DMCA Nonsense: Your Default Login Page Is A Ripoff Of Our Default Login Page!

from the username-then-password,-what-a-work-of-art dept

No matter how brazenly people abuse the DMCA takedown process, and no matter how ridiculous the notices get, it seems like there's always someone waiting to do something even stupider. This latest incident, submitted by Anonymous American, is a serious contender for the crown dunce cap: a DMCA takedown over a login page.

And not just any login page, but the barely-modified default login page of an open source website platform, which the operators of iPhotographyCourse.com claim infringes on... their own barely-modified default login page of a different open source website platform. Yeah. Jenny McCann, who runs the Institute of Photography website built on the Moodle content management system, received a takedown notice claiming that her login page was infringing. When she asked for clarification, she was simply told "entire page copied". Here's the supposedly infringing page:

And here's the "original":

Even at first glance, the claim is obviously idiotic. There is nothing similar about the pages beyond the purely functional login page elements. But things get really amusing when you realize that the iPhotographyCourse page is virtually unaltered from the default Wordpress login page:

The only expressive choices—a requirement of copyright protection—are the inclusion of the logo (the rather poor inclusion, as there are visible artifacts at the top of the image that show the logo was sloppily clipped from the site's front page banner, meaning the designer didn't even have a copy of it on hand) and the rounding of the button corners (which may actually just be a Wordpress version discrepancy). As if that wasn't enough, the supposedly infringing login page is itself just a minor modification of the default Moodle page:

A new frame, color scheme and accent image—nothing major, but actually significantly more design changes than the iPhotographyCourse page, and far more likely to qualify for some level of copyright protection. And, quite clearly, in no way an infringing copy.

According to later comments from McCann on the Moodle forum thread, the login page was specifically included among other items in the takedown which related to actual content on the site. It could be that there is more merit to the other complaints, but McCann does not believe there is, and judging from the utter stupidity of this example, I'm inclined to suspect she's right. Either way, the people behind iPhotographyCourse, like so many before them, have exposed their true intentions by targeting such an obviously non-infringing page: this isn't about protecting intellectual property, but interfering with competition by abusing the DMCA process. Either that, or they are tragic victims of our ownership culture who also haven't logged into a website in the past ten years.

Filed Under: abuse, censorship, dmca, iphotographycourse, login


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2013 @ 12:14pm

    Re: I'd blame Mike and Minions (if they had any influence).

    "In your own tiny way, you guys have so mucked up trying to undermine the rational basis of copyright that it's no wonder people are confused. So I'll try to un-confuse, because unlike you, I've written a logical progression:"

    Actually, the reason people are confused about copyright is because of people like you. You know, people stating things about copyright that are blatantly false (see your list of "corrections" below).

    I had to pause for a few minutes to collect myself off the floor from laughing so hard at the rest of that sentence. Woo. Damn blue. That was good. Onto the point by point debunking.

    "Fundamentals of Rational Copyright Somewhat redundant to clarify related aspects. Don't worry if you can't grasp these all at once: I'll be using magic to post it often."

    Ah, you'll be spamming articles with your completely false copyright nonsense. So, just another day at the office, huh?

    ") Creators inherently have SOLE RIGHT TO COPY their work."

    This one is correct and true. No debunking needed.

    ") Creating is and has always been more difficult than copying."

    This one is false. It is NOT, nor has it always been, more difficult to create than copy. Proof of that lies with Disney. It's easy to "create" if you take what others have done, slap it in a shiny new packaging and call it a day.

    But at one point, copying was rather quite difficult, to the point that only a handful of people were doing it and it required extremely specialized, not to mention expensive, equipment to do.

    ") The special provisions in law for copyright stem from the above 2 facts. It's specific setting out of "intellectual property" rights for creating works given the relative ease of copying."

    Well, it's only true, what you wrote that is, if you take the twisting of copyright and the expansions of the laws surrounding it. However, seeing as how copyright was created at a time when copying was extremely difficult, you're flat out wrong.

    ") Copyright specifies WHO can gain money from the works, AND that no one else is to gain money from them. (For a limited time, but after in public domain, it's still unethical to grift on the work of others; ONLY the cost of reproduction should be charged.) "

    No, actually it doesn't. Copyright only specifies who has the right to copy a given work. Thus the name, copyright. It DOES NOT at all state who can gain money from a given work. This is blatantly false.

    The rest of your sentence is irrelevant to the point. What is or isn't ethical is in the eye of the beholder, but by and large irrelevant to the nature of copyright, which is basically: He/she who creates controls distribution. Nothing more, nothing less. But ONLY for a limited time, after which the creation shall belong to the public.

    Can't put it any simpler than that, but consider your lies corrected.

    ") Copyright law is indeed exactly to prevent copiers and the general public from copying works (during the limited time). The societal agreement is that only creators can attempt to gain from it during that (limited) period."

    No, copyright law is about who can control the right to copying. Not necessarily the way you phrase it about preventing others from copying. Nor is it correct that only creators can attempt to gain from it during that time. The societal agreement is that for that time ONLY the creators can control the methods of distribution for a given creation.

    ") There are NO rights whatsoever granted to or held by copiers. No one's "right to copy" is at any time removed or diminished because it never exists prior to the creation of a work."

    Actually, completely false. Copyright is very much a removal of other people's rights to copy something. Because it makes their ability to do so illegal. That means something they can naturally and technologically do is being disallowed to them, thus a right has been removed from everyone.

    The bit about they can't copy what hasn't been made is irrelevant. I could just as easily say you can't copyright what hasn't been created. See what I did there? Chick and the egg. It's a bullshit point, but one largely used in an attempt to dismiss a valid point. The rights of others are removed/restricted by copyright.

    ") Machines doing the labor of copying doesn't confer any new right to do so."

    Considering no one has said otherwise I fail to see how this has any relevancy. At all.

    ") Copyright has a worthwhile societal purpose to encourage the creation of various works, even if only for trivial entertainment."

    Actually no, it's societal purpose is for works to be given to the public and it does so through the use of copyright specifically allowing creators limited rights in the form of controlling copies to their work.

    ") Even indirect income from in any way providing "for free" the protected work of others is clearly illegal, immoral, and unethical."

    Completely false. It is in no way CLEARLY illegal, immoral or unethical to even indirectly gain income from providing freely the works of others.

    If it was we wouldn't have the issues we're currently having. And again, regarding immoral and unethical, that's largely in the eye of the beholder. So it's largely, again, irrelevant.

    ") Putting an entire digital movie / music files online for anyone to download is NOT sharing, not fair use, nor fair to its creators; it does remove some degree of potential profit and some degree of actual profit."

    It IS sharing. Maybe not necessarily fair use, but that is for a court to determine. It also can be fair to creators. Again this depends on a number of differing things. But flat out stated as you put it, not true.

    Also, unless you have some evidence that eludes more enlightened minds (researchers and what have you), works being released freely has yet to have anything in the way of evidence showing that there is a degree of potential, and actual, profit removed and denied the creator of a work.

    ") Copying rights are granted by the public for the public good (or was until unilaterally changed by moneyed interests) and we all have a general duty to respect the special provisions made for creators."

    Hypocrisy, thy name is blue. Railing against Mike for blasting or not blasting corporations one moment, then saying we should all meekly submit to the laws generated and specifically written in some cases by corporations (namely Disney).

    But again, unjust laws by their definition DESERVE to be disrespected and ignored. Regardless of what they may be, who they may be written by/for, and so on and so forth.

    At this point in time, the original agreement has been for all intents and purposes declared null and void by the creators, as such we the people have no reason to respect our end of the bargain.

    ") Many persist in using the canard of "copyright can't guarantee income". -- Misleading. The older body of copyright (beginning in the US Constitution) was to guarantee creators a monopoly on the ATTEMPT at income from a given work for a limited time period. No one else has the right to even MAKE such attempt."

    Not misleading. Copyright is not a guarantee, nor a monopoly, on the attempt to earn income. It is merely the right to control distribution. Nothing more, nothing less. You are beyond wrong regarding this point.

    ") Nothing above is invalidated or weakened by results being imperfect, nor by attempts to indefinitely extend time and scope of copyright: the latter are driven by greed and should of course be resisted, but by more general means."

    Actually all of the above you wrote is invalidated or weakened by the points I brought up in rebuttal. Namely, that the agreement has been broken by the creators. As such it is very much invalidated and weakened.

    Blue, you're an idiot. I just want to say that. And I'm going to keep doing so. Mostly because I find it interesting how you insult others day in and day out but wag your finger at them for making ad homs. Many don't. In fact most don't. Your definition of "ad hom" is correcting you or telling you to shut up.

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