Copyright

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
copyright, dmca, takedown

Companies:
chaturbate, google



Impostor Sending Out DMCA Notices In Chaturbate's Name Now Targeting Techdirt URLs

from the doubling-down dept

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a long series of questionable DMCA notices I thought had been issued by online onanism portal Chaturbate. The takedown requests appeared to have been generated by a faulty algorithm with no human vetting involved. Many of those I examined appeared to target names of Chaturbate broadcasters, but without any of the precision one normally associates with the word "target." Sites named for delisting included geographical research, an Amazon page for a book about the Hadron Collider, track meet records collections, and even Chaturbate itself.

After some discussion with Chaturbate, it was determined someone is filing notices in Chaturbate's name, but without Chaturbate's official blessing. The scattershot, extremely prolific approach was now harming Chaturbate's reputation, tying it to bogus DMCA notices targeting all sort of non-infringing content. (I have since updated the original post to reflect the my conversations with Chaturbate and offer my apologies for naming the wrong party in the original post.)

Whoever's performing these bogus takedowns hasn't stopped. Chaturbate's legal rep has been asking Google for more details on the impostor requests. Google is looking into it, but so far has only provided an incredibly long list of likely auto-generated Gmail addresses as the source of these bogus notices, which now number into the thousands.

While we continue to work towards discovering who's behind these bogus notices, there have been some interesting developments. First, the impostor is now including Techdirt URLs, including the original post and my user page, in their takedown requests.

Second, whoever's doing this appears to have read my post. The issuing party has changed from Chaturbate LLC to Multi Media LLC. This is the name Chaturbate uses when it issues takedown requests. I never used the name in the updates to the post but did link to an example of a genuine Chaturbate takedown notice, as supplied to me by Chaturbate's representatives.

This would seem to indicate whoever's behind the bogus takedowns is aware multiple parties are trying to expose them. The DMCA notices containing Techdirt URLs contain almost nothing but adult-themed URLs, suggesting the TD pages may have been added in an attempt to bury the story. It still could be a faulty algorithm is flagging anything containing words like "Chaturbate," but the relative lack of unrelated sites suggests a slightly more targeted approach is being taken, even though there's still an emphasis on quantity over quality.

The other theory is the post hasn't been read, but the impostor has received challenges from Google when submitting notices under the Chaturbate LLC name. A little research may have uncovered the fact Chaturbate's legitimate takedown service only issues takedowns under the Multi Media LLC name.

If the impostor is reading these posts, they might want to remember the perjury side of it doesn't cover the URLs targeted for takedown, but rather the assertion they represent the rightsholders listed in the notices. According to Chaturbate, this impostor doesn't. All rights are retained by each individual Chaturbate broadcaster and Multi Media LLC makes no claims otherwise when issuing takedown notices on behalf of its clients. The impostor, however, makes these claims for several performers in each takedown request and does so under the names of companies they don't work for or represent. We're still trying to find out who's behind this and will keep you posted as this investigation proceeds.


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 10:41am

    If this idiot (or these idiots) are actually punished I'll concede that copyright is only 99% broken instead of 100%. And Google should really review their electronic DMCA system (ContentID and all).

    Something tells me nothing is going to happen though.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      The people involved here should absolutely be prosecuted for perjury.

      "And Google should really review their electronic DMCA system (ContentID and all)."

      They can review it all they like, but what exactly do you want them to do? I mean, this was caught, so it's not like it's a failure on Google's part.

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

      • icon
        MDT (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re: Perjury

        Not sure this counts as perjury. It does violate the DMCA, but perjury is the specific crime of lying under oath to a court of law. Submitting a false DMCA claim has it's own penalty because it doesn't fall under perjury.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Perjury

          Except that the DMCA specifically mentions something, somewhere, under certain conditions "under penalty of perjury".

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Perjury

          It does count as perjury, actually. A DMCA takedown notice is a legally binding document for the purposes of copyright law. Anyone who lies about who they are when filing a takedown notice is effectively lying to a court of law, as said takedown notice could eventually lead to a lawsuit against the takedown’s target.

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

          • icon
            Bergman (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Perjury

            Considering that each false claim is a separate instance of perjury and each perjury charge carries a prison sentence of up to 5 years, spamming out fake DMCA takedowns can quickly rack up more prison time than Bernie Madoff got.

            Well, assuming you can find a federal prosecutor willing to take the case, anyway.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 9:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Perjury

          Submitting a false DMCA claim has it's own penalty because it doesn't fall under perjury.

          17 USC § 512(c)(3) Elements of notification.—

          (A) To be effective under this subsection, a notification of claimed infringement must be a written communication provided to the designated agent of a service provider that includes substantially the following:

                      [...]

                      (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed

          (Emphasis added.)

          “Under penalty of perjury”.

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

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 17 Aug 2017 @ 6:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, Google has a big problem with this. They don't require any proof that a DMCA is coming from the actual rights holder, they act on anything given to them no matter the providence.

        It's not unusual in porn to see a thing called "model regret". That is where a girl (or guy) who appeared nude or did porn regrets their choice later in life. They want to make those pictures and videos go away - or at least make it so that people cannot search Google for it.

        The best result is to DMCA everything you see to Google, claim to the copyright holder, and watch them mow things down for you. Since Google seemingly makes no effort to assure that DMCA notices are valid and from the legal source, it's a pretty good way to get rid of things you don't like. If the site(s) in question aren't fast to answer Google, then the content gets removed from search and image search and "boom", you win.

        Fake DMCA notices are a real problem, but do seem to represent a small percentage of the overall stream of things. It's not nice, but it's hard to avoid.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      If nothing does happen and this person or persons doing this gets away with it then someone should do this same thing targeting the likes of the MPAA/RIAA etc. but if anyone should do this you will be hearing the MPAA/RIAA calling for the immediate punishment of death for the person targeting them.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:08am

    OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

    THIS CORRECTION show my take (above) from glancing over prior piece was/is exactly right: Techdirt's only purpose was its ongoing goal to discredit all DMCA.

    NOW that more information has come out, the re-writer has dropped focus on DMCA -- besides stopped asserting was "Chaturbate", presumably avoiding another defamation suit -- to show it IS indeed just some "script kiddie".

    Your rabid bias that DMCA is totally evil led you to get all wrong yet again, Techdirt and fanboys. So, HA on you!

    And though I've been proved right, I'll get not even hint of apology, just MORE hate. -- And hiding of this! Click away, kids! That actually helps me by showing what anyone will get for being right here!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:17am

      Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

      So, on this occasion, the fraudulent claims have been caught, but how many fraudulent claims have been accepted. There are several severe weaknesses with the DMCA, all to do with the lack of publicly accessible documentation of who own what copyrights, and who is authorized to make claims under the DMCA. The system is open to abuse, and it is much harder to detect if somebody makes more reasonable looking claims.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:20am

      Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

      ???

      Are you okay?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:26am

      Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

      You've proved nothing. 'Script kiddie' or not, a very flawed law continues to be abused. Dose it matter who is abusing it if it takes down, or threatens to take down, legitimate content?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

        Person obviously either works for a Hollywood studio/music label in some fashion

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:37am

      Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

      Your rabid bias that DMCA is totally evil led you to get all wrong yet again, Techdirt and fanboys. So, HA on you!

      As an aside, this affront has taken me aback.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:40am

      Re: Discredit the DMCA

      Techdirt's only purpose was its ongoing goal to discredit all DMCA.

      Every false takedown notice sent to YouTube, every abuse of the takedown system used to silence legitimate speech, every attempt to overreach out of the fear of even a single instance of copyright infringement—all of those acts discredit the DMCA. Techdirt only sheds light on them.

      Also: Who cares if it is a script kiddie? They still keep filing false takedown notices. Why does the identity of the perpetrator matter more than the crimes they are committing?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:15pm

      Re: OMG^2! Some over-ambitious Linux weenie wrote a lousy script! Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

      Stop abusing the English language.

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

    • identicon
      Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 16 Aug 2017 @ 8:45pm

      Re: Do away with all DMCA takedowns and all copyright!

      You said it, we didn’t.

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

  • identicon
    stine, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:30am

    changed name

    Can you look in your webserver logs and see which ISP's address clicked through to your link immediately prior to the changing of their DCMA requests.

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

  • icon
    hij (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:34am

    dang...

    This is kind of a let down, but I should have known. The idea of Chaturbate DMCA'ing themselves was too good to be true.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:35pm

      Re: dang...

      The idea of Chaturbate DMCA'ing themselves was too good to be true.

       

      I agree. It was like Chatubate was using the DMCA to screw themselves and there was pure comedy gold in that.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 2:40pm

      Re: dang...

      It's not like it would be without precedent, I mean HBO has done so in the past, so Chaturbate doing so as well was certainly within the realm of possibility.

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

  • icon
    hij (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:41am

    Great training exercise

    Off hand it seems like there is no reason to do something like this, but someone may have decided that Chaturbate makes a good test case. If they had software they want to eventually sell to catch copyright violations, then the Chaturbate site may be a nice place to test it. Also, they may have decided it was the kind of thing that would not draw a lot of attention.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:51am

    Ya know how this wouldn't be a problem?
    If we weren't holding a 3rd party who doesn't host the infringing content responsible for hiding it.

    Its nice we can send 10 trillion notices to Google, but it doesn't actually remove the content. The entire point of the DMCA was to get copyright content removed, but somehow that got morphed into it's all Googles fault make them fix it for us.

    The system is designed to be abused.
    You have to believe every submission even if its from fake.notice@mail.com
    You have to take action on it, otherwise the law will clobber you
    If you can show a pattern of fakery or bogus notices... there is no penalty
    We require websites to have registered DMCA people, they send all of the notices to Google

    We can't possibly touch the law to fix it, because the cartels have invested heavily into making everyone pay the bills for their ineptness. IP is our most valuable resource... Sharknado 6.... nuff said.

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

  • identicon
    Backward Coward, 16 Aug 2017 @ 12:49pm

    Let me fix that for you

    Let me fix that for you: "After some chaturbation with Chaturbate..."

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

  • icon
    GristleMissile (profile), 16 Aug 2017 @ 6:59pm

    "Onanism"? Really? We have words for masturbation, including "masturbation" that don't reek of an 80 year old nun with a ruler yelling about hairy palms and spilling your seed on the ground.

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

  • identicon
    Manny, 29 Sep 2017 @ 1:40am

    still going on

    I just received a notice today from Chaturbate. Looks like it's still going on: https://www.lumendatabase.org/notices/15046830

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

  • identicon
    tomy, 11 Oct 2017 @ 4:34pm

    Its not true google ignore that false dmca. its just delay process. many people receive DMCA notice from google!!

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


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