DMCA Takedown Company Thinks It's Making A Point With 'Transparency Report' -- Really Just Looks Like A Jackass

from the what-point-are-they-making-really dept

Over the weekend, TorrentFreak picked up on yet another weird case of some copyright extremists trying to "make a point" but really just coming across as jackasses instead. It involves one of a group of wacky companies that promise to help issue DMCA takedown notices for copyright holders. In this case, it's an outfit called "Remove Your Media" (creative!) which put up a Tumblr site and a tweet pretending that it was "turning the tables" on the famous and useful Lumen Database (formerly known as the Chilling Effects database):
If you went to that website, for at least a little while, Remove Your Media was posting full details of people who filed counternotices to some of its DMCA takedowns. These postings made no effort whatsoever to redact personal information such as emails and phone numbers (TorrentFreak has an image where it redacted the info itself).

The "point" that Remove Your Media is so weakly trying to make is that there is a tiny group of copyright extremists who think that Lumen / Chilling Effects is itself a source of piracy because in posting DMCA notices, it leaves the links that copyright holders are demanding be taken down (it's noteworthy that Lumen does redact personal information, though). Of course, these are apples to oranges differences. The reason that Lumen leaves up those links is because the whole point of Lumen is to act as a clearinghouse of data for people to understand how the DMCA is used. And, in fact, it's been an invaluable tool for us and other researchers in finding examples of DMCA abuse. That would be significantly more difficult if the links in the notices were redacted. In fact, it would take away nearly all of the value of the database.

In response to the TorrentFreak article, it appears that Remove Your Media has taken down the information that it posted, and replaced it with a link to the head cheerleader of the anti-Lumen/Chilling Effects crowd, Ellen Seidler. Seidler has spent many, many, many years tilting at windmills complaining about piracy, which she blames for the poor performance of her poorly reviewed film (which, amusingly, borrowed its title from a much more famous movie). Just a few months ago, at the Copyright Office hearings in San Francisco, Seidler again raised this issue of Lumen itself being some sort of "rogue site" for posting DMCA notices.

However, as was pointed out at the time, there is basically no evidence whatsoever that Lumen is used as a source to find pirated links to any extent that matters at all. Without any evidence of pirate hordes searching an academic database of DMCA takedown notices, this hardly seems like a worthwhile thing to bitch about. And, besides, what Remove Your Media did in "turning the tables" doesn't even make the point it wanted to make. There's a world of difference between posting the details included in a DMCA notice in such a database, and deliberately revealing someone's private info. One is a legitimate attempt to collect useful data on how DMCAs are being used.

The other is just acting like a complete jackass.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Aug 2016 @ 7:47am

    Re: Chilling Effects not useful for piracy

    I came to post a related point. In addition to parent's point that the results tend to be batched, there is the problem with bogus takedowns, which Lumen is designed to highlight. If copyright holders had a high accuracy rate (that is, they rarely DMCA'd links that are not infringing), Lumen would have less research value and large piracy value. The reality is that copyright holders are so laughably inaccurate that Lumen is an excellent research tool and a terrible piracy tool because so many of the links shown in the notices are not for infringing material. So even if parent's point was wrong (which I don't think it is) and companies were doing a good job of keeping to one DMCA notice per infringed work, the success rate for finding actual infringing work from the DMCA notice links would be too poor to bother.

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