from the they-really-get-it dept
Although DMCA takedown notices figure quite frequently here on Techdirt — especially abusive ones that use the system to remove material covered by fair use or even in the public domain — the industry that has grown up around them remains somewhat in the shadows. That’s what makes the site with the self-explanatory name “Takedown Piracy“, found via the 1709 Blog, so fascinating: it offers a glimpse of the world of DMCA takedowns as seen from the other side.
As you might expect, Takedown Piracy sends DMCA notices to sites that it believes are holding copyrighted material belonging to its clients. But what’s surprising is the scale of the takedown: one recent post on the site talks of “hammering these sites with DMCAs“, and later goes on to give an idea of what that entails:
Once word got around that [the #3 adult torrent site] Cheggit was complying, myself and at least one other removal company began monitoring the site daily resulting in 100s if not 1000s of torrents were being reported every day.
Since the site was “complying”, that presumably meant 1000s of torrents were also being taken down every day. Making extra work in this way lies at the heart of the company’s service, as this helpful FAQ explains:
Piracy is rampant and can often seem like you’re playing Whack-A-Mole. However, in this case you’re not just hitting the moles with rubber mallets but we’re dropping napalm bombs on the whole field. Part of the success of piracy sites can be attributed to them offering a superior surfing experience for users. As long as copyright owners do nothing, that experience will continue to be superior. We interfere with that experience by introducing frustration to the mix. Whether it’s the site owner frustrated at the amount of time he/she spends on removing content or the frustration the downloader feels at not being able to find free content, frustration is a very valuable tool to use in combating piracy, and we excel at that.
What’s fascinating here is the recognition that piracy sites offer a “superior experience for users” – compared to the official offerings. That confirms other evidence that what people who use unauthorized sources are really seeking is not free content — because often they must pay to access them — but the extra convenience those sites offer.
Which means, of course, that it is the copyright industries themselves, with their failure to provide that convenience, that are helping to drive potential customers to alternatives. It also implies that if the content companies managed to make their offerings competitive with pirate sites — that is, even more convenient — they would win back much of that lost business.
Significantly, that is what the Takedown Piracy service seems to advocate:
While we’re doing our thing, you’re able to adapt your business to the new digital world and have a chance for your new distribution models to flourish.
If even an avowed enemy of pirates can see what’s needed, why can’t the copyright companies themselves?