Copyright

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
automated filters, dmca, takedowns

Companies:
digimarc, google



Digimarc Fighting Piracy By Submitting Incomplete DMCA Notices Targeting Tons Of Non-Infringing URLs (Including Techdirt's)

from the garbage-in,-garbage-out dept

There are bogus DMCA takedown requests -- something we've covered frequently here -- that try to use a copyright tool to make unflattering content disappear. Then there's this form of bogus, the kind being engaged in by Digimarc. It appears to be the result of inadequate automation handling everything terribly.

A July 3rd DMCA notice issued by Digimarc on behalf of AVID Center makes five copyright claims. For whatever reason, only two of the claims have allegedly infringing URLs appended. Where bare minimum competence should be, there's only white space.

The third claim lists an AVID tutorial and asks Google to delist:

So, for the sake of one misidentified tutorial, Digimarc is asking for two complete websites to be delisted.

The fifth copyright claim, for something identified only as "Critical Reading 1," Digimarc demands Google delist something else that doesn't belong to AVID and a 2012 Techdirt post about Google's "shill list."

That's not the only time Techdirt is targeted by Digimarc's sudden burst of stupid DMCA takedowns. This one, sent on behalf of the American Psychological Association, demands the takedown of a completely unrelated webpage and every post Techdirt has published about Sci-Hub.

Digimarc has dumped hundreds of DMCA notices into Google's lap over the last few weeks, many of which are loaded with unvetted garbage.

These are being made on behalf of dozens of top-tier publishers and scientific organizations who apparently are paying Digimarc to perform reputational damage by association. This one, on behalf of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, makes a couple of dozen copyright claims, only bothers to list infringing URLs for a few of those claims, and demands the delisting all of Crunchyroll.com, a Discogs listing for singer Robbie Williams, a Wired story about a Kickass Torrents piracy prosecution, and a tourist's guide to Kensington. These are all supposedly infringing on the AIAA's "Introduction to Aeronautics."

The hits misses just keep on coming. Pretty much any DMCA notice issued by Digimarc over the last month is a comedy of errors. Here's one that can't even be bothered to spell the protected work's title correctly ("The Cather in the Rye") which demands the removal of UK press outlet the Independent's website.

Here's a Simon & Schuster takedown from Digimarc targeting a 2009 Techdirt post on ebooks, the entirety of DailyMotion's website (Dailymotion.com), Rapidshare.com, Kickass.to, and the "create an account" page at Wordpress. Here's one for Houghton Mifflin, which provides a long list of copyright claims without infringing URLs listed and the demand for a delisting of a "best short stories" list published at the Huffington Post.

Not every DMCA notice issued by Digimarc recently has these problems. Some appear to be targeting possible infringement. But a majority of these requests either target non-infringing URLs or don't even have URLs listed under the copyrighted works these are being issued to "protect." It's incredibly shoddy work from a company that claims to deliver "actionable intelligence to help support robust antipiracy strategies."


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:14pm

    Penalties

    Until there are repercussions of submitting bogus DMCA notices, we should just ignore any and everything sent from this company.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:34pm

      Re: Penalties

      … we should just ignore any and everything sent from this company.

      That strategy doesn't look to have worked out too well so far in BMG v Cox.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 8:42am

      Re: Penalties

      Legally hosting companies can't ignore DMCA notices, bogus or otherwise, without losing their safe harbor.

      The only way this can be fixed is if DAs start prosecuting signatories for perjury for each false notice. With our legal system that's about as likely an intermediate mass black hole forming at the center of the Earth and swallowing it up.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 9:36am

        Re: Re: Penalties

        So - you are suggesting that we are not a nation that follows the rule of law. Is it rule of money? Cult of personality?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 9:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Penalties

          If we were a country that followed the rule of law, Ajit Pai would be imprisoned pending the investigation of the 10s of millions of dollars he has in offshore funds from Comcast, AT&T and other large corporations that want net neutrality gone.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:27pm

    This one?

    That's not the only time… This one, sent on behalf of the American Psychological Association, demands the takedown of a completely unrelated webpage and every post Techdirt has published about Sci-Hub.

    Which one? I'm not seeing the two referenced urls in the July 3rd DMCA notice. And the lead-in sentence “That's not the only time…” indicates that you mean another Digimarc DMCA notice besides the July 3rd one anyway.

    Maybe I'm blind today. Or perhaps you meant to link another Digimarc DMCA notice under the anchor text: “This one”.

    Either way, I'm confused.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:46pm

    These are being made on behalf of dozens of top-tier publishers and scientific organizations who apparently are paying Digimarc to perform reputational damage by association.

    While that seems to be the result, I'm pretty sure they're actually paying them to perform reputational damage control. I hope enough of them become aware that their contracts are actually having the reverse effect.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 1:02pm

      Actual Reputational Damage [was Re: ]

      I hope enough of them become aware that their contracts are actually having the reverse effect.

      [Citation needed.]

      Show me where this is having any substantial detrimental effect on the “dozens of top-tier publishers and scientific organizations who apparently are paying Digimarc”.

      Polling data, perhaps? I'm not saying that the contention isn't plausible. Sure, it might be plausible that there'd be some detrimental reputational effect. But I don't see it anywhere, myself.

      I'm afraid it's equally likely that the vast majority of the public looks at this, and looks at the “dozens of top-tier publishers and scientific organizations”, and the vast majority of the public just goes, “meh”.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 1:17am

        Re: Actual Reputational Damage [was Re: ]

        The "don't bother"-nudging aka MAPGA (make american publishers great again):
        - Make up 2 levels of middle-men to distance yourself from any legal repurcaution.
        - Go to the extreme of having them claim infringe = murder.
        - Let them operate consciously way beyond the legal border by spreading malware, hacking and silencing whatever content they feel like.

        If they get caught, the ends justify the means is the answer from the fallguys and the media can't be bothered to dig through the middle-men to find the actual Racket-runners.

        Running this kind of shit will likely get more common as copyright-holders get more and more furious at the unobtainable evidenciary chains in the proceedings and loathe the slowness and inefficiency of police-work. There is ample evidence of these ideas getting refined and circulated in leaked mails from certain companies. It is only a question of time before these fallguy companies get there.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 3:24am

          Re: Re: Actual Reputational Damage [was Re: ]

          A bit of piracy does not worry the legacy publishers, but the flood of self published content on the Internet does. Currently there are more new works self published in a few minutes than the legacy publishers can publish in a year.

          The answer to that flood is generate costs for the hosting sites, and ramp those costs up until they fail, and flooding them with DMCA notices in part of that plan. Even if there is no real checking, the sites still need to employ people to process the notices. Attack obs safe harbors are another part of that attack, as the more a site has to check content to avoid lawsuits, the more it costs them to do so.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:48pm

    Make it so erroneous takedown notices are punished in the pockets. Even if a small amount. When it start costing these morons will start paying attention.

    Of course this will happen right when copyright terms start expiring and copyrights stop harming arts and progress. Ie: never.

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

    • icon
      Narcissus (profile), 16 Jul 2018 @ 12:57am

      Re:

      I would find it reasonable if the receiver of the erroneous takedowns (Google in this case) sent an invoice for weeding out the false positives. They have to spent time and money to fix it but why should they be the ones to bear the cost?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:49pm

    It's about time to start fighting back

    I'm waiting for Techdirt to start a crowd funding campaign for a legal warchest to sue this company for making false copyright infringement allegations. I'll be the first to donate. Until someone fights back nothing will change, since otherwise these companies have no reason to stop carpet-bombing the internet with false takedown demands.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 1:49pm

      Re: It's about time to start fighting back

      Fight back? Most people are still actively funding their clients. Let's stop giving them money before we start raising money to fight them.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:52pm

    DMCA "Anomalies" #1873738-1874467

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 12:56pm

    But does it work?

    Where bare minimum competence should be, there's only white space.

    The "bare minimum competence" is whatever it takes to get things taken down. So, is that happening?

    Actually, the bare minimum is whatever can convince copyright maximalists to keep paying them. Their policy is to request takedowns, evidently regardless of whether data shows it actually helps them. Why would we expect a higher level of feedback from their contractors?

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 1:01pm

    NOW to gather everyone

    Get all those that are MISSED, and start a class action against this..

    Esp, with little or NO declaration of the Data responsible for the Demand. You might as well get everyone they sent to to jump in the pool and make this a BIG cash return.

    This is like looking in a Dictionary for the Word 'The' on every page and tagging it Just for fun.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

    Ah good old DMCA...

    'Protecting' creativity by allowing companies to indiscriminately target large chunks of it with absolutely no penalties for doing so.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 6:28pm

    We get paid by the number we send out, not by the number of successful ones.

    Seriously someone please put some teeth into the rules about shitty/false claims & make them pay up. They will not get better until there is a cost for abusing your 'rights' and targeting completely unrelated things.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jul 2018 @ 6:41pm

    See, this is why the DMCA needs to be weakened. Not that out_of_the_blue would care. Anything that harms his corporate copyrights makes him twist his panties in a bunch.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 13 Jul 2018 @ 9:02pm

      Re:

      In this case part of the problem is that is has been weakened, specifically the penalties part, such that it's effectively impossible to be punished for fraudulent notices.

      Anything short of a signed confession that the one sending the notice knew it was fraudulent and sent it anyway will generally be brushed aside, because really, checking accuracy before you try to get someone's content removed is just too much work, and we can't very well put any roadblocks in the way of the Defenders Of Copyright now can we?

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

  • identicon
    John Smith, 14 Jul 2018 @ 4:28am

    Copyright infringement isn't even an issue anymore, because the purpose of copyright has been destroyed by "truth infringement" (fake news is one example, false advertising a more serious problem).

    With truth infringement, honest companies cannot possibly succeeds, because they can't compete against liars, who in turn wouldn't exist if Section 230 did not immunize websites against false-advertising and fraud lawsuits.

    The "rational actor" fallacy always has others doing the right hing, like rewarding good content, when in fact it's the lies they reward; Madoff is a prime example.

    In a world run by liars, no one can be trusted, and anyone who throws a hissy fit at not being gtiven what used to be the benefit of the doubt, is just out of luck. Buned bridges are not passable and never will be. those who burned that bridge should have known they wouldn't be able to cross it.

    The internet is rampant with fraudsters who have gotten rich without a care in the world about piracy. In fact, they count on it for free marketing, which puts competing publishers out of busi8ness because what used to be publishing is now just marketing copy deisgned to lure "whales" while appearing to be writing for the masses.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 5:59am

      Re:

      Copyright infringement isn't even an issue anymore

      Care to tell the RIAA that then?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 6:01am

      Re:

      which puts competing publishers out of busi8ness

      Sometimes technology renders a business obsolete, refrigerators destroyed the ice seller business, and cars destroyed many different businesses that supported horse transport. Adding sound to films ended the careers of many a silent era film star.

      So just because gatekeeper based publishing used to be a viable business does not mean it has to remain viable. Indeed the scarcity that made it a viable business model, limited printing/pressing facilities, real world logistics and limited shelf space do not apply when anybody can publish their own works at a press of a button, and storage of the master copies cost fractions of a penny, and marketing means a social media presence and connecting with fans.

      Note I am not saying that the creators that prospered under the gatekeeper model will necessarily prospers as self publishers, but that those creators who figure out how to use the Internet to connect with their fans will be able to make a living.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 7:03am

      Re:

      fake dmca notice

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      "Section 230 did not immunize websites against false-advertising and fraud lawsuits."

      This is literally just...not true.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jul 2018 @ 9:53am

    Digimarc is whats known as a DMCA cesspool.

    Basically dump THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of DCMA notices randomly, most incomplete or incorrect.

    In this way you bury the REAL URL you want delisted and hope it gets caught up and removed without bad publicity etc.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2018 @ 6:42am

    The fact that they don't see anything wrong with sending fraudulent takedowns is disgusting.

    The DMCA needs reform to punish fake takedown requests.

    Here's three fair and reasonable ideas for reform.

    1. Issuer has to swear under penalty of perjury that their notice is authentic. Might be a little harsh, but would put a stop to the current shotgun approach.

    2. Fines for false takedowns equivalent to DMCA violations. Might be a little overly harsh, but might make people back off if they get a little of their own poison.

    3. "Three Strikes" for fake takedowns. Three false requests in one month and you're banned from invoking DMCA at all for the rest of the year. Doesn't completely block off DMCA as an option, but give them an incentive to play nice.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Jul 2018 @ 5:49pm

      Re:

      1. Issuer has to swear under penalty of perjury that their notice is authentic. Might be a little harsh, but would put a stop to the current shotgun approach.

      They already have to swear under penalty of perjury, the problem is that if memory serves it's for the laughably weak part of 'are you who you claim to be?'. So long as you are the person who has the rights to a given copyright then you can make as many claims as you want and it avoids the perjury clause, no matter how fraudulent and/or just plain wrong those claims are.

      2. Fines for false takedowns equivalent to DMCA violations. Might be a little overly harsh, but might make people back off if they get a little of their own poison.

      Nothing harsh about applying the same penalty for both sides. If the DMCA is so important because it allows creators to protect their stuff then applying a penalty for others trying to take it down would be entirely fair.

      3. "Three Strikes" for fake takedowns. Three false requests in one month and you're banned from invoking DMCA at all for the rest of the year. Doesn't completely block off DMCA as an option, but give them an incentive to play nice.

      I'd actually go even farther than that, and say that after a certain number of fraudulent notices within a set amount of time(one to six months sounds about right) the copyright in question is revoked entirely, going immediately and irrevocably into the public domain. With a penalty like that they'd make damn sure to be extremely careful with what notices they send out to make sure that it was targeting actual infringement, rather than just something that might be.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 16 Jul 2018 @ 10:06am

    These notices are spam, literally

    So these notices are spam, literally:

    1) There's very little cost to send hundreds out at a time.

    2) There's no penalty for getting caught sending a false one. (How many times have you read a story about a spammer getting caught or punished? Once? Twice? And yet spam messages keep coming.)

    3) And of course, only a percentage of the spam has to "hit" to be effective. It doesn't sound like Digimarc cares about the misses as long as some content is taken down.

    4) Like good spamming-companies, they can charge by the message/ takedown. Who cares if 95% of their takedowns are wrong when they can bill the client for sending out 5,000 takedowns? Let Google worry about whether a takedown is legitimate or not.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
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

Close

Email This

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