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Warner Bros admits to sending takedown notices for files it did not own copyrights for

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 10 Nov 2011 13:48 User comments (18)

Warner Bros admits to sending takedown notices for files it did not own copyrights for A bombshell has dropped in the ongoing saga of cyberlocker Hotfile versus Warner Bros.
The studio has admitted that it sent false take down notices, thus getting files removed from the site that it did not even own copyrights for.

One employee specifically deleted Open Source download accelerators (it is unclear which one) and that other false takedowns were the result of filtering software gone rogue, says TF.

After being sued earlier this year, the cyberlocker Hotfile countered-sued Warner Bros., for fraud and abuse.

In its complaint, the company originally said:

Not only has Warner (along with four other major motion picture studios) filed this unfounded and contrived litigation against Hotfile employing overly aggressive tactics, Warner has made repeated, reckless and irresponsible misrepresentations to Hotfile falsely claiming to own copyrights in material from Hotfile.com.


This week, Warner admitted that it had taken down files based merely on keywords without verifying the actual files were infringing copyright:

Warner further admits that, given the volume and pace of new infringements on Hotfile, Warner could not practically download and view the contents of each file prior to requesting that it be taken down through use of the SRA (anti-piracy) tool.

Warner admits that its records indicate that URLs containing the phrases 'The Box That Changed Britain' and 'Cancer Step Outsider of the Box' were requested for takedown through use of the SRA tool.


The references relate to Warner's search for the 2009 film "The Box," starring Cameron Diaz.

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18 user comments

110.11.2011 14:09

And remember, if E-PARASITE goes through these same claims could be used to take down an entire website by going cutting off ad revenue. No court order require.


Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

210.11.2011 15:29

And why so many hacked sites make the news!! ok some are done by hackers but some by government just to get this bill passed.

310.11.2011 16:00

This is why copyright in its current form is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD,just when you thought only stupid people on youtube abuse the DMCA,we see Warner is abusing the DMCA...False Takedown notices are and always will be baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad

410.11.2011 18:24

isn't the dmca a legal document? and does this constitute falsify documents? ie. fraud

511.11.2011 4:11

Originally posted by Hopium:
isn't the dmca a legal document? and does this constitute falsify documents? ie. fraud
Yes, it is blatant fraud. They claimed that they have scanned files and they didn't. They issued takedown notices on anything with the word, "Box" in the description, and then they sued hotfile for refusing to act on these notices.

E-PARASITE takes this a considerable step farther...it won't just be large corporations who can take down websites without any reason, proof, or oversight; anyone with a copyright will be able to do so.

Of course, this will not be enforced evenly...as I doubt that an average person with one copyright will be able to take down WB.com even if they are blatantly violating that copyright after numerous takedown requests...but WB will be able to take down that person's site on the basis that they have the same copyrighted content from the WB website, even tho WB is the one violating the copyright.


611.11.2011 11:08

Any time power is taken from the people and given to smaller groups with limited interests, it never ends well.


Ignorance en masse is still ignorance.

711.11.2011 16:41

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by Hopium:
isn't the dmca a legal document? and does this constitute falsify documents? ie. fraud
Yes, it is blatant fraud. They claimed that they have scanned files and they didn't. They issued takedown notices on anything with the word, "Box" in the description, and then they sued hotfile for refusing to act on these notices.

E-PARASITE takes this a considerable step farther...it won't just be large corporations who can take down websites without any reason, proof, or oversight; anyone with a copyright will be able to do so.

Of course, this will not be enforced evenly...as I doubt that an average person with one copyright will be able to take down WB.com even if they are blatantly violating that copyright after numerous takedown requests...but WB will be able to take down that person's site on the basis that they have the same copyrighted content from the WB website, even tho WB is the one violating the copyright.

This is one of the biggest problems with the DMCA, and obviously E-PARASITE as well. While false DMCA notices are illegal, there is no particular punishment written into the law. If we are going to have such an extra-judicial process, it is imperative there be consequences for a false notice severe enough to prevent abuse of the process.

Obviously E-PARASITE makes it significantly worse since the definition of what constitutes a "site dedicated to piracy" is completely subjective. We already know how big content companies define it. And that definition, btw, would no doubt include AfterDawn since we make money providing guides for backing up legally purchased content, which we obviously know could also be used to back up the same content illegally.

Despite what the entertainment industry representatives who wrote this law, the corporate stooges in Congress who sponsored it on their behalf, and the generally clueless legislators who support it because they haven't done the basic research to find out, would like you to believe, the government has already officially backed that position in the form of domain name seizures by Immigration and Customs enforcement. Those seizures have taken place on the basis of nothing more than claims by the entertainment industry which have proven, in most cases, to be questionable at best, and flat out dishonest and factually incorrect at worst.

This should surprise no one if you consider how many lawyers from Jenner and Block, the top entertainment industry law firm responsible for lobbying and arguing Supreme Court cases, occupy top positions in the Justice Department. Most notably, Tom Perelli, the man who convinced the RIAA to start suing file sharers directly and came up with the DMCA interpretation they could file their own subpoenas without judicial oversight, is the top civil rights official in the agency. Also of note is the position of Solicitor General, who is tasked with arguing the DOJ's position in the Supreme Court. That position is currently held by Don Verilli who is most famous for arguing the Grokster case in which the theory of inducing infringement was formally accepted into caselaw.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

812.11.2011 12:02

@vurbal... That's what scares the hell out of me the most... the first ones that get it in writing the laws first, make it truth.

I know that isn't the truth, but it is always the case. And obviously, I assume you are making the case that the individuals you named are making the interpretations to set the whole thing in motion, thus drawing first blood. However, my contention for years has been that this case is a culmination of a game of catch-up since day one ever since the do-nothings have been drawing a paycheck off the backs of the day laborers back when the entertainment industry started. It's just become so complex & compounded in its double speak... I don't know... How many times does the human protein folded?

Because they're funded by the very system they're robbing it's easy to write these rules. I would suggest we find a way to remove the very heart that feeds the life force that sustains this machine. I.e., control the situation, not the people.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Nov 2011 @ 12:14

912.11.2011 13:36

Originally posted by LordRuss:
@vurbal... That's what scares the hell out of me the most... the first ones that get it in writing the laws first, make it truth.

Indeed. This is as much about thought control through language as it is about controlling technology. Entertainment industry executives obviously believe they can make you believe piracy = theft if they can just saturate society with the message. And of course, it's much harder to reverse that course on an official level when there are laws in place which say it is true. If piracy isn't theft, why does the law say it is?

Quote:
I know that isn't the truth, but it is always the case. And obviously, I assume you are making the case that the individuals you named are making the interpretations to set the whole thing in motion, thus drawing first blood. However, my contention for years has been that this case is a culmination of a game of catch-up since day one ever since the do-nothings have been drawing a paycheck off the backs of the day laborers back when the entertainment industry started. It's just become so complex & compounded in its double speak... I don't know... How many times does the human protein folded?

Because they're funded by the very system they're robbing it's easy to write these rules. I would suggest we find a way to remove the very heart that feeds the life force that sustains this machine. I.e., control the situation, not the people.

If I am understanding you, I agree completely. This has never been about "paying artists." If record labels wanted to pay artists, they wouldn't write standard recording contracts where 10 percent royalties actually amount to less than 6% and production costs are covered exclusively by the artist. Studios wouldn't write contracts promising a percentage of profit and then rig the accounting so a movie which grossed hundreds of millions of dollars shows a loss on the books.

If you want to pay artists, those are the people you should be targeting, because no matter how much a label or studio makes, the advantage to the artist ranges from negligible to non-existent.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

1012.11.2011 14:18

Originally posted by vurbal:
... the advantage to the artist ranges from negligible to non-existent.
As I have expressed and explained to folks here ad nauseum, back when albums were $8 a piece, the 1st time band (at best) usually got .06 cents per album. And that that was the remarkable high end deal of the day back the late 70s. The price really doesn't break much over the the 'teens' still.

1112.11.2011 16:28

Originally posted by LordRuss:
Originally posted by vurbal:
... the advantage to the artist ranges from negligible to non-existent.
As I have expressed and explained to folks here ad nauseum, back when albums were $8 a piece, the 1st time band (at best) usually got .06 cents per album. And that that was the remarkable high end deal of the day back the late 70s. The price really doesn't break much over the the 'teens' still.

Assuming we're talking about the nominal rate, rather than the actual one, my understanding is standard contracts are usually around 10-11%. But of course that's before all the deductions written into the contract. And of course the artist's share rarely amounts to enough to pay back their advance, so they never see another dime directly from a recording unless it gets on the radio.

Lemmy once said he made more money from writing "Momma I'm Coming Home" for Ozzy Osbourne than from every Motörhead album combined.

Where the average artist makes money from a recording is when it is heard by enough people to impact the money they make playing live and, if they're lucky, selling merchandise. From that perspective, the most important thing is to maximum exposure. For most artists, a recording is more equivalent to a concert poster than an actual commercial product. That puts their interests squarely at odds with the label.

10,000 people downloading your music for free arguably has more value than those same 10,000 people buying it. The impact may be the same for interest in seeing you live or buying a shirt, but the consumer now has less money in his pocket to pay for it.

Unfortunately, for the most part the artists don't understand the financial side, essentially because they don't think of their art as a business. That lack of understanding allows the labels to convince artists they are on the same side in this, which obviously isn't true at all. It's like saying the print shop who makes promotional posters is in it for the artist.

Even artists who accept the business side of their art tend not to educate themselves on what's involved in running that business. Look at George Clinton, for example. He took control of his business fairly early on and then proceeded to enter into bad contracts and hire bad management. Like any other business owner, those things are ultimately your responsibility, and if you fail to scrutinize contracts and hire bad managers you won't make money.

Art is a great thing, but it doesn't excuse you from your responsibility for your business. If you don't want to be running a business, either find a regular job where you are paid regular wages as an employee (good luck with that) or do it as a hobby.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Nov 2011 @ 9:00

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

1213.11.2011 11:13

In keeping it short, touring is the only way an (music) artist can make any money. Especially if they can get the capital from their own backers & stay out of as many corporate backers as possible. That's the only way fans know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the bulk of the money from their pockets are going into the band & production teams & not paper pushers.

Even Radiohead said that they made more money letting fans download & purchase their music online than they ever did playing the corporate push. That's even after selling hundreds of thousands or millions more recordings.

As a business, well... A much wiser man told me, "you can't do it all." You can't be a subject matter expert at everything, Otherwise we would all be our own physicians. So you will have to trust 'someone' with some of the aspects of properly getting those affairs in order. So with your last statement I'm assuming you're saying at least stand up with enough knowledge to protect yourself from these kind of organizations & don't get taken advantage of either. But like levels of computer knowledge, common sense seem to also be in varying levels of degree & self educating one's self fast enough into the cut throat world entertainment is not easy by any standard. I'm sure that is something I don't have to tell you guys about.


1313.11.2011 20:44

Originally posted by LordRuss:
As a business, well... A much wiser man told me, "you can't do it all." You can't be a subject matter expert at everything, Otherwise we would all be our own physicians. So you will have to trust 'someone' with some of the aspects of properly getting those affairs in order. So with your last statement I'm assuming you're saying at least stand up with enough knowledge to protect yourself from these kind of organizations & don't get taken advantage of either. But like levels of computer knowledge, common sense seem to also be in varying levels of degree & self educating one's self fast enough into the cut throat world entertainment is not easy by any standard. I'm sure that is something I don't have to tell you guys about.

Sure you have to trust somebody, but so does every business owner. There's a difference between making a bad, but reasonable choice, and an irresponsible one. And more importantly, you don't just hire somebody and then not ever check up on them. When you hear stories about big time musicians getting taken to the cleaners, the one nearly universal part of the story is how they just assumed their money was being taken care of responsibly.

If you are a touring band, with very few exceptions, you are an independent contractor. Like it or not, that means you are a business owner. Like any business owner, if your business is run poorly because you didn't check up on the people you pay to oversee it, ultimately that's your fault and you have no one to blame but yourself. And like anyone else who owns a business, if you don't know how to do that, it's your responsibility to learn.

Imagine the same type of scenario, but instead of a musician you were talking about a carpenter or auto mechanic. Neither of those professions prepares you to understand how a business is run, but if you let your business be run into the ground most people would say that's your fault for starting a business without getting the necessary information to run it. A musician is no different. If you want to be an independent contractor, you had better learn how to make it successful financially. Otherwise you have no business doing it at all.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

1413.11.2011 22:06

My point exactly... just didn't want to give a history lesson.

Most go into the field with stars in their eyes & no concept that there is actually a business in the mix. they don't call it the Music or entertainment Art... I believe it's called the music & Entertainment Business, if memory serves.

Problem is, so many of the the business wankers have forgotten that it does still rely heavily on the artists to get the business end of it started. Pesky little thing, those artists.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Nov 2011 @ 22:09

1515.11.2011 3:58

A good read about this is Courtney Love's manifesto. It is 10 years since she wrote that but it is is still as true as the day she did. Another intriguing story is that of TLC. I'm sure there are so many more artists/bands that have had to almost go into non-existence because of the same reasons and they just didn't speak out about it.

1616.11.2011 10:29

Originally posted by treyjazz:
...just didn't speak out about it.
There usually is a sort of 'gag' or hush clause to the nature of the business. Rules to the game if you will. Either follow by them or you won't be invited back kind of atmosphere. They most certainly won't put it in writing in that many words, that would put them under the spotlight, but you obviously found one of many of the dark chapters to the industry.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Nov 2011 @ 10:29

1716.11.2011 12:16

Originally posted by LordRuss:
My point exactly... just didn't want to give a history lesson.

Most go into the field with stars in their eyes & no concept that there is actually a business in the mix. they don't call it the Music or entertainment Art... I believe it's called the music & Entertainment Business, if memory serves.

Problem is, so many of the the business wankers have forgotten that it does still rely heavily on the artists to get the business end of it started. Pesky little thing, those artists.
One of my friends from high school was offered a $500,000 contract for one album...he was smart enough to have a lawyer look at the contract, and after all was said and done, he would have had to sell over a million copies just to break even (as in, he would still owe them the $500,000 advance). He still plays, but his money comes from the burned CDs he sells out of his trunk...and the other things he sells out of his trunk... but he is still doing better than he probably would have done with a label.


1816.11.2011 12:26

Originally posted by KillerBug:
... but he is still doing better than he probably would have done with a label.
And that is probably the cold hard reality truth to the business. Good for him. If most folks surrounding the artists were more honest, everyone could make a decent living.

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