Sunday, February 07, 2021

Thom Tillis And The Whack-a-Mole Problem

If Thom Tillis is the Harry Potter of Copyright protections for authors, who would you cast as Lord Voldemort? Another Senator? Or someone in Big Tech?

Our sprightly hero (Thom Tillis) has proposed legislation to rescue creatives from a maze of dead ends and aggressive-root-like red tape involved in trying to take down user-generated copyright infringement, and also
of whomping willow-like protections for OSPs and ISPs.

The current situation, whether with EBay or our gracious hosts here, or Twitter, or other social media sites is that it takes a while to send a take down notice, one has to reveal a great deal of personal information, and if the information seems valid, the specific copy of the infringing material may be removed, but the take down notice and partial link to the infringing material may be posted elsewhere "for transparency", and the take down does not apply to other copies of the same work on the same site, or to subsequent uploads of the known-to-be-infringing work on the same hosting site... even by the same user.

The Lumen site is better than its predecessor, Chilling Effects, but it still reveals which pirate site is very likely to still have a whack-a-mole copy of the copyright infringing work that should have been taken down.
Creatives are invited to comment on Thom Tillis's proposed reforms, and so the commentary battle begins. The hugely powerful dark forces of the established order will obviously comment in disfavor of changing the status quo.

Kudos and thanks (if that is not tautologous) for the heads-up to legal blogger David Oxenford of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

What the EFF wants:

EFF manages to sound reasonable and persuasive, but their view of the whack-a-mole problem seems to be that it does not exist, as if take-down-and-stay-down is the current situation. "Excise" is a terminological inexactitude.
"In a nutshell, Section 512 shields intermediaries from copyright liability for content their users upload, as long as they promptly take down infringing material that is brought to their attention. In exchange, content holders got a powerful tool to police infringement, known as “notice and takedown”: by sending an email or filling out a form, they can excise infringing content."

Also, "excise" in the surgical sense is not apt. In surgery, the cut out growth is not put back in its original state if someone files a counter notice, nor is an identical growth copied and pasted back onto the host within hours.

I'm going to have to write to Thom Tillis to warn him about the weasel words.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 

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