Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Software Businesses Google The Internet United States Your Rights Online

Google Pulls Open Source CoreAVC Project Over DMCA Complaint 207

Posted by timothy
from the not-like-google-has-much-choice dept.
rippe77 writes "Google has taken down the open-source project CoreAVC for Linux due to a DMCA complaint. The CoreAVC codec is a commercial high-definition H.264 DirectShow filter for windows provided by CoreCodec Inc.. The CoreAVC for Linux project provided various patches for Linux applications (mplayer, MythTV, xine) to use these DirectShow decoder filters in Linux. The takedown is quite controversial, as the CoreAVC project did not provide any copyrighted material — only the means to use the DirectShow filters in Linux." (The takedown notice is not yet up at Chilling Effects, but Google's page has a link that will take you there when it is.)
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Pulls Open Source CoreAVC Project Over DMCA Complaint

Comments Filter:
  • by base3 (539820) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @08:55PM (#23296016)
    They drop projects faster than Paris Hilton's panties in the face of legal threats. Version control over Freenet or the like would be a good start.
  • by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @08:58PM (#23296034)
    If Google have received a notice then they have no option but to take down the site. Someone needs to file a counter [chillingeffects.org] notice [chillingeffects.org], then Google will reinstate them.
    • I keep thinking "Google is a big company now... do they really not have a legal department to handle BS like this yet?"
      • by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:10PM (#23296114)
        The law is clear: they get a notice they have to take down the material in question. Of course they have a legal department, and that department will be telling them to take it down.
        • by BobPaul (710574) * on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:16PM (#23296148) Journal
          Well, they don't *have* to take it down. It's just that if the DMCA complaint is valid, then Google and the person responsible for posting the content can both be held liable if Google doesn't.

          From a legal standpoint, it looks like it's wise for Google to always take stuff down. However, from a customer retention standpoint, it might be wise for Google to occasionally refuse when DMCA notices are blatantly inaccurate.
          • by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:29PM (#23296232)

            Well, they don't *have* to take it down. It's just that if the DMCA complaint is valid, then Google and the person responsible for posting the content can both be held liable if Google doesn't.
            IANAL, but it's not clear to me that Google can relinquish safe harbor status for one complaint without also relinquishing it for all other complaints. Far better to let the user deal with it - all they have to do is post a counter notice. It's not hard. Why would or should Google risk themselves just to save a user from having to post a counter notice?

            From a legal standpoint, it looks like it's wise for Google to always take stuff down. However, from a customer retention standpoint, it might be wise for Google to occasionally refuse when DMCA notices are blatantly inaccurate.
            That is true only if there are other ISPs that refuse to take down content. I'm not aware of any.
            • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Sunday May 04, 2008 @11:29PM (#23296894) Homepage Journal

              it's not clear to me that Google can relinquish safe harbor status for one complaint without also relinquishing it for all other complaints. Far better to let the user deal with it - all they have to do is post a counter notice.
              And the user eats all costs of business interruption while the disputed content stays down for a minimum of two weeks (10 business days).
              • by RedWizzard (192002) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @11:56PM (#23297066)

                it's not clear to me that Google can relinquish safe harbor status for one complaint without also relinquishing it for all other complaints. Far better to let the user deal with it - all they have to do is post a counter notice.
                And the user eats all costs of business interruption while the disputed content stays down for a minimum of two weeks (10 business days).
                Yes. If the cost is really that high the user is free to sue to recover those costs. The law sucks, I'm not defending it. I just don't see why people expect Google to assume the risks.
                • by tepples (727027)

                  If the cost is really that high the user is free to sue to recover those costs.

                  The service provider is statutorily immune. From 17 USC 512(g) [copyright.gov]:

                  a service provider shall not be liable to any person for any claim based on the service provider's good faith disabling of access to, or removal of, material or activity claimed to be infringing or based on facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent, regardless of whether the material or activity is ultimately determined to be infringing.

                  Did you mean sue the party who served the notice?

              • And the user eats all costs of business interruption while the disputed content stays down for a minimum of two weeks (10 business days).
                If the content were that important to a business, it would probably make sense to pay $10/year for a domain, and roughly $20/month for hosting.

                Rather than relying on someone else who can take your content down at any time for any reason.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by tepples (727027)

                  If the content were that important to a business, it would probably make sense to pay $10/year for a domain, and roughly $20/month for hosting.
                  The $20/mo hosting provider still has to take down the content for two weeks to keep its own safe harbor under the DMCA or foreign counterparts.
              • by nguy (1207026)
                And the user eats all costs of business interruption while the disputed content stays down for a minimum of two weeks (10 business days).

                That's the law. It may be a bad law, but it's from our elected representatives. Google is just complying with the law.
        • After looking at it more, I realized I was assuming this was a Google-owned project, not that they were just hosting it, so you're right.
    • Torrent? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JonTurner (178845)
      Or post a bittorrent link with the word "banned by DMCA" in the title, ensuring it will NEVER go away and may in fact increase distribution by increasing demand.

      It's 1st year economics: scarcity creates demand.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jlarocco (851450)

        It's 1st year economics: scarcity creates demand.

        It's 1st year economics, and you managed to fuck it up anyway. Good job.

        Supply and demand do not cause each other. In other words, an item being scarce does not imply many people will want it. It implies that the people who *do* want it *may* have to pay a lot, but it doesn't automatically mean those people exist.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's 1st year economics: scarcity creates demand.
          It's not 1st year economics - it's 1st year marketing. Keep something scarce, make it harder to get, increase buzz, increase demand. See, for example, the Wii. Or Gmail accounts once upon a time.
    • by v1 (525388) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:16PM (#23296154) Homepage Journal
      Correct me if I'm wrong here, but they do not have no option here. The safe harbor thing basically says if you take it down immediately they can't sue you. So if they are not in the right to ASK you to take it down, you can tell them where to stick it. (and maybe then they sue you anyway, but that's always how it goes)

      Just taking it down is of course the safer route, but them you get into the use of takedown notices as a scare tactic, sent out in many more cases than are appropriate, and still getting almost everything taken down.

      Insta-caving to takedown notices just encourages them to abuse them more tomorrow, so this should not be looked upon as a good thing. Sure, if they sent YOU a takedown notice, maybe it would be prudent to take it down since you can't really lift a lawsuit even if you ARE in the right, but then there's even that 1% chance they find against you and you lose your shirt. Google on the other hand, has deep pockets and real lawyers on retainer that can evaluate a takedown notice, determine if it's something they need to comply with or not, and tell them where to shove it if they can.

      • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:22PM (#23296198) Journal
        You have to look at it like Google's legal team will be looking at it: Pick your battles! While this might clearly not be right, is it the one that we want to take to court? What are the 14 chess moves if we leave it up? How will this come out in court and will it hurt our position in ANY other legal situations?

        What Google really needs here is someone to tell them Hey, put that back up! here's the counter DMCA notice! Then Google risks little in terms of far reaching results of putting it back. That is the way the DMCA works, so somebody on the project should do that, pronto, asap, yesterday even.
        • You have to look at it like Google's legal team will be looking at it
          Exactly.

          Google's legal team works for Google. Google is in business to make money, not get wrapped up in lawsuits about idealism rather than profit.

          Yes, I know! It's hard to believe.

          And if I had the private number to Larry's and Sergey's yacht, I'd call them and give them a piece of my mind.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Barraketh (630764)

            And if I had the private number to Larry's and Sergey's yacht, I'd call them and give them a piece of my mind.

            And you would say... what exactly? Google is doing nothing more than obeying the law. The law very clearly states that in order to have 'safe harbor' protection from copyright infringement lawsuits, Google must take down the content, and it's up to the person who put it up in the first place to challenge the DMCA notice.

            I don't think Google could fight this particular battle even if they wanted to. I'm not entirely sure about this point, but I think DMCA is an all or nothing deal - you either don't m

            • by russotto (537200) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @11:24PM (#23296862) Journal

              I don't think Google could fight this particular battle even if they wanted to. I'm not entirely sure about this point, but I think DMCA is an all or nothing deal - you either don't monitor any content, or you monitor all of it, so if they don't obey this DMCA notice, they're liable for all the other copyrighted material they host/link to.


              Actually, no. The DMCA does not create any liability. Whatever protection from liability existed before the DMCA still exists. See 17 USC 512(l) This protection was actually quite substantial; the main reason the copyright interests supported the DMCA is because in exchange for something they didn't actually have (liability for online hosting providers and search engines), they got something they wanted (takedowns outside the judicial process).

              Further, failure to act on one DMCA notice should not expose the provider to liability with respect to other unrelated claims of infringement; it would take some twisted legal maneuvering to get that one across (or perhaps a judge with the same motivations as the district judge in the Verizon case). The only way they could lose DMCA safe harbor for everything is if they didn't designate an agent to receive the notices.

              So yes, a service provider could receive, e.g., a notice from the James Bond people for "PussyGalore.jpg", check and see that it's a picture of your cats, and tell the James Bond people to stuff it, and still be protected by the DMCA safe harbor for "Octopussy.mpg" which turned out to be the actual movie.

      • Google can give up safe harbor protection but it's not clear to me (IANAL) that they can do so for a single complaint. And why should they? All the user has to do is to post a counter notice. Why should Google expose themselves to possible liability just to save a user having to post a notice?

        Insta-caving to takedown notices just encourages them to abuse them more tomorrow, so this should not be looked upon as a good thing. Sure, if they sent YOU a takedown notice, maybe it would be prudent to take it down since you can't really lift a lawsuit even if you ARE in the right, but then there's even that 1% chance they find against you and you lose your shirt. Google on the other hand, has deep pockets and real lawyers on retainer that can evaluate a takedown notice, determine if it's something they need to comply with or not, and tell them where to shove it if they can.

        The copyright owner can still sue the user regardless of whether Google honors the takedown notice or not. Google refusing in no way protects the user from liability, it only increases Google's potential liability. Ye

      • by rtb61 (674572)
        Google is an advertising and marketing company. Typical publishers are major users of advertising, not only to sell their content but also buried within their content. Google is coming under pressure because growth is slowing even with overseas expansion. They are becoming very sensitive to the demands of publishers and are basically just starting to roll over at every demand made.

        Their feel good marketing campaign which gained them a lot of market acceptance is losing it's tarnish and they are being expo

  • Where Else? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:00PM (#23296050) Journal
    Google and SourceForge may be convienent, but US coders should really start to consider hosting in countries that do not have DMCA-esque laws.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aim2future (773846)

      And US citizens should consider a revolution against a system that can create things as insane as the DMCA.

      Earlier I wanted to move to US, but with the incredible development of the law system and its abuse of control this is not an attractive option any more.

      DRM [wikipedia.org] is DefectiveByDesign [slashdot.org] , but DMCA [wikipedia.org] is a law so insane that it is very hard to understand that a US revolution has not happened yet. The problem is probably that the coders who are aware about the problem is such a minority, despite that the h [freenerd.org]

      • by karmatic (776420)
        The DMCA is very much broken, but this takedown notice was not in keeping with company policy. An employee got a little ahead of himself.

        The US future may be fixable, but between the food shortages, and the housing crisis, our economy (and our freedoms) aren't getting fixed anytime soon.

        Of course, we're in good company - given the 681 TRILLION [bloomberg.com] derivatives market, it's going to take the entire world economy with us.

        Ow.
  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:13PM (#23296128)
    The DMCA is starting to rear one of its real intent. Its use of takedown notices to suppress Linux and other OSS operating systems ability to get advanced technology because if the OSS OSes gain traction they could lose the control they have over multimedia and users could regain fair use rights.

    Hopefully, this project made it to the mplayer people in Hungary, or PLF. So it will still be availible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)
      That's insane.
      • by Compholio (770966)

        The DMCA is starting to rear one of its real intent. Its use of takedown notices to suppress Linux and other OSS operating systems ability to get advanced technology because if the OSS OSes gain traction they could lose the control they have over multimedia and users could regain fair use rights.

        That's insane.

        Why's that? It seems reasonable to me, F/OSS frequently pushes the "information wants to be free" idea, so I can see companies confusing that with "these people want to 'steal' 'our' content".

      • The more FOSS software out there the less piracy, the smaller the place for these goons, ever wonderd why there isnt much server piracy?
    • by Comsn (686413) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:34PM (#23296264)
      these patches were already sent to the MPlayer project.
      but were rejected for various reasons.

      here is the post which announced the coreavc-linux project:
      http://lists.mplayerhq.hu/pipermail/mplayer-dev-eng/2007-July/052959.html [mplayerhq.hu]

      the coreavc codec is still faster than ffmpeg's ffh264 decoder. ffdshow has a multithreaded ffh264, but it was rejected by ffmpeg developers.

      ffmpeg has a GSoC project for multithreaded decoding of most codecs.

      http://code.google.com/soc/2008/ffmpeg/appinfo.html?csaid=9FD2BF705A5D5DBB [google.com]
    • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @10:48PM (#23296688) Homepage
      Wow, how many conspiracy theories you managed to roll into one. With the abundance of free hosting, it's easy to do hit-n-run copyright infringement. It means that one uploads clearly violating content for others to download as long as it lasts until it's taken down. Sending a "we believe you're infringing on our copyright" notice to those uploaders is futile because it'd go unanswered and would only extend the time from something is put up until it can be taken down, if the contact information is valid at all. I've seen plenty comments here on how they wish the SCO vs. IBM case (and Novell etc.) go faster, well it doesn't only work to your benefit.

      In order to respond to how easy it's to put information up, they made it easy to take it down as well. I bet most DMCA takedowns go entirely unnoticed because whoever caused it never knew, cared or knew it was correct. We only hear about those cases where someone protests a takedown. It's really easy, there's no burden of proof or anything. All it takes is for someone to say "Hey I'm not a runner and I disagree with the takedown" and the ISPs must put it back up ASAP. I think that's a reasonable arrangement. The fact-checking could be a little better at times but some people here on slashdot want to put them in a catch 22 - without downloading a suspected song they don't have good enough proof, and if they do download suspected songs and it turns out they don't own it they're filthy pirates too.

      If this is abuse, send a counter-notice. Get some precedent that this kind of code isn't covered by the DMCA. Then use that next time to show that they knew the takedown would be invalid, and take it from there. There's no need to go freaky over getting a DMCA notice. As far as I know, they can only send it once since the counternotice is basicly a STFU or sue response.
    • by karmatic (776420)
      Its use of takedown notices to suppress Linux and other OSS operating systems ability to get advanced technology because if the OSS OSes gain traction they could lose the control they have over multimedia and users could regain fair use rights.

      Um, no.

      The takedown had nothing at all to do with Microsoft, Linux, or DRM. CoreCodec has no problem with "fair use" rights, and uses no DRM in their decoders. So, since CoreAVC doesn't support DRM on Windows, why would it matter if it's ported to Linux?
  • by hcmtnbiker (925661) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:19PM (#23296178)
    Pretty simple really. All they had to do was give it a name more like "MPEG-4 AVC for Linux" and they would have been ok. It's really pretty simple, they DONT have the right to use their name in a product that isn't truly related to anything the CoreCodec company.
    • Dont use Trademark/Copywritten name in OSS name

      PROTIP: When you say "copywrite" (and the past participle "copywritten"), and you're not talking about advertisement text [wikipedia.org], that makes you look uneducated. Copyright statutes, such as Title 17, United States Code, consistently spell it "copyrighted", not "copywritten".

      </national-socialist>

    • by delt0r (999393)
      But what about all the patents? mpeg-la licenses are not cheap. After 2010 IIRC you are even supose to pay for content encoded in AVC.

      Trademark is the least of there problems.
    • by karmatic (776420)
      It had nothing to do with trademarks. An overzealous employee was under the (mistaken) belief that reverse-engineering is illegal.
  • by DimmO (1179765) on Sunday May 04, 2008 @09:47PM (#23296326)
    http://www.corecodec.com/forums/index.php?topic=981.msg5695 [corecodec.com]
    it looks like coreavc are looking to work with the project to get it all legal and hunky-dorey.
    • Mod parent up (Score:5, Informative)

      by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:03AM (#23297416) Homepage Journal

      Again without going into all the details (but your pushing ;-)... this is not about copyright (even thought the DMCA deals with that), this is mostly about reverse engineering without permission under the DMCA... by us giving Alan permission.... problem solved.


      Seems there was evidence the writer of CoreAVC-for-linux reverse engineered their codec to get his patch working, they have since given him permission to do so, the DMCA take-down has been withdrawn.

      A company not only defending their rights honestly, but then when malice is not shown backing off and giving their blessing to an OSS project, back off /. seems these are the good guys.
      • by Ngwenya (147097)

        Seems there was evidence the writer of CoreAVC-for-linux reverse engineered their codec to get his patch working, they have since given him permission to do so,

        Wait a minute. Since when was reverse engineering illegal under the DMCA? Specifically, reverse engineering in order to promote interoperability.

        It may well be that the DMCA produces such an effect - in which case this is an even more dreadful piece of legislation (just rename it the Competition Avoidance Act, and be done).

        In the EU, the Software Dir

      • Re:Mod parent up (Score:5, Informative)

        by karmatic (776420) on Monday May 05, 2008 @05:04AM (#23298338)
        Seems there was evidence the writer of CoreAVC-for-linux reverse engineered their codec to get his patch working, they have since given him permission to do so, the DMCA take-down has been withdrawn.

        Although it was reverse-engineered, US case law protects the right to reverse-engineer. The DMCA also offers specific exemptions for reverse-engineering for the purpose of creating interoperable software, provided such use is not for the purposes of a "circumvention device". The takedown was the result of an overzealous employee, and should not have happened.

        An official statement will be coming out later today.
  • If they took down the project based on an unfair DMCA claim, just file a counter claim [umsystem.edu].
  • I find myself relieved that at least this DMCA complaint actually has something to do with technical copyright controls, on some level at least. Not about a security vulnerability, or making printer cartridges, or a person's resume.
  • Something is fishy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    First off a quickie status update: The user "BetaBoy" on coreavc forums has stated that CoreAVC has revoked the DCMA notice, and granted the projects lead developer permission to continue the project.

    He has also stated that this was not so much about copyright infringement, but reverse engineering the codec without permission.

    The DCMA takedown notice (which was just today posted to Chill Effects) references "links to copyrighted code". Yet Betaboy makes reference to this being about "reverse engineering wit

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

Working...