Hippoi Athanatoi

MU*ing & Misinformation

I know, I know. This doesn’t really have all that much to do with MU*ing any longer, even though it all started with one of my world-famous descs. ;) Then again, it does show that there’s an amazing number of really stupid people involved in MU*ing. There’s the ‘leaders’, who seem delusional enough that they actually believe what they think they’ve learned about copyright law, and there’s the ‘herd’ that blindly follows them, cheering on their stupidities and the false information they spread around like manure. But, fear not. Not all MU*ers are criminally stupid, and some of us actually care about the truth, too. That is why I don’t feel inclined to just ignore the crowd over at WORA and to let them spread their lies without anyone contradicting them.

Yup, I filed a DMCA complaint via email to the ISP in question. Quick and easy when you’re not in the US and, according to the DMCA, perfectly appropriate and in no way less ‘serious’ than filing it on a piece of dead wood. Filing a DMCA with an ISP does not constitute ‘servicing’ anyone. Heck, how could you, when you usually don’t know where the infringer lives? However, the potential counter-notification to a DMCA is what allows you to service the infringer if you go ahead with a lawsuit, as the infringer is required to give is full address in the counter-notification, which then is passed on from the ISP and to the person who filed the complaint. And that is also what happened in this case.

It seems, btw, as if most people don’t really understand what the DMCA is or does. Basically, it allows for ISPs to not get involved in determining whether someone is infringing or not. If you feel that someone is infringing on your copyright, you send a DMCA notice to the ISP, where you identify the material in question, swear that you are the copyright holder and swear (under penalty of perjury) that you believe that the usage by the other party constitutes an infringement. The material is taken down, and the ISP informs the other party. If they don’t object, it stays down. If they object, they send a counter-notification, in which they swear (also under penalty of perjury) that they believe that their usage does not constitute an infringement. The problem with this system is that someone who is prepared to lie about not believing that their usage constitutes an infringement can get away with it if they think the other party won’t be able to sue. However, it proves nothing either way. Its simply a way for the ISP to avoid having to make the call.

However, for an ISP to be considered a ‘safe harbour’ under the DMCA, they have to have a registered agent listed with the US Copyright Office. This listing, btw, has to include an email to which DMCA complaints can be sent to, stressing the point that notifications via email are perfectly acceptable. Interesting in this case is that the ISP in question does not have such an agent, which means they’re not actually a ‘safe harbour’. I had a nice little chat (via email again—amazing technology, no?) with the US Copyright Office about this, making sure I had read the DMCA correctly, which they confirmed that I had. In short, what this means is that the ISP can be sued alongside with their client.

Of course, finding a lawyer in the US when you’re not in the US does not fall under the ‘quick and easy’ heading. Fortunately, you do not just have 14 days to do so after filing a DMCA. Yes, the ISP can restore the material in question 14 days after receiving a counter-notification, but that’s all there is to it. You can follow up with a lawsuit at any time following that. Of course, the question then becomes: will I? Well, we’ll see, won’t we? I’ve done a little looking into it since filing the DMCA notification, but I sort of had better things to do than chase lawyers in the US over the holidays. Also, I’ve always said that I don’t know if it is feasible for me to take it to court. Still, I am not ruling it out.

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