There’s an infuriating copyright infringement case making its way through the courts right now. It’s emerged in evidence that Warner Bros. filed numerous notices of copyright infringement and takedown demands, in terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, over items to which it did not own the copyright at all. TechDirt reports:
As we’ve noted many times in the past, there is almost no real punishment for filing false takedowns. The “penalty of perjury” language appears to only apply to the question of whether or not the person filing the takedown actually represents the party they claim to represent — and not whether the file is infringing at all, or even whether or not the file’s copyright is held by the party being represented. And, in the lawsuit, Warner Bros. is relying on that to try to avoid getting hit with a perjury claim. Basically, the company is saying: sure, sure, we lied and pulled down content we had no right to pull down, but the law is so laughably weak and in our favor that screw you all, it doesn’t matter what we take down.
. . .
As you read the filing, WB appears to be almost gloating that the way copyright law is written, it can take down whatever it wants, and if you don’t like it, well, go shove the DMCA up your… and good luck.
There’s more at the link.
So, basically, one of the behemoths of the entertainment industry is publicly boasting that it can issue whatever takedown notices it likes, whether or not it owns copyright in the works concerned, and can drive an ‘upstart’ company to (or even over) the brink of bankruptcy by doing so . . . and get away with it.
Remember this when people (and corporations) try to defend the role of lobbyists in urging Congressional representatives and Senators to pass legislation affecting one or more industries. Look at the proposed legislation, and see how much of it was actually written by the industries concerned. Look at the ‘contributions to re-election campaigns’ paid by those industries to politicians, which end up in their back pockets and those of their families . . . and then you’ll understand how Warner Bros. can be so confident it’ll get away scot-free with conduct like this. Basically, it (and companies like it) made sure that the law was carefully worded in order to allow them to get away with it.
US politicians . . . the best that money can buy!