Update: The ESA has apologized for the DMCA takedown notices, saying that there was some amount of confusion involved. Below is a statement it issued to Ars Technica:
Update: The ESA has issued an apology for a DMCA takedown notice that went out over the weekend. You can read its statement here.
What is now being described as a "mistake" and a "misunderstanding" had the Dark Souls community in a bit of a lather for the last several days. Apparently a company representing the interest of Bandai Namco sent out a DMCA takedown request to the host of a very popular Dark Souls PC mod. The company responsible for doing that is FDS File Defense Service, which was hired by Bandai Namco's US arm to remove Dark Souls debug mode patches from the internet.
According to this Ars Technica report, Activision is using DMCA takedowns on YouTube videos that tell players how to use glitches and exploits in its latest Call of Duty title, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Over the weekend video network Machinima sent out a tweet warning other YouTube video makers that Activision was cracking down on videos that highlighted possible ways to cheat in Advanced Warfare:
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that it has filed six exemption requests with the U.S. Copyright Office today. Every three years the agency in charge of copyright uses Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow for petitions asking for exemptions in the name of the greater good. EFF's requests received assistance from the Organization for Transformative Works, the NYU Technology Law & Policy Clinic, attorney Marcia Hofmann, and former EFF intern Kendra Albert.
It looks like 4chan, a place that some might call the filthiest corner of the Internet, is putting a DMCA policy in place. According to this TorrentFreak article, the new policy was put in place in the wake of hundreds of nude celebrity photos being leaked online after being stolen from Apple's cloud service. Some insist that those photos first started showing up on 4chan.
Valve Software has banned a couple of Steam Community contributors and released a statement to its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive creators, according to this Gamasutra report. The community content creators allegedly used artwork for one of the most popular user-created weapons in the game that they did not own.
Level Up Labs co-founder Lars Doucet has created and deployed a Wikia directory page called WhoLetsPlay that informs video content creators which publishers allow monetized Let's Play videos and which do not. The Wikia page divides publishers into three groups:
YES - Allows Let's Play AND allows them to be monetized.
MAYBE - Might allow monetization under some circumstances, or it is unknown.
No - Does not allow monetization.
Capcom has put the brakes on a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign for an unlicensed Ghost 'N Goblins game. Phantasm Studios' campaign is now the subject of an intellectual property dispute initiated by Capcom, and has been shutdown. The Kickstarter page for the campaign now features a DMCA notice from Capcom.
Google has implemented a new system that auto detects content that is supposedly in breach of copyright this week, and it is affecting many YouTube stars. They are claiming that dozens or even hundreds of their videos are being removed. Since these claims are automatic because of the new system, many game companies who own the copyrights in question are doing their best to help those affected by the new system.
Indie developer Sean Lindskog pens an interesting editorial (a repost of a blog entry he wrote) on how reviewers like TotalBiscuit now understand the fear that game developers feel when they are at the mercy of someone else. Lindskog, who developed the indie space-themed action game Salvation Prophecy compares his feelings towards a negative review on GameSpot with the DMCA take-down request filed by developer Wild Games Studios against YouTube personality TotalBiscuit.
Finally members of Congress have put forth serious DMCA reform legislation and rights groups are praising it right out of the gate. The new legislation is called the "Unlocking Technology Act of 2013," and is sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO). The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 legalizes unlocking cell phone unlocking and modifies the DMCA so that unlocking copy-protected content is only illegal if it's done in order to "facilitate the infringement of a copyright."
A letter signed by 33 organizations and nine individuals asks the top ranking lawmakers in the House of Representatives (Reps. Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers) and the United States Senate (Sens. Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley) to make an exception for unlocking electronic devices to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Recently a petition signed by over 110,000 Americans asked President Barack Obama's administration to make the same exception.
Earlier in the week reported on a petition over at WhiteHouse.gov asking the administration to direct the Librarian of Congress to rescind the October 2012 decision that removed unlocking mobile phones (commonly referred to as jailbreaking) as an exception to the DMCA. The petition went on to ask the White House - if it could not compel the Librarian of Congress to change that decision - to champion a bill that makes unlocking phones permanently legal.
In a bizarre move, Kickstarter issued a message to backers of the Android-based high definition console, the Game Stick. The crowd-funding site told backers that the device, which has already been fully-funded and is working on stretch goals, had become the subject of an intellectual property dispute. Because of this Kickstarter said that - under the law - it was required to remove the project from the "public view" during the dispute process. They said at the time that if they could not put the project back up within 30 days than the Kickstarter campaign would be cancelled.
Normally we would ignore what's going on at Twitter (not because we don't care but because the daily machinations of the service have no bearing within these pages), but a change in policy is of particular interest - mainly in how it might relate to current and future cybersecurity bills - like CISPA, PROTECT IT, and the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. Like Google, Twitter has decided to disclose how often the U.S. government asks for information on a user or issues a DMCA takedown via what they call a new "transparency tool."
Microsoft is doing its best to erase a 56-page document detailing its plans for the "Xbox 720" off the Internet with a series of DMCA takedowns. The lengthy document was leaked onto the Internet over the weekend, and offered a glimpse into some of the things Microsoft might have planned for its next-generation system. If there was any doubt as to the document's authenticity these series of DMCA takedowns prove that Microsoft cares about it being read.
Four years ago, Game Politics broke the news that the US government performed raids on mod chip sellers in a program they called "Operation Tangled Web". During this program, ICE agents ran sting operations and raids on more than 32 locations in 16 states. At the time, there was little information and no official indictments of those running mod chip operations. Since then, no new information has been released, until now.
Video game console makers Microsoft and Sony are squaring off against enthusiast hackers, academics, and organizations such as the EFF who would like to make the act of jailbreaking legal. There is already an exception in place that allows the iPhone to be jailbroken, so supporters of gaining similar allowances for the Xbox 360 and PS3 are urging the U.S. Copyright Office to make these exceptions. The copyright office is currently accepting public input comments on the subject until Friday, and will likely make a decision soon shortly thereafter.
The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has resubmitted a revision of the Canadian digital copyright law (C-11) to Parliament. The bill is being described by Canadian media as pretty much the same as the previous bill submitted by Harper's government the last time. This time the bill will probably pass.
This week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a brief in support of videogame accessory company Datel, which accused Microsoft of using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down the competition in the Xbox 360 memory card market.
Microsoft filed a lawsuit in May alleging that Datel's SD-card-based memory cards violate the DMCA's provision against "technologies that can circumvent digital protections," adding that they could possibly be used to change gamer profiles and manually change Xbox Live Achievements. The EFF legal brief argues that the DMCA provision being used by Microsoft was intended to prevent piracy and copyright infringement, and not to block competitors who want to sell compatible products.
In what has been described by some in the Ultima community as a travesty, EA has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to take down several downloads of Ultima IV. This disruption has affected a number of Ultima IV-related projects including the ultra popular xu4, as well as the Ultima IV Sega Master System emulation from Master System 8 and the IBM-PC port at Phi Psi Software.
One of my all-time favorite Ultima sites, Ultima Aiera, also removed links to many Ultima IV-related projects. The move has incensed Ultima IV fans who thought the game was released as freeware a long time ago. While the game was offered for free thanks to some sites getting permission from Origin Systems a long time ago, EA still owns the rights to the game and can do what they want with it.
In new court documents filed by PS3 jailbreaker George Hotz's attorney, Stewart Kellar, asked that the court ignore recent SCEA filings that make claims about Hotz "running to South America," owning a PlayStation Network account, and deliberately removing data from hard drives submitted to a third-party for inspection by the court. Kellar also asked the court to deny SCEA jurisdiction in California.
A Commons committee has recommended the current Canadian government be found in contempt of Parliament, but the ruling party, Conservatives, have a chance of a historic censure if a vote on the budget or other events launch an election first.
The Commons procedure and house affairs committee tabled a majority report Monday concluding that the government is "in contempt" for continually refusing to disclose information about the cost of several major legislative items. They are referring to documents related to the cost of several items including its law-and-order agenda, corporate tax cuts and a plan to buy stealth combat jets. All of the opposition members of Parliament on the committee voted to condemn the government for withholding the requested documents without giving "adequate reasons" for doing so.