Another Day, Another Anomaly: Paramount Issues DMCA Takedown On Ubuntu Linux Torrent

from the but-stopping-copyright-infringement-is-easy? dept

The legacy copyright industries keep insisting that it’s “easy” to recognize when something is infringing and thus it’s “easy” to stop copyright infringement. They’re very, very wrong on both counts for a variety of reasons. We could go into the details for why, but it’s easier to just let them show us themselves. Not too long ago we wrote about Warner Bros. issuing DMCA takedown notices on its own sites (and also Amazon and IMDB links for its movies), and now TorrentFreak alerts us to Paramount issuing a DMCA takedown on a torrent of Ubuntu, the popular version of Linux that many people use all the time.

It’s kind of a weird request, and it’s not at all clear why it’s included in this takedown notice, which is for a variety of movies. In the section on the movie Transformers: Age of Extinction, Paramount (filed by notoriously clueless IP Echelon), it includes a link to a torrent of an Ubuntu iso.

So, once again, we have a major Hollywood entertainment entity — which has been insisting for years that Google and others should “just know” when something is infringing and take it down and block all future infringements — who can’t even properly identify the content that it’s claiming to hold the copyright over. And, again, copyright is context specific, meaning that the absolute best party to understand if there’s infringement is the copyright holder, rather than some random third party. But in just a week or so, we’ve seen examples of how two of the biggest studios in Hollywood can’t even figure out their own takedown notices properly. How can they possibly expect others to do so for them — and why should we trust them when they ask for a “notice and staydown” system that will inevitably take down (and keep down) tons of non-infringing material?

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Companies: paramount

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Comments on “Another Day, Another Anomaly: Paramount Issues DMCA Takedown On Ubuntu Linux Torrent”

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85 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Not shocking really, part of it seems to be stupidity and part seems to be malicious.

Remember back with me to the Hotfile trial.
Hotfile had given one studio super access to kill infringing things of their property.

They immediately were taking down other studios works, things with matching names but not their content, and programs they just didn’t like.

They did this repeatedly while still complaining Hotfile wasn’t doing enough… yet Hotfile was living up to their DMCA requirements and this access was supposed to solve the issue.

There needs to be real penalties for bad takedowns, it is the only way the will improve. We have to pay a price when they fuck up and remove content they don’t own, its time they have to bear their own costs. Stupid should hurt, and given how stupid many of these takedowns are even a nominal fee would hurt quite a bit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Isn’t removing another persons / companies content theft? It’s preventing their legal use of their own content.

If film companies want to claim they own intellectual property and therefore it is not legal to copy it, then so do the people whos intellectual property was stolen from them by a take-down notice.

Norahc (profile) says:

Re: Penalties

Unfortunately they’ll just pass the cost of the penalties on to the consumer while adding those costs into the “piracy costs us billions” arguments.

I still like the idea of notice and staydown when applied to their own sites. WB should have been de-indexed from all search engines. Kinda hard to point consumers to legitimate content when they can’t find it via a search engine.

Maybe the solution is to make it so that if they issue so many bad DMCA takedown notices over their content, when they reach a certain number (i.e. 100 bad takedowns) that content is automatically and irrevocably released into the public domain. This would have the three-fold effect of increasing material in the public domain (which is where all copyrighted material should eventually end up0; force the studios to pay more attention to what their proxies are doing; and give them an incentive not to issue bad takedowns. It could even be construed to count Fair Use takedowns against them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Penalties

Unfortunately they’ll just pass the cost of the penalties on to the consumer

Well we consumers keep voting for the fuckers writing these laws. We fucking deserve it. We will change the diaper known as Congress when we get fucking tired of it.

Every Nation gets the Government it deserves!

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Penalties

Indeed. The problem is we keep on giving our hard-earned £££ to the entertainment industries by buying their stuff. A well-organised boycott ought to solve the problem but few people care enough to join in when one is called.

The answer is to vote in politicians who won’t be bought but good luck with finding them.

Groaker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Penalties

I have been arguing for a boycott of the MPAA and the RIAA since 1999. You are the first person who has voiced any interest.

I have no sympathies for copyright infringers, though copyright and patent “protections” have become insane. I haven’t been to a movie, or bought a first sale DVD in that time. But it will take a significant portion of the population to read a book, listen to previously purchased music, trade materials, buy used, buy from Magnatune, or have sex, before the **AAs get the message.

I have no real hope that anywhere near the number of people needed are willing to “suffer” without their fix of the latest garbage produced by the **AAs.

PaulT (profile) says:

The main thing that sticks out here is that a lot of the other takedowns are the fault of a poor keyword search – official sites not filtered out, products with similar names, etc. But, I can’t see where the match came from here. So, what’s broken it here? A number in the URL? An obscure character that looks similar (I refuse to watch these crapfests so I don’t know)? A Microsoft conspiracy (mostly kidding)?

As ever, the issue isn’t the obvious mistakes, it’s the fact that them happening so often must mean there’s other, less obvious legal product being taken down. It’s bad enough that the decks are already stacked against those, but it’s far worse if you can’t explain why the mistake happened. Because you know you have to in the guilty until proven innocent climate these corporations have created.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

So, once again, we have a major Hollywood entertainment entity — which has been insisting for years that Google and others should “just know” when something is infringing and take it down and block all future infringements — who can’t even properly identify the content that it’s claiming to hold the copyright over.

No, see, they spend the minimum amount of money possible to create the bots, so naturally the bots get made by incompetent programmers. But Google has a bunch of super-genius programmers who can do anything.

DannyB (profile) says:

It is worth mentioning

One of the primary reasons for developing BitTorrent technology in the first place was to distribute Linux distributions.

Now filthy thieving pirates misuse BitToreent to download copies of Ubuntu without paying for them. 🙂 Or without paying Hollywood it’s fair share. A lost sale of Ubuntu.

The collection racket societies need to get involved. Your organization should have a blanket ASCAP license to cover your use of Ubuntu.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: The problem with Linux is...

(Correcting myself: actually, I’m off by one version; it was Ubuntu 12.10 that introduced the “feature” that sent everything you typed into the launch bar back to Canonical so it could serve up ads.

Still, my point stands; just because it’s Linux doesn’t mean it’s not spying on you. Though I’ll grant that Canonical eventually backed off the search ads, and in 16.04 they’re opt-in instead of opt-out.)

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The problem with Linux is...

Oh, I opted out just fine; I blocked all communication with MS’s tracking servers at my hardware firewall.

Your point is fair — that it’s not reasonable to possess the level of skill that I do or go to the expense and trouble that I did; the vast majority of users simply aren’t going to set up a hardware firewall that blocks tracking.

But here’s the thing: the vast majority of users aren’t going to hunt through Ubuntu’s settings menu to opt out of advertising, either. Any option that’s set as the default is the option most users are going to stick with.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The problem with Linux is...

But, more importantly, that was an Ubuntu feature, not a Linux feature. People who opposed its use could easily abandon Ubuntu and essentially keep all functionality and compatibility they wanted in a rival distro that didn’t include such a thing.

Windows users have no such luxury. It’s true that being FOSS/Linux doesn’t automatically mean that nothing objectionable will happen, but its strength is that you’re free to choose whether you accept those things.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The problem with Linux is...

But, more importantly, that was an *Ubuntu* feature, not a *Linux* feature. People who opposed its use could easily abandon Ubuntu and essentially keep all functionality and compatibility they wanted in a rival distro that didn’t include such a thing.

Some could, sure, and that’s been a big reason Ubuntu’s lost ground to Mint, and certainly a contributing factor to why the “feature” was eventually disabled by default.

But Ubuntu is an entry-level Linux distro that targets ease-of-use, and as such, a lot of its users aren’t savvy enough to go around switching distros — or, say, switching to another Ubuntu flavor like Xubuntu, which would solve the problem, or even just going into settings and turning the ads off (which was always an option).

Windows users have no such luxury.

Well, sure they do; a Windows user can switch to Mint just like an Ubuntu user can. Or they can roll back to Windows 7, if they’ve still got the installation media. Most won’t. And most Ubuntu users didn’t switch after 12.10 either, though some did.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The problem with Linux is...

Maybe you should read the article before the comments.

The specific Linux distribution that we are talking about is Ubuntu. When the comment said “Linux doesn’t include the surveillance features built into Windows,” it was referring, specifically, to the Linux distribution we are discussing. Or possibly you are arguing that the comment was a total non sequitur and was not intended to have any relevance to the context of the discussion?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The problem with Linux is...

The comment said exactly what it said. If the author had meant Ubuntu, I imagine he or she could have written “Ubuntu” without you trying to put words in his or her mouth. And speaking of possibilities, perhaps you’ve been caught running off at the mouth and are desperately trying to dance around it.

jamiahx says:

Too cheap to censor

Why not put a price tag on censorship?
Perhaps service providers could require the takedown requester to post bond amounting to the estimated damages for a takedown. If the requester later withdraws, which would constitute an admission of error or bad faith, the money is paid out to the damaged parties (unless the requester can show cause not to).
An unchallenged takedown results in returning the money to the requester.
A counter-notice and persistence of the requester automatically forwards the dispute and money to the relevant district court.
Indigent requesters (or shell companies) could require manual review.
Streisand effect, compensatory promotion, and/or higher prices for certain types of content could deter censorship of critics.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, it’s interesting that you were the one to visit the pirate sites to check on why the association was made, thus helping to expose how utterly useless the processes used are. Thanks, I couldn’t get away with that during my productive day job.

But, doesn’t that make it even worse? Legal content being taken down (or attempted to) because there’s a link in a sidebar that’s unrelated to the actual content? Any sane person would see that as a major problem with that process.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Since he’s disappeared in the face of criticism again, it’s definitely worth pointing this out.

DMCA notices are generally takedown notices. They’re not “erm, we saw a dodgy link, can you remove it”. They’re usually “remove this entire page/file or face further action”.

So, it’s irrelevant whether the link on the page is indeed infringing (we’ll ignore the idiocy of a mere link being considered infringing for the moment), the result of this DMCA notice, if obeyed, is going to be that legal content is remove because of the existence of another link.

Whether our usual clown knows this and is playing ignorant, or genuinely didn’t consider the ramifications of the notice in his usual scrambling attempt to refute something in the article, is unclear. But it’s unquestionable that perfectly legal content is being ordered down because the owners of a 2 year old, $1+ billion grossing movie are afraid they haven’t made enough profit yet. I’m sure that’s somehow acceptable in his mind.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Hey Paul, seriously, fuck off. I have a life, I don’t spend my time hiding out from the tax man shivering in front of my computer. Sorry to disappoint you!

“DMCA notices are generally takedown notices. They’re not “erm, we saw a dodgy link, can you remove it”. They’re usually “remove this entire page/file or face further action”.”

Since a torrent site generally is proving a link to allow people to download the material, it follows that it could be a page with the content on it. That would include the COPYRIGHT image of the box cover that the site happens to use (oh, darn, there is that reality crap again ruining your rant!).

“Whether our usual clown knows this and is playing ignorant, “

So the images on the page are not copyright? The links to the pirated torrents are not invalid?

Come on Paul, stop being a twit. You use to be way smarter in your comebacks, now it’s just pure baiting bullshit.

Whatever says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, “could” as in “I didn’t click on the link because I don’t want to deal with viruses, which is always a possibility on a shady pirate site”. I went further than most of you (perhaps all of you) by actually going to look at the site in question to see how their pages are laid out and such. I could see the box cover images and the links.

Your view seems to be that if every page started with a Ubuntu distribution, that there could NEVER EVER EVER EVER be anything else on the page that would be bad. They could put up the pictures that are rumors to exist of what your Father did with you when you were young, and that would be okay, because Ubuntu?

You are a piece of work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Nah, mate, what you do is piss and moan every time a suggestion is made for the police to exercise a little more restraint, because the little pansies have such a difficult job they can’t be fucked to make sure they’re actually targeting who they’re after. “I don’t support it per se, but I think it’s fine when it happens!” Yeah, you know that tertiary infringement you antipiracy chucklefucks like to bandy around so much? The “not doing enough to stop it makes you just as guilty” thing? Go ahead, espouse your perspective to the world, let us know how it works out.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Hey Paul, seriously, fuck off. I have a life, I don’t spend my time hiding out from the tax man shivering in front of my computer. Sorry to disappoint you!”

You do spend lots of time writing paragraphs of easily debunked fiction, however. Instead of making up lies about me, which I’ve already refuted, perhaps you should write less and acquaint yourself with reality instead?

Amusingly, as I read this I’m halfway through a 3 day business trip and I’m writing this in my hotel room in the Stratford area of London as a break from my work here. That’s right, I’m so scared of the UK, I’m sitting here earning money working for my employer’s London office! But, since your fevered imagination is the only place where I don’t pay all applicable taxes, this is perfectly fine with all people involved, including Her Majesty’s Customs & Excise.

So, the question remains – are you aware of the fact that what you say has no basis in reality, or do you actually think you’re addressing the truth? In other words, are you a liar or delusional?

“Since a torrent site generally is proving a link to allow people to download the material, it follows that it could be a page with the content on it”

So?

“That would include the COPYRIGHT image of the box cover that the site happens to use”

So? The image would be on the target page, not the page with a link. Unless the link is embedded in an image, but that’s usally not the case and in any case the copyright claim should then be against the use of the image, not the content being linked to.

It’s sad the twisting you have to do to pretend to have a point, and even then you fail misrerably.

“Come on Paul, stop being a twit. You use to be way smarter in your comebacks, now it’s just pure baiting bullshit.”

a.k.a REALITY. Get to know and love it, you’ll feel better.

Whatever says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“So? The image would be on the target page, not the page with a link. Unless the link is embedded in an image, but that’s usally not the case and in any case the copyright claim should then be against the use of the image, not the content being linked to.”

Actually, if you had bothered to look (like, research a bit) you would discover that in fact, the site in question uses boxcover images to link to their torrents, and has a 2 x 5 or so list twice on the left hand side of every page.

Reality. Damn, it sucks when you go on and on and it turns out you didn’t even bother to check!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Actually if you bothered to make those T-shirts you like to boast about so much, instead of spending your time here being an asshole riddled with linguistic dysentery, maybe you’d look like less of a twit. But alas. I suppose you’re next going to whine that people should look through your post history and see you for the intellectual font that you truly are.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“Actually, if you had bothered to look”

Actually, if you had bothered to read, I’ve not been able to do that because my professional life doesn’t allow me to browse torrent sites, unlike yourself. However, my point stands, despite your usual attempt to sidestep it in favour of whatever random aside you can use to ignore reality.

Nice that you stopped making shit up about me on a personal level, though, and instead reverted to mere ignorance of the facts in front of you..

That One Guy (profile) says:

Incentives or lack thereof

With no incentives to be accurate, there’s no reason to spend the time and money to make sure their targets are actually what they claim they are, namely infringing.

Put some real penalties for bogus claims(‘That was your sixth bogus copyright claim this year, say good-bye to the copyright for that item’), or simply enforce the ones on the books and then and only then will you see accuracy in this sort of thing improve. Before that it’s spending money they’d rather keep, to avoid collateral damage that they are completely indifferent to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Temp Music

I was just watching a video on how studios will use Temp Music. This is basically where they take a bunch of music from another money and put it into a new movie temporarily so they get an idea of what the final product would sound like. Of course, they don’t get permission or a license to do this, but since none of that gets released in the final product, no one really cares. Of course, the same movie studios have said for years that we cannot do the same. Even if we’re not releasing something we copied, they still think it’s illegal to say, rip your DVDs or Blurays to a hard drive to watch on a computer.

Skeeter says:

Uh, I Missed Something

Ok, gotta admit, I normally don’t actually ‘read’ those techdirt PDF captures and stuff related to lawsuits – but this article was confusing enough, as were the comments, that I had to actually open that little ‘document’ at the bottom and really break down and ‘read’ what the idiots did.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! They are demanding a TAKE DOWN FOR AN OPERATING SYSTEM ISO IMAGE?!?!?! WTF?!?!?! Since WHEN did Paramount Studios BUY Ubuntu OS?

Seriously – you’d think that any competent court would throw the case out for BS like this. Absolute incompetence.

Skeeter says:

Re: Uh, I Missed Something

For those not up-to-speed on Ubuntu (Linux), it’s GPL, it’s an Operating System (Like Win-Junk, only not Malware or Spyware, unless you try to make it that way), and its free to anyone who wants it.
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOLLYWOOD, PARAMOUNT, or MOVIES! It’s like someone naming your dog in a lawsuit over your latest embezzlement case. Nothing relates, here.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Uh, I Missed Something

It’s not a case, it’s a DMCA claim, and the delightful thing about those is that the law is so completely and utterly one-sided that they can be as sloppy in making accusations as they want, with absolutely no worry about negative repercussions for their actions because there are no penalties for making bogus DMCA claims.

When you don’t have to worry about paying for ‘collateral damage’, and accuracy costs time and/or money you don’t want to spend the incentives are all on the side of sending out as many claims as possible and worrying about whether or not they’re actually accurate when inaccuracy holds some penalty, which is to say not any time soon.

Joseph Cohen (profile) says:

I had the same problem but switched company

This is why I no longer trust lawyers or freelancers with protecting my wordpress plugins from piracy because they have no technical knowledge whatsoever. I switched to Pirat for my DMCA takedown service needs and im highly satisfied that only verified links will be taken down and that I wont be in any legal battle for false dmca claims.

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