Did Warner Brothers Break The Law With Avalanche Of DMCA Takedown Notices?

Fun fact: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), better known as the YouTube Ruining Law, allows movie studios to issue takedown notices for media posted on the Internet. However, those notices have to be in “good faith” — i.e. somebody has viewed a few seconds of the file and decided it violates copyright and is not an example of fair use.

Today in court, Warner Brothers admitted that, yeah, they’ve just been straight-up issuing takedowns to anybody they damn well please. Not something Warner Brothers has the copyright to? So what! It might be! A five-second clip of their logo might be hiding in the middle of a public domain cancer documentary! Why should they have to check? TAKE…IT…DOOOOOOWWWWWNNNN!

The problem is that Warner Brothers can’t possibly view every file on the Internet, so instead they automated the process by entering the titles of their movies into a spider, and just had the spider spam takedown notices. This is a bit of a problem when you have a movie titled, say, “The Box,” which isn’t exactly an uncommon concept, and it starts issuing takedowns for anything with the word “box” in it. No doubt this has left legions of pornographers extremely confused.

Oh, and did we mention that the movie studios are currently lobbying for even more takedown powers? Like the ability to cut off websites from payment processors and advertising networks? That will end well! We’re sure of it!