07.27.10

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Benchmark Reviews is Plagiarism, Exposed, Resorts to DMCA Abuse (to Censor Critics)

Posted in Apple, Deception, Intellectual Monopoly at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Shoot first, ask questions later”

Summary: Another new case of DMCA abuse (bogus takedown request as means of censorship) shows why the likes of ACTA are a threat — not a treat(y) — to people’s freedom and why DMCA should be weakened or repealed

THIS post does not deal with software, for a change. LiberalViewer spoke to YouTube/Google earlier this month about DMCA abuse and fair use (see video above and bear in mind that it’s only part 1). These are important issues which increasingly impede or facilitate our freedom of speech on the Web.

Last year we wrote quite a lot about Microsoft’s laptop bribes [1, 2, 3, 4], which are a way of earning positive reviews for Microsoft products, notably Vista 7. Fake reviews of Microsoft products are not uncommon and they are sometimes posted by former or existing employees of the company. Over the years we have given several examples and offered concrete proof.

It is with some delight that we found out a corrupt reviewer getting busted over a fake review. This reviewer then resorted to DMCA abuse rather than apology, retraction, or stepping down from what now seems like a corruptible ‘publication’, namely Benchmark Reviews, which typically just excerpts (copies) almost everything from Phoronix and perhaps other benchmark/review sites. Here is what TechDirt wrote about it:

Reviewer Caught Posting Marketing Material As A Review… Uses DMCA To Takedown Site Of Guy Who Exposed Him

Duncan writes in to alert us to what must the mother of all stories of a guy caught doing something questionable online, who then goes to amazingly great lengths — including publishing private info, blocking users, changing content surreptitiously and (finally) using a bogus DMCA takedown to takedown the entire site of the guy who caught him. It’s quite a story, so let’s start from the beginning.

Read on as it gets interesting and the takedown request is clearly a bogus one. So get ready for the likes of ACTA, which introduce yet more draconian terms that hinder sharing for purposes of criticism (fair use). The whole situation around DMCA is made worse by the fact that there is burden of proof on the accused. What a ridiculous law and how sad it must be that Google, based on the panel discussion regarding YouTube, prioritises the MAFIAA at the expense of YouTube users when it comes to balancing fair use. See the full series of videos and you will find out that Google is quite pretentious about it (or maybe it’s just that spokesman of theirs).

Guess who among the software CEOs is a fan or a proponent of the DMCA? The guy who has stakes in Disney, Steve Jobs. That’s right, but he’s losing:

AFTER YEARS of taking a very conservative approach to the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), the US Library of Congress has issued a wave of rulings that all but turn the law on its head.

Every three years, the Library of Congress reviews its policy on the DMCA and releases its opinions about how it should be interpreted.

This time the Library allowed widespread circumvention of the CSS encryption on DVDs, under some conditions. And in an opinion that sails up the nose of Steve Jobs it has ruled that jailbreaking Iphones qualifies as “Fair Use”. It also will let punters crack their legally purchased e-books in order to have them read aloud by computers.

Yesterday the EFF made the following announcement:

EFF Wins New Legal Protections for Video Artists, Cell Phone Jailbreakers, and Unlockers

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos — people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities.

Here is another new article titled “Why Fair Use is Not Just Acceptable, It’s Essential for the Future”

The Library of Congress added a number of ambitious new exceptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s prohibition of breaking copyright technologies today, most notably concerning iPhone jailbreaking and unlocking.

Too bad for Apple, eh? That company which Groklaw seems to be defending for reasons we cannot understand.

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3 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    July 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Gravatar

    A good example of DMCA being used for censorship is the Yes Men’s new movie. Because it had been challenged so many times, they have released it as a torrent, please help share it.

    Part of the censorship problem is a reliance on other people’s servers, aka the cloud. In the US this is a result of poor network quality and pressure on ISPs to block services. Google blocks movies and books when forced by publishers. Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo once censored the Truthout newslist and most refused to back down. Only network and software freedom can prevent this kind of abuse.

    The goal is more than the “protection” of “content” it is the exclusion of competition and a continuation of a control structure created by the mechanical presses and broadcast of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Software and network freedom threaten this control.

  2. Dr. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Gravatar

    Only network and software freedom can prevent this kind of abuse.

    Net neutrality and DMCA abuse both go under “network”?

    twitter Reply:

    Free speech depends on network freedom. Network freedom depends on both network neutrality and freedom from arbitrary take down, one of many big abuses of the DMCA. You don’t have freedom of speech if people can’t read what you write.

    The flip side is that only the most oppressive and restrictive of software and networks can undo the tremendous free speech that electronic publishing and the internet naturally provide. Windows, OSX and many flavors of Android are repressive enough to kill free speech, as is a network built to enforce DMCA and ACTA. US companies have built a centralized network in China that goes a long way towards eliminating free speech. They would like to convert the internet we know into such a network. This is a difficult and insane task but publishers are arrogant enough to try.

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