Tag Archives: section 1201

DMCA Used to Remove Ad Server URL From Easylist Ad Blocklist

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/dmca-used-to-remove-ad-server-url-from-easylist-ad-blocklist-170811/

The default business model on the Internet is “free” for consumers. Users largely expect websites to load without paying a dime but of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. To this end, millions of websites are funded by advertising revenue.

Sensible sites ensure that any advertising displayed is unobtrusive to the visitor but lots seem to think that bombarding users with endless ads, popups, and other hindrances is the best way to do business. As a result, ad blockers are now deployed by millions of people online.

In order to function, ad-blocking tools – such as uBlock Origin or Adblock – utilize lists of advertising domains compiled by third parties. One of the most popular is Easylist, which is distributed by authors fanboy, MonztA, Famlam, and Khrinunder, under dual Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike and GNU General Public Licenses.

With the freedom afforded by those licenses, copyright tends not to figure high on the agenda for Easylist. However, a legal problem that has just raised its head is causing serious concern among those in the ad-blocking community.

Two days ago a somewhat unusual commit appeared in the Easylist repo on Github. As shown in the image below, a domain URL previously added to Easylist had been removed following a DMCA takedown notice filed with Github.

Domain text taken down by DMCA?

The DMCA notice in question has not yet been published but it’s clear that it targets the domain ‘functionalclam.com’. A user called ‘ameshkov’ helpfully points out a post by a new Github user called ‘DMCAHelper’ which coincided with the start of the takedown process more than three weeks ago.

A domain in a list circumvents copyright controls?

Aside from the curious claims of a URL “circumventing copyright access controls” (domains themselves cannot be copyrighted), the big questions are (i) who filed the complaint and (ii) who operates Functionalclam.com? The domain WHOIS is hidden but according to a helpful sleuth on Github, it’s operated by anti ad-blocking company Admiral.

Ad-blocking means money down the drain….

If that is indeed the case, we have the intriguing prospect of a startup attempting to protect its business model by using a novel interpretation of copyright law to have a domain name removed from a list. How this will pan out is unclear but a notice recently published on Functionalclam.com suggests the route the company wishes to take.

“This domain is used by digital publishers to control access to copyrighted content in accordance with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and understand how visitors are accessing their copyrighted content,” the notice begins.

Combined with the comments by DMCAHelper on Github, this statement suggests that the complainants believe that interference with the ad display process (ads themselves could be the “copyrighted content” in question) represents a breach of section 1201 of the DMCA.

If it does, that could have huge consequences for online advertising but we will need to see the original DMCA notice to have a clearer idea of what this is all about. Thus far, Github hasn’t published it but already interest is growing. A representative from the EFF has already contacted the Easylist team, so this battle could heat up pretty quickly.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.

“DRM is Used to Lock in, Control and Spy on Users”

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/drm-is-used-to-lock-in-control-and-spy-on-users-161108/

fsfLate last year the U.S. Copyright office launched a series of public consultations to review critical aspects of the DMCA law.

This includes a review of the anti-circumvention provisions (section 1201), which prevent the public from tinkering with DRM protected content and devices.

A lot has been said on the topic over the past months. Most copyright industry groups are in favor of keeping tight restrictions, while digital rights groups argue the opposite.

Most opponents point out that DRM does more harm than good and some see it as plain evil. The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which is a rightsholder of a lot of GNU/Linux software, clearly falls into the latter category.

FSF sees no future for DRM and urges the Copyright Office to repeal the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions.

“Technological protection measures and Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) play no legitimate role in protecting copyrighted works. Instead, they are a means of controlling users and creating ‘lock in’,” FSF’s Donald Robertson writes.

According to FSF, copyright is just an excuse, the true purpose is to lock down and control users. Through DRM, companies try to keep users on board, as it often restricts them from easily switching to other platforms or digital stores.

“Companies use this control illegitimately with an eye toward extracting maximum revenue from users in ways that have little connection to actual copyright law. In fact, these restrictions are technological impediments to the rights users have under copyright law, such as fair use.”

Even if copyright was the main concern, DRM would be an overbroad tool to achieve the goal, the foundation notes.

FSF highlights that DRM is not just used to control people but also to spy on them, by sending all kinds of personal data to technology providers. This is done to generate extra income at the expense of users’ rights, they claim.

“DRM enables companies to spy on their users, and use that data for profit,” Robertson writes.

“DRM is frequently used to spy on users by requiring that they maintain a connection to the Internet so that the program can send information back to the DRM provider about the user’s actions,” he adds.

Under current law, there are some exemptions which allow people to circumvent DRM, but FSF says this is by no means sufficient. Abandoning the anti-circumvention provisions entirely is the only right thing to do, they say.

The foundation adds that there are plenty of alternatives to address copyright concerns. FSF itself holds the rights to a lot of GNU/Linux software, for example, and says it has resolved many copyright violations without the need for invasive DRM.

“All DRM is a violation of the rights of users. The exemptions process as outlined by section 1201 is completely broken beyond repair. No amount of exemptions, except a permanent exemption for all uses, can rectify the situation,” FSF writes.

“It is unethical and harmful for the law to treat all users as criminals – which is exactly what DRM does. The DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions do too much harm and should be repealed, so that users may once again enjoy their rights under the law without interference.”

If the Government is not ready to for a full repeal of the anti-circumvention provisions, it should at minimum broaden the existing permanent exemptions to more uses, FSF argues.

The Copyright Office now faces the unenviable task of reconciling the positions of all parties that submitted comments. Given the wide range of positions, it’s impossible to reach a compromise that will please everyone involved.

The full comments of the Free Software Foundation have been published by the Copyright Office in pdf format.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.