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

Google's Information On DMCA Takedown Abuse 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the hassle-your-way-to-the-top dept.
Binestar writes "According to a PC World article, Google has submitted a brief to New Zealand about its proposed copyright law (section 92A). "In its submission, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.""
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google's Information On DMCA Takedown Abuse

Comments Filter:
  • Well DUH!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig@hogger.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:01PM (#27249799) Homepage Journal
    Well DUH!!!

    In a world where executives of companies that lose money expect as a matter of course to be paid millions of dollars of bonuses, it is a given that a tool such as the DMCA **WILL** be abused to silence opposition or competition...

    • Re:Well DUH!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:58PM (#27250355)

      In a world where executives of companies that lose money expect as a matter of course to be paid millions of dollars of bonuses, it is a given that a tool such as the DMCA **WILL** be abused to silence opposition or competition...

      Which is why this needed to be pointed out to politicians who can't think ahead for themselves.

    • [...] it is a given that a tool such as the DMCA **WILL** be abused to silence opposition or competition...

      Abuse? ABUSE????

      Wait a minute.

      You mean that isn't its intended use????

  • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:10PM (#27249877)
    I didn't see any more detail in TFA than this:

    "In its submission, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.""

    57% are from businesses targeting competitors, and only 37% are invalid? What does that mean? 1.) That up to 20% of notices are from businesses who are catching their competitors in the act? 2.) Or is it not 37% of total notices? 3.) Or am I getting mixed up on something?

    • by larry bagina (561269) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:15PM (#27249939) Journal
      37% of total notices. The same people who go to the emergency room for belly button lint and call 911 when McDonald's is out of "chicken" mcnuggets probably file a DMCA letter at google when their friends draw a penis on their facebook wall.
    • 57% are from businesses targeting competitors, and only 37% are invalid?

      That is indeed poorly phrased, but I think it was that a third of all notices were demonstratably invalid. That might be all from the 57% of competition, and the other %20 is highly questionable but not factually wrong.

      Google probably didn't want to overstate anything, so that lobbyists would have nothing to prove wrong and convince lawmakers to ignore google completely. "They said all that 57% was invalid, but that's not true! We had one (coughalmostcough) get upheld in court a few years ago! They're l

    • 80% of all statistics are exaggerated...
    • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:14PM (#27250503)
      Aha! I found the info here [usc.edu], through a link provided in someone else's comment. TFA is a bit off, it seems to me. The 37% figure is notices about sites outside America. And there were three other types of "flaws":

      In this study, we traced the use of the Section 512 takedown process and considered how the usage patterns we found were likely to affect expression or other activities on the Internet. The second level of analysis grew out of the fact that we observed a surprisingly high incidence of flawed takedowns:

      • Thirty percent of notices demanded takedown for claims that presented an obvious question for a court (a clear fair use argument, complaints about uncopyrightable material, and the like);
      • Notices to traditional ISP's included a substantial number of demands to remove files from peer-to-peer networks (which are not actually covered under the takedown statute, and which an OSP can only honor by terminating the target's Internet access entirely); and
      • One out of 11 included significant statutory flaws that render the notice unusable (for example, failing to adequately identify infringing material).

      In addition, we found some interesting patterns that do not, by themselves, indicate concern, but which are of concern when combined with the fact that one third of the notices depended on questionable claims:

      • Over half--57%--of notices sent to Google to demand removal of links in the index were sent by businesses targeting apparent competitors;
      • Over a third--37%--of the notices sent to Google targeted sites apparently outside the United States.

      [bold added]

      • by holloway (46404) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:38PM (#27250679) Homepage
        Actually the source in this case is from the TCF submissions [tcf.org.nz] to do with New Zealand's 3-strike law Section 92A [creativefreedom.org.nz].

        Section 92A calls for internet disconnection based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny. There's no due process in this law, and it expands the definition of an ISP to include not just conventional ISPs but practically any shared internet connection or website -- meaning that libraries, schools, businesses, organisations are all now considered ISPs.

        There is no way of abdictating responsibility to experts right now (Eg. the courts) and these new "ISPs" are expected to decide on claims of (1) data forensics and (2) copyright law. Further these new "ISPs" now act under the threat of being secondary copyright infingers because they allow infringement on their network. In practice it's all weighted against due process and fairness.

        I'm from a group of artists against this law called the Creative Freedom Foundation [creativefreedom.org.nz]. This law was done in the name of protecting art and creativity but we don't want bad copyright law done in our name. As artists we're tryin to take care of society and what these ridiculous companies are pushing for. We ran a 'Blackout' campaign that was quite popular, and a Copywrong Song [creativefreedom.org.nz], and we've just launched a video series called What About Us? [creativefreedom.org.nz] with major NZ artists talking about how they don't want this law.

        In previous /. threads about this I talk about 10 big problems with Section 92A [slashdot.org].

        And we're not just trying to get this law repealed, but we're suggesting practical alternatives [creativefreedom.org.nz] to S92A.

        If you have any questions please post them in response to this comment. It may take me a while to respond to them though.

        Thanks!

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          The have written the law the way they have for one main reason, proof. it is virtually impossible to prove that a particular person has conducted copyright infringement unless a major investigation is undertaken. This is all about a complete absence of evidence, about the editable records of copyright investigators (paid upon a commission basis) and ISPs (the records are used to justify $50 odd dollars per month payments not as substantiation of criminal activity).

          Google also did pick up an interesting p

  • In Ancient Times (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:12PM (#27249901)

    There was a time when music was sold as sheet music. Somehow Joplin was making a $100,000 a week in the 1920's, even though it's fairly trivial to simply hand-copy someone-else's work.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir on this one, but copyright law is increasingly working more against society than in its interests, and this story just goes to prove that yet again. When laws hurt more than they help, they need to be changed or abolished.

    • by Conception (212279) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:18PM (#27249975)

      Not that I don't agree but your example doesn't take into account that now its fairly trivial to copy that sheet music and distribute it to thousands if not millions at no cost to the distributor in time or money.

    • by erroneus (253617)

      Thank you captain obvious. Copyright was originally designed to create a business model and has continued to now serving exactly the same end.

    • Re:In Ancient Times (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:24PM (#27250023) Homepage Journal

      Have you ever copied sheet music by hand? It's a pain in the ass. So it's no surprise that in a time when a photocopier did not exist people would willingly pay a small amount to avoid that tedium. I know my high school almost got in trouble for photocopying sheet music. We spent a day in the music room pulling all the copies and tossing them in the garbage. The extreme high cost of sheet music during my school days was a major contributing factor in copyright infringement. Gee, where have I heard this before?

      • by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@mind[ ]s.com ['les' in gap]> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:59PM (#27250363) Journal

        Have you ever copied sheet music by hand? It's a pain in the ass.

        You're doing it wrong.

      • Re:In Ancient Times (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:46PM (#27251147) Homepage

        I find a huge amount of sadness in this, after hearing for years and people saying:
        KIDS! Learn music!

        While the people producing sheet music reply: Only if you pay us one hundred, million dollars...

        The sad thing in that, is part of the reason why the local middle school near me killed their music program. When I went through(more then 15yrs ago) everything was photocopied in some form. Now it only seems that the highschools have a music program which is a terrible shame, and even those are on the verge of dying for the same reason.

        I know of a few preforming orchestra's here in Canada that are now dead due to the ever-ever-ever increasing costs of sheet music as well.

        • by rossz (67331)

          While the people producing sheet music reply: Only if you pay us one hundred, million dollars...

          And this is for music that's been in the public domain for hundreds of years. Except they got a copyright on their arrangement. It's the exact same arrangement that Beethoven wrote, but somehow they could get a copyright on it and you'll get in trouble for duplicating it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Cassini2 (956052)

          I was recently discussing the music copyright situation with my music teacher. We were looking at the copyright notice on the music book. Essentially, they were only selling a copy of the sheet music. They weren't actually selling the rights to play the music. Effectively, they were almost creating a misrepresentation case, in that why would you sell a music book to students, without giving them permission to play the music?

          You might want to check the copyright notices. You might find that not only ar

      • by Phroggy (441)

        Have you ever copied sheet music by hand? It's a pain in the ass.

        Without a level of technology that permits the use of photocopy machines, everything is a pain in the ass. In Joplin's time, people were used to it.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      How, exactly, does this story prove the law hurts more than it helps? It certainly proves that the law is abused, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the abuses outweigh all the good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cbiltcliffe (186293)

        ....but that doesn't necessarily mean that the abuses outweigh all the good.

        57% were businesses targeting competitors. I take that to mean that they were trying to shut down their competitor's production/sales, rather than having a legitimate beef against a product.

        If so, that means only 43% are legitimate claims, or even less if the 37% that aren't valid copyright claims isn't just a subset of the 57%.

        I'd say >57% abusive, 43% not abusive means that the abuses outweigh the good.

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          Yes, because every single event ever has the exact same value or harm to society. If a new law is passed that leads to 100 smiles and 99 murders, well 100 > 99, so it's good!

          • by Ashriel (1457949)

            Well that's a staw man argument if I've ever seen one.

            Smiles and Murders have nothing in common. They aren't even mutually exclusive. On the other hand, 57% of DMCA notices vs. 47% of DMCA notices is an apples to apples comparison.

            Maybe you could come up with a real example that uses an apples to apples comparison, where the abuse of the law is greater than the intended use, and yet it still has an overall positive effect.

            I didn't think so.

            Besides that, what's with the "please prove the law does more harm t

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by emjay88 (1178161)

          57% were businesses targeting competitors. I take that to mean that they were trying to shut down their competitor's production/sales, rather than having a legitimate beef against a product.

          That's a flawed interpretation, doesn't it make sense that a vast majority of claims were against competitors? If someone is breaching copyright on your products for commercial purposes, they are selling your product too, making them a competitor. That means that the other 43% are probably made up partially by the 37%, with the rest being valid claims against non-competitors, which to me says private entities (ie, not commercial ones).

          I find it surprising that there aren't more claims against competitors,

    • by cperciva (102828) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:26PM (#27250043) Homepage

      There was a time when music was sold as sheet music. Somehow Joplin was making a $100,000 a week in the 1920's, even though it's fairly trivial to simply hand-copy someone-else's work.

      Sheet music is cheaper than the cost of copying by hand. This doesn't mean that copyright laws were useless though -- without them, someone else could have set up their own printing press and started (cheaply) printing their own copies of Joplin's work.

      Until recently, the only marginally profitable (in the economic sense) form of copyright violation was mass reproduction, requiring extensive capital costs. This made it easy to enforce copyright laws: You can't sell many thousands of copies of anything without attracting attention.

      Everything changed when it became possible to make a profit by making a single illegal copy of something.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What Joplin are you referring to? Janis wasn't born until 1943 and Scott died in 1917. Neither made anything close to $5.2 million a year from what I can tell.

    • Re:In Ancient Times (Score:4, Informative)

      by matrixskp (629075) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:30PM (#27250105)

      When laws hurt more than they help, they need to be changed or abolished.

      Or in this case just not established in the first place. Thankfully the New Zealand Prime Minister has delayed the implementation of Section 92a and it may well be suspended. A big thank you has to go out to all those who took part in the Internet Blackout NZ [creativefreedom.org.nz]... blacking out NZ websites and profiles on popular social networking sites in protest of the proposed changes.

    • Somehow Joplin was making a $100,000 a week in the 1920's, even though it's fairly trivial to simply hand-copy someone-else's work.

      Funny, because Scott Joplin died in 1917.

      Even if hand-copying ragtime sheet music were trivial, which it is not, it was still more convenient to spend the 5 cents on an officially published copy of 'Maple Leaf Rag' than it was to spend 2 cents on some blank staff paper and three hours transcribing a copy borrowed from a friend.

  • "The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, stated that the stronger copyright laws, including the controversial section 92a, were required for New Zealand to be able to negotiate a free trade agreement with America."
    • Its easy to blame the yanks but if their requirements are the same for NZ and China then NZ must already be compliant.
      • by vux984 (928602)

        Its easy to blame the yanks but if their requirements are the same for NZ and China then NZ must already be compliant.

        "if their requirements are the same"

        They aren't.

    • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:35PM (#27250159)

      Intesting isn't it? I reckon if a whole lot of countries stopped pursuing free trade agreements with the US and instead pursued China and pegged their currencies to the Euro, the US would be jumping through hoops to woo back countries like New Zealand and Australia. It would be the end of draconian copyright laws and a whole bunch of other ills.

      I just don't get why everyone is still dealing in the greenback given the financial crisis. Sure it used to be dangerous to switch to euros (think 1st gulf war dangerous) but these days, who cares? Especially if China and Europe benefit from a switch, it may even force the US to finally pull it's head in.

      But it'll never happen....

  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:20PM (#27249993) Journal
    DMCA notices are filed under penalty of perjury. Has anybody, ever, even a single case, been punished for filing a false takedown?

    *crickets*
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by oldhack (1037484)
      Purjury is difficult to prosecute because you need to prove it to be willful or some such. Of course, I'm of slashdot school of legal philosophy AKA "talk outta ma ass".
    • Look up Venom Fang X on Youtube.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You need to follow up, and sadly most people don't want to bother. They would rather buckle then do the simple paperwork involved in rebutting a claim. If they do file, then person the sent the original DMCA goes away, and who want's to press charge at that point?
      well, I would but I'm not normal.

    • DMCA Thoughts (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Apple Acolyte (517892)
      That's a good question. I think the penalty of perjury clause serves as a mild deterrent, and I think to an extent it does work. It takes a pretty dishonest person to sign on the dotted line, under the penalty of perjury, things to which the person is attesting falsely. Of course, that doesn't stop unscrupulous individuals who use the same logic - that the penalty is really not enforced.

      I don't hate the DMCA like the vast majority of /. members do. I think legitimate copyrights, trademarks and patents dese
      • Re:DMCA Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:11PM (#27250473) Journal

        That's a good question. I think the penalty of perjury clause serves as a mild deterrent, and I think to an extent it does work. It takes a pretty dishonest person to sign on the dotted line, under the penalty of perjury, things to which the person is attesting falsely.

        The perjury clause is so useless as to be limited. I could send a DMCA request to anyone's provider, claiming that file X on their website infringed my copyright on work Y, and as long as I actually owned work Y, I would not have committed perjury -- even if I knew damn well file X had nothing to do with it.

        Every once in a while my organization has to send out a DMCA take down notice against those who are using our trademarks to sell counterfeit merchandise.

        Congratulations, your organization is a DMCA abuser. DMCA takedowns are for copyright violation, not trademark violation.

        it is very helpful to have a method within the law for protecting ownership rights short of always involving lawyers at substantial and on-going costs

        Indeed, it is helpful -- for abusers. The people abused, on the other hand, are shut down with no recourse other than to involve lawyers at substantial cost; the counternotice basically says "Meet me at high noon in Federal Court". Furthermore, if the abuser does sue, the DMCA provides the equivalent of an automatic restraining order, which, given the length of court cases, means the abuser essentially wins regardless of the outcome.

        • The perjury clause is so useless as to be limited. I could send a DMCA request to anyone's provider, claiming that file X on their website infringed my copyright on work Y, and as long as I actually owned work Y, I would not have committed perjury -- even if I knew damn well file X had nothing to do with it.

          And if you did that you would not be able to confirm that the site in question actually was violating your copyright, and assuming the host wasn't incompetent your take down notice would be rejected. Unless I'm misreading the scenario you're depicting.

          Congratulations, your organization is a DMCA abuser. DMCA takedowns are for copyright violation, not trademark violation.

          Ah good catch. I will note, however, that all the instances to which I previously referred also were instances of copyright violations, and in addition, I think that most (if not all) service providers treat trademark violations in the same manner they treat c

          • by russotto (537200)

            And if you did that you would not be able to confirm that the site in question actually was violating your copyright, and assuming the host wasn't incompetent your take down notice would be rejected. Unless I'm misreading the scenario you're depicting.

            The DMCA encourages (by providing safe harbor) the host to take the material down based on the takedown notice, even if the takedown notice is bogus. Some hosts check to see if it is sensible or not, most don't. My point is that there's no perjury provision

    • by davburns (49244)

      The DMCA notices I've seen only swear to be authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf, and/or that there is an exclusive license which the alleged file sharer doesn't have. The details about IP addresses, protocols, and timestamps are (at best) represented as a "good faith belief." It's never been clear to me if those sending the notices are making any claim that the

      Do you have a reference for your claim that the entire notice must be filed under penalty of perjury? I have some that are comple

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:38PM (#27250683) Journal
        I'm not sure if it is a statutory requirement or not; but the following language is extraordinarily common in DMCA takedown notices:

        "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

        From here [copyright.gov],

        "(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
        (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

        makes it sound as though the minimum requirements may be slightly looser. IANAL, though.
        • by Bazzargh (39195)

          I'm not sure if it is a statutory requirement or not; but the following language is extraordinarily common in DMCA takedown notices:

          "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

          It's common in part because Google's instructions [google.com] on how to submit a valid takedown notice tell you to write exactly that (section 6). Saves the lawyers on bot

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hengist (71116)

      >DMCA notices are filed under penalty of perjury. Has anybody, ever, even a single case,
      > been punished for filing a false takedown?

      As I understand it, the perjury clause refers to the statement of the notifier that they
      represent or are truly acting for the rights holder, not that what they claim is true. I
      think that only requires a "good faith" belief that the material they wish taken down is
      infringing.

    • by brit74 (831798)
      Yes, I'm reiterating what Zombie Ryushu (803103) said, but here's a link:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_MYyc-PtH4 [youtube.com]

      I'm sure there are other cases.
    • Re:So... (Score:4, Informative)

      by brit74 (831798) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @11:35PM (#27251409)
      Michael Crook hit with a lawsuit for fake DMCA takedowns
      http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2006/12/04/update-michael-crook-responds-to-eff/ [plagiarismtoday.com]

      Diebold paid $125,000 for false DMCA takedowns
      http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/diebold-inc-v-online-policy-group [citmedialaw.org]

      Universal: EFF SLAPPed us with dancing toddler DMCA lawsuit
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/04/universal-eff-slapped-us-with-dancing-toddler-dmca-lawsuit.ars [arstechnica.com]

      DMCA takedown backlash: EFF sues Viacom over Colbert parody clip
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2007/03/dmca-takedown-backlash-eff-sues-viacom-over-colbert-parody-clip.ars [arstechnica.com]
    • That's not the point. The point was that New Zealand was recently considering passing a silly law that would have had ISPs terminating people's accounts at the mere accusation of copyright infringement, supposedly because hardly anyone would make false claims simply to get innocent people cut off. Google is offering evidence to the contrary.

  • by Rangataua (820853) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @08:42PM (#27250211)
    The content of the Google submission to TCF can be found here [tcf.org.nz]. Some of the other submission (including the Auckland District Law Society and the Radio New Zealand submissions) are worth a read.
  • I thought that google liked the DCMA as it protects them from lawsuits and other more extensive harassment. As it is now, all the have to do is take down the content. If this wasn't there they would be overrun with lawsuits. The only thing it seems to fight are things that might hurt it's ad business.
    • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @10:54PM (#27251199)

      On every search page where they've removed results due to the DMCA, the following is placed (the only editing I have done is to the link that would link to the actual notice - it's different for each notice, but Chilling Effects doesn't always have the notice on file):

      In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act [google.com], we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint [chillingeffects.org] that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.

      Linking there does not seem to be supportive of the DMCA. Chilling Effects is surprisingly neutral, given it's project by several law schools and the EFF, but it's far from blind supportiveness from what I can see.

      (Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, nor am I American, so I may not know as much about this as someone else here.)

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @09:17PM (#27250533)
    Do you think this would be enough to force the DCMA to be kneecapped? Clearly this was not it's intended purpose so the law needs to change.
  • If these numbers turn out to be accurate, it shows rampant abuse of the DMCA-just like many of us predicted. It shows that over half the takedown notices are done for anti-competitive reasons and almost 40% of them are inaccurate and/or fradulent.

    My fear is that-that any law that is put forth to replace (fix?) the DMCA's problems might well more Draconian then the DMCA itself. It's as if the bad known is better then the possibly worse unknown

  • Telecommunications Carriers Forum [tcf.org.nz].

    Google's proposal [tcf.org.nz]. (Warning! .pdf, stab their eyes)

    Here's Google's citation to the numbers [usc.edu]. (Another .pdf, damn them)

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @11:25PM (#27251339)
    is businesses targeting their own customers - RIAA and MPAA.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan

Working...