by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 10th 2008 8:09am
We've seen way too many bad DMCA takedown notices over the years, but this latest one may be the most ridiculous yet. A lawyer representing the Air Force has issued a takedown notice on an advertisement that the Air Force released publicly about its cyberdefense initiatives. There are so many things wrong with this, it's difficult to know where to start. First off, the Air Force was using this as an advertisement that they wanted displayed as widely as possible. In fact, the Air Force specifically sent the ad to sites like Wired asking them to run it. Second, and more importantly, as a government-produced content, it is not covered by copyright, and therefore not subject to the DMCA. Third, even the Air Force's own website notes that the video states: "Information presented on the Air Force Recruiting website is considered public information and may be distributed or copied." Fourth, Wired notes that the Air Force's marketing chief, who sent Wired the video in the first place, has no clue that the DMCA takedown notice was issued and doesn't understand why it happened. Wired eventually discovered that a law firm representing the Air Force sent the takedown notice -- and is violating the law in doing so. In a takedown notice, you need to swear, under threat of perjury, that you either have the copyright or represent those who do and that the content is infringing. It would certainly appear, under that basis, that the lawyer issuing the letter may have perjured herself, issuing a false DMCA takedown notice. Of course, as a lawyer, you would think she would know that.
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