Piracy’s scofflaws – All roads lead through Cloudflare?

The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) was signed into law nearly 20 years ago….yet here we are today, same old tired law but with an online ecosystem vastly different from what existed 2 decades ago.   Despite this, no one in Congress seems in any great hurry to update law and as they drag their feet, creative artists continue to pay the price. 

For creators trying to safeguard their work from online theft this leaves them with only one option, the DMCA takedown notice.   This antiquated process works ok in very limited instances, but for most filmmakers (and musicians) dealing with a large volume of infringements, it’s like using an umbrella to stay dry beneath Niagara Falls.  Not only is it inadequate, but the truth is– it’s a joke.   Why?  Because the DMCA’s safe harbor provision provides loopholes allowing many of tech’s piracy enablers–U.S. based companies play a significant role in allowing pirates entrepreneurs to pimp their stolen content across the globe–to sidestep any legal liability and happily accept the tainted profits filling their cash drawers.

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Update-Google still refuses to terminate repeat infringers

139 DMCA notices later, nothing changes for the Google Drive account

As I wrote last month, Google seems to ignore its own pledge to disable accounts of repeat (piracy) infringers.  Today I sent another 31 DMCA takedown requests this week (170 over several months) reporting this same account for copyright infringement on behalf of indie film distributors I represent.   So far, Google has removed 139 pirate links since last April yet the account remains online sharing links to several hundred pirated films.  I ask again, why is this account still active?  After all, isn’t eligibility for protection under “safe harbor” dependent upon implementing a reasonable repeat infringer policy?

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Google ignores the law, yet no one in Washington seems to care

Google looks the other way as piracy repeat offenders continue to flourish on Google Drive

I wrote a piece last May about Google’s failure to punish “repeat offenders” on its Google Drive platform so I thought I’d give you another update.  Despite having sent DMCA notices for 64 pirated titles (and having them all approved for takedown) the Google Drive account remains active and online, illegally sharing hundreds of pirated films.  Note that I sent the DMCA takedown requests over several weeks to repeatedly report the same account holder.

On paper, Google claims to punish repeat offenders.  This from Google’s own Abuse program policies and enforcement document:

Respect copyright laws. Do not share copyrighted content without authorization or provide links to sites where your readers can obtain unauthorized downloads of copyrighted content. It is our policy to respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. Repeated infringement of intellectual property rights, including copyright, will result in account termination. [emphasis added] If you see a violation of Google’s copyright policies, report copyright infringement.

Yet in reality, the company does nothing.  And, to make matters worse, while Google refuses to enforce its own policy, the account holder basically says F-you and replaces 57 of those pirated movies that were removed with new links to download via Google Drive and offline sites (mostly Openload.co).

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Google ignores ‘repeat offender’ pirates on Google Drive

Repeat offenders on Google Drive aren’t penalized

Google touts its efforts against piracy on its various platforms, yet, when push comes to shove, the talk is generally more bark than bite.  Much has been made about pledges to down rank or flag repeat offender pirate sites via its search engine, but little mention of another Google product where pirates find safe haven, Google Drive.

Per its own abuse FAQ, Google warns that repeat offenders will have their accounts closed:

Respect copyright laws. Do not share copyrighted content without authorization or provide links to sites where your readers can obtain unauthorized downloads of copyrighted content. It is our policy to respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement. Repeated infringement of intellectual property rights, including copyright, will result in account termination. If you see a violation of Google’s copyright policies, report copyright infringement.

Yet, in reality, this pledge rings hollow.  In the past couple months I’ve sent Google numerous DMCA notices requesting the removal of infringing content from a particular Google Drive account.   After reviewing the DMCA notice, Google eventually removed the pirated films reported, but the Drive account itself remains active.  As of today, May 12th, 2017, the account continues to host and share dozens and dozens of other pirated films.  How much is enough Google?

On YouTube account holders get three strikes before their account is closed.  Meanwhile, on Google Drive, it appears that one can pile up strikes with no penalty.  Why does Google drag its feet?  Perhaps it’s because Google Drive accounts are not front and center.  One has to know where to look.  Fact is that many pirate sites have taken to using Google Drive as a favored repository for stolen content.  Upload to drive and share the links and face no penalty.

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A step in the right direction?

Google and Bing reach agreement in UK to demote pirate websites in search results

Leave it to our friends across the ocean to make some (apparent) progress in the ongoing war against online piracy. According to a story published in The Guardian this week Google and Microsoft have agreed to make changes as to where links to pirated content appear in search results on Google and Bing.

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Improving YouTube’s Content ID could help creators of all stripes

Why not make Content ID more accessible and transparent?

Much has been written about YouTube’s Content ID program, a fingerprinting technology that allows rights holders to find and claim their music or movies when uploaded to YouTube.  The technology was introduced in 2008 in the wake of Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube and since then has helped (some) creators mitigate the problem of piracy on the popular UGC (user-generated content) site.

Those who have access to the Content ID system can uploaded reference files and use a dashboard to choose how matches should be handled.  They can be limited based on audio, video, and length.  Matching content then can be blocked, removed, or monetized based on territorial rights.

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First Look, Facebook’s New Rights Manager Tools

Facebook finally joins YouTube in offering anti-piracy content detection tools

Facebook has been promising for some time to introduce tools that would allow rights holders to automatically detect and remove pirated content from its pages.

The company has endured a lot of bad publicity around the freebooting of viral YouTube videos on its pages, but Facebook’s also long been a place where pirated movies and music found a cozy habitat.  That is–until now. I’ve recently begun to utilize this tool to manage Facebook DMCA takedowns and wanted to share my first impressions, but first a bit of background.

First of all, I’m thrilled that Facebook, with all its resources, has finally begun to take copyright infringement seriously.  In introducing the new tool last month the Facebook development team explained why the company had finally stepped up:

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MUSO piracy report spots some new global trends

A report in today’s Torrent Freak noted that content protection firm (anti-piracy) firm Muso recently released its annual Global Piracy Insights Report for 2016 so I was prompted to take a look to see what what’s new on the piracy landscape.  According to the report there’s been a, “massive shift towards direct downloads for music content – growing by 31% in 2015”  In addition the report found that “28% of all visits to piracy sites in 2015 were through mobile devises, up 8% during the year.”

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