[unisog] bogus (and real) DMCA notices

Dave Dittrich dittrich at u.washington.edu
Fri Nov 10 18:23:03 GMT 2006

Rita Seplowitz Saltz wrote:
> (sigh)
> This does not excuse the University from taking appropriate action if  
> an alleged infringement (or any other violation of law) is brought to  
> our attention.


I appreciate your description of the DMCA process for those who are
not familiar with it.  That is a good description of how the system
is *supposed* to work when things go *right*.

This thread, however, has to do with bogus or incomplete
DMCA letters, sent by some companies hired by MPAA/RIAA.  As
you state, when you receive a DMCA letter, you *must* identify
the "suspected infringer" and pass along the warning to them.
What happens when the report is false, because the data
used to create it was falsified by a third party, or because the
second party who "noticed" the infringement was inadequate?
Isn't the result that you spend valuable time and energy tracking
down a false lead, costing you time that you otherwise could
spend investigating, say, the breach of a web site that exposes
personal information? Part of the problem is that IP addresses
can be faked in file sharing directories.  Another part of
the problem is that companies that monitor infringement make
mistakes (apparently many of them, going back over a year.)
Another part of the problem is that some sites are not prepared
to quickly (and thus cheaply) verify false claims and send them
back to the initiator. The less prepared a site is to determine
the history of an IP address, DHCP leases, account logins, etc.,
the more likely it is they will spend hours of valuable time
trying to manually figure out who the "suspect" is (or not)
and respond.  Those were some of the problems this thread
was addressing.

Dave Dittrich                          Information Assurance Researcher,
dittrich at u.washington.edu              The iSchool
http://staff.washington.edu/dittrich   University of Washington

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