Digital Rights Groups: DMCA Reform Should Target Takedown Abuse, Errors 03/04/2016 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 2 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Advocacy groups supporting digital rights and access online joined rights holders and artists in calling for reform to the United States law intended to balance copyright protection with the free flow of information on the internet. But the advocacy groups say the problem may be rights holders’ improper takedowns of online content and errors in the system. At issue is the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is being reviewed for reforms. Stakeholders submitted comments on the reform (focused on DMCA Section 512) by the 1 April deadline. Rights holders, artists and managers called for the DMCA protections to be made stronger as the “notice-and-takedown procedure is not working (IPW, North American Policy, 1 April 2016). Those claiming to represent users’ rights say the DMCA “safe harbour” protecting internet service providers from liability for infringing content on their networks is working well, and that a cleanup in the way the notice-and-takedown procedure is used could address the problem of infringing content. Fight for the Future created a last-minute website to help with comments to be sent to the Copyright Office. In its press release it stated: “Our tweets, videos, and posts are getting targeted by overzealous copyright algorithms in the millions every day . A bunch of bad actors, mostly corporate copyright holders, are finding ways to use a law called the DMCA to take down content without review, usually by using robots (smart algorithms) to do the work. They do it to silence their critics, cut off competitors, control art and culture, or fleece people for money. Any way you slice it, it’s an abuse of the DMCA that doesn’t have to exist. The notice-and-takedown process as it currently stands puts the most important types of content at risk. Political speech can be censored at crucial moments in a campaign. Videos can be taken offline at moments when they are critical for the survival of small businesses. There’s so much you and I have never seen or heard about because it got taken down before it had a chance. That damage can’t be undone.” Free expression is too important for bullies to be able to make false takedown claims without consequences. By making sure there are consequences for false takedowns, we can fix the problem. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also issued a press release, stating similar concerns. The EFF press release is reprinted below: “EFF to Copyright Office: Improper Content Takedowns Hurt Online Free Expression Safe Harbors Work for Rightsholders and Service Providers Washington, D.C. – Content takedowns based on unfounded copyright claims are hurting online free expression, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told the U.S. Copyright Office Friday, arguing that any reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) should focus on protecting Internet speech and creativity. EFF’s written comments were filed as part of a series of studies on the effectiveness of the DMCA, begun by the Copyright Office this year. This round of public comments focuses on Section 512, which provides a notice-and-takedown process for addressing online copyright infringement, as well as “safe harbors” for Internet services that comply. “One of the central questions of the study is whether the safe harbors are working as intended, and the answer is largely yes,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “The safe harbors were supposed to give rightsholders streamlined tools to police infringement, and give service providers clear rules so they could avoid liability for the potentially infringing acts of their users. Without those safe harbors, the Internet as we know it simply wouldn’t exist, and our ability to create, innovate, and share ideas would suffer.” As EFF also notes in its comments, however, the notice-and-takedown process is often abused. A recent report found that the notice-and-takedown system is riddled with errors, misuse, and overreach, leaving much legal and legitimate content offline. EFF’s comments describe numerous examples of bad takedowns, including many that seemed based on automated content filters employed by the major online content sharing services. In Friday’s comments, EFF outlined parameters endorsed by many public interest groups to rein in filtering technologies and protect users from unfounded blocks and takedowns. “A significant swath of lawful speech is getting blocked from the Internet, just because it makes use of a copyrighted work,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kit Walsh. “The Internet needs fewer bad copyright claims—not more burdensome copyright laws—to protect speech.” For EFF’s full comments to the copyright office: https://www.eff.org/document/eff-512-study-comments Image Credits: Wikipedia Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."Digital Rights Groups: DMCA Reform Should Target Takedown Abuse, Errors" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.