The United States Copyright Office is undertaking a public study to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions contained in 17 U.S.C. 512. Among other issues, the Office will consider the costs and burdens of the notice-and-takedown process on large- and small-scale copyright owners, online service providers, and the general public. The Office will also review how successfully section 512 addresses online infringement and protects against improper takedown notices. To aid in this effort, and to provide thorough assistance to Congress, the Office is seeking public input on a number of key questions.
The feedback was overwhelming (more than 90,000 responses were submitted, which prompted the CEO of the Copyright Alliance to compare the result to a zombie apocalypse). It wasn’t a surprise that the tech and entertainment industries’ suggestions and concerns were quite polarized. Since Techdirt, TorrentFreak and other tech media did an excellent job covering the most significant submissions from both sides, I’m not going to write about those. Instead, I want to draw attention to an amusing missive that was buried by such an overwhelming response. Thanks to Mitch Stoltz for pointing to a “masterpiece,” which was written by a Beverly Hills-based attorney Ira M. Siegel.
Yes, Ira Siegel, a notorious copyright troll and a creator (together with a convicted felon Owen Onouye) of an infamous shakedown outfit CEG-TEK ¹, chimed in to smuggle his wish list aimed at making copyright trolling business less burdensome and more profitable.
The document is so ridiculous that it doesn’t make any sense to seriously analyze it. Notwithstanding a very tangential relation to the study topic (see the quote above), Mr. Siegel concludes his 16 pages of whining about piracy with some rather bold wishes. Put aside your beverages before learning what some of those wishes are: you risk spilling the liquid. No need to comment, I just added emphasis:
2. By statute require courts to allow joinder of unlimited numbers defendants (named or fictitious) that have infringed the same copyright.
4. By statute require ISPs to pay copyright owners $30 for each notice of claimed infringement sent with respect to an Internet account having repeat infringements. […]
5. Amending, among other statutes, the following:
[…] (3) A cable operator shall disclose such information if the disclosure is (i) ordered by a court (which court, if the disclosure is to be made to a governmental entity, shall conform to subsection (h) of this section) or (ii) required by a subpoena issued pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(h). [i.e., without judge’s order, “even without the filing of a civil action for copyright infringement,” merely at a troll’s request and a court clerk’s mandatory rubberstamp].
Hi, my name is Fox; Mr. Dog asked for opinions on how to improve the Chicken Coop. Here is my input: remove the goddamn barbed wire! I’m sick and tired of digging under the fence! Thank you.
¹ Porn copyright troll CEG-TEK, like its non-porn sibling, Rightscorp, operate a simple business model:.
- Monitor Bittorent networks, detect sharing of copyrighted material, log timestamps and IP addresses of alleged infringers;
- Send myriads of infringement notices to cooperating ISPs, which in turn forward those notices to subscribers;
- The notices direct subscribers to CEG-TEK’s collection site, where the accused are prompted to pay a small amount (from a couple of tens to a couple of hundred dollars) per infringement.
Many recipients act impulsively and pay without conducting an online research first. Some become frightened by CEG-TEK’s unsubstantiated threats of litigation, while the others decide that $30 is not a large sum for a piece of mind. There is a caveat in the latter reason, though: in many cases the mere act of payment is interpreted by the troll as a weakness, and those who paid once, often subsequently find much larger invoices in their inboxes.