Is this really what Congress had in mind when it created the DMCA?

dmca-brokenFor filmmakers, musicians, authors, and artists, etc. whose work is pirated (and monetized) by online thieves, the only way to (possibly) get one’s stolen content removed is to send a DMCA notice.  It’s a procedure outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law passed by Congress in October of 1998.

The legislation was intended to provide a means to protect copyright in the digital age, but also provides “safe harbor” for websites (like YouTube) that unknowingly host infringing files.  The law specifies the “notice and takedown” procedure for copyright owners to use in order to request removal of their content, commonly referred to as a DMCA takedown notice.  If a website owner complies with a legitimate takedown demand, “the provider is exempt from monetary liability.”  Anyway, that’s how it’s supposed to work.  In reality, the process is not quite so simple, nor successful.

Not only does sending out DMCA notices required a great deal of time–time that most indie content creators do not have–but often times it’s ignored entirely by pirate sites that feign compliance.

Here’s a case in point.   Using Google, a rights holder was able to find numerous illegal download links to their film “The Guest House.”  Next step, get them removed–but that’s easier said than done.  Take a look at how many steps it took–and how many advertising obstacles (i.e. revenue for the pirate) stood in the way of sending a single DMCA notice for a single link…and–despite all that effort–days later the link (and the pirated movie) remains online and available.   ads galore.007 ads galore.008 ads galore.009 ads galore.010 ads galore.011 ads galore.012 ads galore.013

Despite the fact the distributor followed all these steps and clicked past all these ads and submitted a DMCA takedown request days ago the pirated film is still streaming online.  Meanwhile, this web pirate keeps making money–earning revenue thanks to brand name advertisers (like the U.S. Army?) and sex sites.  The filmmaker makes ZERO.  So much for the goal of protecting copyright holders in the digital age eh?

still online.008


3 thoughts on “Is this really what Congress had in mind when it created the DMCA?

  1. the DMCA has become (or always was?…) a Big Tech joke to legalize theft of entire industries.
    The legal precedents and/or how it was written, left loopholes big enough to drive entire armored trucks through. Sad thing is, i don’t believe this Congress is capable of doing anything about it [or much else for that matter], even if most of them weren’t already bought off…

  2. You could forgo the “report abuse” buttons that are usually always garbage and seem more like a tactic to make you give up than actually help you report something. Send a DMCA directly to the legal department / contact agents listed on the US gov site, if the infringer is the in the US. DMCA’s dont always comply, but respectable companies with reputations to uphold do. This list has email addresses and sometimes even phone numbers of who to contact regarding intellectual property theft or misrepresentation or what have you.

    If the company is not listed, you can do a whois search for the website and find the hosting service providing web space, and then contact the hosting services agent, sometimes even the hosting service, has a hosting service, so you may have to do a couple of whois searches before you find the right info.

  3. Indeed, I’ve done exactly as you suggested numerous times yet often with the same result. WHOIS is generally a dead end as are most hosting entities for these type of offshore sites. Regardless, cyberlockers such as these are intentionally opaque when it comes to such info.

    One time I attempted sending a DMCA in the manner you suggest and ended up in an exchange with the notorious Sven Olaf Kamphuis. Needless to say, that particular infringing file was never removed. :-)

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