Digiex Transparency Report 2012 - Covering DMCA's takedowns, and the invalid claims. Over the past year, Digiex like most other sites has received a number of DMCA complaints from copyright holders regarding their content being posted on our site. Recently however there has been a large increase in the number of complaints, but also a big increase in the number of false / abusive DMCA requests from companies. In this report, we are going to be discussing the invalid one's in detail to help show how these companies are abusing the DMCA process. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 is designed to protect service providers like Digiex from the copyright infringement of its users, providing we act quickly upon receiving a compliant from a copyright holder. We have always honoured valid requests received, and gone a long way in our pursuit of stopping the material getting there in the first place. If your already a member of Digiex, I'm sure you have seen the big notices around the site in the download center about ensuring content is legal. This is one part of a number of steps including automated detection systems and staff review, that we use to stop illegal content entering Digiex's Download Center, as well as the general discussion areas. You can read more about the steps we take in our Piracy Report: https://digiex.net/dmca/DigiexPiracyReport.pdf Receiving DMCA request's can lead to damaged reputation both on Google Search, and with potential publishers who wish to support the site. Therefore any site, including Digiex is affected by the number of DMCA requests it receives in someway. Some of the bigger players have recently been seen to be harassing small sites with incorrect and invalid DMCA request's which puts an unfair burden on sites to operate fairly. Only recently it was reported how even BBC News, Wikipedia and Hulu received DMCA requests for content they have the legal right to show. The problem is growing, and only by sites being open about it, can anything be done to stop it. So this is why we're here. I'm going to discuss both the valid, and also invalid DMCA requests Digiex has received in the last year. You can make your own judgement from this which requests were legal and fair, and which one's seem invalid. If you want to share any feedback, please reply at the end of the thread. Capcom DMCA Compliant viewable at: https://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=697953 Capcom have sent four DMCA requests to Google to de-list Digiex covering 4 gaming discussion threads. What's worse about these DMCA requests is they are merely covering discussions about the game. Now in most civilised countries, free speech is protected. There is no infringement of copyright by users discussing the game, and certainly not for good reviews or even posting news about the game. This is an example of a company totally abusing the DMCA process. They could very well be using an automated tool to generate these reports, however this is a prime example of why each request needs to be overseen by a real human being. The four requests (which we refused to take down) are: A user commenting on how the game is awesome and lasts a long time - Surely you don't want to DMCA a good user review? https://digiex.net/general-discussions/gaming-hangout/11629-resident-evil-6-awesome-loooong.html A user posting about how a shop in Poland broke the street date: https://digiex.net/general-discussions/gaming-hangout/11436-resident-evil-6-street-date-broken-poland.html Someone posting news about how the Demo is playable via system link: https://digiex.net/digiex/news-article-submission/11532-resident-evil-6-demo-playable-through-system-link.html How a user got banned for playing the demo early - We don't support their choice, but its not illegal to mention it. https://digiex.net/general-discussions/gaming-hangout/11522-banned-console-banned-playing-resident-evil-6-demo-early-xbl.html Microsoft We have received multiple complaints from Microsoft over the year, some of which were actually valid (detailed at the end of the report). However quite a few again were unnecessary: Need for Speed Run Xbox 360 Demo DMCA Compliant viewable at: https://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=212594 The demo which is on Xbox Live was linked to from Digiex with information about the demo. It seems Microsoft decided to tag it along side illegal copies of the game, instead of actually checking it was about the demo. The very demo which was published by them and marketed as a way to get users to try the game and hopefully purchase. One can only assume it's in a companies best interest to get the demo out to as many people as possible. But it appears not in this case. We took the link down, as ultimately Microsoft do own the 'rights' to the demo, but to DMCA and put our URL alongside other sites which actually provide the full game is immoral, and in the authors view DMCA abuse. https://digiex.net/downloads/download-center-2-0/xbox-360-content/demos/9545-need-speed-run-xbox-360-demo-download.html Forza Horizon Xbox 360 Demo DMCA Compliant viewable at: https://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=692626 Like the above, this was a demo which got tagged alongside full illegal copies of the game. We also took this link down for the same reasons. https://digiex.net/downloads/download-center-2-0/xbox-360-content/demos/11623-forza-horizon-xbox-360-demo-download.html User Created Theme for Xbox 360 (Forza Horizon) DMCA Compliant viewable at: http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=645480 This compliant from Microsoft was for a custom user created theme for the Xbox 360 dashboard. This theme used public screenshots from the game to provide a nice visual theme for the Xbox 360. This looked nothing like any of the premium themes provided for purchase by Microsoft, and being a custom user-made theme doesn't support any of the premium features (for those new to Xbox 360 themes, users can make their own from pictures and save them to memory card to share with friends). When Microsoft filled this DMCA takedown they once again put this theme down as an 'illegal copy' of the full game which is outrageous. The URL at multiple stages clearly shows its nothing to do with a pirated copy of a game. We debated this for a long time, but ultimately took it down for the reason that Microsoft does publish the game, so could class screenshots of the game as their property. However never in my life as a webmaster have I found people receiving DMCA requests for screenshots of a retail game. If they did, Youtube and pretty much every gaming review site would have major problems. As such, I put this one down to abuse of the DMCA system https://digiex.net/downloads/download-center-2-0/xbox-360-content/themes/user-created-xbox-360-themes/11624-forza-horizon-theme.html Transparency - The valid DMCA requests. We are not afraid to admit in the past we have made mistakes. Our site was founded in 2004 and the internet landscape was vastly different back then to what it is now. Content like old games which couldn't be bought anymore, or beta's were considered 'fair to share' back then as they weren't being sold and therefore not causing anyone lost revenue. At the beginning of 2012 we had a massive clear up operation where over 6 member's of the team spent 2 days going through all the threads from back in 2004 to present and clearing out any threads which we believe could be remotely classed as copyright infringement. If this was right or wrong back then is not debated, as we accept for a site we shouldn't have had this content up ever. So for that, we hold our hands out and say we made a mistake. Valid DMCA requests were received for the following content: Mass Effect 3 Public Beta (Xbox 360) - Request by Microsoft Gears of War 3 Public Beta (Xbox 360) - Request by Microsoft Battlefield 3 Open Beta (Xbox 360) - Request by Microsoft Sonic the Hedgehog CD Alphas (PC) - Request by The ESA As soon as we received complaints for these, we actioned our takedown's in less than 4 hours, which we believe is well above the legal requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. What's your view on this? Are companies automated DMCA posting 'systems' an abuse of the legal system or do they have the right to do so? What should innocent sites which get hit do about such complaints? We open the debate below.