Some entertainment industry lawyers have been going around lately, pitching a fable that the DMCA isn't really that
bad, since bogus takedown notices are somewhat rare. However, some new evidence from Google suggests quite a different story. Reader Slackr points us to some news about Google filing a comment on New Zealand's proposed new copyright law
that would kick file sharers offline based on accusations
rather than convictions. While New Zealand has agreed to hold off putting the law into place, while it hopes to work out a compromise, the government is accepting submissions from interested parties. While it's interesting alone that Google is participating in the process, even more interesting is what it has to say about its experience with DMCA takedown notices:
In its submission, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.
Google's point is that these types of laws are widely abused, and setting up such a system where punishment is handed out without any real due process is going to lead to an awful lot of mistakes. But, these stats are worth discussing just for what they say about the DMCA itself, and that myth that the process is rarely abused. From the numbers Google has seen, it's quite clear that the DMCA isn't just abused, it's regularly
abused in ways that are both anti-competitive and chilling.