Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In Ashley Madison hack, copyright "solution" is worse than no solution; Fortune, 7/21/15

Jeff John Roberts, Fortune; In Ashley Madison hack, copyright "solution" is worse than no solution:
"While the copyright takedown might sound like a solution, it’s a weak and short-lived one. For one thing, there’s nothing to stop the hackers simply uploading the files again, forcing Ashley Madison to send out DCMA notices over and over. And this assumes that the company even has a valid copyright it can enforce in the first place – an unlikely event since, in the case of members’ profiles, the copyright probably belongs to the users not Ashley Madison.
Ashley Madison’s DMCA announcement is little more than a bluff, and it’s one we’ve seen before. Recall, how in the wake of the Sony hacks, the movie studio hired super-lawyer David Boies to send around trumped-up intellectual property threats in a failed attempt to keep media from reporting on the leaks. Or how Jennifer Lawrence, and other celebrities who had their Apple iCloud accounts hacked, tried to use copyright law to stop people distributing nude photos.
In all of these cases, the copyright claims in question were weak or non-existent, but the hacking targets invoked them anyways. Why? The best answer is that lawyers had to respond to frantic entreaties from their clients to do something, and copyright was the nearest legal cudgel. It’s easy to use, everyone’s heard of it, and it can come with nasty penalties."

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