На 1 март 2018 Европейската комисия публикува Препоръка относно мерките за ефективно справяне с незаконното онлайн съдържание, която представя идеите на Комисията за това как да се ускори премахването на незаконно съдържание. Отделно от това, подобни идеи са развити в предложенията за ревизия на медийното и авторското право, както и в дискусиите за борба с дезинформацията и фалшивите новини.
Аз също говорих за това на конференцията за фалшивите новини, организирана от АЕЖ през ноември 2017: ЕК препоръчва на частни търговски дружества да се даде възможност да заличават съдържание, качено от граждани. Сега Европейската комисия продължава идеите в тази посока.
В правна система, основана на върховенство на правото, съдът е този, който трябва да се произнася при намеса в свободата на изразяване, поне досега това беше неоспорвано положение. ЕК насърчава тенденцията е да се овластят доставчици да правят такава преценка – точно кактоидеята за трите ударапреди време.
Европейските политици работят за най-големия интернет филтър, който някога сме виждали. Това може да звучи драматично, но наистина не е преувеличено. Ако предложението бъде прието, уеб сайтове като Soundcloud, eBay, Facebook и Flickr ще бъдат принудени да филтрират всичко, което искате да качите. Алгоритъм ще определя кое от съдържанието, което качвате, ще се вижда от останалия свят и кое – няма.
Този интернет филтър е предвиден в предложенията за нова европейска нормативна уредба. Интернет филтрите не могат и не трябва да се използват за регулиране на авторското право. Те не работят. Но има много по-голям проблем: след като бъде инсталиран, интернет филтърът може и ще бъде използван за безброй други цели. Обзалагаме се, че политиците радостно очакват интернет филтъра, за да го използват в биткаите си с фалшиви новини, тероризъм или нежелани политически мнения.
EDRi подчертава, че има много причини да сте срещу тези предложения – ето три:
Това е атака срещу вашата свобода на изразяване.
Филтри като тези правят много грешки.
Платформите ще бъдат насърчени да избягват риска – за сметка на вашата свобода.
Prometheus is a monitoring tool
built from scratch by SoundCloud in 2012. It works by pulling metrics from
monitored services and storing them in a time series database (TSDB). It
has a powerful query language to inspect that database, create alerts, and
plot basic graphs. Those graphs can then be used to detect anomalies or
trends for (possibly automated) resource provisioning. Prometheus also has
extensive service discovery features and supports high availability
That’s what the brochure says, anyway; let’s see how it works in the hands
of an old grumpy system administrator. I’ll be drawing comparisons
with Munin and Nagios frequently because those are the tools I have
used for over a decade in monitoring Unix clusters.
Gaining free access to copyrighted material is not a difficult task in today’s online world. Movies, TV shows, music, games, and eBooks are all just a few clicks away, either using torrent, streaming, or direct download services.
Over the years, however, the growth of piracy has been at least somewhat slowed due to the advent of official services. Where there was once a content vacuum, official platforms such as Netflix, Spotify, HBO, TIDAL, Steam, and others, are helping users to find the content they want.
While most services present reasonable value, subscribing to them all would be a massive strain on even the most expansive of budgets. But what if there was a way to access every single one of them, for just a few dollars a year – in total? Believe it or not, such services exist and have done for some time.
Described as ‘Account Generators’, these platforms grant members with access to dozens of premium services, without having to pay anything like the headline price. The main ones often major on access to a Netflix subscription as a base, with access to other services thrown in on top.
How much a year?
The screenshot above shows one ‘generator’ service as it appeared this week. On the far right is a Netflix offer for $2.99 per year or $4.99 for a lifetime ‘private’ account (more on that later). That is of course ridiculously cheap.
On the near left is the ‘All Access’ plan, which offers access to Netflix plus another 69 online services for just $6.99 per month or $16.99 per year. The range of services available is impressive, to say the least.
Movies and TV Shows: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Now, Crunchyroll, DIRECTV/Now, Stream TV Live, CBS All Access, Funimation, Slingbox, Xfinity.
On the sports front: BT Sports, Fubo.tv, F1 Access, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, NFL Game Pass, UFC Fight Pass, WWE Network.
For music, access is provided to Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Saavn, SoundCloud, and TIDAL.
A small selection of the services available
How these services gain access to all of these accounts is shrouded in a level of secrecy but there’s little doubt that while some are obtained legitimately (perhaps through free trials or other account sharing), the roots of others are fairly questionable.
For example, when these services talk about ‘shared and ‘private’ Netflix accounts, the former often appear set up for someone else, with individual user accounts in other people’s names and suggestions for what to watch next already in place. In other words, these are live accounts already being paid for by someone, to which these services somehow gain access.
Indeed, there are notices on account generator platforms warning people not to mess with account passwords or payment details, since that could alert the original user or cause an account to get shut down for other reasons.
“Origin brings you great PC and Mac games. Play the latest RPGs, Shooters, Sim games, and more. These accounts are private (1 per person), however you MUST NOT change passwords,” one warning reads.
Since Origin has just come up, it’s probably a suitable juncture to mention the games services on offer. In addition to EA’s offering, one can gain access to Xbox Live, ESL Gaming, Good Old Games, League of Legends, Minecraft Premium, Steam (game keys) and Uplay.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Need a BitDefender key? No problem. Access to Creative Market? You got it. Want to do some online learning? Queue up for Chegg, CourseHero, Lynda, Mathway, Udemy, and more. There’s even free access to NYTimes Premium. As the image below shows, thousands of accounts are added all the time.
Thousands of accounts, all the time…
While these generator platforms are undoubtedly popular with people on a budget, almost everything about them feels wrong. Staring into someone’s private Netflix account, with what appear to be family names, is unsettling. Looking at their private email addresses and credit card details feels flat-out criminal.
Quite how these services are able to prosper isn’t clear but perhaps the big question is why the platforms whose accounts are being offered haven’t noticed some kind of pattern by now. Maybe they have, but it’s probably a pretty difficult task to sweep up the mess without a lot of false positives, not to mention the risks of ensnaring those who pay for their accounts officially.
The video below, from late 2016, gives a decent overview of how an account generator platform works. Even for many hardcore pirates, especially those who demand privacy and respect the same for others, parts of the viewing will be uncomfortable.
It goes without saying that domain names are a crucial part of any site’s infrastructure. Without domains, sites aren’t easily findable and when things go wrong, the majority of web users could be forgiven for thinking that they no longer exist.
That was the case last week when Canada-based mashup site Sowndhaus suddenly found that its domain had been rendered completely useless. As previously reported, the site’s domain was suspended by UK-based registrar DomainBox after it received a copyright complaint from the IFPI.
There are a number of elements to this story, not least that the site’s operators believe that their project is entirely legal.
“We are a few like-minded folks from the mashup community that were tired of doing the host dance – new sites welcome us with open arms until record industry pressure becomes too much and they mass delete and ban us,” a member of the Sowndhaus team informs TF.
“After every mass deletion there are a wave of producers that just retire and their music is lost forever. We decided to make a more permanent home for ourselves and Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act gave us the opportunity to do it legally.
We just want a small quiet corner of the internet where we can make music without being criminalized. It seems insane that I even have to say that.”
But while these are all valid concerns for the Sowndhaus community, there is a bigger picture here. There is absolutely no question that sites like YouTube and Soundcloud host huge libraries of mashups, yet somehow they hang on to their domains. Why would DomainBox take such drastic action? Is the site a real menace?
“The IFPI have sent a few standard DMCA takedown notices [to Sowndhaus, indirectly], each about a specific track or tracks on our server, asking us to remove them and any infringing activity. Every track complained about has been transformative, either a mashup or a remix and in a couple of cases cover versions,” the team explains.
But in all cases, it appears that IFPI and its agents didn’t take the time to complain to the site first. They instead went for the site’s infrastructure.
“[IFPI] have never contacted us directly, even though we have a ‘report copyright abuse’ feature on our site and a dedicated copyright email address. We’ve only received forwarded emails from our host and domain registrar,” the site says.
Sowndhaus believes that the event that led to the domain suspension was caused by a support ticket raised by the “RiskIQ Incident Response Team”, who appear to have been working on behalf of IFPI.
“We were told by DomainBox…’Please remove the unlawful content from your website, or the domain will be suspended. Please reply within the next 5 working days to ensure the request was actioned’,” Sowndhaus says.
But they weren’t given five days, or even one. DomainBox chose to suspend the Sowndhaus.com domain name immediately, rendering the site inaccessible and without even giving the site a chance to respond.
“They didn’t give us an option to appeal the decision. They just took the IFPI’s word that the files were unlawful and must be removed,” the site informs us.
Intrigued at why DomainBox took the nuclear option, TorrentFreak sent several emails to the company but each time they went unanswered. We also sent emails to Mesh Digital Ltd, DomainBox’s operator, but they were given the same treatment.
We wanted to know on what grounds the registrar suspended the domain but perhaps more importantly, we wanted to know if the company is as aggressive as this with its other customers.
To that end we posed a question: If DomainBox had been entrusted with the domains of YouTube or Soundcloud, would they have acted in the same manner? We can’t put words in their mouth but it seems likely that someone in the company would step in to avoid a PR disaster on that scale.
Of course, both YouTube and Soundcloud comply with the law by taking down content when it infringes someone’s rights. It’s a position held by Sowndhaus too, even though they do not operate in the United States.
“We comply fully with the Copyright Act (Canada) and have our own policy of removing any genuinely infringing content,” the site says, adding that users who infringe are banned from the platform.
While there has never been any suggestion that IFPI or its agents asked for Sowndhaus’ domain to be suspended, it’s clear that DomainBox made a decision to do just that. In some cases that might have been warranted, but registrars should definitely aim for a clear, transparent and fair process, so that the facts can be reviewed and appropriate action taken.
It’s something for people to keep in mind when they register a domain in future.
Mashups are musical compositions, usually made up of two or more tracks seamlessly blended together, which bring something fresh and new to the listener.
There are hundreds of stunning examples online, many created in hobbyist circles, with dedicated communities sharing their often brilliant work.
However, the majority of mashups have something in common – they’re created without any permission from the copyright holders’ of the original tracks. As such they remain controversial, as mashup platform Sowndhaus has just discovered.
This Canada-based platform allows users to upload, share and network with other like-minded mashup enthusiasts. It has an inbuilt player, somewhat like Soundcloud, through which people can play a wide range of user-created mashups. However, sometime last Tuesday, Sowndhaus’ main domain, Sowndhaus.com, became unreachable.
Sowndhaus: High-quality mashups
The site’s operators say that they initially believed there was some kind of configuration issue. Later, however, they discovered that their domain had been “purposefully de-listed” from its DNS servers by its registrar.
“DomainBox had received a DMCA notification from the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) and immediately suspended our .com domain,” Sowndhaus’ operators report.
At this point it’s worth noting that while Sowndhaus is based and hosted in Canada, DomainBox is owned by UK-based Mesh Digital Limited, which is in turn owned by GoDaddy. IFPI, however, reportedly sent a US-focused DMCA notice to the registrar which noted that the music group had “a good faith belief” that activity on Sowndhaus “is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”
While mashups have always proved controversial, Sowndhaus believe that they operate well within Canadian law.
“We have a good faith belief that the audio files allegedly ‘infringing copyright’ in the DMCA notification are clearly transformative works and meet all criteria for ‘Non-commercial User-generated Content’ under Section 29.21 of the Copyright Act (Canada), and as such are authorized by the law,” the site says.
“Our service, servers, and files are located in Canada which has a ‘Notice and Notice regime’ and where DMCA (a US law) has no jurisdiction. However, the jurisdiction for our .com domain is within the US/EU and thus subject to its laws.”
Despite a belief that the site operates lawfully, Sowndhaus took a decision to not only take down the files listed in IFPI’s complaint but also to ditch its .com domain completely. While this convinced DomainBox to give control of the domain back to the mashup platform, Sowndhaus has now moved to a completely new domain (sowndhaus.audio), to avoid further issues.
“We neither admit nor accept that any unlawful activity or copyright infringement with respect to the DMCA claim had taken place, or has ever been permitted on our servers, or that it was necessary to remove the files or service under Section 29.21 of the Copyright Act (Canada) with which we have always been, and continue to be, in full compliance,” the site notes.
“The use of copyright material as Non-commercial User-generated Content is authorized by law in Canada, where our service resides. We believe that the IFPI are well aware of this, are aware of the jurisdiction of our service, and therefore that their DMCA notification is a misrepresentation of copyright.”
Aside from what appears to have been a rapid suspension of Sowndhaus’ .com domain, the site says that it is being held to a higher standard of copyright protection that others operating under the DMCA.
Unlike YouTube, for example, Sowndhaus says it pro-actively removes files found to infringe copyright. It also bans users who use the site to commit piracy, as per its Terms of Service.
“This is a much stronger regime than would be required under the DMCA guidelines where users generally receive warnings and strikes before being banned, and where websites complying with the DMCA and seeking to avoid legal liability do not actively seek out cases of infringement, leading to some cases of genuine piracy remaining undetected on their services,” the site says.
However, the site remains defiant in respect of the content it hosts, noting that mashups are transformative works that use copyright content “in new and creative ways to form new works of art” and as such are legal for non-commercial purposes.
That hasn’t stopped it from being targeted by copyright holders in the past, however.
This year three music-based organizations (IFPI, RIAA, and France’s SCPP) have sent complaints to Google about the platform, targeting close to 200 URLs. However, at least for more recent complaints, Google hasn’t been removing the URLs from its indexes.
Complaints sent to Google about Sowndhaus in 2017<
Noting that corporations are using their powers “to hinder, stifle, and silence protected new forms of artistic expression with no repercussions”, Sowndhaus says that it is still prepared to work with copyright holders but wishes they would “reconsider their current policies and accept non-commercial transformative works as legitimate art forms with legal protections and/or exemptions in all jurisdictions.”
While Sowndhaus is now operating from a new domain, the switch is not without its inconveniences. All URLs with links to files on sowndhaus.com are broken but can be fixed by changing the .com to .audio.
DomainBox did not respond to TorrentFreak’s request for comment.
Twice a year, the wonderful team at Netflix is given two days to go nuts and create fun, random builds, taking inspiration from Netflix and its content. So far they’ve debuted a downgraded version of the streaming platform played on an original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), turned hit show Narcos into a video game, and utilised VR technology into many more builds that, while they’ll never be made public, have no doubt led to some lightbulb moments for the creative teams involved.
In a world… where devices proliferate… darNES digs back in time to provide Netflix access to the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Kevin Spacey? More like ‘Kevin Spacebar’, am I right? Aha…ha…haaaa…I’ll get my coat.
The Teleflix build from this summer’s Hack Day is obviously the best one yet, as it uses a Raspberry Pi. By writing code that decodes the dots and dashes from an original 1920s telegraph (provided by AT&T, and lovingly restored by the team using ketchup!) into keystrokes, they’re able to search for their favourite shows via Morse code.
Morse code, for the unaware, is a method for transmitting letters and numbers via a standardised series of beeps, clicks, or flashes. Stuck in a sticky situation? Three dots followed by three dashes and a further three dots gives you ‘SOS’. Sorted. So long as there’s someone there to see or hear it, who also understands Morse Code.
Morse code was a method of transmiting textual information as a series of on-off tones that could be directly understood by a skilled listener. Mooo-Theme: http://soundcloud.com/mooojvm/mooo-theme
So if you’d like to watch, for example, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you simply send: – …. . / ..- -. -… .-. . .- -.- .- -… .-.. . / -.- .. — — -.– / … -.-. …. — .. -.. – and you’re set. Easy!
To reach Netflix, the team used a Playstation 4. However, if you want to skip a tech step, you could stream Netflix directly to your Raspberry Pi by following this relatively new tutorial. Nobody at Pi Towers has tried it out yet, but if you have we’d be interested to see how you got on in the comments below.
And if you’d like to play around a little more with the Raspberry Pi and Morse code, you can pick up your own Morse code key, or build one using conductive components such as buttons or bananas, and try it out for yourself.
Alex’s Netflix-themed Morse code quiz
Just for fun, here are the titles of some of my favourite shows to watch on Netflix, translated into Morse code. Using the key below, why not take a break and challenge your mind to translate them back into English. Reward yourself +10 imaginary House Points for each correct answer.
For as many years as ‘pirate’ services have been online it has been clear that licensed services need to aggressively compete to stay in the game.
Both the music and movie industries were initially slow to get off the mark but in recent years the position has changed. Licensed services such as Spotify and Netflix are now household names and doing well, even among people who have traditionally consumed illicit content.
This continuing trend was highlighted again this morning in a press release by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office. In a fairly upbeat tone, the IPO notes that innovative streaming models offered by both Netflix and Spotify are helping to keep online infringement stable in the UK.
“The Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) Tracker, commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), has revealed that 15 per cent of UK internet users, approximately 7 million people, either stream or download material that infringes copyright,” the IPO reports.
The full tracking report, which is now on its 7th wave, is yet to be released but the government has teased a few interesting stats. While the 7 million infringer number is mostly unchanged from last year, the mix of hardcore (only use infringing sources) and casual infringers (also use legal sources) has changed.
“Consumers accessing exclusively free content is at an all-time low,” the IPO reveals, noting that legitimate streaming is also on the up, with Spotify increasing its userbase by 7% since 2016.
But despite the positive signs, the government says that there are concerns surrounding illicit streaming, both of music and video content. Unsurprisingly, ‘pirate’ set-top boxes get a prominent mention and are labeled a threat to positive trends.
“Illicitly adapted set top boxes, which allow users to illegally stream premium TV content such as blockbuster movies, threaten to undermine recent progress. 13 per cent of online infringers are using streaming boxes that can be easily adapted to stream illicit content,” the IPO says.
Again, since the report hasn’t yet been published, there are currently no additional details to be examined. However, the “boxes that can be easily adapted” comment could easily reference Amazon Firesticks, for example, that are currently being used for entirely legitimate means.
The IPO notes that an IPTV consultation is underway which may provide guidance on how the devices can be dealt with in the future. A government response is due to be published later in the summer.
Also heavily on the radar is a fairly steep reported increase in stream-ripping, which is the unlicensed downloading of music from streaming sources so that it can be kept on a user’s hard drive or device.
A separate report, commissioned by the IPO and PRS for Music, reveals that 15% of Internet users have stream-ripped in some way and the use of ripping services is on the up.
“The use of stream-ripping websites increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016,” the IPO notes.
“In a survey of over 9000 people, 57% of UK adults claimed to be aware of stream-ripping services. Those who claimed to have used a stream-ripping service were significantly more likely to be male and between the ages of 16 to 34 years.”
PRS goes into a little more detail, claiming that stream-ripping is now “the most prevalent and fastest growing form of music piracy in the UK.” The music licensing outfit claims that almost 70% of music-specific infringement is accounted for by stream-ripping.
The survey, carried out by INCOPRO and Kantar Media, looked at 80 stream-ripping services, which included apps, websites, browser plug-ins and other stand-alone software. Each supplied content from a range of sources including SoundCloud, Spotify and Deezer, but YouTube was found to be the most popular source, accounting for 75 of the 80 services.
There are several reported motivations for users to stream-rip but interestingly the number one reason involves what some people consider to be ‘honest’ piracy. A total of 31% of stream-rippers said that since they already own the music, and only use ripping services to obtain it in another format.
Just over a quarter (26%) said they wanted to listen to music while not connected to the Internet while 25% said that a permanent copy helps them while on the move. Around one in five people who stream-rip say that music is either unaffordable or overpriced.
“We hope that this research will provide the basis for a renewed and re-focused commitment to tackling online copyright infringement,” says Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive, PRS for Music.
“The long term health of the UK’s cultural and creative sectors is in everyone’s best interests, including those of the digital service providers, and a co-ordinated industry and government approach to tackling stream ripping is essential.”
Ros Lynch, Copyright and IP Enforcement Director at the IPO, took the opportunity to praise the widespread use of legitimate platforms. However, he also noted that innovation also continues in piracy circles, with stream-ripping a prime example.
“It’s great that legal streaming sites continue to be a hugely popular choice for consumers. The success and popularity of these platforms show the importance of evolution and innovation in the entertainment industry,” Lynch said.
“Ironically it is innovation that also benefits those looking to undermine IP rights and benefit financially from copyright infringement. There has never been more choice or flexibility for consumers of TV and music, however illicit streaming devices and stream-ripping are threatening this progress.”
Today is Raspberry Pi’s fifth birthday: it’s five years since we launched the original Raspberry Pi, selling a hundred thousand units in the first day, and setting us on the road to a lifetime total (so far) of over twelve million units. To celebrate, we’re announcing a new product: meet Raspberry Pi Zero W, a new variant of Raspberry Pi Zero with wireless LAN and Bluetooth, priced at only $10.
Multum in parvo
So what’s the story?
In November 2015, we launched Raspberry Pi Zero, the diminutive $5 entry-level Raspberry Pi. This represented a fivefold reduction in cost over the original Model A: it was cheap enough that we could even stick it on the front cover of The MagPi, risking civil insurrection in newsagents throughout the land.
MagPi issue 40: causing trouble for WHSmith (credit: Adam Nicholls)
Over the ensuing fifteen months, Zero grew a camera connector and found its way into everything from miniature arcade cabinets to electric skateboards. Many of these use cases need wireless connectivity. The homebrew “People in Space” indicator in the lobby at Pi Towers is a typical example, with an official wireless dongle hanging off the single USB port: users often end up adding a USB hub to allow them to connect a keyboard, a mouse and a network adapter, and this hub can easily cost more than the Zero itself.
People in SPAAAAAACE
Zero W fixes this problem by integrating more functionality into the core product. It uses the same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B to provide 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
Music: Orqestruh by SAFAKASH – https://soundcloud.com/safakash
To recap, here’s the full feature list for Zero W:
1GHz, single-core CPU
Micro-USB On-The-Go port
HAT-compatible 40-pin header
Composite video and reset headers
CSI camera connector
802.11n wireless LAN
We imagine you’ll find all sorts of uses for Zero W. It makes a better general-purpose computer because you’re less likely to need a hub: if you’re using Bluetooth peripherals you might well end up with nothing at all plugged into the USB port. And of course it’s a great platform for experimenting with IoT applications.
To accompany Raspberry Pi Zero W, we’ve been working with our friends at Kinneir Dufort and T-Zero to create an official injection-moulded case. This shares the same design language as the official case for the Raspberry Pi 3, and features three interchangeable lids:
A blank one
One with an aperture to let you access the GPIOs
One with an aperture and mounting point for a camera
Three cases for the price of one
The case set also includes a short camera adapter flexi, and a set of rubber feet to make sure your cased Zero or Zero W doesn’t slide off the desk.
You may have noticed that we’ve added several new Zero distributors recently: ModMyPi in the UK, pi3g in Germany, Samm Teknoloji in Turkey, Kubii in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, and Kiwi Electronics in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Raspberry Pi Zero W is available from all Zero distributors today, with the exception of Micro Center, who should have stock in stores by the end of this week. Check the icons below to find the stockist that’s best for you!
I made a thing. And because I love you all, I’m going to share the thing with you. Thing? Things! I’m going to share the things. Here you go: baubles!
These 3D-printable Raspberry Pi and Code Club decorations are the perfect addition to any Christmas tree this year. And if you don’t have a tree, they’re the perfect non-festive addition to life in general. There’s really no reason to say no.
The .stl files you’ll need to make the baubles are available via MyMiniFactory (Raspberry Pi/Code Club) and Thingiverse (Raspberry Pi/Code Club). They’re published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. This means that you can make a pile of decorations for your tree and for your friends, though we do have to ask you not to change the designs, as the logos they’re based on are our trademarks.
Here’s a video of the prototype printout being made. If you can help it, try not to use a brim on your print. Brims, though helpful, are a nightmare to remove from the fiddly Pi logo.
Every hour of every day, millions of DMCA-style takedown notices flood into service providers all over the globe. Google alone has received a billion in the past 12 months.
While the majority of these notices comply with the law, a percentage are duplicates, erroneous, or flat-out malicious. Until recently, however, no one had ever been held to account for sending bad notices, but a case in Canada has changed that.
Whyte Potter-Mäl c Topdawg Entertainment Inc. is a curious case that has its roots back in 2011 when rapper Jonathan Emile asked fellow rapper and songwriter Kendrick Lamar to contribute to the track ‘Heaven Help Dem’. Lamar agreed and provided a verse in 2012.
“We sent [Lamar] an email outlining what we wanted to do and they got us on the phone and said they were feeling it and that they would go ahead and do the song,” Emile told Billboard.
“We paid Kendrick Lamar for a feature, and once we paid them, they basically stopped communicating with us altogether. It was understood that we’d take care of the paperwork with the lawyers, so we paid them and they basically disappeared… we couldn’t get in contact, so I just continued producing my album and with the verbal agreement we had, and we put out the song in 2015.”
Heaven Help Dem was supposed to be the lead track on Emile’s debut album, but instead it was quickly pulled from YouTube, iTunes, Soundcloud and other sites following bogus copyright claims from Lamar’s label Top Dawg Entertainment Inc., Interscope Records and Universal Music Group.
Emile says that after going back and forth with the labels, they realized that they had no right to take the track down. By then, however, the damage had been done and all momentum to promote the song had been lost. Also faced with the prospect of fans believing that he had stolen the verse from Lamar, Emile decided to take the labels to court in Canada.
In a case before the small claims division of the Court of Quebec, Emile asked for a token amount in damages – just CAD$15,000 – after the labels removed his work from the Internet for two months after bogus copyright claims. None appeared in court to defend themselves and Emile won by default.
“It’s only after the intervention of this lawyer that the song was reinstated on the social media,” the Court’s judgment reads.
“While the song was down, and even after it was reinstated, it is clear from the evidence provided that the incomes of the Plaintiff and his reputation was negatively affected from the false report of the Defendants.”
In most cases there would be earlier rulings to look back on, but the Montreal Court said that it was unable to find anything similar on file. Instead, it used Copyright Act to determine an appropriate damages award.
“In these circumstances, and after reviewing sections 28.1, 28.2, 34 of the Copyright Act, sections 6 and 49 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms and the Cinar judgment  from the Supreme Court, the Court will allow the discretionary amount of $5,000 as moral and material damages to be solidarily paid by the Defendants and an additional amount of $1,000 per Defendant as punitive damages,” the Court ruled.
Speaking with Legal Feeds, IP expert Noel Courage said he’d never seen a case where someone had been sued over a takedown notice.
“The Court seemed to say that the takedown affected the moral rights of the musician’s work or performance,” he said.
“Moral rights are the musician’s rights to the integrity of a work. These rights can be infringed if the work is modified without consent, and prejudices the musician’s reputation or honour. This is the first I have heard of the use of moral rights in response to a web music takedown.”
While the Court’s decision will be welcomed by those who believe the DMCA is too often used as a weapon, Courage said that the case doesn’t set a strong precedent due to it being heard before a low-level court.
However, “it may give companies pause before giving takedown notices.”
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