 8 years worth of content per day. How can you expect them to filter all of that if WB can’t even filter which content is theirs on one website? Do you feel that shutting Youtube down is the answer? is that acceptable collateral damage?

And why should Mike ease up on WB? They certainly don’t want to acknowledge the challenge this presents to service providers when they themselves couldn’t get it right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’ve lost all credibility but literally posting “The “collateral damage” argument is pretty much bullshit end to end” on an article about the collateral damage that is currently happening as a result of a considerably less restrictive law which carries far less sweeping consequences due to false application. How can it possibly be ‘bullshit end to end’ when you’re commenting on an example of it right now? I think the mistake you are making is assuming that this cannot be an adversarial situation or that because it’s not strictly adversarial it means the law cannot possibly stop any legal endeavours. I mean how in the fuck is anyone going to distribute something via torrent if big content shuts down all the torrent indexes just to stop ‘piracy?’

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: So the machine makes some errors, and there isn't enough people to capture it all.

The point being that DMCA takedown notices have to include a claim, under penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder.

That means if they get it wrong, then they?re lying under oath. Know what happens to people who lie under oath?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Warner has to end up relying on automated software to go out and hopefully identify infringement.”

I’d like to point out that these are jobs these job creators are not creating. They could be hiring a huge staff of people to surf the entire hotfile site checking each and every file their automated system pings on and making sure that it is infact infringing material. Instead they are demanding that Hotfile somehow do it for them, or just allow them to do crappy keyword matching and delete whatever strikes their fancy. I am also guessing the a single file ending in pdf or rar should have been excluded, but they opted to not pay the programmer for those extra 3 lines of code.

You also seem to be glossing over the fact they went after a program specifically because they felt it MIGHT be used to help people infringe on their products faster. It was a download manager, in and of itself not a threat to any copyright held by WB but someone felt it might be so they deleted it.

bob (profile) says:

How about making the uploader actually responsible?

You certainly don’t want to make Big Search responsible because this blog is all about astroturfing for them. I keep arguing that it’s unfair to make content creators screen everything using the crappy tools from the Big Piracy sites.

So who should do it? How about the low life actually pushing the button and uploading to YouTube, the file locker sites or the other ones?

It’s easy. Google already tracks everything we watch on YouTube. It reads our mail to show us ads. Why not require a n account with say a 3 month history and a valid cell phone number before you can upload files? Google already checks people who use their AppEngine to make sure they can come after them for violating the terms of service.

Then Big Search and Big Piracy could just give this number and identifying information directly to Big Content and get out of the loop. Voila. The infringer gets punished and the sites sail along.

What? You don’t like that idea? Why not? Well, Big Piracy and Big Search hate it because it will cut off the source for the material that keeps drawing in users. They can’t upload it themselves so they like to pretend that it was just some impoverished kid in a barrio who just happens to have a big fat pipe for uploading.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How about making the uploader actually responsible?

“Why not require a n account with say a 3 month history and a valid cell phone number before you can upload files?”

That would be a good way to ensure that Youtube is abandoned rather quickly. Remember the real name policy for Google+? Google was quick to dumb down that policy, after massive amounts of people complained.

Just think about it: can imagine what Techdirt (for example) would be like if you had to log with an actual account? Neither of us would be here, that’s for sure.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: How about making the uploader actually responsible?

So who should do it? How about the low life actually pushing the button and uploading to YouTube, the file locker sites or the other ones?

They already are liable.

It’s easy. Google already tracks everything we watch on YouTube. It reads our mail to show us ads.

I think you’re confused about how Google works. I’d suggest removing the tinfoil and actually reading up on a site not written by Scott Cleland.

Why not require a n account with say a 3 month history and a valid cell phone number before you can upload files?

Anonymity is protected under the First Amendment. But, given that you don’t like it, you okay with me posting your IP address here? After all, you haven’t provided me with your full name and address, so based on your own reasoning I should assume you’re a pirate.

Then Big Search and Big Piracy could just give this number and identifying information directly to Big Content and get out of the loop. Voila. The infringer gets punished and the sites sail along.

Who exactly is “Big Piracy”? In the meantime, you do realize that copyright holders can and do already subpoena information about uploaders. So you’re asking for what’s already there.

What? You don’t like that idea? Why not? Well, Big Piracy and Big Search hate it because it will cut off the source for the material that keeps drawing in users. They can’t upload it themselves so they like to pretend that it was just some impoverished kid in a barrio who just happens to have a big fat pipe for uploading.

You really don’t know how YouTube works, do you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 How about making the uploader actually responsible?

They are stupid. IP maximists are stupid. Mike has quoted non-anonymous IP maximists from the RIAA/MPAA several times say and do really really dumb things. Here is but only one (out of many) example

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090811/0152565837.shtml

and here is another

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100408/1003328938.shtml

There are all sorts of examples of the RIAA/MPAA contradicting themselves in court, from case to case, and whatnot. These people are literally stupid.

and Mike has noted in the past that many of the IP maximists that post here come from various law firms. Yes, these people are dead serious, it’s no joke.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 How about making the uploader actually responsible?

The point is that, in all likeliness, Bob’s post is not a parody. It’s intended to be a serious message, despite how ridiculous his posts are. Same thing with Out of the blue. If I were to try to mock IP maximists and I left no indication that it was a parody, people on this blog would think I’m serious. It’s hard to tell a parody apart from a serious post. It’s actually sad and I almost feel sorry for these people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 How about making the uploader actually responsible?

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110421/00493313981/whos-funding-more-terrorism-downloaders-hollywood.shtml

Again, this is no joke. Non-anonymous people have made these ridiculous claims in all seriousness. They just make this stuff up out of nowhere, they’ll say anything, no matter how false and ridiculous, just to push their selfish agenda.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: How about making the uploader actually responsible?

@ “Mike Masnick” — IF that is your real name.

“bob” wrote: “It’s easy. Google already tracks everything we watch on YouTube. It reads our mail to show us ads.”

To which Mike replied: “I think you’re confused about how Google works. I’d suggest removing the tinfoil and actually reading up on a site not written by Scott Cleland.”

Are you denying that Google through its Youtube TRACKS what is watched? Are you denying that Google reads Gmail to deliver targeted ads?

I want a specific yes or no to both those, because saying “you’re confused” plus the “tinfoil” ad hom attack is just your typical weaselly smear, and those questions have an unequivocal answer.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: How about making the uploader actually responsible?

Google doesn’t read email, algorithms scan it for keywords, in your head that may be the same thing but in the real world it is completely different.

What you are suggesting is pointless as Youtube doesn’t know what is legitimate, what is fair use and what is infringing. As has been pointed out so many times to you OOTB is that even the content creators and copyright holders haven’t a clue what is legal and what isn’t.

out_of_the_blue says:

Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

It’s difficult and burdensome for pawnbrokers to know whether the goods they buy are stolen, but they’d better be careful; that’s long established law. Similarly, so long as Hotfile / Youtube / others are in the biz of receiving content, they’ve a duty to skim it. — If puts ’em out of biz, won’t bother me, nor is it a loss to “the economy”, only to some specific grifters who are currently profiting from material that they put NO money into producing.

Nathan F (profile) says:

Re: Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

Well there is a small difference there. A pawnbroker deals in physical goods. When someone steals something from me and brings it to a pawnshop, I am no longer able to use said something. When someone infringes my copyright and uses my material, unlike what some rock stars believe, I do not loose the ability to use my material.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

Youtube will turn over in excess of $1 billion in 2011 it is predicted… no loss to the economy there. That doesn’t take into account the savings to the content industry for the free advertising or those who are able to monetise the clips being viewed… but… oops, doesn’t fit with “what you believe” so move along OOTB, nothing to see here, FREETARD ALERT!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

You can conflate theft and infringement but the law sure as shit doesn’t so please, stop with the absolutely absurd arguments like ‘because that’s how it works for stolen property so should it work for infringing content.’ That’s not how the law is written and you can’t just ignore that fact by conflating two things the law clearly defines as different.

Thank science we have your exhaustive economic analysis to ensure us that if YouTube is shutdown it will be no “loss to “the economy”” because, obviously, no one uses that service legally. Never. Never ever. La la la la la I can’t hear you la la la…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

“but the law sure as shit doesn’t so please”

When they get it changed and the law does say that infringement is the same as theft, what will you say then?

Laws can be as insane as the insane people want them to be, they can say that slaves are property and they can say that aiding and abetting a slave to escape from their lawful owner is a crime.
Whether the law distinguishes between theft and infringement at the moment is fairly irrelevant as the issue is being pushed to get the law to identify the two utterly different situations as being the same.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

>When they get it changed and the law does say that infringement is the same as theft, what will you say then?

When they do get it changed, expect a storm of what happened when the RIAA pulled their litigous shitstorm. Toddlers, grandmothers, dead people, printers, iguanas (thanks Foxtrot); no one will be safe.

On the plus side, if anything, it means that more people will be made aware of how thoroughly ludicrous the whole debacle is, and respond with a deservedly overwhelming backlash.

Thinker says:

Re: Not "easy" or "obvious" is a flaw of Youtube premise, NOT copyright.

The difference with pawnbrokers is you have to actually visit a pawnbrokers in person. So they are limited to people in their area so the amount of goods coming in they have is limited. Hotfile/Youtube etc are open to the entire WORLD. So it’s simply a matter of scale, they can’t POSSIBLE monitor all the incoming files, it’s not feasible.

out_of_the_blue says:

The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

Copyright holders have for at least a decade seen the “slippery slope” turning against them, as more and more people pirate, and more pirates become ever more brazenly vocal that they’ve some sort of entitlement to pirate.

SOPA is an utterly predictable reaction.

Increasing piracy CAN’T be allowed to continue without limit. Not a one of you — especially not Mike — has an articulable cogent plan for some other way to profit from making a movie than the current copyright, er, scheme. — Just set aside for the moment your notions on how bad SOPA will be. — Facts are that piracy is rampant, and there’s no mechanism in sight other than the guarantees of exclusive distribution (copyright) that’ll allow millions to be “invested” into making movies.

Repeating “new business model” over and over doesn’t answer any of HOW one can expect to profit from making movies. By now you people — Mike especially — ought to have a pat answer in 25 words or less. But you don’t. You just demand that the movie biz “innovate”.

You freetards should try mortgaging your house to make your own movies, and then give it away for free, or tie it to junky products or advertising. Just won’t work.

Apply this old catchphrase to your notions on “new business model”: If no uses it, there’s a reason.

By the way, SOPA is most certainly on rails, and no, I don’t like it, but most of the blame goes to pirates. — Get your work-arounds set up now.

Oh, wait. If the technical measures in SOPA are /easy/ to get around, then WHY are you freetards screaming about it? Won’t inconvenience you for more than a few months, right?

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

OOTB I could answer all the questions you pose with cogent plans and explanations, I could explain how the use of the very technology that the **AA’s want to make illegal would save them tens/hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

I could even explain to you why people here are so against SOPA, but it would be pointless because you don’t listen to anyone but those that share exactly the same world view as you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

“Repeating “new business model” over and over doesn’t answer any of HOW one can expect to profit from making movies. By now you people — Mike especially — ought to have a pat answer in 25 words or less. But you don’t. You just demand that the movie biz “innovate”.”

We regularly discuss methods of profiting without using copyright. It’s sad how you haven’t noticed this after spending so much time in our community.

“Oh, wait. If the technical measures in SOPA are /easy/ to get around, then WHY are you freetards screaming about it? Won’t inconvenience you for more than a few months, right?”

Because of the effect it will have on non-pirates who may not have the know-how to get around stuff like that. Don’t tell me you really think that only pirates will be effected by this.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

“SOPA is an utterly predictable reaction.”
Yes, I agree with you there, based on Hollywood’s history.

“Not a one of you — especially not Mike — has an articulable cogent plan for some other way to profit from making a movie than the current copyright, er, scheme. ”

How about you come up with a plan? Wait, there already was a plan, its called Netflix…what did Hollywood do with that again? Increased licensing fees in an attempt to choke it to death.

“that’ll allow millions to be “invested” into making movies. ”
Why does a movie need millions? I’ve seen plenty of awesome movies that had a small budget and yet looked a lot better than high budget Hollywood movies. It’s starting to look like the old business model of paying single actors tens of millions of dollars will in the future be unsustainable.

“By the way, SOPA is most certainly on rails, and no, I don’t like it, but most of the blame goes to pirates. — Get your work-arounds set up now.”
This is completely at odds with other comments you’ve said in the past. I remember you once said that you would kill Youtube given the chance. Which is what SOPA is all about, killing off websites and future startups that threaten the legacy entertainment industry.

“Oh, wait. If the technical measures in SOPA are /easy/ to get around, then WHY are you freetards screaming about it? Won’t inconvenience you for more than a few months, right?”

First off, stop with the /. Its annoying and serves no purpose.
Secondly, yes, the measures can be routed around, but why should we have to expend time and effort to do it? What about the millions of technologically illiterate people who will lose access to popular websites once those sites are accused and starved to death? And as for months…you really don’t have a clue about us “freetards” if you think its gonna take us that long ^^

MikeVx (profile) says:

Re: Re: Someone has just flagged themselves as a net.newbie.

At least to those of us who pre-date the whole concept of the internet.

“First off, stop with the /. Its annoying and serves no purpose.”

Before HTML infested the net, there were generally-accepted ways to specify things like *bold* and /italics/. These do indeed serve a purpose. They can give an indication of intended formatting, and yet not be stripped out of e-mail by a working security system. They are also are visually easier on non-HTML supporting systems than <i>italics&lt’/i> and <b>bold</b> and a lot faster to type.

Now get off my lawn. 🙂

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

ok blue, I know I shouldn’t but I’ll bite.

First I’m really sorry that your movie failed and left you so bitter I don’t know why it happened but I really am sorry, and I wish you great success.

Piracy won’t increase forever, it will only continue to increase as long as it is the path of least resistance. The problem with your side is that the want to make the piracy path more difficult instead of paving and widening their own path. This won’t work for a simple reason, they don’t own the other path.

Now regarding making movies and profiting from them….
As has been mentioned here many times by others and at least twice by me, any studio that opened a site for $10 – $25 a month to stream their entire catalog would instantly drop piracy of their movies and find themselves with millions of subscribers.

They could also do the itunes model and have all their movies available for $1- $3 and achieve the same result.

Neither of these actually will help out_of_the_blue raise money for his next widescreen production in the short term, but over time I think it might.

For the here and now, I suggest you look at Kevin Smith’s example and kickstarter. I’m sure others may have suggestions as well.

One thing that you often ignore or don’t seem to understand is that the $20 million dollar budgets don’t go to first time filmmakers. Just like in any field, you need to work your way up or provide some evidence of your skills and abilities.

A dumb kid uploaded some videos to youtube and now no one can escape Justin Bieber.

I look forward to the day when people line up all day for the midnight showing of the newest movie from OOTB but until that time you need to make the best movies you can right now and then get LOTS of people to see them. Most of the time the fortune follows the fame, not the other way around. Ironically, piracy and the efficient distribution model it has created may is probably just what you need.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

Let’s assume you’re 100% right and that without copyright there cannot be a profit from movie making. Nevermind that that makes no sense and that you cannot back up that assumption with any cogent reasons for why that is, let’s just assume you’re right. So what? So what if movies cannot return a profit? Plenty of movies don’t make a profit right now and I don’t mean flops with big budgets I mean indie titles or something as simple as a home video. The death of profit in film, even if that were even remotely possible which it is not, would not be the death of film. It might very well be the end of the film recording industry but, as we’re so fond of pointing out here, that’s not the same thing.

fiestachickens (profile) says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

“Facts are that piracy is rampant, and there’s no mechanism in sight other than the guarantees of exclusive distribution (copyright) that’ll allow millions to be “invested” into making movies.”

Two points here:
1. I shall rebuff your statement and note that the facts are that the content industry is doing better than ever, posting increasingly high profits. And, like yourself, I will refrain from posting any supporting links (note: there are plenty of links on Techdirt that show support for the ever increasing raise in profits). I believe I played by your rules with my statement.
2. …why do we need to invest millions in movies? I’ve seen incredible, low budget films, that are much, much, much, much better than multi-million dollar films that have a highly paid actor, lots of CGI, and that’s about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.

“Increasing piracy CAN’T be allowed to continue without limit. Not a one of you — especially not Mike — has an articulable cogent plan for some other way to profit from making a movie than the current copyright, er, scheme”

Why can’t it, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest it is actually doing any harm to business at all.
Why say CAN’T be allowed to continue when it quite clearly can.
Once again, the most successful movie of this generation has been Avatar, it had the biggest box office take, it had record breaking dvd and bluray sales at the same time as being the most pirated movie in history, it also made the most money for movie producers of any single film in the last 30-40 years. If that is the harm done by piracy then movie companies should be cheering on as much more harm as can be brought to them because it is apparently amazingly profitable.

There are many, many different ways for people to make even more money than they currently do and a great many different options have been mentioned, listed and detailed on this site.
But apparently you want some magic a wand that can be waved to guarantee profitability on any venture no matter how stupid, that won’t actually happen, can’t actually happen, never will be the case just like it never has been the case.
There is much money to be made from making content, there is much money to be made from distributing content in a manner that satisfies customers needs and wants, it is not up to the law, or the techs to do it for any particular business.
If particular parts of business don’t want to play on the actual playing field, they are quite welcome to go and play their own game on their own away from all the customers, but they have no right to demand that everyone else has to abandon the playing field.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: When I was growing up

You have to remember this came out during a court case against Hotfile filed by WB and friends. They were claiming that Hotfile wasn’t doing enough, and well much like how much they claim to have lost to “piracy” it shows they were fibbing.

It is also fun to note that they are so worried about copyright that they decided they were empowered to make decisions about what were obviously not their files but had to be copyrighted and deleted them.

Anonymous Coward says:

illegal search and seizure

Remember the days when you would record your favorite music mix on cassette tape to play whenever you wanted vs buying the 7 or 8 albums required to get those individual songs? SOPA, RIAA and others were never an issue because they could not stop it. Yet they profited greatly from record sales. Why is it so different now that they have to micromanage everything to the point where they are breaking the laws of the land.

The scenario is as blatant infringement on the fourth amendment as i ever heard. Not that Warner Bros or the RIAA are a governmental body, but SOPA is not an industry standard, it is a law. Therefore the government IS involved even though Warner Bros or whomever is doing the searching. Also there has to be a serious discussion about a reasonable expectation of privacy. If you are not illegally distributing, but a file of the type searched is on your media, who says you put it there? As an old hacker…I have used other peoples media to store data temporarily over the internet. At the time had they been searched, they wouldve been delivered a notice. So in reality, with all the ways in which ANYONE can store digitized entertainment media ANYWHERE hidden from the media owner, this process of trolling with key words is in effect illegal as it pulls other than what the warrant states. But there is the rub, these searches are without warrants. They are simply lynchings based on an unreasonable expectation. In the story, the employee not liking a piece of software and therefore pinging it as a take down is similar to Salem Massachussetts in the 1600s. A giant witch hunt.

Bottom line is this. The searches are illegal. The law by circumventing due process and violating the constitution is illegal. If these companies do not want their works stolen then they need to stop producing media that can be copied.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: illegal search and seizure

“Why is it so different now that they have to micromanage everything to the point where they are breaking the laws of the land.”

They’ve lost numerous cash cows and they’re blind to the modern realities of the industry.

Despite panic attacks (the “home taping is killing music” lunacy), the record industry was mostly on top of things for decades. They were almost guaranteed go-to areas of entertainment for most of their target market, and they’d built themselves a nice little niche where they could make a lot of money not only selling their new product but also reselling old product at a premium. They were concerned about piracy, but they knew they couldn’t really stop it on a personal level, and targeted the more realistically harmful physcial counterfeiting instead – something they could do without negatively impacting legal channels.

All of this has changed. Many teenagers don’t listen to major label music as their primary hobby, spending money on movies, video games and internet services instead. Many don’t buy music at all (which doesn’t necessarily mean they pirate, of course), while those who do will no longer pay a premium for the album bundle, buying only the individual tracks that interest them. On top of that, people also have more exposure to independent music so even those who do still buy albums are as likely to buy from them instead of from the majors.

All of this is happening, while the only visible target many of the executives see is “piracy”. They attack that, not realising (or caring) that these measures stand to kill legal outlets and will probably have no long-term effect on piracy itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

The DMCA specifically requires that copyright holders assure that they have “good faith believe” now how an automated system can produce “good faith believe”?

Warner even issued takendowns on links posted in comments to pages that were not content.

Everyone can see where this will end, with companies like Warner threatening others to comply with every whim of theirs and others being unable to say no.

Rekrul says:

1. That it’s “easy” or “obvious” to determine what is and what is not infringing. Since Warner Bros., (like Viacom before it) can’t seem to get this right themselves, why do they continue to insist that it’s so easy.

In WB’s mind, they did get it right. They took down their content and that’s all that matters to them.

2. That it’s “easy” or “obvious” for service providers to monitor and stop infringement directly. If even the copyright holders themselves — who have less content to review and more knowledge of what’s actually infringing — can’t get it right, why do they claim that service providers can do this?

Because they want the service providers to do exactly what they did; Install keyword filters that delete anything that even remotely matches what they’re looking for, regardless of the consequences.

It’s really very simple, the Entertainment industry does not care what damage is done to other businesses, or the net in general as long as they get their way.

If the MPAA/RIAA were in charge of hostage rescue operations, they would immediately storm the building with orders to shoot anyone who looks like they might be a bad guy (standing up, wearing sunglasses, moving, etc). If all the hostages end up getting killed in the assualt, well that’s just the cost of taking out the bad guys. It’s that whole omelet and breaking eggs thing…

Will Fortinberry says:

wow

Love this debate, as I definitely fall on the side against more senselessly dull laws that revoke rights and privileges of the average citizen. I suppose some people don’t notice the ominous storm building on the horizon, and can only use their tunnel vision for the road they are traversing. I suppose stating the name Nikolai Tesla won’t help clear any of this up either. Oh well, I tried. I suppose there is still a majority of people who think Edison was the savior of mankind. If you don’t notice the parallels I’m drawing, then please swiftly return to your rock. I hear it’s quite cozy under there.

Rob Watson (profile) says:

Solution?

How about WB et al upload gobs of bogusly titled torrents and overwhelm the pirates kind of like a DOS attack? If you can’t beat them join them (pretending so you can get inside and jam up their guts).

1000:1 bogus titles that look legit ought make it tedious enough to ward off all but the most determined.

Now for everyone who uses netflix, etc and just dups/rips DVD’s … who causes more problems management or pirates?

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