Saturday, January 12, 2019
Wrongful DMCA takedown notices against blog postings giving tech workarounds; Indie journalists wigwam in Houston
Kit Walsh of Electronic Frontier Foundation notes another subtle misuse of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act when a company making scooters, Bird, sent a takedown notice to a blog called “Boing Boing” (it had started in 1988 as a zine) regarding an article posting explaining how to “hack” a scooter with a motherboard replacement.
EFF explains that the workaround was not illegal under Section 1201 of the DMCA.
But there’s a deeper issue. Normally takedown notices apply to claims of actual copyright infringement. But this is about a journalistic article that offers instructions as to how to do a hack (“jailbreak”) that is purported to be illegal but turns out not to be.
This can be a problem for bloggers, especially in tech, or YouTube videos, which offer advice on how to get around various issues with all kinds of consumer products, especially tech products. We’re back to the issue that independent journalism keeps challenging the establishment and its ability to make money the old fashioned way.
Even hosting companies, normally counting on Section 230 protection, could start to get more antsy with their AUP’s, as they have come under pressure ever since August 2007 over Charlottesville.
A problem like this could be bigger in the EU, considering its planned tightening of copyright law.
Scooters, of course, have a bigger problem: the batteries, and the issues of fires, and safe transport.
Also there is a meeting going on in Houston of independent journalists developing strategies to stop the takedowns and to organize indie journalists in some way. Ford Fischer from News2Share speaks now.
This story will develop soon.