All Of Justin Bieber's Music Removed From YouTube Via 'Prank' DMCA Claims

from the not-so-funny dept

As a bunch of folks have been sending in a "prankster" was able to remove all of Justin Bieber's videos from YouTube by filing a bunch of bogus DMCA notices. While a lot of people find this amusing for one reason or another, it really highlights a key problem with the DMCA's notice-and-takedown process, which is a "censor now, deal with the consequences later" system. As has been pointed out in the past, it seems like this process is a violation of the First Amendment, in that it involves the shutting down of speech prior to any sort of due process or adversarial hearing. I'm still amazed that the DMCA doesn't allow for at least a notice-and-notice process, giving the uploader/host a chance to respond before the content is removed. In a case such as this, it would have prevented the removal. As for the "prankster," he might want to be careful. Filing totally false DMCA claims can open you up to serious legal penalties, and assuming that Bieber makes a fair bit of money from his videos on YouTube, his representatives probably have decent reason to go after the prankster. And that might not be a bad thing. In the process, perhaps they could establish greater precedence for the ability to punish those who file bogus DMCA takedowns.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, first amendment, justin bieber, youtube


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2011 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Yeah right

    But no one has (to my knowledge) successfully won a suit based on it.


    Online Policy Group v. Diebold
    EFF helped protect online speakers by bringing the first successful suit against abusive copyright claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This landmark case set a precedent that allows other Internet users and their ISPs to fight back against improper copyright threats.

    In OPG v. Diebold, a California district court has determined that Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, knowingly misrepresented that online commentators, including IndyMedia and two Swarthmore college students, had infringed the company's copyrights. EFF and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School sued on behalf of nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) Online Policy Group (OPG) and the two students to prevent Diebold's abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting.

    Diebold sent dozens of cease-and-desist letters to ISPs hosting leaked internal documents revealing flaws in Diebold's e-voting machines. The company claimed copyright violations and used the DMCA to demand that the documents be taken down. One ISP, OPG, refused to remove them in the name of free speech, and thus became the first ISP to test whether it would be held liable for the actions of its users in such a situation.

    In his decision, Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote, "No reasonable copyright holder could have believed that the portions of the email archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold's voting machines were protected by copyright." In turn, Diebold had violated section 512(f) of the DMCA, which makes it unlawful to use DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement has not actually occured.

    Outcome: In addition to creating the first caselaw applying 512(f) of the DMCA to remedy abusive copyright claims under the DMCA, Diebold subsequently agreed to pay $125,000 in damages and fees.

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