Welcome to the website of the Digital Media Law Project. The DMLP was a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society from 2007 to 2014. Due to popular demand the Berkman Klein Center is keeping the website online, but please note that the website and its contents are no longer being updated. Please check any information you find here for accuracy and completeness.
Prince is at it again. We've covered his legal antics before -- his lawyers went after a number of fan sites last November, and Universal Music sent a takedown notice to YouTube last June over a video of a toddler dancing with "Let's Go Crazy" playing in the background.
Earlier this month,
some of the most creative and entertaining parody videos on the Web
were pulled from YouTube over dubious copyright claims. The disputed
works, known as the “shred” videos, are a series of parodies in
which Finnish media artist Santeri Ojala overdubs performances of
legendary guitarists such as Steve Vai, Carlos Santana, and Eric
Clapton. Ojala replaces the audio tracks of the guitarists'
performances with his own (intentionally) bad guitar playing.
Earlier this month, comedy group The Richter Scalesreleased a funny music video, "Here Comes Another Bubble." The video showed a montage of Silicon Valley images over a sound-track adapted from Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," lampooning the Web 2.0 bubble that seems near bursting again.
Today, the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse posted a cease-and-desist letter from MediaDefender to gpio.org complaining that MediaDefender's leaked emails had been posted to the site. The operator of the site, which subsequently moved to http://mediadefender-defenders.com (but not because of the letter), also posted the letter and his reply. His reply quite effectively points out that he and his server are in Norway and thus "it appears that your legal grounds for throwing letters at me claiming this-or-that is shaky enough that you might want to relocate."
This exchange reminded me of an article in Ars Technica a few weeks back discussing the reactions of peer-to-peer site operators to similar letters from MediaDefender. I meant to post on this article at the time, but forgot about it until today. The gist of the story is that some peer-to-peer site operators received cease-and-desist letters from MediaDefender and responded with blistering comments ridiculing the MediaDefender lawyers for their impoverished understanding of U.S. copyright law. For example:
[isoHunt's] formal response to SMR&H is filled with caustic wit and considerable legal expertise. "If Mr. Gerber is truly as experienced in IP law as his bio claims he is," asks the isoHunt administrator in his response, "why is it that he is incapable of composing a DMCA takedown notice as per USC Title 17 Section 512?" The isoHunt administrator explains that Gerber failed to adequately specify the allegedly infringing content as required by law. The administrator also helpfully provides a link to a valid sample complaint so that SMR&H will be less likely to send the improper information in their second attempt. The following is an excerpt of the isoHunt administrator's response:
"This e-mail serves as a counter notification under USC Title 17 Section 512(c)(3)(A)(iii) that you have failed to properly identifying links to content that allegedly infringes your copyright/trademark/rights (or, in this case, has something to do with really embarrassing trade secrets *and* employee social security numbers) AND you have failed to address your e-mail to the appropriate agent, namely firstname.lastname@example.org, so I invite you and your clients to take a long walk off a short pier, since you and/or your clients might actually manage to NOT get something that simple wrong."
In closing, the isoHunt administrator says that the he will comply with the request if it is properly submitted. "Despite us being located in Canada, if you do actually figure out how to compose a valid DMCA notice, we will honor it," he concedes, "just as soon as we're done laughing at you."
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