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Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice 349

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-invented-the-for-loop dept.
An anonymous reader writes Qualcomm has forced GitHub to remove over 100 repositories due to "unauthorized publication, disclosure, and copying of highly sensitive, confidential, trade secret, and copyright-protected documents." Among the repositories taken down were for CyanogenMod and Sony Xperia. The issue though is that these "highly sensitive" and "confidential" files are Linux kernel code and reference/sample code files that can be easily found elsewhere, including the Android kernel, but GitHub has complied with Qualcomm's DMCA request.
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Qualcomm Takes Down 100+ GitHub Repositories With DMCA Notice

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:04PM (#47384249)
    Freedom, in the land of the just.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:04PM (#47384255)

    that's what i heard on hacker news where you steal half your stories a day late.

    slashdot = stagnated

  • "Good faith" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jargonburn (1950578) on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:14PM (#47384305)
    It's too bad that there's not a higher bar for "good faith." It'd be nice if it could be more readily disproven, in some cases.

    "I did a Google search for [term] and have a good faith belief that there's no possible way any of the results could be non-infringing. Because I can't believe that any of the results could possibly be non-infringing, I'm not going to examine any of the results more closely. I require you to remove all these results I came up with or be subject to liability under ridiculous laws if it turns out my head isn't *completely* up my ass. In addition, unless you can *prove* that I'm not acting in good faith, through a time-consuming and expensive process, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it! Have a nice day! ---Jackass-in-a-suit"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:15PM (#47384307)

    Any vendor can issue DCMA on any file online as "violating" whatever IP / Copyright / Patent that it holds, and normally the ISP (or gate keeper) complies and remove those files

    In light of this, anything can be accused of "violating" something - and that makes everything online liable to be taken down, if DCMA is not reigned in

  • Re:"Good faith" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder (754090) on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:19PM (#47384339) Journal

    It's too bad that there's not a higher bar for "good faith." It'd be nice if it could be more readily disproven, in some cases.

    "I did a Google search for [term] and have a good faith belief that there's no possible way any of the results could be non-infringing. Because I can't believe that any of the results could possibly be non-infringing, I'm not going to examine any of the results more closely. I require you to remove all these results I came up with or be subject to liability under ridiculous laws if it turns out my head isn't *completely* up my ass. In addition, unless you can *prove* that I'm not acting in good faith, through a time-consuming and expensive process, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it! Have a nice day! ---Jackass-in-a-suit"

    Screw good faith. Places need to start charging to process DMCA notices, and then when they get fake or bad, or just plain wrong notices like this, you then charge them 1000x the price. They don't pay? Then you don't process any more DMCA notices from them.

    I thought we were about capitalism, this is capitalism at it's finest. Money is the only thing these people/corporations understand, so speak their language. They want to not be responsible about DMCA notices, then make it cost them.

  • by fnj (64210) on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:20PM (#47384343)

    Github FAILS the requirement for reliability due to being subject to DMCA horseshit. Will somebody please start the next github in a jurisdiction untouchable by DMCA and other thuggish regulations.

  • Not githubs fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:38PM (#47384409)

    I used to handle DMCA requests. We got thousands per day. You get them via email and there's no way to verify that the sender is who they say they are, the sender is actually the owner of the content, that the content can even BE owned, or that the contents of what's being complained about has anything to do with the complaint. DMCA requests are a logistical nightmare. You have a user thats hosting a file... Music.mp3 and you get an email from joesmith@lawfirm.com or whatever... How do you know they represent the content owner? Or are even really lawyers? Or that the claimed content owner owns the song in question? How do you know it's not just a recording of the guys kid singing the song in the bath? Maybe the person sending the complaint is just his ex-wife. There's very little you can do about any of it, so you have to make a wild ass guess. You're almost always wrong, but the one thing you can be sure of is that if someone like Qualcomm sends you a complaint, they can certainly follow through with a lawsuit, where-as the an open source project likely cannot. So which side would you err on?

    This is a problem with the law, not with Github or even Qualcomm. Fix the damned law.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday July 04, 2014 @01:49PM (#47384471) Journal

    ...a jurisdiction untouchable by DMCA and other thuggish regulations...

    does not exist, not on this planet. You can bet that, if it came down to brass tacks, nuclear weapons would be used to enforce copyright when more conventional methods fail.

  • Re:"Good faith" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:01PM (#47384551) Journal

    You do know that takedown notices are supposed to be filed truthfully under penalty of perjury, yes?

    No. They don't.

    The penalty of perjury only applies to a very small part of the takedown notice -- that the person making the request is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder. The rest of the takedown notice is not under penalty of perjury.

  • Re:User Beware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:05PM (#47384577)
    Sadly, I expect this incident to be forgotten over the weekend and cause no harm to GitHub's reputation.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:06PM (#47384581)

    Freedom, in the land of the just.

    And you can blame every bit of it on the DMCA.

    This is a great example of how the takedown process established by DMCA is inherently abusive. Lots of perfectly legitimate information is taken down with no proof of anything, just because some copyright troll wants to say so.

    That ain't America.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:12PM (#47384613) Homepage

    This is America. This is how the legal system has always worked.

    A does action X.
    B objects and threatens to sue A if the doesn't stop X.
    A agrees.

    GitHub is a distributor. To distribute they need to be properly licensed. They are now asking for assurance of licensing given that Qualcomm is contending they are the copyright holder. That's all that is happening. Qualcomm is factually wrong and under the law they can be sued for being wrong by the licensees (the people about whom they made false complaints).

    That is in no way different than what would have happened 100 years ago if someone was distributing a book and someone else complained that the distributor didn't have license to the material.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:14PM (#47384625)

    Sure, you got to compensate with something! :)

  • by EasyTarget (43516) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:27PM (#47384701) Journal

    Qualcomm is factually wrong and under the law they can be sued for being wrong by the licensees

    Yeah good luck with that.

  • by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:43PM (#47384797)

    No. It's not sufficient to be "factually wrong" -- the claims must be "knowingly false". You can issue all the "accidental" takedown notices you want without any fear of being sued over it. Which is nothing like 100 year ago.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday July 04, 2014 @03:46PM (#47385119) Homepage Journal
    Github isn't going to drive out to the address you wrote in there to verify that you are who you say you are. They're going to hit "reply" in the email. To date I know of no entity that has been punished for fradulant DMCA takedowns more than a written admonishment. The law is utterly one sided because it was written by people who were intending to use it to send millions of takedown requests. They didn't want any possibily of suffering legal liability if they could get away with it, so the sender only has to hurdle the lowest legal hurdle (good faith) to completely indemnify themselves against counter claims. The law was written to be abused, and shock, people are abusing it.
  • by russotto (537200) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:15PM (#47385211) Journal

    As an individual, once you're in court, you lose. A DMCA counternotice is an invitation to sue -- literally, you tell them where you can be sued. Inviting companies with lawyers on staff to sue you is a great way to lose all your money. Regardless of merit.

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