Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the as-they-say dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That One Guy with a comment about Universal Music Group sending a takedown over footage of the moon:

Amazing how many of these cases could and would be stopped cold if there was any sort of penalty for making bogus copyright claims…

In second place, it’s That One Guy again, this time responding to the takedowns sent by the fake “U.S. Copyright Office” and specifically to a commenter who said they think the vast majority of takedown notices are legitimate:

And you would not just be wrong in thinking so but very wrong, as the article from the first link noted the overwhelming number of DMCA claims Google receives are for sites that were not listed in Google search and therefore would not have appeared in it and are therefore bogus, to the tune of less than 1% of DMCA claims filed being valid.

Here’s the relevant quote from that previous article:

A significant portion of the recent increases in DMCA submission volumes for Google Search stem from notices that appear to be duplicative, unnecessary, or mistaken. As we explained at the San Francisco Roundtable, a substantial number of takedown requests submitted to Google are for URLs that have never been in our search index, and therefore could never have appeared in our search results. For example, in January 2017, the most prolific submitter submitted notices that Google honored for 16,457,433 URLs. But on further inspection, 16,450,129 (99.97%) of those URLs were not in our search index in the first place. Nor is this problem limited to one submitter: in total, 99.95% of all URLs processed from our Trusted Copyright Removal Program in January 2017 were not in our index.

And another one explaining one of the reasons the number is so bloody high:

Nor is the large number of takedown requests to Google a good proxy even for the volume of infringing material available on the Internet. Many of these submissions appear to be generated by merely scrambling the words in a search query and appending that to a URL, so that each query makes a different URL that nonetheless leads to the same page of results.

Unless Google is a complete exception as far as the ratio of bogus to legitimate claims go or things have vastly improved since that article was written(and given there is still effectively no penalty for bogus DMCA claims I doubt it) I’d say it’s a very safe assumption that very nearly all DMCA claims are bogus with the legitimate ones in the very, very tiny minority.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with one more comment on that post, this time from an anonymous commenter responding to the claim that automated, speculative takedown notices are totally legitimate:

The DMCA requires that the person sending a Section 512 takedown notice has a good faith belief that the material listed in the notice is infringing. How can a non-existent “speculative” URL possibly be infringing, and how could anyone have a good faith belief that something that doesn’t exist infringes anything?

Anyone who sends such a notice is blatantly and willfully abusing the process.

Next, it’s another anonymous commenter with a point about the DOJ’s selective prosecution designed to maximize the punishment of Black Lives Matter protestors:

And the reason for those protests is…… persecution by the authorities.

Over on the funny side, both our winners also come in response to the moon takedown debacle. In first place, it’s an anonymous commenter responding to the obvious point that UMG does not hold a copyright on the moon:

Well, who does, then? Someone’s gotta own it, right? Otherwise, what incentive would there be to gravitationally capture celestial bodies?

In second place, it’s Bloof with one of many riffs on the subject that appeared in the comments:

When the moon hits your eye and you post it online, that’s infringement!
Since we’ve claimed it you see, you can’t use it for free, that’s infringement!

And since that subject was indeed so riffable, we’ve got two more for the editor’s choice. First, it’s David with a suggestion:

Going full circle

We need Pink Floyd to take down the Federal Reserve because of violating their copyright on “Money”.

Though UMG will then strike back because it’s on “The Dark Side of the Moon”.

The lunatics are in my hall.

And finally, it’s Rico R. with a movie quote:

Incorrect Star Wars quote

“That?s no moon. It?s copyright infringement!”

— Star Wars: The Copyright Empire Strikes Back

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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ECA (profile) says:

And its a wondering

Not verified by Anything?
99% failure?

Well, it CANT be an opinion, THE Computer did it, not a human.
But a human wrote the program? But a company depends on it?
Would love to be in the chair, to Fight against False reports on DMCA, and cancel EVERY NOTICE GIVEN based on the unverified data.

Picture of the moon?
Welll, lets take it to court and see if we can get money for Every human on the planet, as I would think it belongs to Everyone since time immemorial.
And based on Politics, every nation has to share the moon.
How many billions at $1 per person can we get?

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Takedown notice

It’s really not a good thing when media outlets accept the non-law-citing copyright maximalists.

There is only a notice of claimed infringement (17USC§512(3)).

It CAN’T be automated and comply with 17USC§512(3)(vi) which requires the notifying party to aver under oath…. which only a human can do.

Anyone who feelz differently is giving up the rights of their users in favor of the non-rights of the complaining bot (which has no rights and fails to follow the law.)

To summarize: there’s NO SUCH THING AS A TAKEDOWN NOTICE and THERE ARE SPECIFIC RULES OF LAW AS TO notice of copyright infringement. Stop giving these people power they don’t have under color of law.

How about going forward write it up as "unlawful notice and request for takedown."


James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Takedown notice

A "notice of claimed infringement" is a description of a communication from the text of the DMCA, not a name. The requirements of a "notice of claimed infringement" do not include that it must at all times be referred to as a "notice of claimed infringement". It is a wordy mess to use in conversation. A "takedown notice" is a colloquial term to shorthand "notice of claimed infringement" because it is unwieldy to use. If you go and look at the actual "takedown notices" google shares, you would find they meet the requirements. They definitely exist and you definitely are arguing that they are using the "wrong words".

Your rant suggests that a "takedown notice" is always automated, but that is not true. Instead that is why we discuss "automated takedown notices", which contextually is shorthand for an "automated notice of claimed infringement". Techdirt has often noted that automated notices seem to violate the requirements of the law, but that does not mean that automated takedown notices don’t exist. It means they are deficent and are not valid takedown notices, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Takedown notice

How about going forward write it up as "unlawful notice and request for takedown."

While as you pointed out "THERE IS NO TAKEDOWN NOTICE," there is also no "request for takedown." So including such doesn’t actually address any misconceptions of the reader. If anything, it introduces the possibility of a second misconception, namely that the "unlawful notice" and the "request for takedown" may be two separate things.

While the phrase "takedown notice" is legally incorrect, it has the advantage of conflating the action (notice) with the outcome (takedown). It recognizes that these are inherently linked, and that the notice itself is an implicit legal threat to "take it down or else". By reframing it not only as a "request for takedown" separated from the notice, but also as a "request," you have obscured the legal threat which relates the cause and effect.

That’s also a bit of a mouthful. While certainly taking a long time to say something is reasonably valuable in the legal system, in common discourse it’s value is quite low (probably the lack of a captive audience). Among other things, that phrase is too long to fit well into headlines.

Anonymous Coward says:

Amazing how many of these cases could and would be stopped cold if there was any sort of penalty for making bogus copyright claims…

Ah, but there is a penalty for making bogus copyright claims: you risk sites/people like techdirt calling you out. And people (including me) mocking you.

Sadly: last time I checked US courts had ruled that this penalty was sufficient to deter any credible threats (and laws making harsher penalties should largely be ignored).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

yeah. My point was the penalty was the risk and not the coverage itself (which obviously can’t be applied to every instance).

And on that note: the thought occurs to me that Techdirt (any one else mocking stupid copyright take downs) protects us all from (hypothetical/theoretical/fictional) hoards of more tepid copyright crazies who’d love to inundate us all in larger deluge of take downs, but live in fear of the social repercussions.

(While the idea that this sort of coverage can be directly translated into meaningful quality of life improvements for large swaths of the population is very appealing: We really do need to find a way to get the courts to "grow a pair" as it were).

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