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


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 16 Jul 2013 @ 2:27am

    Re: Unintended ANOMALY. Man, you think this PROVES anything?

    "Unintended ANOMALY."

    There sure are a LOT of these anomalies aren't there? Almost as if there's a trend, even if it's not the majority... How many anomalies are needed before they become routine? Because this seems pretty damn routine to me at this point.

    "It's clearly a file on "torrentportal.com", not the home site of VLC."

    So f**king what? Are you honestly trying to say that software can only be distributed on the site of the developer? As ever, your objection is idiotic, but then you are one of those who tries to pretend that torrents can't be used for legal activity. Like it or not, VLC has every right to be on that site, has every permission to be distributed like that by its owner, and a 3rd party with no copyright claim to it is trying to take it down. Sorry, not acceptable.

    "WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE LINKS TO ACTUAL PIRATED CONTENT? Never a mention here, ONLY anomalies."

    The pirated content is listed in the same damn article you're complaining about, moron. Nobody's defending that, but HBO's profits should not be protected by damaging VLC's distribution. Got it? All of these "anomalies" negatively affect people who are OBEYING THE LAW. Sorry, if your corporate gods can't make money without killing some independent innocent people, but that's not acceptable in any way.

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