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 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. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, 2 Jan 2013 @ 10:52am

    Re: Notice OOTB

    @ Shadow Dragon (profile), Jan 2nd, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Notice OOTB
    Techdirt is not against copyright.It's against copyright being misused to point of silencing free speech.Which could without it you could loose your right say what you damn well please,do you really want that?

    Notice "Shadow Dragon" -- your right to free speech doesn't include getting someone else's movies for free. (I have this handy, and it's obvious from your pre-ad-hom that you don't grasp it:

    Yet again round on Mike's $100M dollar movie example, from his feature piece: t-compete-period.shtml

    His feature piece boils down to Mike giving a movie example with LOADED premises (I paraphrase): "So, with the $100M of sunk (or fixed) costs long since recovered, bandwidth is the only remaining cost".

    For the record let me again agree: YES, Mike, IF "sunk (or fixed) costs" are ignored, then incremental costs such as bandwidth are all that matter. [BTW: I repeat "sunk (or fixed) costs" often because Mike in the link below didn't know it was his own phrase!]

    But that's simply not a real-world example. Mike is deliberately deceptive by setting conditions to ignore that the first priority of any business is recovering "sunk (or fixed) costs". Until that's done, there's literally no profit. -- And if previousl method worked, why change? (To deflect a quibble: Mike there also fabricates a "perfectly competitive" environment.) top-zero.shtml

    As I wrote at Mike in the above, kids running a lemonade stand know better economics than his contrived example. It's not mistake or oversight: he claims to be a college-educated economics expert. But if you simply don't overlook Mike's premise of ignoring up-front COSTS, then he's LYING about it applying to the real world.

    Mike is from the ivory-towers of academia. He's not a successful "Hollywood" producer of $100M movies with a proven track record now generously spreading his methods; he's a rapidly aging frat boy with only a web-site and the chutzpah to tell actual movie moguls that "ur doin' it all wrong". (Actually his main chutzpah is pretending that he's ever talked to moguls.)

    But Mike does have an agenda, and that's to favor certain grifters over those who actually create and produce content. MANY of the pieces on Techdirt are hair-splitting legalisms supporting the symbiotic system that skates on the very edge of overt commercial infringement. Mike maintains the following sequence is perfectly legal, even protected "free speech":

    1) anonymous up-loaders have a "right" to transfer ("share") whatever data they wish to wherever they wish because it's not commercial infringement;

    2) so that commercial scale file hosts can claim they're NOT infringing copyright because have no knowledge as to whether full-length movie data is copyrighted and NOT "fair use" -- with the extra twist of can't have such knowledge because are too many files to check! -- meanwhile, with the draw of providing for free someone else's valuable copyrighted content, the file hosts directly sell premium access speed plus get advertising revenue;

    3) so that links sites announcing the infringing but "free" content can also draw eyeballs to advertising for income;

    4) so that anonymous down-loaders can get the valuable content for free.

    So here's Mike's actual calculation: $100M movie + 1 up-loader + many file hosts + many links sites + unlimited down-loaders = infinite goods!

    [A similiar symbiotic sequence is in peer-to-peer networks: omit specific file hosts, and only links sites get advertising revenue.]

    Note that except perhaps (one time) for the up-loader, NONE of those entities pay one cent to whoever produced the content. But ALL depend upon getting FREE content: it's a "business model" that can ignore the "sunk (or fixed) costs" for a $100M movie to focus only on bandwidth costs EXACTLY as in Mike's "can't compete" piece! -- I say that's NOT coincidence.

    Some wacky assertions are tossed in to try and obscure the now blatantly commercialized pirating sequence, such as: "pirates buy more than average consumers" and "piracy helps promote the content; it's free advertising". To further obscure, Mike and followers frequently example garage bands giving away MP3s and selling Chinese-made T-shirts for income. But garage band costs are around a hundred dollars not a HUNDRED MILLION! Mike's schemes don't at all scale up: NO ONE is going to front $100M for a movie unless reasonably assured of getting back its "sunk (or fixed) costs". -- NOR do Mike's notions apply to physical goods: he has very limited application for his "economics", and that makes the EXACT match between his "can't compete" piece and file hosts actual practices even more notable.

    Society recognizes ownership of non-physical "intellectual property" through copyright: it is indeed a "legal monopoly" on attempting to get money from non-physical content, and a bar to anyone else even attempting it.

    Mike always slants legalisms to facilitate piracy in practice while claiming he's not trying to destroy copyright. He doesn't appear to be promoting any new scheme to industry where he might hear: "Wait a sec. I'm out a hundred million up front, and you're telling me I get it back ten cents at a time?"

    But pirating is the ONLY case where $100M movies are available in the real world without "sunk (or fixed) costs". Mike's pretzel logic holds that "sharing" makes all available for free now that copying data is technically possible; the theoretical separation plus assertions of "know nothing" isn't (yet) specifically "illegal", so parasites that all steal income from those who actually produce the valuable content MUST be allowed to continue. -- With never a hint from Mike that it's immoral or grifting. Heck, he even praises pirates for "promoting", and the grifters as "innovative" -- but disparages the actual producers as "dinosaurs".

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