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In the News


Nuking a Facebook Page on Bogus Copyright Grounds is Easy [via TorrentFreak]

Andy, TorrentFreak, March 24, 2014
Abstract: "Sending a DMCA complaint to any site is relatively simple, but how easy is it for a giant such as Facebook to be tricked by an imposter into taking a whole page down? According to both victims and perpetrators, it's very easy indeed."

Needless to say, Chilling Effects is interested in providing the raw matierials to examine takedown abuse in the aggregate.

Eric Holder Answers Question About Kim Dotcom Prosecution, Mike Masnick, TechDirt, May 09, 2013
Abstract: Attorney General Eric Holder was in New Zealand for a meeting of Attorneys General from the US, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the UK. Radio New Zealand got to meet up with Holder and after asking him about the meeting proceeded to ask him about the Megaupload case (mp3), which the interviewer noted was of great interest to New Zealanders. Holder, in his usual fashion, answers with generalities that don't actually answer the questions being asked.

Textbook Publisher Pearson Takes Down 1.5 Million Teacher And Student Blogs With A Single DMCA Notic, Tim Cushing, TechDirt, October 15, 2012
Abstract: If there's one thing we've seen plenty of here at Techdirt, it's the damage a single DMCA takedown notice can do. From shuttering a legitimate ebook lending site to removing negative reviews to destroying a user's Flickr account to knocking a copyright attorney's site offline, the DMCA notice continues to be the go-to weapon for copyright defenders. Collateral damage is simply shrugged at and the notices continue to fly at an ever-increasing pace. Textbook publisher Pearson set off an unfortunate chain of events with a takedown notice issued aimed at a copy of Beck's Hoplessness Scale posted by a teacher on one of Edublogs' websites (You may recall Pearson from such other related copyright nonsense as The $180 Art Book With No Pictures and No Free Textbooks Ever!). The end result? Nearly 1.5 million teacher and student blogs taken offline by Edublogs' host, ServerBeach. James Farmer at fills in the details.

partly cloudy

The RIA of Japan Suggests ISPs Could Avoid Liability by Monitoring Users' Downloads

"enigmax", TorrentFreak, June 24, 2012
Abstract: Several music rights groups including the Recording Industry Association of Japan say they have developed a system capable of automatically detecting unauthorized music uploads before they even hit the Internet. In order to do that though, Internet service providers are being asked to integrate the system into their networks. . . .
The system is being promoted as a benefit to ISPs, in the sense that once installed (and licensed at a cost of around $600 per month) they can potentially avoid being held liable for copyright infringements carried out by their customers.

Google's refusal to take down anti-Muslim Video driven by fears for safe Harbor, Robert Cringely,, September 17, 2012
Abstract: Tech journalist Robert Cringely speculates that Google's refusal so far to take down the highly controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video from YouTube in the United States may be driven in part by the fear that selective policing of YouTube on the part of Google might affect its "safe harbor" under the DMCA.


DMCA Scattershot Hits Lessig Copyright Presentation

Ryan Paul, Ars Technica, April 29, 2009
Abstract: Lawrence Lessig, the well-known legal scholar and copyright reform advocate who founded Creative Commons, was surprised to discover that Warner Music issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice against one of his presentations on YouTube.

Scientology Fights Critics with 4000 DMCA Takedown Notices, Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, September 08, 2008
Abstract: A huge trove of critical videos of Scientology was targeted for takedown late last week by a group called American Rights Counsel. The group sent more than 4,000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube and claimed that every video infringed on its copyrights, according to the EFF.


DMCA "Repeat Infringers": Scientology Critic's Account Reinstated after Counter-Notification

Wendy Seltzer, June 06, 2008
Abstract: The Scientology critic known as “Wise Beard Man” returned to YouTube this week after successfully filing counter-notifications to copyright claims that had earlier been made against his account. The takedown and delayed return illuminate another of the lesser-known shoals of the DMCA safe harbor, the 512(i)(1)(A) “repeat infringers” consideration.


Air Force DMCA-Bombs YouTube

Wendy Seltzer, from a report at Wired's Threat Level, March 07, 2008
Abstract: It's cyber war! Lawyers representing the Air Force's elite electronic warriors have sent YouTube a DMCA takedown notice demanding the removal of the 30-second spot the Air Force created to promote its nascent Cyber Command. We'd uploaded the video to share with THREAT LEVEL readers.


Better Know a Lawsuit

Andy Gass, Samuelson Clinic, Boalt Hall, March 27, 2007
Abstract: Last week, the authors of a short video parodying “The Colbert Report” filed suit against Viacom, corporate parent to the show’s network and no stranger to enforcement actions in its own right. The alleged offense: telling YouTube to take down the clip, “Stop the Falsiness,” when Viacom knew or should have known that excerpted selections from the TV show did not infringe copyrighted material but instead amounted to “self-evident fair use.”

partly cloudy

RIAA Refuses to Share Even After Verdict in Defendant's Favor

Niki R. Woods, Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic - Boalt Hall, February 23, 2007
Abstract: In a move to alleviate some of the damage done to its future prospects of winning on file sharing infringement cases, the RIAA decided to appeal the attorneys’ fees awarded to the prevailing defendant in a copyright infringement claim.


Turkey with a Side of DMCA Abuses

Elizabeth Gonsiorowski, Brooklyn Law School, November 16, 2006
Abstract: After being threatened with a DMCA takedown notice, an online deal site removed Best Buy's prices from their online price list.


Quantifying the DMCA's Chill: A forthcoming report

November 22, 2005
Abstract: Two members of the Chilling Effects team today released a preliminary report on their research into the use of the DMCA notice and takedown process. In an executive summary of a paper to appear this spring, Jennifer M. Urban of the USC Gould School of Law and Laura Quilter of the University of California-Berkeley (Boalt Hall) report on a disturbing number of legal flaws in so-called "DMCA notices"--which result in online materials being pulled from the Internet, generally without notice to the target. Urban and Quilter studied a sample of nearly 900 notices collected by the Chilling Effects project, and discovered that a third of them demanded removal when the target had a clear legal defense. The full research paper will appear in the March, 2006 edition of the Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal.


Free Speech Vindicated in OPG v. Diebold

Wendy Seltzer, September 30, 2004

In a victory for free speech and transparency in electronic voting debates, Judge Jeremy Fogel has ruled that Diebold should pay damages and attorneys' fees for its knowing misuse of the DMCA's takedown provisions. Decision here.

Federal Court Broadens DMCA Safe Harbors, Paul Festa, C|Net, July 21, 2004
Abstract: Attorneys for a wide range of Internet companies may be in for a surprise with a little-noticed federal ruling on DMCA immunity.

How Liberty Was Lost on the Internet, Christian Ahlert, sp!ked-IT, June 01, 2004
Abstract: An author tests the boundaries of the notice and takedown procedures by posting public domain material and sending a bogus complaint against herself to ISPs.


Unsafe Harbors: Abusive DMCA Subpoenas and Takedown Demands

Wendy Seltzer, Electronic Frontier Foundation, September 26, 2003

The DMCA has been used to invade the privacy of Internet users, harass Internet service providers, and chill online speech. The subpoena and takedown powers of Section 512 are not limited to cases of proven copyright infringement, and are exercised without a judge's review. The following is a small sampling of abuse, overreaching, and mistakes in the use of Section 512(h) subpoenas, Section 512(c)(3)(A) notices, and equivalents. Judicial oversight could curb these abuses without interfering with copyright enforcement.


ACLU Represents Student in Download Case, AP, Yahoo! LAUNCH - News, December 02, 2003
Abstract: The ACLU filed a motion to quash an RIAA subpoena for the identity of a college student accused of violating copyright.

Electronic Voting Firm Drops Legal Case Against Free Speech Advocates , Rachel Konrad / AP Wire, San Jose Mercury News, December 01, 2003
Abstract: After issuing numerous cease-and-desist notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Diebold, Inc., has decided to withdraw those notices and not to sue on the DMCA. Diebold had threatened to sue voting rights activists who publish leaked documents about the alleged security breaches of electronic voting.

Student Will Not Be Disciplined for Memos , Zachary M. Seward, The Harvard Crimson, November 24, 2003
Abstract: Harvard administration has decided not to punish an undergraduate who had posted the Diebold email archive and been forced by Harvard administration to remove it.

Kucinich Requests House Judiciary Committee Hearing Kucinich Requests House Judiciary Committee Hear, Doug Gordon, Representative Kucinich's Press Release, November 21, 2003
Abstract: Rep. and Democratic presidential nominee candidate Dennis Kucinich has requested a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Diebold's controversial use of the DMCA.

Diebold C&D ruling coming soon,, November 18, 2003
Abstract: Judge Jeremy Fogel is expected to release a ruling this week on Diebold's controversial use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to shut down activists' postings of the infamous Diebold email archive.

Caught by the Act: Digital Copyright Law Ensnaring Businesses, Individuals Over Fair Use, Frank Ahrens, Washington Post, November 12, 2003
Abstract: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been used in a wide variety of cases, regarding printer cartridges, garage door openers, voting machine manufacturers, and electronic dogs.

File Sharing Pits Copyright Against Free Speech, John Schwartz, New York Times, November 03, 2003
Abstract: Diebold, an electronic voting machines company, has used copyright law to attempt to regain control over copies of its internal memos that were released on the Internet. Protestors and voting rights activists claim that use of the documents is justified by free speech and fair use, because of the importance of the technology to the democratic process.

College Removes Diebold Memos, Matthew Fitting, The Phoenix: Swarthmore College's Online Student Newspaper, October 23, 2003
Abstract: Diebold has asked Swarthmore College to take down network access for users accused of hosting internal memos. Diebold claims that posting those memos violates its copyright, and sent a cease and desist notice to Swarthmore under the DMCA (17 USC s.512, the ISP safe harbor provisions).

Music to My Peers, Chris Marlowe, Hollywood Reporter, October 22, 2003
Abstract: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has stepped into legally uncharted waters in its use of the DMCA's section 512(h) subpoena powers.

Students Fight E-Vote Firm, Kim Zetter, Wired News, October 21, 2003
Abstract: Students at Swarthmore have responded to Diebold's cease and desist notices by engaging in electronic civil disobedience. After an unidentified person released some of Diebold's internal memos describing flaws in its system, people around the country have posted those memos as part of a campaign to heighten awareness over potential threats to the voting process. In response, Diebold has sent out numerous cease and desist notices to posters' ISPs, claiming copyright infringement. Swarthmore students have promised to fight attempts to stifle this information by organizing students to re-post the information as soon as another student is forced to take it down.

Pattern develops in DMCA charges, CNet, June 04, 2003
Abstract: operator Derek Gendron says he didn't see anything wrong with posting for sale the discontinued sewing patterns he'd found in the trash heaps near some Jo-Ann craft shops. Pattern companies invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which shields Internet service providers from liability if they comply with takedown requests. It seems the long arm of the DMCA, which has been used to crack down on file-swappers, printer cartridge makers and font creators, is now reaching into the competitive world of sewing patterns.

RIAA apologizes for erroneous letters, Declan McCullagh, Cnet, May 13, 2003
Abstract: The RIAA said Tuesday that a temporary worker was responsible for firing off legal notifications last week that invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act without confirming that any copyrighted files were actually being offered for download. "We have sent two dozen withdrawal notices--all appear related to this particular temp," the RIAA said in a statement. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."

AOL's Jekyll and Hyde act (RIAA v. Verizon), Farhad Manjoo, Salon, February 10, 2003
Abstract: The world's biggest Internet provider is also the world's biggest media company. As the entertainment industry prosecutes users who share music, will AOL take a stand?

Retailers Wield Copyright Law Against Shopping Sites, Brian Krebs, Washington Post Online, November 20, 2002
Abstract: Several national retailers, citing Internet and intellectual property law, last week threatened to sue consumer Web sites that revealed the retailers' sales prices in advance of their official unveiling. ...Wal-Mart and other retailers demanded that several Web sites remove the prices, claiming copyright infringement. Critics of the move pointed out that long-established copyright law does not prohibit a Web site from posting established facts.

Big Retailers Squeeze FatWallet, Brian McWilliams, Wired News, November 20, 2002
Abstract: After receiving legal threats from Best Buy, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart, FatWallet removed several user postings in its Hot Deals section.

Record Labels Want 4 Internet Providers to Block Music Site, Amy Harmon, New York Times, August 17, 2002
Abstract: Testing out a tactic to combat online piracy, a group of record companies asked a judge yesterday to order four major Internet service providers to block Americans from viewing a China-based Web site that offers thousands of copyrighted songs free of charge.

Vivendi sues ISP over online games, David Becker, ZDNet News, April 08, 2002
Abstract: Media conglomerate Vivendi Universal has sued Internet Gateway claiming online gaming software (bnetd) distributed by the company infringes on copyrights for Vivendi games.

Service Providers as Speech Police, Associated Press, April 07, 2002
Abstract: A 1998 federal law meant to combat digital piracy is increasingly being used to challenge free speech online as well.

Church v Google, round 2, John Hiler, Microcontent News, March 22, 2001
Abstract: John Hiler notes that Google has reinstated, but editorializes why the core issue has not changed.

How the Church of Scientology is forcing Google to censor its critics, John Hiler, Microcontent News, March 21, 2002

EFF backs ISP in online gaming dispute, David Becker, CNET, March 12, 2002

Analysis of BNETD and Blizzard, Ernest Miller, Lawmeme, February 26, 2002

Content Owners Making New DMCA Claims; Gnutella Sites, SDMI Expert All Get Letters, Mark Cutler, E-Commerce Law Daily - The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., April 27, 2001
Abstract: Fresh from courtroom victories against music file-sharing service Napster, digital content owners are looking for their next meal. The Motion Picture Association of America has sent letters in recent weeks to several Internet service providers, notifying them of possible copyright-infringing activities by their subscribers through their use of the Gnutella file-sharing software. Meanwhile, the Secure Digital Music Initiative sent a letter to a Princeton University computer science professor warning him that his public release of a report on circumventing SDMI technologies that protect digital content would subject him to liability for violations of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

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