DMCA Live Experiment: Refuting A False Takedown

The Main Guru DMCA Experiment 5 Comments

Here is our exchange with Newshosting. As part of our DMCA experiment, we wanted to find out how providers react to DMCA takedown requests and how the whole process works. It took a while after the takedown for the message to reach us, but when it did our account was restricted from posting.

Follow us as we file an appeal and try to get our posting privileges back.

First Email: Gregg Send The “First (And Only) Warning”

Summary: Terms of Service Violation – First Warning
Key: NHA-*******
URL: https://*****.highwinds.com:****/browse/NHA-****
Project: Newshosting Abuse
Issue Type: Third Party Issue
Security Level: Support
Reporter: Remote User
Assignee: Gregg ********

Hello,

Newshosting has received a copyright complaint stating that you, or someone using your account, have posted copyrighted material without authorization from the copyright holder.

During the sign-up process, you agreed to abide by our Terms of Service which include provisions regarding the posting of copyrighted material. Please review our Terms of Service at http://www.newshosting.com/en/newshosting-premium-usenet-provider-terms-of-service.php. Posting copyrighted material to Newshosting servers without the permission of the copyright holder is a violation our Terms of Service and is grounds for immediate account cancellation. You are hereby directed to cease the posting of copyrighted material.

This will be the only notice you receive from Newshosting regarding the posting of copyrighted material. Upon receipt of an additional notice, your account will be canceled immediately, and you will be ineligible for a refund of account subscription fees.

Again, this will serve as your only warning. Your posting privileges have been revoked. We will consider reinstating posting privileges upon receipt of written notice of your intent to abide by our Terms of Service and assurance that you will not post copyrighted material to our servers. Additional posting of copyrighted materials to Newshosting servers after that time will result in cancellation of your account without further notice.

Regards,
Newshosting Abuse Department

Second Mail: We Respond And Ask For More Information

Dear Newshosting-Team,

the content I uploaded was not protected by copyright, and I have evidence proving that. What I did was uploaded public domain / CC licensed content (movies and / or freeware) under a different name. Please reinstate my posting privileges and forward the DMCA request along with the so-called “evidence” “proving” the files I posted violate any copyright… I’m VERY interested in seeing what exactly those copyright trolls usually send along in their automated takedown requests.

Please also take note that this event will be reported on my website, The Load Guru.com, as part of our investigation on how copyright holders are trying to hold Usenet providers accountable for the content uploaded to their servers, and how this obviously results in them having the direct power to initiate takedowns and therefore censor Usenet, something I’m very concerned about, as no private party should have enough power to the point of being able to extort content providers such as Highwinds to proceedings such as the one we just witnessed. Of course, we can anonymize your name so that this will not damage your reputation if you request me to do so.

Now, to the alleged “copyright violation”. As you seemingly revoked my posting rights at the exact same time I was in the process of uploading, I assume this is about the post with the title: ************

Is that correct? If yes, the file uploaded contained a great movie you should absolutely watch, “The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz”. As you can easily find out, this video is distributed for free on BitTorrent and is a completely legal thing to upload. Should you need any proof this is what was actually meant to be uploaded, I would be more than happy to provide it to you.

If not, please contact me again. I will look into my database and see if I can find out more.

Regards

Third Mail: Newshosting Responds, And Attaches The Claim

Hello. I have attached the original DMCA complaint along with a DMCA Counter Notice form. If you choose to submit a counter notice, please fill out the form completely, and then reply to this email and attach it.

Thanks,
Brad

(See the original DMCA complaint from HBO here)

Fourth And Fifth Mail: Our Counterclaim And Reactivation Of Our Posting Privileges

Newshosting asked us to fill out a DMCA Counter Claim Form (see and download it here). After submitting the counterclaim, it took a few days for the following response to hit our inbox:

Hello. We have received your DMCA Counter-Claim Notification and have re-enabled posting on your account. We will send the complete counter-notification we received to the person who submitted the original DMCA notice. That person may elect to file a lawsuit against you for copyright infringement. If we do not receive notice that a lawsuit has been filed within ten (10) business days after we provide notice of your counter-notification, we will notate your account and keep your posting turned on.

Sixth Mail: “When Will We Get Our Post Back?”
Hello,
when will my upload be available again?
Regards

Comments 5

  1. Post
    Author

    We got our account reactivated, and nothing more came out of it. It seems those DMCA trolls don’t like to battle, since they would have nothing to gain (the files are deleted and gone forever) from further investigating the matter.

    1. Did you find out who is behind this? Did you receive names, the address of a company?
      If those *** do not even take a moment to verify before they send out take down requests, the system is rotten from the start. That happens, if you give big money the chance to scam people. If it is so easy to censor (I use this term intentionally) then the whole DMCA was screwed. And as always, nobody is to be held responsible for this yet.

  2. I understand the need for DCMA take-down requests and that they should be honoured if correct…. What I don’t understand is why the copyright trolls are able to send them via scripts…. Maybe they should make it impossible for a script to submit these requests? (as in adding a commonly used “captcha / I’m not a robot thingy perhaps??)

    1. Post
      Author

      Great idea! I guess Usenet providers are too afraid of lawsuits, so they need to make some kind of agreement…

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