Warner Bros Flags Warner Bros For Copyright

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In an effort to rid the entire internet of the scourge that is pirated content, Warner Bros. has gotten a little heavy handed -- including its own websites in a copyright complaint to Google.

Torrentfreak reports Warner Bros has submitted over four million URLs for review this year alone, on the back of pressure from film studios for Google to altogether remove sites like The Pirate Bay from search results.

Among those four million URLs were a number of sites not actually containing any illegally obtained content. Such as Warner Bros own site, for example, along side IMDB listings, and a link to Amazon where you can actually buy the films.




Warner Bros. utilised the services of Vobile to submit the copyright claims, a company who "offers solutions to help content owners protect, measure and monetise movies and TV content across the Internet and on all screens".

Google spotted the mistake and didn't take down the official IMDB and Amazon links, but the Warner Bros. links are still under review. Google being a little cheeky, perhaps?

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    Take 'em down. Teach 'em a lesson.

      I agree. Stupidity should have consequences.

      Its misuse of the DMCA, there are heavy fines for demanding non-infringing links be removed.

        Since when? What heavy fines?

        The closest I can see is that knowingly misrepresenting a link as infringing means you could be liable for any damages - should the other party decide to sue you in response, which is a considerably higher barrier than an automated takedown request.

        Takedown spam is nearly free, and nearly consequence-free too, since you can argue you didn't know your spam machine would make that particular mistake.

          Since the DMCA laws were passed. You cant abuse the DMCA process, and there are meant to be protections to stop it happening.

          A DMCA notice is meant to have certain information in it to be valid.

          * contact information
          * the name of whats being breached
          * the web address of the copied song
          * a statement that he 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.
          * a statement that the information in the notification is accurate
          * a statement that, under penalty of perjury, Charlie is authorized to act for the copyright holder
          his signature

          Clearly they havent looked at the list, and hence wouldnt have looked at the site, so how do they demonstrate a good faith belief? Its also clear its not accurate for similar reasons, and you might find the actual copyright for the page is held by the webpage designed anyway. If so, thats perjury, which carries massive fines and jail time.

          So, the takedown request is flawed. Its hard to find exactly what those penalties are to be fair, but one case I saw where a takedown was wrong got hit with a $25,000 default judgement. Per offence, that adds up fast.

          They are there, but that doesnt mean they get applied very often. Just extreme cases it seems where its delibrate. It seems that its OK to accidentally abuse the system, which I expect is the point you're making. As testing it is problematic, we might never know for sure.

            This exact issue was raised in court back in 2013, in Hotfile vs Warner. Warner argued that their takedown mistakes were not deliberate, being made by a computer and not a person, and because the perjury clause only applied to deliberate misrepresentation of ownership, not to accuracy, it thus did not apply. They claimed good-faith belief in every takedown request, and that the occasional mistake did not preclude this.

            The judge was not entirely convinced, but the matter was eventually sealed as part of a settlement agreement. The EFF successfully got them unsealed in time, showing that Warner knew well that its automated systems were inaccurate.

            Despite this, Warner Bros were never sanctioned with any fines. There are no penalties described in the DMCA 512(f) clause, only a reference to liability, which thus requires (expensive) litigation to pursue. The $25K default judgement you describe was Wordpress suing a UK individual in a US court, who did not bother to turn up to defend himself - which is certainly not going to happen if you sue a megacorp like Warner Bros.

            My point here is while abuse of the DMCA can technically be penalised, the legal process for doing so is expensive and far from certain, especially if challenged. Compared to the ease of issuing automated takedowns, the DMCA is ridiculously one-sided, and even knowingly abusing the system is almost completely consequence-free, particularly for well-funded organisations with their own lawyers.

              Yeah, fair enough. My point is there are rules there, and penalties, and yours is 'so what?' :) Which is fair, they're only effective if they're enforced.

              I wonder why someone like the EFF doesnt push this though. Find a bunny that doesnt have the firepower of a Sony or WB, and push that they dont meet the standards required for a valid takedown, solely because there is no 'good faith' application if there is no human oversight.

              They get away with automating the process, and as a result, force the recipients of the takedowns to automate their process as well. In the end, people are guilty until proven innocent, and as is often the case, with no process to plead their innocence.

                Well, the rules don't apply to "inadvertent" inaccuracy (apparently even if the inaccuracies are well known), only to deliberate misrepresentation of ownership. So there are no rules that cover the bulk takedowns we're seeing.

                And there are no proscribed penalties either, even for deliberate misrepresentation. Instead there's liability for damages and costs, which has to be (expensively) argued in court, and could amount to very little beyond lawers' costs even if you win (as Wordpress found - they got less than $2k of their $25k payout, and the lawyers got the rest - assuming they ever managed to collect from the UK defendant).

                So (unlike regular spam) there's no real way to automate the response for recipients of inaccurate takedowns. The rules around inaccurate takedowns need to be beefed up considerably, with actual specified penalties that don't require extended litigation to debate.

    The Warner Bros sites should've been taken down, then had to go through a lengthy, drawn-out process of reinstating them.

    Human-free reporting and taking down of content should be banned. There's no screening for fair use otherwise, but that's exactly what Studios want.

    In keeping with the corporate identity established by zack Snyder's films, the legal department has been heavy handed.

    God, would have been funny seeing WB filing a lawsuit at WB for copyright trolling.

    Maybe if they put this much effort into actually making decent movies then more people would want to pay money to see it and copyright would go down.

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