DMCA

We’ve been getting pings and @’s all morning about ebooks-tree.com who seem to be scraping/taking stories off of AO3 and hosting them as PDFs and mobi downloads on their site; the site seems to be pulling from UrBookLibrary as well. They’re not reading your “do not copy/duplicate” notes on your AO3 fic; their bots are pulling things directly from AO3, without AO3′s authorization or assent. It looks like they are pulling from Wattpad too, again without authorization or assent. 

While the Ebooks-Tree DMCA page seems to imply that you need a lawyer or other “authorized person” to submit a takedown notice, you don’t; you can do it yourself

As we’ve posted before, fanfic writers hold copyright in their stories, although not in lines/quotes from the works they’ve been inspired by, and because of that, fanfic writers can submit DMCA takedown notices, or have someone do it on their behalf. While this post isn’t legal advice (none of our posts on FYC are), you might want to consider using this template (well, the bolded bits) in telling ebooks-tree to take down your content

Your Name and/or Pseudonym as an e-signature (or the name of the person you’ve authorized to submit this request, with a slash before it and after it):
Link(s) to the unauthorized works (link to the pdf, the mobi and the page hosting all of it): 
Link(s) to an authorized version of your work (whether on AO3, tumblr, LJ or somewhere else): 
An email address of the submitter (include it again even if it’s in the header): 
This statement: I have 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.
This statement: 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.

That’s it - that’s all they need to know - you can submit all the info via http://www.ebooks-tree.com/info.php?contacts with DMCA Complaint in the subject; you may wish to submit the same content to Google via this page, or to BING via this page

ETA: If you try to read  your own fics, they require you to sign up via a site called http://www.lazygame.net/ (lazygamenet on Twitter, corporate name is KH Media LLC of Delaware, their phone number is listed as the contact number for a bunch of different companies) and give your credit card info; we think that’s probably a very bad idea. You can send the same DMCA info to them at support@lazygame.net but it’s unclear whether they have the ability to remove anything from the ebooks-tree site. We called LazyGame directly and they said they are not affiliated with ebooks-tree but they are affiliated with TzarMedia, which seems to be some sort of back-end for ebooks-tree. Fwiw, TzarMedia isn’t doing well on the whole “trustworthy site” thing. 

TzarMedia claims that “All TzarMedia content is licensed and legal for distribution and use.” We wonder what the FTC would say about that kind of false advertising. 

ETA 2: This is way bigger than someone using a bot to pull fics; this is infringement in so many different ways. They also have a number of published novels in various languages, including the Harry Potter series, and a lot of books from naominovik, Lev Grossman, John Scalzi, dduane, Jim Butcher, rainbowrowell and neil-gaiman, as well as tons of Fodors and Star Wars books and both All My Friends Are Dead and All My Friends Are Still Dead. Those of you in the publishing industry should also do DMCAs for the stuff you see up there. 

Don’t give them your credit card information. Even if you want to see if the story they claim is your fic is really your fic, they’ve had enough complaints about credit card misuse that you shouldn’t trust them with your digits. 

This isn’t just an AO3 scrape; these guys are maliciously insidious and have a lot of stuff on their site that they couldn’t just get by pulling random stories from the transformativeworks website. 

And even though ebooks-tree claims that they comply with the Copyright Act, they aren’t compliant with the DMCA Safe Harbor rules, as they aren’t listed on the copyright.gov list of agents. We’ve found at least 100 sites that all mirror each other’s back-end with the same credit card subscription info; we wouldn’t trust it. 

You can submit a complaint about ebooks-tree to CloudFlare, who either hosts the site or hosts a mirror of their content; their business model is confusing. Their DMCA page is at https://www.cloudflare.com/abuse/form - as a matter of law you do not need to include the legal name of the copyright claimant/the fanfic writer, but  you should include the pseudonym that the fic was posted under if you don’t want to include a legal name or address.  

Good luck, fandom -   and thanks to ao3org for taking “measures to make it more difficult for Ebooks Tree to offer downloads of AO3 works. Users should not notice any changes.” 

Our April 14, 2015 Update is here. 

PHISHING WARNING: AVOID WALLPART AT ALL COSTS

Over the past 24 hours I have been notified by several people about pages of Peter & Company and other pieces of my artwork being supposedly “available for sale” through a site called Wallpart (which I will not link in this post, for reasons explained below), and in the same time span I have seen many other artists make journals/submissions/posts talking about finding their own work on there as well. Naturally, the inclination of any artist finding their work available for sale without their consent is to head to the “Report Violation” link attached to every listing and file a complaint to have it removed.

PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT FILL OUT THE VIOLATION REPORT ON WALLPART’S WEBSITE.

This site already has a bit of a history, and I’ve read several posts from people who dove into their site code and snooped around. Long story short, there are some very devious bait-and-switch tactics going on. Essentially:

- I have not found any confirmation that they are actually selling any of the images/prints that appear on their site. Their “search function” is nothing but scraper software, which essentially just loads up hits from Google Images and displays them within a pre-built “shop” template based on the image’s resolution. This is why every single piece on there has a title that is lifted directly from whatever gallery site (FA/DA/Weasyl) or general website was hosting it. Example: They have my title card from my Kickstarter page for the P&C pilot, with the title lifted straight off the description.
- The dependence on Google Images is also why doing a search for your own name will turn up different results each time, or possibly no results at all, even though the listings still seem to exist if you have a direct URL to them. Their “search” function never actually searches their own listings; it even offers the same real-time suggestions that you’d get from a Google search bar. Confusingly enough, performing the same search multiple times often returns different results at different times throughout the day. I was able to find dozens of P&C pages supposedly for sale by searching my name yesterday, but today none of them show up in search results – even though the direct links to the page forms (which I saved) still exist.
- Their “Report Violation” link is actually a 100% phishing form. If you fill it out, no matter what you put there, you will be sending them a LOT more than you anticipated. This is actually the main purpose for the site’s existence – they completely anticipate artists being upset about their work supposedly being sold, so they developed a system to exploit those who complain.
- Various pieces of malware and other malicious code have been found embedded throughout their pages at different times. This site is just bad news all around.
- The site itself is hosted in Russia, and has already swapped web hosts 4 times in the past few months. The current host is listed as ENOM, and other bloggers/artists have already sent complaints and reports to their contact page, with little luck. It looks like it’s already been branded and caught in the past and is trying to keep itself alive.
- Also, for a site claiming to have “billions of images” available for print, to only have a little over 3,000 “happy customers” should be a pretty big red flag on its own.

So please – DO NOT VISIT THIS SITE. Do not attempt to search for your own artwork in its listings; if your work shows up on Google, it is guaranteed to be on that site. They’re even listing “prints” of web banners and other graphical elements that were never intended for printing. Do not give it page views, and most importantly DO NOT FILL OUT ANY VIOLATION FORMS, EVEN IF THE ARTWORK ON THE PAGE IS YOUR OWN. Instead, there is a Change.org petition asking for the domain to be stripped and brought down.

Please share the word around as much as possible so other artists don’t potentially fall into their trap by thinking that their “Report Violation” page is actually what it claims to be. These people are pure scam artists, plain and simple. Avoid them at all costs. 

false DMCA copyright violation (again)

Got an email from Tumblr saying a post of mine infringed copyright, specifically this Phoenix Wright one.

whoa I had no idea an 8 second voiceover clip about Ace Attorney could somehow infringe 13 different musical artists, wow that’s incredible

This already happened to me before 2 years ago with this Meowth post.  The same exact person/corporation, “Jeremy Banks (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry)” got it taken down on absurd charges, and eventually after I complained to Tumblr, it got restored.

Of course, I’ve already contacted Support about this, but this is still ridiculous.  I had hoped that Tumblr would get better about this in the 2 years since the last “violation,” but clearly it hasn’t.

Tumblr, if you’re going to have a “3 strikes you’re out” copyright policy, you need to CHECK the “infringing” posts in question and ensure that they are in fact infringing copyright.  Deleting a post immediately without checking is unacceptable.

anyways, if this Tumblr ever disappears one day (not because of this specifically, but you never know), you can always keep up with me on Twitter or YouTube or Instagram.  It’s moments like this that remind me that it’s never good to have too many eggs in one basket.

meanwhile, I’ll just wait here till Tumblr Support apologizes (again)

Why Tumblr’s DMCA policies are ridiculous and disingenuous

Yesterday myself and several other GIF artists received a notice from Tumblr regarding copyright infringement. The letter’s tone of voice is unnecessarily condescending and contains awesome phrases such as “this is a good opportunity to learn more about US copyright law (never a bad idea)…. “ You’re right Tumblr, let’s learn more about copyright law together since it’s never a bad idea. 

The letter starts with: 

Hi,

We’ve received a notification of alleged copyright infringement on one of your blogs. Here are the details of the content in question:

Copyright holder: Darryl Anka (Bashar Communications, Inc.)

Post URL(s): http://hexeosis.tumblr.com/post/97515717733

I clicked the link and nothing is there. It’s already been removed. That makes it really difficult for me to see what’s going on Tumblr. Maybe a screen capture included with the letter would be a good idea? Tumblr’s official policy in regards to DMCA notices is to delete the content first and then let you know about it. However Tumblr also states: 

If we remove material in response to a copyright or trademark claim, the user who posted the allegedly infringing material will be provided with information from the complainant’s notice (like identification of the rightsholder and the allegedly infringed work) so they can determine the basis of the claim.

That part isn’t true, I can’t determine the basis of the claim with the information provided to me. 

Tumblr’s policies state:

Please note that we require a valid DMCA notice before removing content. Parties asserting a trademark infringement claim should identify the allegedly infringing work and the legal basis for their claim, and include the registration and/or application number(s) pertaining to their trademark. Each claim is reviewed by a trained member of our Trust and Safety team.

The evidence provided in the letter sent to me:

Description: Copyrighted Work: Bashar channeled by Darryl Anka. Copyright 1984-2015. All Rights Reserved. From multiple event productions presented by Darryl Anka on dates ranging from 1984-2014. The copyrighted works can be found at www.basharstore.com/.

The claim is that my work is in fact copyrighted by “Bashar channeled by Darryl Anka” What? I looked it up. Darryl Anka believes that he is channeling information from a space alien from the future named Bashar that lives on a planet called Essassani via telepathy. Cool story bro. 

What exactly is the legal basis for their claim? Maybe it has something to do with “ ” ? Is that some kind of alien code? Or did Tumblr just auto copy and paste the email they got including stray HTML garbage characters? 

What is the evidence? “The copyrighted works can be found at www.basharstore.com/.” I clicked that link. There’s no GIFs on it. There’s nothing that resembles anything on my blog. Again, Tumblr’s policy states “Each claim is reviewed by a trained member of our Trust and Safety team.” I find it difficult to impossible to believe that actually happened.

Here’s my conclusion: Tumblr’s DMCA takedown system is fully automated and “trained members” do not in fact review anything. Or, embarrassingly someone did look at all of that “evidence” and decided that aliens from other planets have legal rights on Earth and that even though a copy of the alleged infringing work is not on the site provided, they’ll just take Darryl’s word for it? 

Back to the letter Tumblr sent me, it continues with this nifty lecture:

It’s important for all creators that our users respect copyright, and so we ask that you take greater care when posting other people’s creations to your Tumblr blog. You can review Tumblr’s Terms of Service (https://www.tumblr.com/policy/terms-of-service) and Community Guidelines (https://www.tumblr.com/policy/community) for more information on our copyright policies.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we are legally required to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. The notice we received counts as one strike against your account. If you receive three uncontested strikes within 18 months, your account will be terminated. You can contest this notification by following the instructions for a “DMCA Counter-Notification” found here:https://www.tumblr.com/policy/terms-of-service#dmca. A successful counter-notification will remove this strike against your account.

The way the letter is worded and structured indicates that you are assumed to be guilty and already have a “strike” against you. 

It only mentions that you can contest this after saying “It’s important for all creators that our users respect copyright, and so we ask that you take greater care when posting other people’s creations to your Tumblr blog.” 

I ask that you Tumblr staff take greater care in wording your letters. I ask that you take greater care when complying with takedown notices from space aliens that provide zero evidence to support their claims. 

It’s hard to say if I’m more annoyed with Tumblr or Darryl. I can’t figure out the value to Darryl of having one out of about 800 of my posts removed. Or why he is going after a bunch of other GIF artists as well. I really hope that there aren’t more notices coming. If Tumblr deletes this account because he sends two more notices, you can find me on https://ello.co/hexeosis


Note: I did all of the stuff Tumblr asks you to do in this situation - I sent a signed counter-claim letter in the mail and I’m sure they’ll get to it eventually. 

P.S. Tumblr, you’re welcome for all of the free content I provide to you. I hope you are enjoying all of the advertising revenue you collect with your sponsored posts. I hope you buy yourself something nice. 

The Tumblr Police Have Lost Their Shit This Week

I got a copyright infringement notification over leaked images of the new Ninja Turtles that were all over the goddamn internet the other day. Not to mention that every-other blog was posting them as well.

What asshole is policing the internet for leaked images of the Ninja Turtles that are already everywhere from toy blogs to movie blogs. It’s good press if people are saying “hey, these new Ninja Turtle designs are really good”. 

I’ve been on tumblr since 2008 and not once have I gotten a Copyright notification until this week when I signed-off on Tumblr’s new terms of service. Now I’ve already gotten two? There’s no way that’s not a coincidence. 

youtube

Nintendo DMCA’d Patreon over the account for Star Fox: The Animated Series, so they were forced to take it down and deactivate my account.

Honestly, I was expecting this to happen, and I’m ready for it, so there is nothing to worry about. Names and titles have been changed (including the name of this tumblr), and everything is back on track as a legitimate parody. 

The animated series is now being called “A Fox in Space.”

For my patrons on Patreon… I am terribly sorry for the page abruptly going down. I had no real forewarning. if you still feel like supporting this project under its new name, you can contribute to the new Patreon here: http://www.patreon.com/afoxinspace

motherboard.vice.com
A New Advocacy Group Is Lobbying for the Right to Repair Everything
As all our things become ‘smart,’ companies are increasingly saying that fixing them is illegal.

Last summer, when the Copyright Office asked if anyone wanted to defend the right for video game console jailbreakers to mod or repair their systems, no one had a formal legal argument prepared.  A new association representing repairmen and women across all industries was just formed to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

Repair groups from across the industry announced that they have formed The Repair Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy group that will focus on reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to preserve the “right to repair” anything from cell phones and computers to tractors, watches, refrigerators, and cars.  It will also focus on passing state-level legislation that will require manufacturers to sell repair parts to independent repair shops and to consumers and will prevent them from artificially locking down their products to would-be repairers.

“It’s long overdue,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the group, told me.  “We have all these little businesses trying to repair stuff and running into what they thought were different problems in different industries.  We realized it was all just the same problem.”

That problem — that manufacturers of everything are trying to control the secondary repair market — has two main sources, Gordon-Byrne said.  First, manufacturers use federal copyright law to say that they control the software inside of gadgets and that only they or licensed repair shops should be allowed to work on it.  Second, manufacturers won’t sell replacement parts or guides to the masses, and often use esoteric parts in order to specifically lock down the devices.

These problems have been well known in the smartphone, computer, and consumer electronics for years, and it’s why groups like iFixit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been able to mount successful challenges to the DMCA in recent years.  Increasingly, however, these problems are spilling over into just about every other industry.

The Repair Coalition — which is also calling itself repair.org — includes members from the EFF, iFixit, PC Rebuilders & Recyclers, The Fixers Collective, Public Knowledge, and a series of other smaller industry groups.

“All consumer appliances, from refrigerators to microwaves, very much have repair monopolies from manufacturers, even if you are able to buy parts,” Gordon-Byrne said.  Customers who have dared to repair their refrigerator will get to a certain part of a repair and find that components for thermostats or valve controls are locked down via passwords that manufacturers only give to licensed repair shops that they themselves control.  The problem is only going to get worse as the Internet of Things takes hold.

“We’ve had these kinds of issues for a long time, but now with the electronics-fication of everything, they’re affecting literally everything in the world that is complex enough to have digital components,” Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, told me.

And so The Repair Coalition will primarily work at a federal level to repeal Section 1201 of the DMCA, which states that it’s illegal to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under [the DMCA].”  Thus far, activists have tried to gain “exemptions” to this section — it’s why you’re allowed to repair a John Deere tractor or a smartphone that has software in it.  But the exemption process is grueling and has to be done every three years.

“I don’t like exempting equipment because it’s all conceptually the same problem,” Gordon-Byrne said.

On a state level, the group will push for laws such as one being proposed in New York that would require manufacturers to provide repair manuals and sell parts to anyone — not just licensed repair people — for their products.  The thought is that, if enough states pass similar legislation, it will become burdensome for manufacturers to continue along with the status quo.  At some point, it will become easier to simply allow people to fix the things they own.

“We want to become an umbrella organization for repair,” Gordon-Byrne said.  “We want to help the small repair technicians that aren’t getting help from anywhere else.”

“They’re affecting literally everything in the world that is complex enough to have digital components” – in an increasingly connected world, that’s a big problem.

HEY, if you enjoy my work, PLEASE take the time to read this

I received this email from Tumblr (it’s legitimate) regarding a copyright infringement notification.  It was in reference to my Team Rocket audio post with Meowth cursing (it’s been removed by Tumblr), and apparently, it contained content from all of the artists listed above.

The post did not contain content from any of those artists.  The voices were my own recording, and the background music was from the FIRST SEASON OF POKEMON.

I will be submitting a DMCA counter-notification, which I doubt will do any good.  I will upload the clip to my YouTube channel, but I will not post it here unless I am cleared.

What’s scary, though, is the thought of potentially having my Tumblr deleted in the future just because someone erroneously claims copyright infringement against me.  

SO, in case I ever get terminated on Tumblr, this will be the backup Tumblr: prozdvoices2.  Hopefully, I will never have to use it, but if you’d like to follow it as a precaution, go ahead.  I will not use it unless necessary.

If I’m ever in a position where Tumblr is not an option, I will upload my content to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ProZD/

If you ever want to contact me if this Tumblr is deleted, I am available at my personal Tumblr or on Twitter.  Twitter’s probably your best shot.

And, you know what, if this pisses you off as much as it did for me, complain to Tumblr!  Cause a ruckus!  it probably won’t do any good, but that’s okay!

youtube

Where’s The Fair Use? | Nostalgia Critic

ATTN: Free! Artists, Please be Cautious of this Blog!

The following Tumblr user animefreefanclub has been repeatedly reposting uncredited and unattributed fanwork to their Tumblr.

Their askbox is not open, so we must take the next step forward to ensure they understand what they are doing is wrong.

Please take a moment to make sure your work hasn’t been stolen. If it has, then you may consider filing a complaint using Tumblr’s handy DMCA form and they will see to deleting the reposted work as well as all reblogs from said post. If you see your friend’s or favorite artists’ work reposted, then please inform them as well! Even if you do not see your work, then please spread this message for the consideration of others.

Stealing artwork from someone who has contributed their time and effort is not only rude, it is also incredibly disrespectful. Let’s work together make sure this does not continue. Thank you.

My DMCA Form Letter

A friend of a friend found their fan art being sold without their knowledge today, and it prompted me to send them the form letter I keep handy for when that happens to me. In case anyone else wants it, here it is. I’ve had this for so long I can’t remember where it originally came from, (likely another artist dealing with the same crap, who got it from another artist). It’s helped me get my fan art removed from Amazon, Teechip, and shady sites trying trying to sell it hundreds of times by now. When using it, it’s important to make sure you fill out everything!

To whom it may concern,

It has come to my attention that your company is selling an image that is in direct violation of the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act and in violation of my rights as the artist creator and copyright holder of said image. The image in question may be found here:

[ link to stolen work here ]

The sale of this image directly violates the copyright I hold as the artist creator and copyright holder of this image:

[ link to your work here ]

I did not authorize use of the image in question. I request that all products containing the image in question be removed from your store and all copies of any merchandise containing the image be destroyed, and that any other appropriate action is taken against the person in violation according to your company policy.

If no immediate action is taken then I will not hesitate to pursue a stronger legal direction.

I hereby agree that I am the owner or person acting on behalf of the owner of the image in question and the above statements are accurate under penalty of perjury.

Sincerely,

[ your name ]

[ your address ]

[ your phone number ]

Good luck fan artists, I hope sharing this helps whatever situation you might find yourself in!

"copyright infringement" part 2

So a few days ago, I made a post about one of my Team Rocket audio posts being taken down for nonsensical copyright infringement.  I did contact Tumblr support, and this is what they said, copy-pasted below.

Hello.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. To clarify, the email you received was not implying that the removed blog post from your account featured all those artists. It just meant that the post on your account was part of a larger group of posts, in which the artists mentioned int eh email were featured.

However, we understand your dilemma, as the post in question seemed to feature a sound clip of someone voicing Team Rocket from the Pokemon TV series.

Please read the information below for more information.

We have received the DMCA notification below regarding the posts located at:

http://prozdvoices.tumblr.com/post/93695528215/anonymous-said-could-you-please-do-a-clip-of

They then showed me a list of completely unrelated links from different Tumblrs that had NO association with my post or my Tumblr.

So here’s the thing.  The only possible way my post could’ve been linked to these posts is if one of those Tumblrs reblogged my Team Rocket post, and it was lumped in with the other audio posts on the Tumblr.  This is not confirmed, but this is the only way I could see it being included.

If true, then what I’ve learned is:

1.  Groups like the IFPI that send out DMCA copyright complaints do NOT check to see if every post in their list is actually copyright infringement.

2.  Tumblr does NOT double-check to make sure that your posts are actually copyright infringement and instead takes the word of the IFPI.

3.  Tumblr immediately removes your content without checking with you to make sure it is copyright infringement.

4.  Potentially, if your post is reblogged by someone who happens to have copyright infringing material on their Tumblr, YOU can be punished for it and have your content taken away.  Again, this is not confirmed, but this is the only way I could see my post being included.

If true, though, this is not acceptable.

I will let you know what happens if they respond.

transformativeworks.org
Vidders, your help is needed

Fan Video & Multimedia is once again working with our Legal Committee as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.). In 2015, we’ll be pushing to add Blu-Ray. Right now we’re in the data-gathering stage: asking fan video makers to talk with us about how they get Blu-Ray source and why Blu-Ray is important.


RT:

The exemption will expire if not renewed!  The big copyright industries fought really hard last time, and renewal is not a foregone conclusion, even though we’re still right.  As always we need (1) examples of vids that make a critical commentary on the original source, particularly examples from the past 3 years, as well as (2) vids that need very high quality source, in technical terms, to do what they do.  With Blu-Ray, we need (3) explanations of how getting Blu-Ray source can be done, so we can educate the Copyright Office, and (4) explanations for why Blu-Ray source is important.  

If you can help with any of these, please let legal@transformativeworks.org know!

Libraries: Let Profs and Film Students Continue to Rip DVDs

In a rich submission to the Copyright Office on behalf of the Library Copyright Alliance, Jonathan Band asks the Office to renew its rule allowing college professors and film and media students to decrypt DVDs for educational uses.

The submission is part of the administration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which created a new statutory protection for digital locks, also know as Digital Rights Management (DRM) or Technical Protection Measures (TPMs). Under the DMCA, it is against the law to crack a digital lock, even if you ultimately use the underlying work in a way that is perfectly legitimate. This gives copyright holders who sell their works in digital formats a kind of super-copyright; they can control their works in ways that copyright law ordinarily would not allow, blocking fair uses and educational uses that the law would otherwise allow, and even encourage.

DVDs are a perfect example, because every DVD is protected by an encryption system called CSS. Only authorized DVD players (not rippers!) can decrypt the discs and play the underlying movies. That means that under provisions of the DMCA, video works stored on DVDs are not available for fair use such as copying clips from a movie to include in an online review, or for educational uses that involve copying from the DVD, and so on. Indeed, users of some open source platforms complain that they can’t even watch a DVD because they don’t use software that licenses the CSS decryption technology.

Sidebar: It’s also illegal to “traffic” in tools created expressly to “circumvent” digital locks. SOPA copies some of its key provisions from this part of the DMCA and makes it illegal to create tools that route around the digital censorship mechanisms that SOPA would create. Now, see how long it takes to find a DVD-ripping tool on the Internet. Not long, right? So how successful do you think SOPA’s anti-circumvention provisions will be? Not very, right?

In an attempt to alleviate these foreseeable points of friction between the DMCA and legitimate uses, the law also empowered the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to consider and approve exceptions to DMCA protection every three years. DVDs have been the subject of several exemptions in the past, thanks especially to the important work of Professor Peter Decherney on educational uses.

Because the law requires that existing exceptions be renewed each cycle, rather than extending them automatically, the library community has weighed in this cycle to ask for an extension of the existing exception for professors and film and media students.

The bulk of the filing, and the most fun reading, is a series of stories from professors and students around the country describing how they use the exception for DVD ripping to teach better courses and create better class projects. There’s a lot of talk among copyright policy geeks about e-reserves and streaming video, and you could get the impression from the more conservative voices that professors and students are just looking for a free ride, that they should be paying a recurring license fee for the privilege of incorporating their library’s lawfully acquired DVDs more seamlessly into their teaching and learning. I think these stories create a pretty powerful rebuttal to that idea. It seems clear to me, at least, that these folks have made exciting fair uses and legitimate educational uses of these films.

So, again, check out the LCA filing here.

Other folks are weighing in, too! Documentarians, the EFF, Public Knowledge, and Professor Decherney have all filed. Enjoy!

torrentfreak.com
Fox 'Stole' a Game Clip, Used it in Family Guy & DMCA'd the Original Owner
This week's episode of Family Guy included a clip from 1980s Nintendo video game Double Dribble showing a glitch to get a free 3-point goal. Fox obtained the clip from YouTube where it had been sitting since it was first uploaded in 2009. Shortly after, Fox told YouTube the game footage infringed its copyrights. YouTube took it down.

Just when you think you’ve seen every ridiculous example of a bogus DMCA-style takedown, another steps up to take the crown. This week’s abomination comes courtesy of Fox and it’s an absolute disaster.

In last Sunday’s episode of Family Guy titled “Run, Chris, Run“, Peter and Cleveland play the 1980s classic Nintendo video game Double Dribble. Peter doesn’t play fair though and exploits a glitch in the game that allows his player to shoot a three-point goal every time. The clip is available on YouTube.

Interestingly the clip that was uploaded by sw1tched was the exact same clip that appeared in the Family Guy episode on Sunday. So, unless Fox managed to duplicate the gameplay precisely, Fox must’ve taken the clip from YouTube.

Whether Fox can do that and legally show the clip in an episode is a matter for the experts to argue but what followed next was patently absurd. Shortly after the Family Guy episode aired, Fox filed a complaint with YouTube and took down the Double Dribble video game clip on copyright grounds.

“The problem with an automated DMCA takedown system is that robots can never know the difference between fair use and copyright infringement. It is not hyperbolic to call this mass censorship,” he continues.

“Instead of copyright holders having to prove a video is infringing, their scanning software can take it down automatically, and then it falls on the creator to prove they had a right to post it. Creators are discouraged from filing counter-notices to stand up for their work, facing lost revenue and permanent bans from online platforms. This erodes fair use and free speech on the Internet.”

April 14, 2015 Update on ebooks-tree.com:

The original post is here. 

CloudFlare has responded to a number of people that they are only a “pass through” - basically, they do host ebooks-tree’s content but only for brief times, and we believe that ebooks-tree has been using CloudFlare to mask where they are truly hosted.

However, per CloudFlare’s policy, they have passed on to us information about where ebooks-tree is actually hosted, and here it is:

  Hosting Provider:
      —————–
      DFW Internet Services Inc. NET-DFW1
      Webzilla Inc. WEBZILLA-US-204-155-148-0-24 root@dfw.net

By some crazy random happenstance (to quote Doctor Horrible), Webzilla’s US address listed on its domain name registration page happens to be only a few blocks away from FYC’s Heidi’s favorite Lush store, and she may swing by that building later this week to see whether it’s an office with people working on stuff, or a maildrop. Webzilla’s Terms of Use say that “pirating” content is a violation of their Acceptible Use Policy (and so are schemes to defraud) so ebooks-tree is in violation of their contract with Webzilla.

However, Webzilla doesn’t seem interested in DMCA safe harbor provisions, because they don’t adhere to them per their Terms of Use, which say:

Webzilla Limited is willing to consider, of the company’s own volition, complaints sent to a designated email address or sent in writing to the appropriate street address, that appear to be genuine and meritorious; but any such complaint may be considered to be prejudiced if it does not contain the name, address, telephone number, and an appropriate email address of the complainant.

DMCA submissions do not need to include a name, address or telephone number; there’s nothing barring you from letting Webzilla know that ebooks-tree has infringed on your work, though, and you can still use the template below. However, Webzilla hasn’t actually designated any specific email address or street address to receive such missives; you can find various snail mail and email info on their website. They have a contact form there, too. 

If you hear back from anyone at Webzilla, please drop us an Ask and let us know what they said. 

Also, we’ve had a bunch of Asks on this topic. here’s some answers on: 

Info about DMCA requirements; More info; DMCA applicability

Copyrightability of RPF

How to do an electronic signature/e-sig

Here’s our tweet about the situation, and transformativeworkstweet about making it more difficult for ebooks-tree to scrape/take fics off the Archive. 

We’ll share more as we have it, and thanks to all of you for sharing so much info and support for fandom!

In the last few days, a number of Teen Wolf fanartists with stores on RedBubble have posted/tweeted about takedowns by RedBubble of some of the items in their stores. From what we’ve been told, all the items either had “Teen Wolf” in the tags, in the item or store description and/or in the item/store title; RedBubble isn’t claiming ownership of the works, and the language in the emails doesn’t say whether Viacom complained, or whether someone “authorized to act on their behalf” (namely, Redbubble themselves) cited the work as having issues.

This is not the first time RedBubble has taken down merch and sent an email to the store operator; RedBubble does this when their bots "see" something that could be infringing (even if it isn’t) and generally RB tells the site operator that they were taken down after RedBubble "received a complaint from [a major multinational rightsholder], the claimed owner or licensee of related intellectual property, and in accordance with Redbubble’s IP/Publicity Rights Policy.“

Back in 2003, CafePress took down fanart inspired by the Harry Potter characters from HPEF’s Nimbus - 2003 fancon store, because the site’s bot did some image recognition thing and CP’s policy was to take things down if the image matched up with images submitted by the copyright and/or trademark-holders. We replied to CafePress, explained that the works were transformative works and didn’t have any trademarks on them, and they were put back up shortly thereafter. Similar things have happened over the past 11 years. Every single popular show/film/brand/band/comic/series is included by CP and RB in their "usage review” systems.

As CP said in a recent annual report, “ We maintain content usage review systems that, through a combination of manual and automated blocks, monitor potentially infringing content of which we become aware.” Redbubble said something similar this summer:

Although we’re not required by law, we take further proactive efforts on many occasions and work closely with numerous content owners, brands and individual artists to minimize instances of third party infringement of intellectual property rights via the Redbubble marketplace.

They don’t always notify the copyrightholders or trademark owners expeditiously; CP and RB’s bots check the images and the descriptions and take things down just because the IP owner has put their brands and sometimes their art into the CP and RB content management system. That doesn’t mean there aren’t “false positives” - the content management system doesn’t check for fair use or parodies or commentary/criticism, and we’ll explain how to make them aware of that below.

The laws in the US regarding transformative works and copyright infringement have expanded over the last decade to define more things as Fair Use - and the bots that stores like CafePress and RedBubble use have become more precise; they’re similar to “Search By Image” on google. However, the laws regarding trademark infringement in this sort of situation are relatively unchanged.

Fanart shared in the “gift economy” is fair use; we posted extensively about noncommercially distributed fanart back in January. Selling fan art may also be fair use as a matter of law, for purposes of determining whether it infringes on someone else’s copyright.  However, even if a work is fair use under copyright law, selling it in connection with someone else’s trademarks may constitute trademark infringement.

It’s not a given - it won’t always. If the marks are used descriptively, if they’re used to compare things, etc., it may not be trademark infringement. But you are less likely to get a takedown notice if you don’t include tags that are a show or film or band’s trademark - use a shortened version of the show title (TW, ST, SPN, AOS, etc.) or a ship name or a character’s last name instead.

If you do get a takedown notice and you think that what’s been taken down is fair use, you are allowed to respond and explain why the work is noninfringing. You can discuss these factors:

1. The purpose and character of the work (Is the fanart transformative? Was it made for non-commercial purposes? Selling something on RB impacts on this factor, but it’s not the only element at issue, especially if the fanart doesn’t replicate something seen on screen or in a comic strip panel.)

2. The amount and substantiality of the copyrighted work used (How much of the copyrighted work was used and why was it used? For fanart, usually little if any of the copyrighted work was used.)

3. The effect on the market of the copyrighted work (Will the work be used as a substitute for the original copyrighted work or impact the market for sales of merchandise related to the original copyrighted work?)

You also might want to include language inspired by this:

As fair use is a lawful use of a third party’s copyright, to the extent that this art uses another’s copyright, it should be deemed fair use under 17 USC 107 because it is (a) transformative and (b) does not adversely affect the market or potential market of the original work or derivative works. When determining if fair use is applicable and thus a work noninfringing, the central purpose of said investigation [into purpose and character of use] is to see … whether the new work merely “supersede[s] the objects” of the original creation, or instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message; it asks, in other words, whether and to what extent the new work is “transformative.” Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 579, 114 S.Ct. 1164, 127 L.Ed.2d 500 (1994), Zomba Enterprises, Inc.; Zomba Songs, Inc., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Panorama Records, Inc., Defendant-Appellant., 491 F.3d 574 (6th Cir. 2007).

 Takedowns like this happen all the time; they happen when they’re justifiable because someone’s uploaded a show-created poster as a Redbubble tote bag or CafePress coaster, they happen when someone “markets” their fanart using a trademark that the show’s creators or distributors own, and they happen when works are completely noncommercial and only on display. Absent other information, it’s not practical to assume that it’s part of a crackdown on specific artists or ships, and with regard to what’s happened to some Teen Wolf artists this week, it’s impossible to even know if the takedowns were because the trademarks were used, or because of the images themselves. We’d love more info, though - so if your art has been taken down on RedBubble and you weren’t using Teen Wolf - or any character names - in the tags or descriptions, and you’ve submitted a “Fair Use” counternotice, and it still hasn’t gone back up even though a few business days have passed, please let us know and we’ll see if we can learn more.

Follow FYeahCopyright for more on legal issues of concern to fandomers.

 

This is important!

Hey!

We have an exciting update for everyone who took action to stop DMCA takedown abuse.Thanks to you, we are going head to head against the copyright industry this Thursday at the U.S. Copyright Office’s hearings on DMCA reform!

Will you back us up? Click here to sign our petition demanding real reform to the DMCA.

For years, huge companies like Sony, Disney, and Comcast have been abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to take down enormous swaths of online content, using automated software that ignores Fair Use rights and frequently misidentifies music and videos as copyrighted. Despite the fact that the system is already weighted in their favor, these companies are arguing that the DMCA doesn’t go far enough to give them control over online content.

There is so much at stake. Every day, thousands of videos and tweets disappear from the Internet because of abusive copyright takedowns. YouTubers are having their income stolen and their voices silenced, and people who fight back risk having their channels taken offline permanently.

Now, with content companies pushing for even stricter takedown rules, we have to fight back to protect fair use and free speech on the Internet.

We need your help to beat the copyright industry at their own game. Sign our petition to protect fair use and stop DMCA takedown abuse.

On Thursday, Fight for the Future and Channel Awesome will be going head to head with copyright industry lobbyists at the U.S. Copyright Office hearing in San Francisco. Representatives from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and NBCUniversal will be spreading doom-and-gloom about how the Internet is ruining their business models.

The truth is that the copyright industry wants the unchecked ability to censor any online content that they don’t control. We need to shut down their arguments before they do even more damage.

We’ve received so many of your comments and stories over the last month, and it’s clear that takedown abuse is out of control. One YouTuber posted a negative review of Justin Bieber’s movie and received a copyright takedown from Bieber himself[1]. A parent received a copyright claim on a video of his 8-year-old daughter singing the U.S. national anthem[2]. And we (Fight for the Future) received a copyright claim from Sony, who mistakenly believes they own the rights to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech[3].

Take action to stop mass censorship. Sign our petition to fix the DMCA’s broken takedown process.

We are ready to counter the industry lobbyists and demand real reform at the U.S. Copyright Office hearing:

  1. We will present comments from over 100,000 people who took action on takedownabuse.org. We need to make it clear that there’s more at stake than the recording industry’s outdated business model, and we need copyright policy that protects the people who make and view online content from wrongful takedowns.
  2. Creators have the right to use clips from copyrighted TV and music for transformative and commentary purposes. Unfortunately, the computerized scanning programs used by companies to issue copyright takedowns can’t distinguish between fair use and copyright infringement. The burden shouldn’t be on creators to prove that their use was legitimate. We need a DMCA exemption to allow creators to use copyrighted video and audio clips up to 30 seconds long without fear of receiving an automated takedown.
  3. We need stricter penalties against companies that abuse the DMCA process to wrongfully censor online speech. Companies shouldn’t be able to threaten people with huge fines and criminal prosecution, but face no consequences for abusing the process themselves.

Do you have any other ideas? Sign our petition to fix the DMCA and include your comment now!

We are super grateful for everyone who is taking action on this important issue. Thanks to you, we have a seat at the table and a chance to fight on your behalf for real copyright reform. If you’d like to get more involved, please help us spread the word! Share takedownabuse.org on your social networks or forward this email to your friends!


In solidarity,

Jeff Lyon, Tiffiniy Cheng, Holmes Wilson and the whole Fight for the Future team.

P.S. you are cordially invited to our “Free Speech Graveyard” rally outside the U.S. Copyright Office hearing in San Francisco this Thursday.

Sources:

https://www.takedownabuse.org/stories/justin_bieber_vs_the_fassa/

https://www.takedownabuse.org/stories/taken_down_for_singing_national_anthem/

https://www.takedownabuse.org/stories/sony_vs_fight_for_the_future/