Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
air force, copyright, dmca, takedown



Air Force The Latest To Make Illegal False DMCA Claim

from the time-to-hire-better-lawyers dept

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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, 10 Mar 2008 @ 8:59am

    I heard they need lawyers in Afghanistan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sea Man, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:18am

    I hope she is made into an example. A solid (high profile?) case such as this should get quite a few miles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bored now, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:19am

    Just for clarity

    Under the DMCA, only the part about "you either have the copyright or represent those who do" is sworn under penalty of perjury. The assertion that the content is infringing is a statement of good faith belief, i.e. not sworn under penalty of perjury.

    The lawyer may well have perjured herself anyway, of course, just on the first part.

    And aren't lawyers despicable creatures anyway? Shakespear had it right!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Stymie, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:20am

      Re: Just for clarity

      Shakespeare did have it right; but you don't understand the context. Shakespeare said that in order to destabilize the government, the first thing you need to do is kill all the lawyers. The meaning of this, of course, is that a country without laws will quickly descend into anarchy.

      I'm so damn tired of seeing people misquote this piece of fiction, and even more tired of self-righteous pseudo intellects who think they are making a great argument by misquoting a famous play. Stop it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        BeReasonable (profile), 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:29am

        Re: Re: Just for clarity

        Um, no. You don't understand the context. Shakespeare uses this line as the capper to a whimsical discussion of utopia, as in "how do we start off building a utopia, i.e. the perfect place?" Is the answer free beer? No. Is the answer health care for all? No. Is the answer a beer-dispensing sexbot capable of correcting your humors and curing gout? No. "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
        IANAL

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Le Blue Dude, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:20am

    Not all...

    Some lawyers are bad people. Some lawyers are good people. This lawyer (in question) was a dumb person.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MLS, 10 Mar 2008 @ 9:45am

    AF Claim to Copyright

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MLS, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:05am

      Re: AF Claim to Copyright

      Darn...Hit enter instead of tab. Hence the empty comment window.

      Having dealt with DoD attorneys for many years, it is abundantly clear that in this and related areas of law they are abyssmaly and blissfully ignorant. This article is hardly surprising given my experience.

      I daresay that the firm submitting the notice is not one that deals with any regularity with Title 17, our copyright laws.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        If they are ignorant..., 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re: AF Claim to Copyright

        or not familiar with this section of the law, as officers of the court should they not take the time to do a little research before signing an affidavit?

        Also, if the attorney didn't even bother to check on the copyright status, I don't see how the claim of infringement rises to the level of good faith belief.

        I sure hope all involved are held accountable.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    cutter892, 10 Mar 2008 @ 10:57am

    Doesn't Help

    There are good lawyers and there are bad lawyers just like any other industry. The problem is in the laws them selves. Are laws are so hidiously complex it's not uncommon to here a prosecutor go "Under Title 23, Section 84, subsection D, Paragraph 72, lines 3-6. Person X has clearly broken the law." It is because of these types of laws where all the loopholes, mistakes and ignorance can happen. How is the common law abiding person suppose to realize and know this. As for Title 17 that should be the first to get rewritten with common sense. Of course I realize that is going to be a pipe dream of mine for some time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 11:08am

    Way to make a huge deal out of nothing. Building all this hype over what could have been an honest mistake. But I assume most of you have lost faith in the human race. I'm surprised I haven't seen the word "sue" yet in this page...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BlowURmindBowel, 10 Mar 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Wait, lemme get this straight...

    So the cyber-terrorism portion of the Air Force has claimed that some other office/web-site of the Air Force is actively committing "cyber-crime" based on DMCA laws, AND in filing this claim they themselves have committed perjury?

    Air Force = -2
    Cyber-Terrorism = +1

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2008 @ 7:54pm

    I bet she's a GenX-er, pushing the scorched earth policy of her generation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:40am

    dee dee dee

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2008 @ 4:35pm

    If anyone read the rest of the wired article the order was for a leaked copy of the video that had copyright material not owned by the government. They supplied the final video to make up for it, but they are covering themselves from getting sued. They do want the real video to be spread virally though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.