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Malicious DMCA
Is it a loophole?
vincevincevince




msg:3384974
 11:37 am on Jul 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've been busy filling out DMCA forms, and noticed that many hosts have had the site down within a few minutes. Great. However, they were only sent by email and contained no proof of my identity other than the easy-to-change From: field of the email.

I could have found a competitor who runs some articles on more than one site, and filled in a DMCA notice in a forged email against their better site, referencing their other site, and had it down in minutes. Surely that's a massive hole?

Is the DMCA so strong that hosts have to act on such emails? I know most require you to put in statements about accuracy etc. of the complaint, but if you've already forged the email address then what's putting in some more false statements? Even the few which require a signature aren't any better - the website has no idea of what the signature of a webmaster is - they aren't a bank with proofs to compare to.

 

andye




msg:3384987
 11:44 am on Jul 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think you're right that this is a potential problem. Perhaps hosts should insist on seeing some ID confirmation - passport or such.

vincevincevince




msg:3385003
 11:56 am on Jul 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Perhaps hosts should insist on seeing some ID confirmation - passport or such.

Your suggestion is in the right direction, but then again, what host is qualified to know if a scan of a passport is valid? Do you know what a passport from Algeria looks like?

ytswy




msg:3385054
 1:02 pm on Jul 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I could have found a competitor who runs some articles on more than one site, and filled in a DMCA notice in a forged email against their better site, referencing their other site, and had it down in minutes. Surely that's a massive hole?

I think the theory, at least, is that although the host is required to take down content on receipt of a complaint, they are also required to put it back up again if the site operator asserts that they are not violating copyright. A second DMCA takedown request over the same bit of content is DMCA abuse [arstechnica.com].

the NFL's only option in response to her counter-claim would be to force her to remove the clip via court proceedings. This obviously did not happen, and instead, the NFL chose to ignore her claims completely. After receiving her counter-notification claiming fair use, sending another takedown notice over the same content is considered a knowing misrepresentation that the clip is infringing, according to DMCA section 512(f)(1). Under the DMCA, the NFL would be liable for all legal fees incurred by the alleged infringer, along with damages.

So you might get their site taken down, but only for a few hours (assuming they have a host worthy of the name) and only once. And if you had failed to completly anonomise yourself you would likely get sued for DMCA abuse.

Given that copyright is automatic on creation and enforcable even if unregistered (and hence ownership can be a very complex legal question - see SCO vs Novell for eg), I don't think it would be possible to have a system with the immediacy of the DMCA without some potentional for abuse.

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