Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

Summary: Last week, Jason Perlow wrote about his not-so-amusing adventures with Warner Brothers. After helping his wife put together a little 20-year-reunion slide show with an easy listening soundtrack (featuring James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin"), which he intentionally degraded to avoid just this problem, Perlow received a nice little congrats letter from his friends at Vimeo, where the video was uploaded for the benefit of 250 fellow reunion attendees.

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TOPICS: Autonomy, Piracy
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Last week, Jason Perlow wrote about his not-so-amusing adventures with Warner Brothers. After helping his wife put together a little 20-year-reunion slide show with an easy listening soundtrack (featuring James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin"), which he intentionally degraded to avoid just this problem, Perlow received a nice little congrats letter from his friends at Vimeo, where the video was uploaded for the benefit of 250 fellow reunion attendees.

This is to notify you that, as a result of a third-party notification by Warner Music Group claiming that the material is infringing, we have removed or disabled access to the material that appeared at http://www.vimeo.com/3591152.

Oh, but surely it's fair use. No problem, just "provide VIMEO’s Copyright Agent with a written counter-notification containing at least the following information ..." Take note, though: Doing so tells WMG who to sue for copyright infringement and getting it wrong subjects you to liability:

Upon receipt of a properly completed counter-notification, VIMEO will forward a copy to the party who submitted the original claim of copyright infringement and/or such party’s legal counsel. Please note that when we send the counter-notification, it will include your personal information. By submitting a counter-notification, you consent to such disclosure.

. . . Under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 512(f), any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing or was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability.

In other words, you have to have a very strong case, be a rich corporation, or be out of your mind to file that opposition. Jason says:

I will never buy a single thing from these assholes ever again. So all WB is doing is alienating customers in the worst economic environment possible.

So how did Warners find this outrageous infringement (if it's not in fact fair use)? Jason figures:

Warner apparently figured out that we were violating their copyrights because we explicitly listed the songs on the video’s description page. In retrospect, this was probably dumb for us to have done, because I am sure this was discovered by their legal department using some sort of automated search engine or spider/web crawler. I’m not sure which of the songs are owned by Warner but I assume they cross-checked this against some kind of database of titles or artists.

Oh, it's worse than that, reader Brad Belbas said, pointing us to ACID (Automatic Copyright Infringement Detection) from Autonomy's Virage division.

"Acid watches very large amounts of video and it can spot video that is owned by someone else," in a highly automated process, Autonomy president Michael Lynch said.

ACID uses Autonomy's "meaning-based computing" technology, which allows computers to find relationships within many different types of unstructured data, including text, word processing documents, e-mails, audio and multimedia. Acid uses patented image and audio analysis technology to look for known examples of copyrighted material no matter what format it's stored in.

Topics: Autonomy, Piracy

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14 comments
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  • Greedy Idiots

    When will this stop?
    itanalyst2@...
    • Not until we vote

      with our wallets. If a lot of people declared a complete boycott of the media industry they would eventually realize that people are upset with them and they need us a lot more than we need them. I haven't been to a movie since I bought my first VCR (a beta), I can't recall which year I bought my last new CD in (I dislike the fact that there is only one or two good songs on a disk). I have even stopped downloading music since Real dropped their own store and is now all Rhapsody (after being a former subscriber who had some problems with them, I no longer will do business with them).
      I do buy CDs at the local used disk store. I also rent a small (6-8 per year) DVDs at a local rental shop, but mostly I wait until the movie is broadcast on television. I use neither pay per view or Netflix since I so not want any feedback for the media companies. put simply I do not NEED their product however sometimes I want a bit of it.
      If enough people boycott entertainment media so that music starts piling up on store shelves and $5 million is a good opening week for a new movie, the companies may begin to realize we are not happy with their behavior.
      don3605
  • RE: Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

    It won't stop.
    It is the result of greedy corpulent American business using the standard practice where litigation is always easier than innovation, but coupled with hugely excessive individual greed where many people are downloading and copying music and video to avoid paying for it.

    The fact that the music industry people have been so stupid and venal in the way they have pursued and harrassed individuals just highlights their lack of understanding of what people think is fair and proper, and highlights their corporate stupidity and greed in that they have alienated the public when they, the companies, should be in the right.

    Until there is a new paradign in thinking about how to justifiable charge for, and allow use of any forms of media, we will see such excesses.
    Chalfont
    • Don't worry

      Don't worry, they'll be gone soon enough. Their stupidity in enforcing their copyrights, along with their general cluelessness about where people go to get their music, will ensure their demise. The new business model, evolving as we speak, will put the power back into the artists' hands. CD sales are dropping like a rock, but concert sales are holding steady; the money is leaving the record companies' hands by the bucketful.

      They'll be relegated to selling releases more than 10 years old to people still not comfortable with file-sharing, then they'll disappear.

      Good riddance!
      wbrodyjr
  • "Fair Use" - NOT

    Even under the older copyright law, using the entirety of several songs in such a production is not going to pass "fair use" if ever it comes to court.

    Including the "Not for profit, no infringement intended" disclaimer that fan-fiction authors think exempts them from copyright prosecution is not going to.

    Circulating it to friends on disc, or via password-protected download from your personal hosting space is still not "fair use", but would pronbably not get you busted.

    But posting such a clearly-infringing (i speak in legal, not moral terms here) thing online is begging to be busted, and i have no sympathy.

    (And, yes, i have been known to circuate probably-infringing material among frienda, but i'm not dumb enough to do it publicly or to call attention to it.)
    fairportfan
    • I'd have to see it before making Judgement

      But if it is like you claim I'd agree.
      voska1
  • RE: Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

    Remember, corporations behave like psychopaths. A good case is made for this in the movie entitled 'The Corporation'. Until we stop treating corporations as people, with all of the rights of people but none of the ultimate responsibilities, they will continue to ravage us with virtually unlimited resources. This includes ever-advancing invasion of our privacy and the ability to bury any individual in a lawsuit. We, the people, need a means to climb on top of the pyramid again and give the power back to 'the people'. There are two answers, National Binding Referendums or dissolution of the U.S.
    therealzeldar
    • You were doing so good

      [i]There are two answers, National Binding Referendums or dissolution of the U.S.[/i]

      Until this ridiculous last statement.

      ;(
      hasta la Vista, bah-bie
  • RE: Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

    "any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing..."

    Maybe there's a difference between American and UK legal language, but this bit seems to me to imply that the third party who ratted on Jason is liable too, as may be Warner themselves (if the so-called infringement is not so).

    As for Autonomy's software, depending on the algorithms used and their interactions, I'd like to know what the chances of false positives are - and don't anybody dare say zero!
    geum
  • RE: Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

    "any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing..."

    Maybe there's a difference between American and UK legal language, but this quoted section seems to me to imply that the third party who ratted on Jason is liable too, as may be Warner themselves (if the so-called infringement isn't one).

    As for Autonomy's software, depending on the algorithms used and their interactions, I'd like to know what the chances of false positives are - and don't anybody dare say zero!
    geum
  • Who is paying

    for the bandwidth that ACID is using to check videos? This is like a super "Find" command that touches every file on the storage. It must do this over and over - to check for any new content. Imagine multiple ACID processes - from different content owners - taking up bandwidth looking for infringers. You could bring a video site to its knees - without serving a single customer. Interesting. Not a DDOS attack - because it's not distributed . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • Sounds like RICO

      Here's a scenario ("I" means user who is abused by Warner in this, NOT ME)

      I have NONINFRININGING material in a video presentation that I put out for clients, and state specifically that it is for clients ONLY; I also have a bandwidth cap that is hard, i.e., my website goes offline and I lose business if it's down.

      I expect my video presentation to be downloaded ten times a month; I pay for 20. I also make third party specialty videos (and indirectly, because of that, compete Warner et al) about something, maybe "Steam Trains" (yeah, that's actually a small cottage video industry... you'd be surprised how many folks like Steam Trains, but I digress) Warner and others use ACID to scour my website; there are (say) 5 of them, and they're set up to scour my site daily. Four days into the month, they've just taken me offline, or made me have to pay (through the nose!) for overbandwidth charges.

      Tell me how that's not RICO? They're breaking the law, while causing harm to a competitor.
      Bill Ward
  • RE: Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

    I hope they get out of business soon. I preffer buying from the artist website directly.
    Jediguardian
  • RE: Is Warner juicing DMCA with automated infringement detectors?

    Now that they have realized DRM only affects the consumer who actually BUYS the media and are removing DRM from certain types of media, I think the trend will continue. However, as one bad guy goes down the toilet, another springs up to take its place: internet companies charging for bandwidth usage. However, I digress. What I'd like to know is how much money is "lost" on piracy and dubious fair use of media compared to how much money is spent on entities like the RIAA, ACID, legal battles etc.. I'd also liek to see how much money the RIAA has spent compared to how much it has collected. I think the findings will be clear: more money is spent on these outrageous procedures than is gained by using them

    Here's a novel idea: ditch the lawyers, and reduce the cost of the media. If it was more economical to buy something cheaply than to pirate it, the problem would be solved, and EVERYONE wins. I watch Hulu because my hard drives are full: everyone wins: they get ad money, I get to watch what I want to, when I want to, with only minimal interruption.

    --allanonmage
    allanonmage