Long time reader?I don't have anything to add to the thread except that I think you should pursue any and all legal options. Too often we see false DMCA takedowns reversed with a "oh, sorry, my bad" when called on it. You can probably quantify to some extent the financial losses due to the removal from the search results, use that as a starter cudgel and work upwards.
I'd love to challenge this patent, much of what it discusses was demonstrated in 1991 by the UMD HCI group (See Dynamic Queries: database searching by direct manipulation, http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/pubs/video92.shtml).
Reading about this caused me to wonder: could a government issue a warrant or subpoena for the users who have certain hashes in their accounts? Can you send a DMCA takedown request based on "knowing" the hash or series of hashes for a given allegedly copyrighted file?
As a dropbox user, the thing they've gotten right is the dead simplicity of sync-ing data. They seem to be blowing any positive buzz from that on their privacy practices and this dropship thing.
I had a neat idea for a business about five years ago. Pulled together a business plan, started writing code, put together a demo. Potential investor sees it and points to several patents and asks how I'm going to get around the patents. After checking the patents and confirming that they did potentially cover the product, I killed it entirely. The patent holder refused to license the patents, and since I know "knew" of the patents, I'd be potentially liable for the treble damages. It wasn't worth my time or money to develop the product further just so the patent holder could appear later on and paint me as some sort of thief and grab whatever profits the product had earned.
To date the patent holder (who wasn’t the inventor of record, just the current “owner” of the “intellectual property”) hasn’t released a product or service implementing the patent.
This wasn’t some sort of life–saving device. No one is going to miss another advertising platform. I’ve moved on, though the investor contacts me once a year to ask if I am still working on that product. The patent holder has lost whatever income he could have received had he licensed the patent.
I’m not entirely anti–patent, but patent–holders should be required to provide a reference implementation, and required to license the patent, especially if they’re not actually implementing the process it describes. The current system is such a nightmare that 1) I can't risk searching the patent database to actually learn anything even if I wanted to legitimately license the patent because 2) patent holders are far more interested in litigation than licensing and 3) it’s far too easy to get patents on obvious software processes because the USPTO doesn’t have the skills to do a Google search.
More and more I’m convinced that Google should simply purge newspapers from the index. If papers and other media want to show up in Google's search results, or on Google News, then let them opt-in. No charge. But no free ride either.
Kodak did this in the 90s with their first photo sharing site, which they then shut down when they bought Ofoto. While I understand the business logic (providing storage for "free" only makes sense if there’s enough business transactions to pay for it), it will drive potential customers away. I wonder if the acquisition costs for new customers or re-acquiring those who leave because of this change are less or greater than the ongoing storage costs (physical disk + systems and staff to manage it + bandwidth to distribute photos).