July 22nd, 2016 by Michael Sauers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the “Digital Rights Management” provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices.

EFF is representing two clients in its lawsuit: Andrew “bunnie” Huang, a legendary hardware hacker whose NeTV product lets users put overlays on DRM-restricted digital video signals; and Matthew Green, a heavyweight security researcher at Johns Hopkins who has an NSF grant to investigate medical record systems and whose research plans encompass the security of industrial firewalls and finance-industry “black boxes” used to manage the cryptographic security of billions of financial transactions every day.

Both clients reflect the deep constitutional flaws in the DMCA, and both have standing to sue the US government to challenge DMCA 1201 because of its serious criminal provisions (5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense).

Read the full article @ Boing Boing.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: ,

December 23rd, 2015 by Michael Sauers

I just received this from Pinterst. Ignoring the fact that I don’t recall ever pinning a blank 200×200 jpg (as why would I,) but even so, this is a bit ridiculous…

We’re getting in touch to let you know we received a copyright complaint and have removed one (or more) of your Pins. The complaint wasn’t directed against you or your Pin; it was directed against another user’s Pin of the same content from:


While many copyright owners are happy to have their content on Pinterest, we recognize that some do not want their content to appear on Pinterest, or did not receive attribution for the content. When a copyright owner sends us a complete notice per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), it’s our policy to remove the Pin(s).

Again, this complaint was not directed at you, or anything you did: we just thought you’d like to know why we removed your Pin.

Happy Pinning and thanks again for using Pinterest.

The Pinterest Team
Pinterest DMCA #ID 802124167

Seems I’m not alone: https://wordpress.org/support/topic/copyright-problem

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: ,

August 17th, 2015 by Michael Sauers

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: ,

July 7th, 2015 by Michael Sauers

Wait, what! I thought this had been settled years ago. Guess not…

The case is now pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, where tomorrow morning EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry will argue that the purpose of the DMCA wasn’t just to give copyright holders an easy and quick way to issue takedowns of content without any consequence.

Read the full story @ The Consumerist

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: ,

February 3rd, 2014 by Michael Sauers

Image Deleted DMCATwo recent headlines showing the utter preposterousness of automated DMCA takedown notices:

HarperCollins Accuses Apple of eBook Piracy

Due to so many news outlets reporting on this story, Digimarc Guardian released the following statement “recently issued requests to Google to remove a number of URLs from their search index related to Agatha Christie titles being sold without license on iTunes in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, due to a technical error, these 123 total URLs included some links related to valid iTunes content. We regret the error and have addressed the issue.”

Sony Claims Hulu is Hosting a Pirated TV-Show

This week we stumbled upon a recent takedown request that was sent by the Spanish division of Sony Pictures Television. The notice lists several links to the Fox’ show “Almost Human,” which they distribute locally. Most of the links do indeed point to pirated content, but Sony also requests the takedown of a perfectly legal episode on Hulu, claiming it infringes on their copyrights.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: ,

January 18th, 2014 by Michael Sauers

Image Deleted DMCABy allowing limited use of copyrighted material for things like criticism, review, commentary, parody, or just personal non-commercial use, fair use has a widespread and often invisible impact on today’s social internet. Yet its very ubiquity means it’s often taken for granted by individuals — and the internet companies who benefit from it.

This is worrying because fair use is under threat, and one of the culprits is the DMCA takedown notice that provides copyright owners an easy tool to remove content they claim to be unlawfully posted. Copyright owners send these notices to web companies who host content; the companies must then remove the content or risk legal liability themselves. Meant to promote the quick removal of impermissible copyright infringement, the DMCA system works well in many cases.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of copyright holders misuse this system to target even lawful fair use of their work. And the current DMCA system enables these aggressive copyright owners by providing virtually no penalties for failing to consider common exceptions to infringement — like fair use.

Many times per week, WordPress.com receives such DMCA takedown notices that target what we can plainly see is fair use. An all too common example is a notice directed at a blogger who is criticizing a company or its products, and therefore using screenshots of the company’s website or a photo of the company’s wares in their post. This isn’t just an outlier case; given our unique vantage point, we see an alarming number of businesses attempt to use the DMCA takedown process to wipe criticism of their company off the internet.

Read the full article @ Wired.com.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , ,

May 9th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Broken Rusty Lock: Security (grunge)New legislation sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO) takes a broader approach to the issue. In addition to explicitly legalizing cell phone unlocking, the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 also modifies the DMCA to make clear that unlocking copy-protected content is only illegal if it’s done in order to “facilitate the infringement of a copyright.” If a circumvention technology is “primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating noninfringing uses,” that would not be a violation of copyright.

For example, Lofgren’s bill would likely make it legal for consumers to rip DVDs for personal use in much the same way they’ve long ripped CDs. It would remove legal impediments to making versions of copyrighted works that are accessible to blind users. And it would ensure that car owners have the freedom to service their vehicles without running afoul of copyright law.

Read the full article @ arstechnica.com.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , ,

April 22nd, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Homeland DoctorowMy Creative Commons licensed, 2013 novel Homeland, the sequel to my 2008 novel Little Brother, spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and got great reviews around the country. But Fox apparently hasn’t heard of it — or doesn’t care. They’ve been sending takedown notices to Google (and possibly other sites), demanding that links to legally shared copies of the book be removed.

Read the full statement @ Craphound.com.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , ,

April 20th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Cory DoctorowCopyfighter, journalist, sci-fi writer and Boing-Boing editor Cory Doctorow has fallen victim to the almighty content empire of Rupert Murdoch. In an attempt to remove access to infringing copies of the TV-show Homeland, Fox has ordered Google to take down links to Doctorow’s latest novel of the same title. Adding to the controversy, Doctorow’s own publisher has also sent DMCA notices for the Creative Commons licensed book.

TorrentFreak confronted Cory Doctorow with these dystopian findings and the author was outraged by the gross abuse of his rights. Without hesitation he called for drastic action to be taken against the head honcho of the content empire.

“I think you can safely say I’m incandescent with rage. BRING ME THE SEVERED HEAD OF RUPERT MURDOCH!” Doctorow says.

Read the full article @ TorrentFreak.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , ,

April 5th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

All Rights Reserved*When it comes to YouTube forget about the concept of fair use in certain circumstances:

When content is removed from the Internet following a DMCA complaint filed by a rightsholder the user who uploaded the content gets a chance to file a counter-claim. If successful this should reinstate the content but on YouTube things now appear to be working somewhat differently. It transpires that YouTube has a special deal with Universal which sees content taken down at the record label’s request and DMCA counter notices blocked with no chance of appeal.

“YouTube enters into agreements with certain music copyright owners to allow use of their sound recordings and musical compositions. In exchange for this, some of these music copyright owners require us to handle videos containing their sound recordings and/or musical works in ways that differ from the usual processes on YouTube. In some instances, this may mean the Content ID appeals and/or counter notification processes will not be available.”

I had a video on YouTube which contained a scene from Star Wars about how crappy the librarian was. It was taken down under the DMCA by Fox despite what I thought was clearly fair use. I could have follow-up but really, I don’t have the time nor the funds so I just took it down. On a certain level I understand that YouTube’s position in this scenario sucks, but there are larger issues that need to be addressed.

Read the full article @ TorrentFreak.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , ,