Copyright filters are automatically removing copies of the Mueller Report

Originally published at:

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What happens when a broadcaster claims copyright over a key Trump gaffe on the eve of an election, and it doesn’t get unblocked until the election is over?

Goodness, Mister Trump is such a master of diplomacy, this is hard to imagine. Surely it would end his campaign, because Trump supporters have no tolerance for gaff… oh, I can’t keep a straight face.


If it is so trivially easy and without cost to weaponize copyright enforcement by putting up spurious takedown notices, why not use that flaw against the people who voted the law into place? Why not use copyright filters to, say, have the website of a politician who voted for the takedown filters taken down every day, or every hour? Seems like weaponization of “copyright” enforcement, especially with no remedies for abuse, means it can be turned on its creators with minimal effort.


Actually, the filters are the only part about the EU copyright directive I like. Being an artist and thus specifically on the receiving end of this shitstorm legislation I have time, quite a lot of it, once the filters go into effect I’ll be spending that time claiming the copyright of every single document the EU publishes. All day, every day. It’ll be a work of art and the opening act will be to claim copyright of the filters. The filters after all engage in changing my output, which is art, which is copyrightable -and there is already legal precedent in Italy saying you need copyright owners’ permission to publish an altered copyrighted work.


It’s frustrating that there are no penalties for making fraudulent copyright claims. That seems like the obvious main flaw in the current system.


Well, when the corporations are writing the laws, they make sure they don’t include any downsides for themselves.


This post removed by the Church of Scientology.


Copyright-infringement notices should require the ISBN and can only be issued by the copyright holder or their legal representative.


If I were the one of the content platforms that has received such notices

  1. I would put notice that “electronic notifications” are a privilege that are subject to a limit on false claims.
  2. In the event that claims are determined to be “blatantly false,” such notification privileges are suspended until payment of a reinstatement fee (say $15,000 per blatantly false claim) for electronic notifications.
  3. While suspended, notifications must instead be sent separately by registered mail, until fees are paid.

How about by courier?

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Courier is OK, so long as there is an established paper trail for the delivery, and it is “signed for.”

I am thinking along the same rules that the IRS has established for “other approved couriers.”
(Note: These services cost more than the USPS equivalents.)

  1. ISBN is a book identifier. International Standard Book Number. It does not cover all copyrightable works, nor is it limited to copyrightable works. If you published the writings of Herodotus, you would be able to get an ISBN, but you would not hold copyright. Herodotus did not get an ISBN, because it didn’t exist. On the other hand, if you want ti be sure you get the first hardcover edition North American versus the third British softcover of your favourite author, ISBN would help you do that.

  2. The news problem Corey mentioned is not just networks being asses. It’s that the news may use 3rd party materials (with permission, even) and time constraints or the fact that the newsreaders are commenting on the work means that it isn’t or can’t be stripped out. Comment is fair use, even for news orgs. But the filter doesn’t distinguish between the network portion and the 3rd party materials. The filter doesn’t have the ability to parse context.

That’s why these types of things are bad. They are unworkable on a human scale that can recognise context, but automation fucks up even worse. Simple solutions will fail. And big money will always be able to exploit those failure modes.


The more expensive the better!


You’re missing the point. If an ISBN is required, the then criticisms and trademarks could not be taken down because there is no ISBN.

Yes, filter can take down fair use but it will also miss a lot too.

If I take a photo and publish it, copyright belongs to me. If you use it in your advertising it’s still my photo.

Same with blog posts, or podcasts, or other audio recordings, or drawings, or any other number of things where copyright applies, but ISBN does not, because they are not books.

ISBN is not a copyright system or tool. ISBN is a catalogue identifier. That’s it. Which is why a paperback and hardcover have different numbers. And it only applies to books. At the same time, you could steal a bunch of material, turn it into book form, apply for an ISBN and get one, because you have a book. ISBN is useless for proving copyright.

My education is in Library Science. I know a thing or two about this.


You can literally get an ISBN for any text by uploading it to Amazon’s self-publishing platform and paying for an ISBN.


And I worked in the National Library. ISBN applies to books, periodicals, DVDs, CDs, and a number of other things. If it’s published, it can have an ISBN.

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You can also get one for free at the National Library.

No, it isn’t and it may be useful to point to the FAQ from the actual government agency (at least, in the US) which registers copyrights: Frequently Asked Questions | U.S. Copyright Office

I think that the larger point, however, is that automatic copyright — without having to register — leads to this messy system where no one really knows what is copyrighted by whom.

The point is that it doesn’t cover enough and it doesn’t identify anyone as being a copyright holder. Anyone can get one whether they hold copyright or not.

Again: someone could steal a bunch of material, buy an ISBN then go victimise the actual copyright holder, by waving around the ISBN. If the copyright holder can’t afford to go to court, the troll can win, because we’re back to the point that the copyright holder can’t prove it’s their material.

What you’re suggesting is going to make it harder for the little guy who sees their work infringed, and isn’t going to put a dent in the big abusers at all.

“Sorry Jane, you don’t have an ISBN for those drawings you shared with your friends, so now that the big organisation is using them as part of their advertising, or now that they’ve taken your song for a jingle and are demanding that you take yours down, good luck with that. Sure, they stole your stuff, but as a thirteen-year-old girl, the first thing you should gave done is applied for an ISBN, but they have one, so I guess it’s a valid takedown.”

And if you’re saying Sony or Disney can’t do a takedown of Chris’ Movie Takes because Chris’ Movie Takes doesn’t have an ISBN, then guess what? You have no leg to stand on when you’re ripped off by someone monetising your stuff in a way that’s not fair use if they don’t have an ISBN. “Sorry Chris. But Bob’s “Chris’ Stupid Movie Takes” which is just your stuff with Bob at the end saying ‘That’s stupid’ can’t be taken down because it has no ISBN. It doesn’t matter that he’s profiting from your work by doing nothing.”

Nothing gets solved. There will be just as much abuse.

Like I said, simple solutions will not work. Malicious actors are very good at taking advantage of system loopholes. Having an ISBN proves nothing except that you bought an ISBN. Proving copyright is always going to favour those who can afford the best lawyers. So even your “only the copyright holder or legal representative” isn’t a safeguard when you’re talking about a company like Sony or Time Warner. They’re just going to claim that they are the copyright holder, and good luck you proving otherwise, and they have much bigger legal representation than you. Hosts will still comply with the notification, because they don’t want to lose everything when the big corp prevails and sues them out of existence.

I don’t think how it is now works. I do know that there is no quick and easy solution and anyone saying there is is either deluded or trying to sell you something. And adding another layer of complexity only makes it harder on those with the least resources to protect themselves.