1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Monday, 6 February 2012

Takedown Piracy: a reader asks

A correspondent has emailed The 1709 Blog to ask if it knows anything about Takedown Piracy, which he describes as a "new business model of our times: the outsourced DMCA takedown bounty-hunter".

"Are such operations starting to change the landscape of piracy?" asks our reader, who observes:
"These guys make it their business to actively seek out infringing content/links/torrents on behalf of their clients, and issue takedown notices: something they claim that, because they specialise in it and because they have considerably automated the seeking-out process, they can be significantly better (and cheaper/more efficient) at than the average content owner.

In this blog post, one such takes credit for the recent demise of Cheggit, said to have been the single largest adult-content bittorrent site on the internet -- which they claim to have brought down through the sheer volume of DMCA takedown notices they served on the site.

Their FAQ also has some interesting Q&As, eg:
Q. Piracy seems pretty rampant, why even try?
Q. You say you only monitor 500 or so sites, why not 100,000?
I was wondering, does this kind of appointed agency on behalf of the copyright owners legally work in the UK/EU as well?

It seems almost the natural ecosystem response to the likes of the Megaupload reward program (Black hats outsource/crowdsource the provision of links to their content to specialists for cash --> white hats outsource/automate the following of such links and the serving of take-down notices to a countering cottage industry for cash)

The DMCA take-down system is often declared "useless" by those pushing for ever shinier new laws. But does this claim by a (self-promoting, far from uninvolved) takedown agent suggest that just possibly it may not be so ineffective after all?"
I must confess that, till I received this email, I had not heard of Takedown Piracy, and wonder whether readers have any experiences of its operations within and outside the United States.

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