Seng (2015)

From Copyright EVIDENCE

Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Seng (2015)
Title: 'Who Watches the Watchmen?' An Empirical Analysis of Errors in DMCA Takedown Notices
Author(s): Seng, D.
Year: 2015
Citation: Seng, D. (2015). 'Who Watches the Watchmen?'An Empirical Analysis of Errors in DMCA Takedown Notices.
Link(s): Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by: Fiala and Husovec (2018)
About the Data
Data Description: Two main datasets form the basis of this study:
  • 56,991,045 takedown requests found on Google.
  • From this 501,286 takedown notices submitted to Google were analysed
    • To analyze the notices, a census of all form-based notices submitted to Google was conducted, after filtering out those that did not relate to copyright disputes. All such notices were parsed for 36 different fields relevant to the study, including the nature of the infringement and the takedown requests.
    • A visualization tool was used to look at each parsed notice individually and sampling was also done on the parsed notices to check for errors. The parsing algorithms were then iteratively adjusted.
Data Type: Primary and Secondary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • 2012
Funder(s):

Abstract

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown system, to request for the takedown of infringing content, content providers and agents issuing takedown notice are required to identify the infringed work and the infringing material, and attest to the accuracy of such information and their authority to act on behalf of the copyright owner. Online service providers are required to evaluate such notices for their effectiveness and compliance before successfully acting on them. To this end, Google and Twitter as service providers are claiming very different successful takedown rates. There is also anecdotal evidence that many of these successful takedowns are "abusive" as they do not contain legitimate complaints of copyright or erroneously target legitimate content sites. This paper seeks to answer these questions by systematically examining the issue of errors in takedown notices. By parsing each individual notice in the dataset of half a million takedown notices and more than fifty million takedown requests served on Google up to 2012, this paper identifies the various types of errors made by content providers and their agents when issuing takedown notices, and the various notices which were erroneously responded to by Google. The paper finds in that up to 8.4% of all successfully-processed requests in the dataset had "technical" errors, and that additionally, at least 1.4% of all successfully-processed requests had some "substantive" errors. As all these errors are avoidable at little or no cost, this paper proposes changes to the DMCA that would improve the takedown system. By strengthening the attestation requirements of notices, subjecting notice senders to penalties for submitting notices with unambiguously substantive errors and clarifying the responsibilities of service providers in response to non-compliant notices, the takedown system will remain a fast, efficient and nuanced system that balances the diverse interests of content providers, service providers and the Internet community at large.

Main Results of the Study

The man in findings of this study are:* After parsing each notice in the dataset of half a million takedown notices and more than fifty million takedown requests served on Google up to 2012, this paper finds that almost all notices comply with the non-functional formalities. * However, 8.3% of all takedown notices in 2012 fail to comply with the functional formalities. In addition, at least 1.3% of the takedown requests exhibit “substantive” errors that misidentify the copyright owner or provide inactive URIs as takedown requests. * To ensure that the takedown system remains fast, efficient and error-free, this paper proposes to strengthen the attestation requirements of notices, to require reporters to validate all submitted takedown requests, and to subject recalcitrant reporters to the “slow lane” of a two-tier system for processing takedown notices.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

The study makes 3 explicit policy recommendations:* "The first proposal is to make a slight change to the existing language of the DMCA to require a reporter issuing the takedown notice, under penalty of perjury, to attest to the accuracy of the information in the notice and its good faith belief of its claims of copyright infringement. Currently, the DMCA only calls for the reporter's statements of accuracy and good faith belief without making them attestations under penalty of perjury."* "The second proposal is to provide a mechanism to require reporters to submit verified takedown requests. This will go some way to address not just the problem identified by the Megaupload test, but also alter the existing practice that simply assumes a reliable and accurate identification of the infringing content without accessing or downloading the infringing content itself. Content owners have always complained about the “whack- a-mole” problem wherein a disabled link to allegedly infringing content reappears in a new link."* "The third proposal calls for a mechanism to place a “cost” – a binding disincentive – on reporters for submitting bad or erroneous takedown requests. In the rush to stem the tide of piracy and in the absence of penalties for making “false positive” takedown request, reporters have tended to file takedown requests which a judge has described in one case as “overzealous and overreaching”.


Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Green-tick.png
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Green-tick.png
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)
Green-tick.png

Datasets

Sample size: 56,991,045
Level of aggregation: Takedown Rquests
Period of material under study: 2008-2012


Sample size: 501,286
Level of aggregation: Takedown Notices
Period of material under study: 2008-2012