Total Wipes A Total Failure: Sends Increasingly Ridiculous DMCA Notices To Wipe Out Unrelated Content

from the because-that's-how-the-dmca-rolls dept

TorrentFreak has a fun, if ridiculous, post about the near total failure of a digital music distribution company named Total Wipes to "wipe out" certain content via entirely bogus DMCA notices. In what appears to be one of the more egregious attempts out there to issue automated DMCA takedowns without anyone bothering to look at the sites in question, Total Wipes tried to remove all sorts of websites in trying to "protect" a track called "Rock the Base & Bad Format." It appears that, as a part of that, any site that its automated systems turned up that had both "rock" and "base" on it was targeted for takedown. That was especially problematic for news stories about the death of DJ E-Z Rock, whose most famous track was "It Takes Two," done in partnership with Rob Base. Note the problem: Base and Rock. That meant that Total Wipes targeted news stories about Rock's death. It also targeted stories about rock climbing and a "rock" music festival on a military "base."
The TorrentFreak story has more examples, including a broad takedown attempt against sites with the word "coffee" in their URL, including: Cariboucoffee, cartelcoffeelab, clivecoffee, coavacoffee, coffee.org, coffeeandtealtd, coffeebean and coffeegeek. Google, thankfully, rejected each and every one of those requests, and hopefully that puts Total Wipes into some sort of DMCA notice holding cell, requiring any of its takedowns to get extra scrutiny. But, of course, as always there is no real punishment for filing false notices, which is why there are so many stories about these kinds of takedowns.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 2:47pm

    Yup, definitely sounds like they have a Bad Format...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    Yet you know that if we were to do it for the RIAA and others they'd throw not just the book but the entire library at us with absurd distortions of logic that allow them to include interfering with interstate commerce, racketeering, fraud, "cybercrime", terrorism, and "cyberterrorism".

    It would be nice to see them get hammered in civil court for this with their own promotional material used as irrefutable evidence against them to sue them for absurdly high speculative "lost sales" that would cause them to have their homes repossessed, move into a cardboard box, and then have the box repossessed.

     

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  3.  
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    Nigel (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 2:59pm

    This

    is not the intention you are looking for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 3:39pm

    Hey, DMCA is free and with zero liability. So who cares?

    Collateral damage doesn't matter, avoiding even the most blatant one is an innecessary expense.

    That is what results when power is married with impunity.

     

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  5.  
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    HMTKSteve, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    Brink

    Not for nothing but link #66 about the video game Brink? That should be wiped from the net... That game was horrible and deserves to be forgotten...

     

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  6.  
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    Uriel-238 on a mobile device, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    So, if I were an internet hacktivist...

    I would see how difficult it was to set up an artificial business, auto-send a bunch of overly broad takedown notices and then close up shop before anyone even has a chance to respond to my accusations.

    Rinse and repeat until either the entirety of YouTube's library is down or until it adjusts its takedown policy.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 4:41pm

    Re: So, if I were an internet hacktivist...

    That sounds like it is ripe for a business model patent. Have you figured the cash flow part yet?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: So, if I were an internet hacktivist...

    Well, obviously, you offer your services to content creators, and pretend you're doing what they want (to get paid)

    In the process, however, you simply add a bunch of random URLs to your takedown notices.

    It sounds like some of these companies may already be doing this.

     

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  9.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 5:32pm

    of course, as always there is no real punishment for filing false notices

    The reason you don't get punishment for false notices is that the law requires that you prove that they were made in bad faith. That's a pretty high hurdle to jump. A plaintiff would have to show that not only did they make the fake claim, but that the conspired or planned to make such fake claims intentionally to cause harm. It goes to their state of mind and intentions, and it's pretty hard to show bad intention.

    That said, this is the sort of abuse of DMCA brought on in part by the sheer volume of the problem. Bad automation is almost inevitable.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 6:02pm

    I don't understand why Google doesn't sue these companies, at least to try to recover the cost the company spends policing these bogus claims -- costs that should be borne by the copyright hired guns who are too cheap to even look at what their mal-programmed bots spew out themselves.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 6:25pm

    Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    What google can do to avoid abuse is the same as they do with many other services and as a bonus will prove malicious intent with bogus claims:

    One link to remove, one CAPTCHA.

     

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  12.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    Quite simply, you cannot.

    DMCA means you have to take the notices directly, and you cannot create barriers or otherwise make it difficult to file a DMCA notice. Making it difficult would be seen as not respecting the law, and would make Google potentially liable for notices that it does not accept.

    Google's real solution is to start looking at the sites it gets the most notices for, and to STOP INDEXING THEM. Google could cut their DMCA notice pile dramatically by doing this.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Re:

    So when it comes to the little people, you think that an accusation of copyright infringement is the same as being guilty.

    BUT, when it comes to your overlords, you want us to prove that there was malicious intent and conspiracy.

    You are a douche and a hypocrite

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    so, an accusation is enough that you want Google to no longer index sites that have been 'accused' of infringement.


    Hypocritical Douche

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 6:49pm

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 9:46pm

    Re:

    For once you didn't post garbage, have a cookie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 9:48pm

    Re:

    Lolz!!!!1

    Asswipe

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 9:49pm

    This take down was brought to you by SHAMWOW.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    That sounds like a really bad idea. So if I want to wipe a site off the net I just need to send loads of DMCA notices for them? This is exactly what the copyright lobby wants - an internet they can then control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 1:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    One catch though, it would have to be lots of notices that go unanswered. If the site shows that they have the right to the content, or that they actively remove the content (and don't just slightly change the URL and let people keep using it), then they should be good to go.

    DMCA is all about doing the right thing. Too many pirate sites (like the pirate bay) thumb their noses at any and all notices, even make fun of them. They have long since forfeited their right to object to other people giving them the finger too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    why put the burden of proof on the accused? Has the innocent-until-proven-guilty-mantra been sold?

     

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  22.  
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    fred, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    read the dmca law and stop blaming the victims .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Niall (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:25am

    Re:

    That's like saying that cops shooting unarmed people is because of the 'scale' of violent people around. Firstly it's not such a problem, and secondly it doesn't justify the response. Bad automation is a bad response to a bad law, not to the scale of the problem. The scale of the problem is partly created by ridiculous laws, partly by content peddlers who don't know how to offer a decent product, and partly from a lack of understanding of human nature.

    I'm pretty sure if you put hidden cameras every 50 feet you'd catch a lot of speeding, but that's making problems out of nowhere. In practice, we ignore a certain amount in order not to cause other problems elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Niall (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:30am

    Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    That's dumb. Banks keep being robbed, so let's stop making them so easy to get into. Much safer in nuclear-proof bunkers accessible once a month...

    But that's contrary to Google's business, so why should they? Especialyl if you can't trus a DMCA notice to be accurate.

    It's not 'making it harder' to submit claims, it's making it hard to abuse. Maybe companies proven to be trustworthy (or willing to pay for that status) can get expedited methods, but nowhere does it say that Google have to bend over backwards to indulge the felonious laziness of DMCA abusers.

     

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  25.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:32am

    Re:

    That. But you could apply penalties to bogus notices even if they are a mistake. Google has the manpower to scrutinize the most egregious but smaller sites may just comply without question leading to all sorts of censorship. I would argue that notices filled in bad faith obviously should get much more severe penalties but if the receiving end could charge a processing fee in case of a bogus request I'm fairly sure automated systems would suddenly become much more efficient.

     

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  26.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    The solution is to simply ignore all DMCA requests and let its crawlers do what they are supposed to while pointing to the complaining parties they should be going after the source. If it is that illegal then it should be easy to get to the source itself.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 3:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    The victims as in the ones falsely accusing sites like rockpapershotgun and pitchfork.com of copyright infringement?

    I might be fine with automatic shutdown of known infringers, if, and only if, there would also be an automatic shutdown of the rights to submit complaints upon a certain treshold of false accusations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 4:20am

    Re:

    DMCA voted, dickchoker.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    might also be a good idea to try and get this terrible law repealed. Of course chances are little, since the US is now officially an oligarchy, but you never know, maybe some of the old democracy still shines through.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Oh THAT Brian!, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    How about if they stop indexing the companies that are sending the bogus DMCA notices?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 5:35am

    Re:

    That said, this is the sort of abuse of DMCA brought on in part by the sheer volume of the problem.

    When a significant portion of the population ignore a law, it is time to either dial back the scope of the law, or repeal the law. Copyright laws are causing the same sort of problems that prohibition caused, which includes making some criminals into glamorous figures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re:

    I would argue that notices filled in bad faith obviously should get much more severe penalties but if the receiving end could charge a processing fee in case of a bogus request I'm fairly sure automated systems would suddenly become much more efficient.

    Then would you agree that each VALID one would require a payment to the copyright holder? The law doesn't allow for it, and accepting a little bit of flexibility from both sides is really what the law is about, resolving the issues without having to go all legal. A fee for a failed notice would just lead to legal challenges and all sorts of stuff back in court - do you really want that?

    Automated systems generally are pretty good. These guys seem to be new and they seem to have failed to even sample check the output. If they keep it up, they are potentially a good candidate to test out the filing a false report part of the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Whatever (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re:

    The scale of the problem is partly created by ridiculous laws

    Even if copyright was cut back tomorrow morning to 10 years or even 5 years, much of the same stuff would exist. The only way to get rid of the problem would be to abolish the law.

    Remember, the alternative of DMCA would be filing of lawsuits. Do you honestly think that Google could handle answering a million lawsuits a day?

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Howard, Cowering, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 7:23am

    Re: #33 Whatever

    Lawsuits are generally not auto-filed at zero cost as DCMA notices are. That fact alone might limit the "non-bad-faith" submissions, might it not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    Too many pirate sites (like the pirate bay) thumb their noses at any and all notices, even make fun of them.

    The pirate bay - being based in Sweden - does not have to respond to notices issued under a US law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Do you honestly think that Google could handle answering a million lawsuits a day?"

    There wouldn't be a million lawsuits a day. As little as it takes to file a lawsuit, it is substantially more than it takes to file a DMCA notice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    Because criminals shoot policemen is no reason or license for policemen to shoot people randomly without forethought or consequence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    agreed... Dont forget to mention he (it) is a troll knowingly making absurd statements. Think it also agreed on the 33 months of jail for a freakin cam movie...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Automated systems generally are pretty good"

    As ever, citation needed.

    "These guys seem to be new and they seem to have failed to even sample check the output."

    ...and while they work out how to do their jobs, perfectly innocent people are faced with the cost and legal repercussions of dealing with false requests, as are the people whose sites they host, their customers and so on. One of these days, you might work out why this is a bad thing.

    "If they keep it up, they are potentially a good candidate to test out the filing a false report part of the law."

    ... at the cost of innocent third parties who didn't do anything illegal, let alone be near enough to the accusation to need to use legal defences such as fair use. These are simply lies, but you're fine with that even in such blatant abuses such as these. I wonder how many blatant abuses go unreported because the system is so gamed against innocent parties that they fold rather than fight even when they're clearly innocent...

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: #33 Whatever

    Not to mention that lawyer heads could roll with bar associations. Barratry is grounds for disbarment.

     

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  41.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Then would you agree that each VALID one would require a payment to the copyright holder?

    Obviously no. If the cost of sending DMCA notices requires you to charge the receiving end to be feasible then simply don't use it. There are plenty of examples of things that made tons of money without a single copyright notice being sent. Actually there are plenty of examples of free things generating tons of revenue to the creators.

    A fee for a failed notice would just lead to legal challenges and all sorts of stuff back in court - do you really want that?

    Yes. That's what courts are there for. Due process. The law itself should have chance for defense before the content is taken down. Ie: copyright holder sends notice, hypothetical infringer has X days (a reasonable time frame would be a week) to challenge it. Upon no reply content is removed. Upon successful challenge the request is returned to the copyright holder who can choose to take it to the courts. The content is only removed if the court decides so or the defendant doesn't take the case ahead. Very simple. "But, but, it will clog the court system!" I hear you saying and yes it may. Then the law needs to be changed to accommodate such social standards. As in: parodies and derivatives, hyperlinks and metadata, other similar things need to be incorporated into law to be easily dismissed.

    Automated systems generally are pretty good.

    Not in this case. Automated systems can't understand parody and derivatives. They can't understand valid links that would only be infringing if the one download does not own said content etc etc.

    If they keep it up, they are potentially a good candidate to test out the filing a false report part of the law.

    That part has been proven ad nauseam to be a complete and utter failure. The amount of bogus DMCA requests Google alone has to deal with would have generated penalties so far. In fact I can only think of really outrageous examples of abuse that were really punished. But you know that.

     

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  42.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    Not at all. The MAFIAA has a pretty bad record on sending accurate notices and quite a few sites that receive a lot of notices comply with them in a quite fast pace or simply make tons of LEGAL content available. We know there's a lot of drug dealing in that neighborhood - block/nuke it and your problem is solved. Innocents screwed? Who cares! Problem was solved!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    Derp, wrong reply button.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    Thanks for the reminder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I work for a hosting provider. Automated notification systems SUCK. The vast majority of notifications we get are obviously keyword based and aren't subjected to human oversight, or if they are, those employees are vastly incompetent. MarkMonitor, for example, is just as bad as these Total Wipes guys.

    I wonder how many blatant abuses go unreported because the system is so gamed against innocent parties that they fold rather than fight even when they're clearly innocent

    You have no idea. For this year so far, the rate of DMCA counter-claim notices vs. takedown notices we've received is running at less than 1%. To be fair, a lot of the takedown notices we get are legitimate, but there's a huge amount of content that gets removed just because the website owners can't afford to fight it. Trademark takedowns are even worse since there is no defined notice/takedown/counter-claim process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    "DMCA is all about doing the right thing."

    No, it's about the exact opposite.

    If it was about the right thing, there wouldn't be the "good faith" clause that allows groups like Total Wipe to get away with incidents like this.

    The sensible thing to do is remove that clause. Any DMCA claim *must* be sworn under penalty of perjury. That would reduce the claims and lawsuits to a slightly more reasonable level.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    Niall (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The DMCA is utter stupidity, but if you must have it, it ought to be fixed, so that there is an active penalty for perjury. So long as it is a joke, it should be treated like one. And if people have found ways to abuse the takedown process, then I would be more than happy for companies like Google to also 'abuse' the takedown process and make it as onerous for content dealers and peddlers to lie, cheat and otherwise do business as usual.

    Also, if copyright was cut back to its original form, things would be very different, and there would be a lot more innovation going on, instead of useless lawsuits. And yes, people would have less incentive to cheat stuff - a lot of films I remember from my childhood would be public domain by now.

    Copyright is an unnaturally parasitic monopoly process, as industries that manage without it prove. And I dare anyone to say there is no innovation or money in fashion or Formula 1, or other idea-based industries.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use the CAPTCHA, Luke

    "DMCA is all about doing the right thing."

    The DMCA has nothing whatsoever to do with "doing the right thing". That may have been the intent, but it's certainly not the result.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    kaffekartan, Dec 17th, 2014 @ 8:10pm

    Caribbean Kaffe

    Här hittar du ett sortiment av kafferosterier från hela världen till ett billigt pris! Vi har både hel böna och målet kaffe
    Den Caribbean Kaffefika betyder kaffepaus. Ordet " fika " kan fungera som både verb och substantiv .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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