HBO's Latest DMCA Abuse: Issues Takedown To Google Over Popular VLC Media Player

from the take-it-all-down! dept

I was at a copyright conference recently, where a Congressional representative, who couldn't attend in person, had sent a recorded video message, which was played over the event's screens via a computer using the popular open source media player VLC. One of the copyright lawyers in attendance pointed out -- only half-jokingly -- that since VLC actually gets around some forms of DRM, some could define it as an anti-circumvention device, and thus illegal under the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions. Of course, it seems crazy that anyone would actually make such a claim -- but we live in crazy times.

I doubt that's what HBO intended when, as Torrentfreak discovered, it sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google with a bunch of links for supposedly infringing content, including various HBO shows. However, mixed in with everything else was a link to a copy of VLC. The notice claims that VLC is actually a copy of Game of Thrones, suggesting that this is yet another case where an overeager copyright holder isn't being very careful with the power given to it via the DMCA's notice-and-takedown procedures.
Given that this is the same HBO that recently sent a takedown notice over its own site, it seems pretty clear that HBO has hired incredibly sloppy "agents" to run its counterproductive DMCA takedown efforts. Unfortunately, that's just the nature of the game these days. Since there is no real or effective punishment for issuing bogus DMCA notices, copyright holders have no problem simply wiping out such things "by accident." If it happens to take down a legal copy of some media playing software they probably don't like very much in the first place, well, what's the big deal?

Filed Under: copyright, dmca takedown, vlc
Companies: hbo


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Bergman (profile), 15 Jul 2013 @ 8:12pm

    Re:

    Waaaaaay back in the day, before TSR got swallowed up by Wizards of the Coast, TSR became aware that people were using the ruleset (not patented, not copyrightable, and using game trademarks to play the game) and posting game stats for their own creations online.

    TSR FREAKED. They started issuing hundreds of cease and desist letters, making (baseless) legal threats, etc, to the extent people were wondering if their legal department had grown by an order of magnitude, or more.

    I saw several of their legal nastygrams, and they typically listed the entire contents of an FTP site, down to the file list file, the welcome message and other metadata contents of the site. Usually including all directories on the site, regardless of owner or content, claiming the entire thing to be a violation of their copyrights.

    Most site operators caved, although 99.99% of TSR's ownership claims would have been laughed out of court.

    History repeats itself. Over and over and over.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.