Researchers: Anyone could get a DMCA takedown notice


— 3:54 PM on June 5, 2008

If you've ever dabbled in unauthorized file sharing through BitTorrent or other protocols, you might have joined the growing number of users who've received Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices. However, as the New York Times reports, a new study suggests you may not need to actually engage in any file sharing to get flagged as a pirate.

Tadayoshi Kohno, Michael Piatek, and Arvind Krishnamurthy from the University of Washington received DMCA notices even when using a software agent that didn't download any files. More interesting yet, they found it trivial to "manipulate IP addresses" in order get other users—or devices—flagged:

An inanimate object could also get the blame. The researchers rigged the software agents to implicate three laserjet printers, which were then accused in takedown letters by the M.P.A.A. of downloading copies of "Iron Man" and the latest Indiana Jones film.

Piatek concludes, "Because current enforcement techniques are weak, it is possible that anyone, regardless of sharing content or using BitTorrent, could get a D.M.C.A. takedown notice claiming they were committing copyright infringement."

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