Impostor Sending Out DMCA Notices In Chaturbate's Name Now Targeting Techdirt URLs

from the doubling-down dept

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a long series of questionable DMCA notices I thought had been issued by online onanism portal Chaturbate. The takedown requests appeared to have been generated by a faulty algorithm with no human vetting involved. Many of those I examined appeared to target names of Chaturbate broadcasters, but without any of the precision one normally associates with the word “target.” Sites named for delisting included geographical research, an Amazon page for a book about the Hadron Collider, track meet records collections, and even Chaturbate itself.

After some discussion with Chaturbate, it was determined someone is filing notices in Chaturbate’s name, but without Chaturbate’s official blessing. The scattershot, extremely prolific approach was now harming Chaturbate’s reputation, tying it to bogus DMCA notices targeting all sort of non-infringing content. (I have since updated the original post to reflect the my conversations with Chaturbate and offer my apologies for naming the wrong party in the original post.)

Whoever’s performing these bogus takedowns hasn’t stopped. Chaturbate’s legal rep has been asking Google for more details on the impostor requests. Google is looking into it, but so far has only provided an incredibly long list of likely auto-generated Gmail addresses as the source of these bogus notices, which now number into the thousands.

While we continue to work towards discovering who’s behind these bogus notices, there have been some interesting developments. First, the impostor is now including Techdirt URLs, including the original post and my user page, in their takedown requests.

Second, whoever’s doing this appears to have read my post. The issuing party has changed from Chaturbate LLC to Multi Media LLC. This is the name Chaturbate uses when it issues takedown requests. I never used the name in the updates to the post but did link to an example of a genuine Chaturbate takedown notice, as supplied to me by Chaturbate’s representatives.

This would seem to indicate whoever’s behind the bogus takedowns is aware multiple parties are trying to expose them. The DMCA notices containing Techdirt URLs contain almost nothing but adult-themed URLs, suggesting the TD pages may have been added in an attempt to bury the story. It still could be a faulty algorithm is flagging anything containing words like “Chaturbate,” but the relative lack of unrelated sites suggests a slightly more targeted approach is being taken, even though there’s still an emphasis on quantity over quality.

The other theory is the post hasn’t been read, but the impostor has received challenges from Google when submitting notices under the Chaturbate LLC name. A little research may have uncovered the fact Chaturbate’s legitimate takedown service only issues takedowns under the Multi Media LLC name.

If the impostor is reading these posts, they might want to remember the perjury side of it doesn’t cover the URLs targeted for takedown, but rather the assertion they represent the rightsholders listed in the notices. According to Chaturbate, this impostor doesn’t. All rights are retained by each individual Chaturbate broadcaster and Multi Media LLC makes no claims otherwise when issuing takedown notices on behalf of its clients. The impostor, however, makes these claims for several performers in each takedown request and does so under the names of companies they don’t work for or represent. We’re still trying to find out who’s behind this and will keep you posted as this investigation proceeds.

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Companies: chaturbate, google

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Comments on “Impostor Sending Out DMCA Notices In Chaturbate's Name Now Targeting Techdirt URLs”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The people involved here should absolutely be prosecuted for perjury.

“And Google should really review their electronic DMCA system (ContentID and all).”

They can review it all they like, but what exactly do you want them to do? I mean, this was caught, so it’s not like it’s a failure on Google’s part.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Perjury

It does count as perjury, actually. A DMCA takedown notice is a legally binding document for the purposes of copyright law. Anyone who lies about who they are when filing a takedown notice is effectively lying to a court of law, as said takedown notice could eventually lead to a lawsuit against the takedown’s target.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Perjury

Submitting a false DMCA claim has it’s own penalty because it doesn’t fall under perjury.

17 USC § 512(c)(3) Elements of notification.—

(A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:


            (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed

(Emphasis added.)

“Under penalty of perjury”.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, Google has a big problem with this. They don’t require any proof that a DMCA is coming from the actual rights holder, they act on anything given to them no matter the providence.

It’s not unusual in porn to see a thing called “model regret”. That is where a girl (or guy) who appeared nude or did porn regrets their choice later in life. They want to make those pictures and videos go away – or at least make it so that people cannot search Google for it.

The best result is to DMCA everything you see to Google, claim to the copyright holder, and watch them mow things down for you. Since Google seemingly makes no effort to assure that DMCA notices are valid and from the legal source, it’s a pretty good way to get rid of things you don’t like. If the site(s) in question aren’t fast to answer Google, then the content gets removed from search and image search and “boom”, you win.

Fake DMCA notices are a real problem, but do seem to represent a small percentage of the overall stream of things. It’s not nice, but it’s hard to avoid.

Anonymous Coward says:

OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

THIS CORRECTION show my take (above) from glancing over prior piece was/is exactly right: Techdirt’s only purpose was its ongoing goal to discredit all DMCA.

NOW that more information has come out, the re-writer has dropped focus on DMCA — besides stopped asserting was “Chaturbate”, presumably avoiding another defamation suit — to show it IS indeed just some “script kiddie”.

Your rabid bias that DMCA is totally evil led you to get all wrong yet again, Techdirt and fanboys. So, HA on you!

And though I’ve been proved right, I’ll get not even hint of apology, just MORE hate. — And hiding of this! Click away, kids! That actually helps me by showing what anyone will get for being right here!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

So, on this occasion, the fraudulent claims have been caught, but how many fraudulent claims have been accepted. There are several severe weaknesses with the DMCA, all to do with the lack of publicly accessible documentation of who own what copyrights, and who is authorized to make claims under the DMCA. The system is open to abuse, and it is much harder to detect if somebody makes more reasonable looking claims.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

You’ve proved nothing. ‘Script kiddie’ or not, a very flawed law continues to be abused. Dose it matter who is abusing it if it takes down, or threatens to take down, legitimate content?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Discredit the DMCA

Techdirt’s only purpose was its ongoing goal to discredit all DMCA.

Every false takedown notice sent to YouTube, every abuse of the takedown system used to silence legitimate speech, every attempt to overreach out of the fear of even a single instance of copyright infringement—all of those acts discredit the DMCA. Techdirt only sheds light on them.

Also: Who cares if it is a script kiddie? They still keep filing false takedown notices. Why does the identity of the perpetrator matter more than the crimes they are committing?

hij (profile) says:

Great training exercise

Off hand it seems like there is no reason to do something like this, but someone may have decided that Chaturbate makes a good test case. If they had software they want to eventually sell to catch copyright violations, then the Chaturbate site may be a nice place to test it. Also, they may have decided it was the kind of thing that would not draw a lot of attention.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Ya know how this wouldn’t be a problem?
If we weren’t holding a 3rd party who doesn’t host the infringing content responsible for hiding it.

Its nice we can send 10 trillion notices to Google, but it doesn’t actually remove the content. The entire point of the DMCA was to get copyright content removed, but somehow that got morphed into it’s all Googles fault make them fix it for us.

The system is designed to be abused.
You have to believe every submission even if its from
You have to take action on it, otherwise the law will clobber you
If you can show a pattern of fakery or bogus notices… there is no penalty
We require websites to have registered DMCA people, they send all of the notices to Google

We can’t possibly touch the law to fix it, because the cartels have invested heavily into making everyone pay the bills for their ineptness. IP is our most valuable resource… Sharknado 6…. nuff said.

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