Putting Together A Database Of Bogus DMCA Takedowns
from the interesting-move dept
David has pointed out that it would be handy to have some more cases in which the filers of bogus DMCA notices are actually punished for their actions under section 512(f) of the DMCA. As we discussed last year, it's very difficult to win a 512(f) claim, in part because the language is so vague and so far courts have interpreted it pretty narrowly.
However, as David points out, there have been some successful cases, including the case that the EFF ran against Diebold nearly a decade ago. David was actually one of the plaintiffs in that case. If you don't remember, someone had leaked some internal documents from Diebold (makers of e-voting machines) which showed the company was well aware of massive security problems with their machines. Diebold first tried to claim the documents were fake and then used the DMCA to claim they were covered by Diebold's copyright and that it could issue takedowns on them. As you might have noticed, those two claims would contradict each other. Either way, a judge pointed out that:
"no reasonable copyright holder could have believed that portions of the e-mail archive discussing possible technical problems with Diebold's voting machines were protected by copyright."The problem, of course, is that there just aren't that many such cases (there are a few scattered ones, including the Lenz case we've been talking about recently). So finding such cases, and actually having them go to court could be useful -- though I still think strengthening the ability to punish bogus DMCA notices would be helpful (well, and changing the entire DMCA takedown process, but that's another post for another day). Via email, David admits that this is just a "trial balloon" to see if it turns up any interesting cases of bogus takedowns that might make for good 512(f) cases. And that would be good, though the weaknesses of 512(f) still make it pretty difficult to find ideal cases, even as we see DMCA abuses all the time.
Even with that being the case, if this effort doesn't turn up bogus takedown notices for new cases, at the very least, perhaps it will create a useful dataset to explore the nature and frequency of bogus DMCA takedowns.