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. icon
    PaulT (profile), 3 Jan 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Notice OOTB

    Well, duh, of course they're variable - that was my entire point!

    Clerks is a red herring nowadays. It was made very cheap but that was back in the days of film, where much of the costs were on the film stock and processing. Of course it's not shot on LOTR equipment! But, of course that doesn't matter. The film worked as it was, and had reasonable fixed costs. If Kevin Smith was now bitching that Clerks made no money purely because he used the vastly more expensive equipment, then my reaction would be "well no shit, you should have downgraded. Did it actually matter to the story being told?". ootb would prefer that Smith sunk a standard fixed cost then whine about that, whereas I suggest he reduce his costs upfront.

    To give a more recent example - the $180 million first Hobbit movie looks to have been shot at least partially with the Red Epic camera and Zeiss lenses, also used on the $31 million Flight. A fairer example than a massive blockbuster and a literal DIY project, I think.

    The difference in the budget cannot be explained by the equipment used, so all the other factors I named come into play. Before blowing the $180 million on The Hobbit, if you have questions about recouping the cost, you need to have asked if that budget was necessary for the film. If so, you take on the extra risk. If not, ask why the difference is there. Many productions - especially indie productions without deep pockets - have cut cast, subplots, settings and everything else involved just to get the movie on screen. Entire productions to different countries because it's cheaper. It's part of the process.

    So, to refer back to ootb and yourself - you choose the fixed costs depending on what you decide to produce and how you produce it. The question ootb should be asking is not "how can the next Transformers make its money back after Michael Bay's blown $250 million on explosions", but rather "why does it have to be 2 1/2 hours long with 50 minutes of subplot nobody cares about, and why are we spending and extra $80 million on that?". Answer that question, and you won't have so much to recoup.

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