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."

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: automated filters, dmca, takedowns
Companies: digimarc, google


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. 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.


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

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