About a year and $80 million dollars ago, there was a lawsuit between the file hosting service, Hotfile, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over internet piracy which was eventually settled out of court. With that lawsuit came a counter lawsuit that was dropped in the settlement but has resurfaced due to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) bringing into question Warner Bros. apparently flawed anti-piracy system.
After Warner Bros. objections that the effectiveness of their systems would be compromised if the information was given to the public and asked to permanently seal the records U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams dismissed the request and ordered the documents to be unsealed and handed over to the public within 10 days.
Warner Bros. published the first un-redacted documents on October 6th, revealing that their anti-piracy system is entirely automated with multiple computer programs dubbed “robots” which are programmed to display human-like behavior on the internet.
Warner uses a system of computer programs known as ‘robots’ to help search link sites. for links to infringing copies of its content. These programmable robots are highly sophisticated and can effectively mimic the search a human would conduct, except faster.
The robots themselves haven’t been the issue, the original counter-suit from Hotfile cited abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) takedown procedure by not accounting for the fact that there may be legal uses of shared files from Open Source software to demos. In some cases the studio took down software that it didn’t hold copyrights to and, despite being notified about the incorrect removal of content, the studio did not change its policies or procedures and continued to takedown content flagged by its fully-automated system.
Warner Bros. admitted mistakes within the robots system, however they seem to think they shouldn’t be blamed since the mistakes were made by a computer and not a person making an informed decision. Despite releasing some of the documentation, there are still many questions surrounding the studio’s robot system, procedures of implementing the DCMA takedowns, and details on the erroneously removed files. As ordered by Judge Williams, the studio is scheduled to release more information in the coming months.Source: Torrent Freak
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