Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Copyright Infringement Crusades Underway

In case you have any doubt about the explosion of attacks that are being made against alleged copyright infringement, you need only look at Google's Transparency Report on the number of URLs that are being attacked.
Take a look. The number of URLs that are being accused of facilitating copyright infringement has gone up by about a factor of 12x since last year at about this time. That means that 12 times as many URLs are being attacked by purported copyright owners. Does this mean that copyright infringement has gone up by 1200% over the last year? Of course not. It means that the copyright infringement crusades have begun.
And who makes more takedown demands than any other entity? Is is the recording industry? No, they are second. The number one reporting organization is Takedown Piracy, LLC. Who is Takedown Piracy? Apparently they are a small company started in 2009 whose entire business model is making copyright infringement allegations on behalf of other copyright owners. We have all heard of John Steele and Prenda Law who use extortionate means to try and extract blood money from individuals. But this Takedown Piracy group is taking it to a new level.
Apparently they don't just mail out threatening but toothless letters demanding money. They actually target business concerns and attack their domain URLs at the search engine, effectively shutting down those businesses unless they pay up. This is approaching organized crime.
In my opinion, there needs to be harsher punishment (is there any now?) for companies that make baseless threats of copyright infringement. Companies like Takedown Piracy and Universal make knee-jerk copyright infringement accusations with little to no proof. They demand that the works and domains be taken down under the DMCA. But what happens when they are wrong? Not much, apparently. So what disincentive do these companies have to send as many bogus takedown notices as they can? None.
With the all out war on ordinary folk that has apparently been waged by copyright owners, we need to organize and think about changes that should be made to the DMCA and other copyright laws to protect the public from baseless charges of copyright infringement. The First Amendment could be hanging by a thread soon if something isn't done.