Digiex Transparency Report 2012 - Covering DMCA's takedowns, and the invalid claims.

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Nimrod, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

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    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.
     
    deamon0, TNickxx, Trebor and 4 others like this.
  2. lem_is_cool

    lem_is_cool Resident

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    Takedown request are just becoming automated now, there should be a charge or something for exessive incorrect request to help stem the flood as it's extra work for websites affected,
     
  3. Rockman

    Rockman Godlike

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    I don't get how these claims are valid.

    Demos = Freely distributed for people to try out before buying. Distributing demos is the point, not removing it from the market so no one will play it.

    That other stuff (comments/reviews) also make no sense whatsoever, but I get Microsoft's point of view with the takedown of Forza's themes, they use copyrighted photos so they're in their right.
     
  4. Rick

    Rick Moderator

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    The themes listed are mixed in with game rips which make it seem like a mistake.
     
  5. Elricmon

    Elricmon Elite Member

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    This is simply disgusting, Nowadays, everyone is eager to point fingers and accuse others of "stealing property" and "copyright infringment". The companies only want the huge settlements, and this is completely immoral and unethical. This remembered me of Apple always accusing others of copying their patents and such... all these big companies want now is lawsuits that grant them money. This is really sad indeed. Free speech is less and less...
    On youtube, I tried several times to upload Pokemon openings (in portuguese) for the sake of nostalgia, and Shopro (who claims to possess the rights to Pokemon) blocked my video due to copyright infringment. If people aren't doing anything for personal gain, like Digiex for example, what do they gain with these things? God damn it....
     
  6. MDashK

    MDashK Member

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    I got myself something similar...
    I lost my 4shared account because there was a complained to a MP3 file that had an artist, but the file I had in my account was from a different artist.
    Simply put: my file had a similar filename to the artist, so because of that simple fact, they received a complain, took my file down along with my account, and there... I lost everything I had there... God bless DVD's...

    Of course, this was not the first time, it was the 3rd and last, BUT, however, all the other 2 where ALSO incorrect DMCA requests. I tried to resolve the issue with 4shared, but the instructions they gave me where so complicated and took so much time, that I decided to ignore those 2... AS you can see, the final result of ignoring those 2 (and the last one, by force) was my account delection.

    BTW: did I mention that the MP3 that I had was from an artist that has that same MP3 file available for public download on his blog? yeah...

    I myself am an artist.. I have a website full of MP3 files created by my and myself alone. For now, (i think) I never received any complain about any of my original files... FOr what I can see, I'm seeing that that event, might not be that far away from happening.
    And the thing is: the companies are priority, not us. If a company files a DMCA, it in less than 24 hours that you have to comply. But if it's the reverse, if the DMCA is incorrect and your file is yours and legal, then forget it. Be ready to spend a lot of hours trying to resolve the issue and to have your file back online... =(
     
  7. TNickxx

    TNickxx Member

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    Maybe the big companies' IT specialists are trolling the smaller sites. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out the specialists 12 yo kids were messing with their computers. They shoud go 1 v 1 cuz do day evn lift?

    Jokes, aside. They are definitely abusing power. And who can blame them, they got tight to the that. We can only be more careful to make sure this doesn't happen.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  8. InsanityForce

    InsanityForce New Member

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    My Realmz/Divinity download page here on DigiEx was suddently removed a few months ago. Did you receive a complain about that too ? The game was made by FantaSoft but I don't know who has the copyrights now.

    Realmz is considered abandonware (I had asked InsaneNutter what he thought about it before I uploaded it), but I have seen rumors that in fact the copyright holder now works for a company that would claim ownership of anything he does, and so he can't do anything.

    I would actually be happy to hear that the ones who own the copyright of Realmz still care about it enough to send a complain.
     
  9. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

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    Hello InsanityForce, I've taken a look into your request and found the thread in question.

    It's currently in an area which isn't viewable by members known as 'Admin Review'. In here team members move questionable threads and put them up for review by staff. Once it's reviewed its either send into the recycle bin or moved into the public area again. While this isn't ideal as we don't wish to damage people's hard work, it is vital for a public site with publisher support to ensure all content is legal. Sadly there is quite a backlog due to the amount of threads from the old days which are in there for reviewing and it will take a while to process.

    The important thing to do is ensure is that the original publisher and the copyright holder is happy with distribution.

    Sadly the old abandonware reasoning was quite valid in 2004 when we launched, however in current days that is no longer legal protection to allow public downloading of previously sold material. Thanks to sites like GoG, publishers have updated and made available previously old games which weren't for sale, at really good and fair prices. Quite a few downloads which Digiex previously had for the reasoning of abandonware have since gone on sale on that site and we didn't notice for months until another user reported to us. Ever since then, and with the changed climate of copyright law we have taken the step to be overall careful and only put old games up for download if the publishers themselves have confirmed over email that they are happy for the content to be shared. You're welcome to talk to the admin team directly via the Site Issues and Feedback forum if you wish to give some reasoning or even a copy of an email confirming the publisher is happy for the content to be shared freely. Once its confirmed by us we will happy move it back to the public area.

    The last thing we want to do is upset you, our members. However we do have to ensure Digiex is in compliance with all the relevant laws of the European Union where we're hosted, and the United States where our publishers who cover the cost of the website are based.

    I hope this helps, and apologies if you feel this causes an inconvenience, its not our intention.
     
  10. deamon0

    deamon0 Active Member

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    Thanks. We know that Digiex strives to be ethically and lawfully correct. :) These false copyright claims not only trouble digiex but also its readers/member because sometimes the links to the content which must be free to share is taken down due these unnecessary claims. :|
     
  11. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

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    To my surprise, it's been almost 3 months into 2013 and we haven't had any invalid (or valid) DMCA until today.

    A company called LeakID which is based on Paris, France run by Hervé Lemaire. They 'claim' to represent Microsoft.

    Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Xbox 360 Demo

    DMCA Compliant viewable at:
    http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=832812

    The demo which is on Xbox Live was linked to from Digiex with information about the demo. It seems LeakID 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 Namco 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 just to be safe, 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.

    It should be noted also that this DMCA was infact illegal because the content is owned by Namco and not Microsoft. But if you Google 'LeakID' you're find the company is well known for abusing (and not understanding) DMCA. Let's hope some day someone with the money and legal team takes Hervé's company to court to stop this abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
    Read more at: LeakID And The DMCA Takedown Notice Farce | Techdirt

    Original URL:
    https://digiex.net/downloads/download-center-2-0/xbox-360-content/demos/12306-naruto-ultimate-ninja-storm-3-demo-download.html


    At the end of 2013 we will do a new round up similar to the 2012 Transparency Reporting detailing the events of the whole year, let's see if it's likely to be as bad as 2012?
     
    Trebor, Michael_T and Rick like this.
  12. Trebor

    Trebor Dolphin Fan

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    Lets hope not. You'd think with time and a little thought these companies would see common sense or the people hiring them would and use someone else to make legitimate DMCA claims on their behalf!
     

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