They even clearly state they used the only tool available to them, DCMA. From all the current summaries on this, DMCA does not apply to a line entry in easylist. A domain can be trademarked.
This should be added back in. And if github cannot standup to DMCA abuse, then well, easylist and all other developers should be giving a clear hard though to their continued use of the github platform.
Edit: it looks like EFF has gotten in touch with easylist. Good. https://torrentfreak.com/dmca-used-to-remove-ad-server-url-f...
Their request is here: https://github.com/easylist/easylist/commit/1ba8d4afeec6d562...
And was made by this account: https://github.com/dmcahelper
So, they made a github account the same day they made the "request" with an account that in no way indicates where the request is coming from? The github profile bio reads "Help all parties understand and resolve DMCA issues efficiently and effectively to minimize file and repository impacts."
Perhaps they should have used a bit more transparency when asking for the offending url to be removed from the repo, instead of acting like a spammy copyright boogyman, then immediately resorting to a dubious DMCA takedown request.
That type of behavior can only be bad for open source software. Threats like "to minimize file and repository impacts" are going to push more folks toward private repositories if they don't understand that it's not an actual authority pressing them into making changes on a given platform.
Thanks for writing in. We're looking at the account.
(GitHub employee name redacted)
This is not the first time this has happened. GitHub's response has been woefully inadequate and OSS maintainers should consider using another platform. Everyone using GitHub is vulnerable to suddenly and arbitrarily losing their repository.
And again switching to a different platform doesn't solve that problem either. You'd still lose the issues that are in github.
Response from support:
"Hi xxxxx. This account is not affiliated with GitHub and we are looking into it."
Using github is bad for FLOSS.
So if a particular site uses admiral to protect its ads, it loses traffic.
Why stop at intrusive ads ? Just block everything that features commercial ads.
Though the real issue is not ads per se but the tracking that tags along.
For instance, let me go out on a limb and point out how some distros of linux insist on shipping without any non-free software. So, a user ends up having to go through hoops to just get an audio of video file playing. I think the analogy Im going for is, you don't want to play by our rules (our license, etc), we'll not use your software (or correspondingly block your site).
I'm trying to point out what I think is likely consequence of such an action
I don't think that's universally true. For me, if a site is broken because blocking ads also makes the content inaccessible, I just close the browser tab and move on with my day. (For a while the LA Times was blocking content in this way, so I just refused to visit their site. I guess it worked; they don't do this anymore.)
I don't claim to be the common case, but frankly I don't know what the common case is, and I suspect you don't either, so it could go either way.
If some users just have to see that site, they can either find another list (who cares, no one's doing this for Internet Points), or they can click the "Add Exception" button.
We need not submit ourselves to be effectively held hostage by hostile content providers. It's just content.
Flash I will give you, though it has been an irrelevance to me since YouTube went HTML5.
> Many GNU/Linux distributions do not contain libdvdcss (for example, Debian, Fedora, SUSE Linux, and Ubuntu) due to fears of running afoul of DMCA-style laws, but they often provide the tools to let the user install it themselves. For example, it used to be available in Ubuntu through Medibuntu, which is no longer available.
That way any domain that was ever added would be in the blocklist.
True negatives should be pretty low.
*edit: removed a redundant word
Edit: libertarianism anybody ? :D
Which will make administration rather more complex.
How you block the domain - with a simple string or an automatically trained neural network - doesn't matter.
You're asserting things to be true that are very much in question, and the assertion borders on the absurd.
Is it also a DMCA violation to add firewall rules to ones own network equipment?
I guess the bottom line is whether one is forced to blacklist/whitelist a site and what means are permissible. If its simply about the site name appearing literally then a workaround would seem easy enough and one couldn't claim uniquely singling out because the filter applies more broadly. Of course the intent is the same in both, but I'm not versed enough on DCMA issues to know how intent plays a role in this field. Your point actually makes me curious about the legal field more generally and just how pervasive intent is and what areas of law it plays a role and which is does not.
1. Site added to block list.
2. Site removed from block list due to DMCA takedown request.
3. Site block by new rule added that doesn't target it directly.
I can't imagine any judge or jury looking at that sequence events and then taking you seriously when you say "I didn't intend to block the original site".
The parent's point was more along the lines of: people in the tech world need to stop looking for technical solutions to all problems. Some problems are social problems, or legal problems. They should be solved directly, not with awkward (or possibly illegal or at least tort-worthy) workarounds. We talk about chilling effects and corporations engaging in anti-social behavior when they threaten open source and the open web in particular, but attacking social/legal problems with technological workarounds is itself also anti-social.
Not saying that technological solutions are not useful sometimes. In the short-term, you can often make a bad social or legal problem less bad by using a tech workaround, while simultaneously taking the long slog toward fixing the root of the problem. But putting tech band-aids over our problems and then walking away will only hurt us in the long run.
However I think what actually happened was that the business is operating paywalls/"anti-adblocker-walls" for other sites - so they claim that blocking them constitutes "circumvention of protection devices" for their customers - which indeed would be far severe for adblockers if confirmed by a judge.
(That's my understanding, though I might have gotten it wrong)
So one argument to do is this is because it is NOT illegal, and the purpose would be to stop frivolous lawsuits.
So yes, it would be trying to creatively skirt frivolous lawsuits.
Another legit reason though, is obfuscation. The company that tried to threaten this frivolous lawsuit may have not even noticed, if it was some weird regex. And they'd either not complain, or have to spend a bunch of money tracking down the problem. Both are wins, in my book.
Blocking a URL that allows you to break a copyright-protection mechanism[1,2]? Well, that's not so clear. It's also unclear whether or not Admiral falls under the umbrella of a copyright-protection mechanism.
I really really really want EasyList to be in the right here, and be able to re-add the block without fear, but it's far from clear what all the implications of this are. I'm glad the EFF has stepped in to help them out; I'm content to wait for their opinion (or the opinion of an actual lawyer versed in the subject at hand) on this.
In the end, this is just another example of why the DMCA needs to go.
 Yes, you could say that this is bad design that the mechanism can be broken so easily, but that's not the point: the DMCA doesn't care how good or bad the mechanism is. If you break it, you're in violation.
 I suppose there's another point to be made: DMCA takedown notices are only for removing content or links to content that contain actual material where copyright has been infringed, not for removing circumvention tools.
Well, they're obviously in the right :)
> and be able to re-add the block without fear
They could fix that by improving their OPSEC. So as to not be so easily threatened.
But you'd significantly help the legal case of those claiming it is by trying to obfuscate that you're doing so; they would argue in court it's an implicit admission you "knew it was illegal."
So you'd argue in reply that although you maintain that it's legal, you knew that it'd likely be something that bad actors would file frivolous suit over. Even when you win, being hauled into court is incredibly disruptive.
Moreover, the DMCA covers unauthorised access to copyrighted content, and the ad blocker cannot claim ownership of the ROT13'ed domain name, just as the domain name itself is not copyrightable.
In theory the ad blocker could use a more complicated scheme to obfuscate their source code, but I'm not sure whether they could combine a "do not de-obfuscate this code" rule with an open source / Free Software license.
It's interesting to compare this to Second Amendment arguments. Do ad blockers block ads, or do users? Do users have a right to keep and bear ad blockers? Of course it's silly, and ad blockers are passive tools, but there are some striking parallels.
Imagine a DVDCSS-like system that used remote servers to convey permission and defaulted to ALLOW. Would users who unplugged their DVD players from the Internet be guilty of circumvention? Now imagine that DVDs for said player were handed out freely on the street, stuffed into people's mailboxes, etc. Would people who played those DVDs without connecting their players to the Internet be guilty of circumvention?
That's the same thing, in principle, that's going on here. Claiming that it's circumvention (whoever makes that claim; I don't know if you are) is preposterous. This is obviously an abuse of the DMCA (not hard to do, considering the DMCA itself is an abuse, but I digress).
The admiral website has a copy of a notice  if you are interested.
In that case, we are legally require to update all DNS servers' entries to remove that name permanently. :-)
Or alias it to 0.0.0.0 !!!
instead of blocking requests, replace the domain name with something funnily invalid, with a play on words on each original domain. then in case of any dmca, claim satire fair use.
it would make patchs review much more fun too!
I have also now spent more time on this than I'd expected.
One of the DMCA provisions, is that (as others have mentioned) that software to circumvent copyright is also prohibited.
I do not believe that EasyList meets the legal definition of software. It's not software, I don't believe. It is a list used by software. Basically, it is a configuration file. By itself, it performs no functions.
Its pretty much a 'dumb' plain text file. It is not executable, in and of itself. By itself, it does exactly nothing except take up space.
Computer software is defined in 48 CFR 2.101 and, unless my reading is incorrect (and it may be), this doesn't enable a program to be produced, created, or compiled.
I can find no rulings on this subject, however.
I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and you should check with a qualified legal professional in your jurisdiction before acting.
That said, this does make for a potentially interesting case. It's probably a good thing to get some decision handed down. That and, well, it'll be pretty easily circumvented regardless of potential rulings.
However, circumvention tools (software or otherwise) require suing, not merely issuing a takedown notice, as another commenter pointed out.
Ok. We do not want to copy your add. We just want to get rid of those by putting them in a filter. How on earth this can come under DMCA?
It may very well be that the URL should have been removed, with regard to Easylist policies, github policies, or even some other law. But not DMCA takedown notice. If DMCA takedown notice was the only tool available to them, then they had no tools available to them, because DMCA was not a tool legally available for asking someone to remove a URL from a list. A URL in a list is not possibly copyright infringement.
(I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, just my understanding for sake of discussion of a hypothetical)
So for instance, when the CSS encryption on DVDs was broken, there were DMCA takedown requests issued to sites hosting the deCSS decryption code, even though the copyright of that code itself wasn't at issue.
ETA: a comment below corrects me, saying that the DMCA prohibits distribution of circumvention tools (i.e. makes it illegal and even criminal I think), but doesn't allow takedown notices for such tools: you have to actually sue them in court. So this takedown notice seems to have been incorrect even if the DMCA is invoked.
Github's own guidelines to DMCA takedown notices say "Identify the copyrighted work you believe has been infringed." https://help.github.com/articles/guide-to-submitting-a-dmca-...
If the notice did not identify a work believed to have been infringed, then why did Github respond to it? Why don't they follow their own process? If the notice did identify a work being infringed, then they are probably wrong because you can't infringe a copyrighted work by listing a URL in a list. I guess actually getting damages might require proving they _knew_ that, and be generally infeasible/cost prohibitive.
There are some problems with the DMCA regime.
This would in fact be the most contentious clause, the one about being able to take down tools that enable circumvention, the one that is historically the one that perturbs techies and HN-types the most. I think what we see here isn't so much a DMCA takedown of a single line, but a single line modification in an attempt to prevent someone trying to take down the entire ad blocker, by making it so this particular person doesn't have any standing (in the legal sense) to make claims against the ad blockers anymore.
The copyright takedown clause would be number two, but it has a mitigating factor; the DMCA copyright takedown process that you might see on a hosting site or HN itself  has a positive element as well, which is that by conforming to the DMCA a site like HN is able to host user content like our comments while discharging from themselves the responsibility of having to pre-filter every comment for copyrighted content. This clause has certainly been abused, and there is a justifiable case that the Feds have not been adequately aggressive about chasing them down, but on the net I still approve of this clause, personally.
(You also have to distinguish between "the DMCA" and a site's policy, which may go above and beyond. Many or most of the things that people complain about for YouTube, for instance, are their own elaborations on the theme, not the legal requirements themselves. Not all of them, though; YouTube tends to favor the big media companies very strongly when it comes to defining "fair use". But things like taking away your monetization and giving it to somebody else is a YouTube policy, not the DMCA. Or at the very least, it's a penumbric emanation of the DMCA and not the DMCA itself.)
Were I the developers or anyone with any ownership in this software, I would hesitate on putting too much stock in the idea that this was an improper use of the DMCA claim process. It was. But the reward for aggressively pushing back on that may be a proper lawsuit for violation of the anti-circumvention clauses, for which there is not a notification process but simply a legal basis for lawsuits granted, IIRC. Your reward for armchair-lawyering this DMCA takedown request could be a true lawsuit.
: https://news.ycombinator.com/dmca.html - have a look at the footer of this page
What the DMCA says about circumvention measures:
> (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that—
> (A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;
> (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or
> (C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
It seems obvious to me that Easylist is not such, I don't think it meets A, B, or C. But it'd be an expensive court process and who knows what the court would end up doing.
In this example, it seems like Easylist has no desire to include that URL anyway, as it is not an ad server.
It may be true that Github can decide to refuse to host the thing anyway, but it's not a DCMA takedown notice process.
The whole situation is indeed a mess.
Also, I agree that Easylist itself may still not be a lawsuit target. It simply makes a claim about a certain domain, it doesn't do any access circumvention itself based on that claim. But if Easylist isn't, the ad blockers using it certainly would be. And that alone would change the dynamics of the situation quite a bit.
I hate to say it because I like adblockers too, but it is frankly very likely that when the advertising industry finally makes the push against them that by current law, it will indeed turn out that it is illegal to use ad blockers on sites that take active measures to ensure you view ads . Again, don't mistake me saying this for endorsing it, but I think it's a very plain and obvious reading of not just the DMCA, but even something as fundamental to our legal system as common-law contracts... if a website wishes to make viewing their content conditional on viewing an ad, they can do that, just as they can make viewing their content conditional on paying them money, joining a club, or anything else that qualifies as "consideration" . They can also place further restrictions on that content as part of that content. Any argument in favor of ad blocking that would also explain why either Netflix customers have the legal right to retain copies of the movies, or in the most extreme cases, explain why everybody has the legal right to retain copies of Netflix movies, should be discarded as an argument that proves too much .
I'd suggest the ad blocking community and the interested tech community at least wargame out the plan for if they lose the legal cases, because I would personally put that at somewhere around 90% probability if any of them ever go to court. Even with the EFF supporting it, I fear the EFF would pretty much be reduced to making very handwavy arguments about fundamental rights and basically pounding on the table, because in my considered opinion they really won't have much else. And even if they are correct, courts tend not to take much account of those arguments.
: If the judgment goes really bad, it could even be illegal to bypass sites that don't try anything explicit. However there is a very good argument here that there is a history on the internet of assuming more rights rather than fewer if you don't assert yourself, such as the fact that browsers generally render things differently anyhow, the long history of search engines, the needs for accessibility software to render pages fundamentally differently anyhow, etc. I think there's a good chance no judge would want to overturn that consensus as it's now around 25 years old.
If a site can't make me pay, and doesn't want it's content to be viewed unless I pay, simply don't send me the content.
Again, circumventing access control, even terrible ones, is one thing, but if you send me the data, then you sent me the data, what the issue?
I'm fully on your side here, but to play devil's advocate, I think it's fair to consider an analogy like "if a restaurant doesn't want its food to be consumed unless I pay, simply don't serve me the food."
You ask a server (of the web or the hospitality variety) to serve you the usual. The server gives it to you and reminds you that the deal hasn't been fully executed yet: you're to next [ask the cashier by the door to ring you up || ask the ad server to serve you an ad], and then [pay when asked || render the ad amongst the rest of the content]. Sure, you could forego talking to the [cashier || ad server] instead.
Again, I don't like that one bit, but I think it's the kind of "reasonableness" that holds up in court. IANAL.
Moreover, there is no way to know if the content you're requesting will require a transaction (unlike a restaurant where the prevailing expectation is payment for service, even if prices are left off the menu). It has always been the case that I need to request the resource and then be told if it costs money, otherwise it's given to me.
Likewise, there has never been, and I would argue can't be, an expectation that a user agent render all content as expected. Would custom style-sheets violate the law? Do Lynx, Links, Links2, w3m, mutt, and pine all of a sudden become illegal? How does a screen reader render an ad? How does a braille interface render an ad? Am I now legally required to run a graphical interface otherwise I'm playing legal roulette?
What happens if the adserver malfunctions and doesn't send me an ad? Am I now put in a legally bad spot? What if an ad is sent in swf and I don't have flash installed? I also feel like there are legal implications to forcing someone to execute code sent to them. Do ad servers all of a sudden become responsible for drive-by malware? Can we sue them for damages?
I feel that the crux is that there is no way to know if "payment" is required before requesting a resource. You can't send me something and then say, "oh, yeah, hey, you need to pay me for that" when the (vast) majority of the time I'm sent things without any expectation of payment.
It may very well be more common for such hypothetical farmers to forego having an honesty box hiding where you don't see it until you've consumed the fruit, but for those who do choose to have one, are you stealing the fruit if you don't drop in a few bucks?
More on topic: I also think courts would see quite a difference in intent between using a mainstream graphical browser with an ad blocker vs using things like a text mode interface, a screen reader, a braille display, or libcurl. The former is like driving past the honesty box while chuckling; the latter is like not even knowing it was there.
> disable JS and images
> They're all the same thing. I'm deciding how I want to consume content; I'm not circumventing a access control mechanism.
I guess the difference I am trying to highlight is:
* a lack of ads for hard technical and/or compatibility reasons (JS not enabled, images not enabled, graphics subsystems not existing, not having sufficient eyesight, etc.), versus
* a lack of ads because screw you.
This line in the sand may be stupid, but I'm afraid it's not "the same thing." I'm afraid this difference could be argued successfully in court, and that is my point.
But it's not "screw you" it's "I don't want to waste the bandwidth I pay for and am metered on with things I don't want to download and could potentially harm my computer". Viewing those ads costs me money as well, money which isn't going to the person serving the ads, not to mention the risk of malware.
The issues is that there is normally a expectation of paying for things like produce. Unless there was explicitly a "Free Produce" sign, I would expect to have to pay.
There is no expectation that you need to pay for the data sent to you later; if payment is required for access, you're told so and need to provide it to continue to the resource (or otherwise provide proof that you had paid, e.g. logging in).
There hasn't historically been and can't be an expectation of payment later because that would be untrue for many, if not the vast majority, of websites. Additionally, there has never been an expectation that the client will render everything you send to them. All browsers have the option to disable JS and images, and always have.
It's these differences in expectation and culture that I believe provide the difference between your examples and the web. Violating these constraints would cause legal issues in the vast majority of systems, would mean running old software would be illegal (Chrome preloads links under certain circumstances, but doesn't render them), and would also end up forcing users to run code they didn't choose to run (there is no expectation or knowledge of what code the server will send and choosing to not run harmful code would be illegal), which would be an interesting thought experiment as a civil rights violation. It would also force me to, say, accept a EULA for Flash, even if I disagree with it because I visited a site that randomly sent me a flash payload. Or what about something without a linux runtime; I would have no ability to avoid committing a crime, because I don't have the choice to accept the rest of the content that came with the content I can't run, but am legally required to run.
Violating the very assumptions of how the web works would have terrible ramifications.
> More on topic: I also think courts would see quite a difference in intent between using a mainstream graphical browser with an ad blocker vs using things like a text mode interface, a screen reader, a braille display, or libcurl.
Why? They're all the same thing. I'm deciding how I want to consume content; I'm not circumventing a access control mechanism.
Oracle has appealed, would we'll see what happens.
But, you choose not to eat the raw onions they've served with the meal.
This is an assertion that is commonly made on the internet, but I see no reason to believe it carries any legal force, or even necessarily any moral force. In fact it's not that hard to read it as an argument made solely to come to the desired predetermined conclusion rather than any sort of principled argument. It implies that the sender loses all rights to anything they send to you, which is definitely legally untrue; I gave examples above already.
Also, if you win on this point, you will not experience a glorious utopia in which ad blocking is OK and you can save whatever streams you want and so on... you'll experience a world in which all this content gets removed from the web and locked behind even more proprietary clients that will come with what the publishers want. What may seem to you to be a simple bugbite back in favor of what you believe your rights to be may cause a much larger allergic response than you'd anticipate.
"I can't be sued for not watching commercials."
You haven't signed a contract saying you will. That may not be the case online.
The questions about whether such contracts should be something that even can be offered, or whether simply clicking through a EULA or accessing a bit of content can bind one to a contract, or the nature of what such a contract may be allowed to be, are all separate matters of interesting discussion. However I don't foresee any world arising in which the "the purpose of a user agent is to display me what I want to see and therefore any manipulation of the content other people own the rights to is within my rights" is going to hold up. There's too many rights and rights-holders that won't stand for it, and even if you did somehow win that case, they'll simply retreat and retrench in whatever it takes to recover those rights for themselves. If you rewrite the terms of the contract, you have to account for the other side of the contract reacting to it, not just passively sitting back and going "Oh, gosh, I guess I'm stuck then, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing without changing anything."
But you can't accept a contract just by visiting the site. Especially since the in the same action as becoming aware of the exist of the contract also makes you breach the contract.
> However I don't foresee any world arising in which the "the purpose of a user agent is to display me what I want to see and therefore any manipulation of the content other people own the rights to is within my rights" is going to hold up.
Why? This has always been the purpose of the user agent and it's difficult to impossible to actually make sure things will always look the same in all browsers. Could viewing a site in FireFox or Edge become illegal? Again, how would I know that _before_ taking the action. What about systems such as links2, w3m, elinks, and lynx?
> f you rewrite the terms of the contract, you have to account for the other side of the contract reacting to it, not just passively sitting back and going "Oh, gosh, I guess I'm stuck then, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing without changing anything."
Which terms? The UA has always been the agent of the user, not the site whose content is being displayed.
I just find it very difficult to believe that the court will accept that I've broken a "contract" I can't know exists without breaking it.
I assume Github has a whole bunch of non-armchair lawyers.
But this is indeed the problem with the whole system, it comes down to who can pay the legal bills.
It seems obvious to me that Easylist is neither "primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access", "has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent", nor "is marketed.. for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access."
But it could take a whole lot of legal fees to determine that in court, and as we saw in Oracle v Google, the courts don't always decide what seems obvious to us. For better or worse, any sane person or entity wants to stay out of court regardless of whether their lawyers think they have a great case. Unless they have a whole lot of money to burn.
At the least, I think Github should make it's policies clear about what it's doing. If they say a DMCA takedown notice must "Identify the copyrighted work you believe has been infringed" (as the law indeed says), they should not take action to complaints that don't do this. If they want to respond to other types of complaints, they should say so, and explain how. (And ask their lawyers how it effects their liability under DMCA, if at all).
Github appears to be trying for transparency with their docs and practices on DMCA, which is great and important and greatly appreciated. This is one area where it could be improved. Responding to DMCA takedown notices that are not in fact DMCA takedown notices and do not follow Github's own published instructions/requirements for DMCA takedown notices (cause they aren't DMCA takedown notices)... is not transparency. The DMCA regime has plusses and minuses; mis-educating people about the DMCA law doesn't help us evaluate what these may be in order to be engaged citizens.
Vocabulary much? I'll bet there's a blip on Google Trends today.
I don't know if that's the precise situation here, but if the ad blocker is intentionally carrying out a process like this to access the copyrighted work of the website without obeying the restrictions of the technological control process, then I could see that falling well within the bounds of the DMCA.
Is there any elaboration on what "effectively controls access" means (e.g. in case law or in the statute that I missed)? Does a system that fails open (the only thing listed in the EasyList commit was the domain name, so a network error would replicate the same situation) fall within the scope of the provision?
Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp. involved circumvention of a system that "effectively controls access" to Mac OS X, preventing it from being installed on non-Apple hardware.
Apple's anti-circumvention system is (in part) that some of the important system binaries are encrypted, the kernel transparently decrypts them when they are executed.
The key isn't secret (in fact it's a constant that hasn't changed in 10+ years), but it is only distributed inside the SMC chip on the main board of a real Mac.
There's no question that encryption is generally an effective access control method, it can't be circumvented without either having the key or breaking the encryption system in use.
The court found that regardless of how trivial it was to obtain the key, the fact that it was encrypted made it "effective":
> Psystar contends that Apple's anti-circumvention technology was ineffective because the decryption key for circumvention is publicly available on the internet. This argument fails.
> "The fact that circumvention devices may be widely available does not mean that a technological measure is not, as the DMCA provides, effectively protecting the rights of copyright owners in the ordinary course of its operation." Sony Computer Entm't Am., Inc. v. Divineo, Inc., 457 F. Supp. 2d 957, 942 965 (N.D.Cal.2006).
> Generally, measures based on encryption "effectively control" access to copyrighted works. Here, when the decryption key was not employed, the encryption effectively worked to prevent access to Mac OS X. And that is all that is required.
> See Universal City Studios v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 294, 318 (S.D.N.Y.2000) (noting that when a decryption program was not employed, the encryption worked to control access to the protected work).
> Accordingly, Psystar has violated the DMCA by circumventing Apple's protection barrier and trafficking devices designed for circumvention. Apple's motion for summary judgment on its DMCA claim must be granted.
Funny how this disclaimer is only found besides legal advice. Really, you should not have to write this. ("I am not a lawyer" is more reasonable, though.)
This. This is the main topic here. The wide use of centralized services (such as Github, but it applies also to Facebook, Google et al.) makes you dependent to corporate decisions, including coward (or maybe rational) decisions towards freedom of their users.
This is also why linux kernel developers will never, ever use a service like Github. Apart from scalability issues, the single point of failure that these services are (not for technical reasons, but for political reasons) is simply scary.
TL;DR: Assholes who send buggy DMCA is not the issue here. Depending on a centralized service is.
It should take much more legal effort and 'application of mind' to effect disruption.
I want to make it clear that I'm not arguing for the legal grounds here. I'm not a lawyer, so I will leave that to them. I'm arguing from a more moral/ethical stance.
I'd like to disagree with you. By allowing you to run under their umbrella, I feel that Github has a responsibility to take care of you, and the data that you put on their site. I feel that it is quite insincere for them to say "Sure, put your code on our site!" but then kick you to the curb as soon as there's any trouble. There's definitely a level of extremity that I don't expect from them: I think that after a certain amount of legal argument, they should pass it to the uploader, but I feel like their default attitude should be "no, you can't just attack the uploader because you feel like it."
It sends a clear message to the FOSS community that they don't care about taking care of their own, which is bad for Github, and bad for the committers.
I'd be curious though: Why do you think that "The law requires them to forward them to the account publishing the content without any consideration of the merits"? It's my understanding that they do have some grounds here as it is their site.
EDIT: I reworded my post as the original was rude, and accusatory.
> With all these dozens of domains (over a hundred), it sure smells like they're incorporating a HSTS fingerprinting attack into their product portfolio. HSTS fingerprinting enables a server to tag every browser with an n-bit (ie: 100 domains is 100 bits) unique identifier so you can track that browser whenever it returns (or wherever it goes). Since users cannot clear their "HSTS cookies" as it were, this fingerprint remains permanently associated with that browser.
> Wonderful feature for an ad agency to track each visitor indefinitely. Even while in Private Browsing / Incognito mode.
Okay. Let's eradicate them from the surface of this planet.
As long as that really is what they're doing, of course.
Maybe we need a browser extension (or just a website) that instructs your browser to make requests to the HTTPS version of domains that are found to be used to set HSTS cookies, thus "blowing the fuses" and making those domains unusable for providing bits of entropy.
In fact, rather than blowing all the fuses, the extension/website could blow just a random few, as a bit mask, giving you someone else's ID number and ruining the ad company's profiling/analytics. That way you would be helping people who weren't using this defence, rather than just having your visits not added to any profile.
I believe you can trademark a domain, but trademarks are irrelevant to this discussion. The DMCA is a copyright law. The key questions are:
a) Can you have copyright over a domain? (According to https://copyright.gov, no)
b) If you could, would having a list of them constitute fair use? (Almost certainly, otherwise all search engines would be illegal.)
On the other hand, it looks like it was an improper use of the DMCA because they're claiming that EasyList is an anti-circumvention tool (effectively arguing that it breaks DRM).
Ahhh... other comments are saying https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UBlock_Origin
uMatrix is pretty much like an old school software firewall, except it is just for your browser. It works by whitelisting, instead of blacklisting. There is a bit of a learning curve, but after you've visited your most visited sites, it becomes a fairly easy solution. As you fist visit sites, you configure it to only allow what is needed to get the functionality you want. Once done, you don't generally have to muck with it further.
As stated, there is a learning curve. There are many choices of what to allow and block, but you can surely figure it out. You can even export and share your configuration.
I am not affiliated. There is a version for Firefox, Chrome, and my beloved Opera. It'll probably work in Pale Moon, Vivaldi, etc...
It eliminates the need for multiple extensions. I've been very happy with it.
I use ad-blockers in every browser and I would have no problem if that were part of the headers my browser emits ( have no idea if it is or not). If websites don't want to serve me because I'm blocking ads, so be it.
You post an entry on your blog ridiculing them and their VC funded shenanigans and HN gets a good laugh out of it.
>A companion extension to uBlock Origin: to gain ability to foil early anti-user mechanisms working around content blockers or even a browser privacy settings.
I think /u/gorhill is the lord of this particular war, and his followers are armed to the teeth. I type this on Firefox on Android with uBlock Origin.
I check his github occasionally to see if he accepts donations, and I donate to a couple of the lists occasionally.
In the war analogy, we have the best arms dealers. They other side is fighting a losing war.
As mentioned above, uMatrix is my favorite. Once configured, it is easy... There is a learning curve.
I'd donate regularly, but that doesn't appear likely. I greatly appreciate their work.
from what i remember Spain and Central Europe are very laid back regarding your rights to non-commercial steaming of copies of works you don't actually own
Admiral seems to be a paywall server basically.
If blocking their domain gave access to paywalled content, then the DMCA seems to apply http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/circumventing-copyright-cont...
However, that defense is a bit flimsy to me since the fall back to having the paywall blocked could/should be a "Paywall blocked, please disable your addblocker to gain access to our content" msg.
Anyhow, that is immaterial because so long as they don't actually serve adds, Easylist could/would have removed the line no problem. Admiral should have just said "Our domain doesn't serve adds, we work on paid content access" and they would have been removed without all this hassle.
Well it turns out they kinda do. Sites have terms of service people supposedly agree to, all the time, without reading, because it's fucking impossible.
I posted this argument before and got the following comments which make a good argument:
However the comments get into implementations like Netflix and rendering that data, but it's a bit different because in that case you are paying for access.
Will we be in a world one day where sites can require specific web browsers, by law?
Do you realize just how much advertising funds? It's a 12 figure global industry and 99% of the content you consume is funded in part by it - and that's before we get to how advertising drives the economy by efficiently matching businesses to customers. Every company relies on advertising (whether paid, word-of-mouth, etc) to succeed.
It's irrational to see so much hate and it's likely your complaint is really only about intrusive ad formats and data privacy. That is something I agree with and I'm for every change that makes for safer, better, and more private ads, but that is vastly different than calling for the elimination of advertising in any sensible reality.
We say the same things with government waste over military and healthcare. And we can fix it in the same ways with better trust, accountability and regulation.
As Admiral's blog post points out, Github recommends using the same contact procedure for anti-circumvention takedown requests as for normal DMCA takedowns. But as far as I can tell, they're doing so purely on their own initiative; such a takedown request doesn't have the force of law in the same sense that a claim of copyright infringement does.
I made this mistake to, Admiral's blog post does imply it. However, they were making a DMCA take down request, based off the reasoning it was for anti-circumvention.
It most certainly does apply to anti-circumvention in many cases.
The DMCA is a set of laws. The DMCA takedown procedure is a part of those laws, defined in a fairly rigid way: it has specific notification requirements, timeframes, and is clearly defined to only apply to copyright infringement. Just because the DMCA also prohibits circumvention, it doesn't automatically follow that circumvention is the same as copyright infringement. And the Wikipedia section that you linked to doesn't mention the takedown process at all.
EFF has gotten in touch with easylist according to . That's good.
So, Admiral—an anti-adblocker company—contacted EasyList and told them to remove a domain from their list. This domain was a server they needed for their anti-adblocker platform to work.
EasyList told Admiral that they would only do it if GitHub agreed, so Admiral contacted GitHub and the domain was removed from the EasyList list after GitHub told EasyList they should comply.
The "attack" is that any company can tell lists to remove their website via using a DMCA violation, so lists become useless.
I have two questions:
1. how would a domain name on a list violate copyright
2. why aren't lists hosted anywhere else but the US so that they can't be controlled by DMCA requests.
> So, Admiral—an anti-adblocker company—contacted EasyList and told them to remove a domain from their list.
In reality, a new Github account made a comment on a commit. That account had no identifying details to link them to a company, person, or anything else. For all intents and purposes, it was nobody.
The account is @dmcahelper on Github. It has a marketing blurb in the bio (which mentions no companies or individuals' names) and has starred one repo, Github's dmca repo.
> EasyList told Admiral that they would only do it if GitHub agreed
A reply said that, essentially, "if you're Github and trying to tell me something, a brand new account isn't one of the channels I'm listening on."
(Anonymous) Admiral didn't reply to that comment.
IMO EasyList had no choice but to thoroughly ignore that comment, as it would be ridiculous to act on it.
In this case, X is the Admiral technology. Copyright owners use it to control access to content. However, an adblocker with Admiral's domain on its blocklist is a tool Y that circumvents that.
I'm certain that including a name in a list does not fall under copyright (ample precedent that backs it up). In the unlikey (and unfathomable) case that it is protected under copyright, I bet it would fall under fair use.
Trademark law isn't relevant to an entry in a machine database.
I'm a hardline free speech dude, but I find it difficult to justify "We changed around your copyrighted work to remove stuff we decided we don't like." If you don't like ads, pay up or go elsewhere. You do not have a right to anybody else's IP.
It's not a third party tool. It's a tool used by the first party (user) to modify information that was sent to him without effecting the publisher. I don't see how the publisher has any authority over what the user chooses to do with the information he obtained.
> I find it difficult to justify "We changed around your copyrighted work to remove stuff we decided we don't like." If you don't like ads, pay up or go elsewhere.
That's an interesting take on IP rights. By generalizing your argument, would you argue against newspaper snippets because a reader would only collect the article without adjacent ads? (with scissors made by a third-party, no less.)
> You do not have a right to anybody else's IP.
Fair use, Noncopyrightable items, old expired IP, and the public domain are all examples of rights I have to others IP. Rights have been - and I hope will continue to be - balanced between the concerns of IP "owners" and the rest of society to best serve everyone's interests. Tipping the scale in one side's favor like what you advocate here will disrupt that balance.
I do block ads, though, despite actually wanting to see them to support the site. My problem is in the potential for viruses and tracking, and while that's a separate issue a few other threads are already talking about, there's been disappointingly little actual progress in making sure you can browse safely without resorting to nuking everything. I've been following the development on Brave because their proposed methods seem like one of the few ways to actually make it work.
That is totally ok. For example, if I record a video from TV and remove the ads is that a violation? I think it is not as long as I use this video for myself and do not distribute it.
Copyright laws should not regulate what I do in my house or on my computer. I should be able to modify any copyrighted work as I wish as long I am not redistributing it (and yes, I should be able to inspect and patch copyright protection schemes too).
How can that possibly be hard to justify for anyone that even believes vaguely in the notion of freedom, much less someone "hardline"?
Do you think I break the law (or ethics) if I take the ads insert out of a newspaper I buy without reading them? How about if I hire a secretary to do so?
> This third party tool is making unauthorized edits to the New York Times' copyrighted material.
At the request of the first party (you) after receipt by the first party. They're not packaging it up and reselling it, they're automating your curation of a work you legally own a copy of for the purposes of your own consumption.
Then the NYT should stop giving it away free.
I find the arguments pretty spurious and it's best not to engage.
It's their website. If you don't like their website, we got a whole other internet to enjoy.
Publishers would be better served if they restricted their articles, by demanding payment upfront before serving the article, rather than unreasonably and unrealistically demanding that people consume their content in a certain way. Don't blame your users for your failed business model.
As a side note, Copyright is not the place where this issue should be tackled as no copyright is being infringed (Content is not being redistributed).
Free sampling for the purposes of cultural remixing is explicitly built into (US) copyright (across media) as a mitigation to some of the harmful effects of artificial monopolies on culture. It's a compromise between those who think artificial monopolies are the only way to encourage the creation of culture and those who view such contrived monopolies as a net negative. There's a fundamental difference between copying and stealing. You seem to be intentionally conflating them by using phrases like "stuff other people made". It's not really "stuff" that they're "taking" and the copy is made by the copier, not the original composer. Nothing has been taken besides the right to artificially restrict the behavior of other people for the purpose of rent extraction.
Secondly, they give me a copy free when I request it. It just has ads included. But there's no reason I'm obligated to read the ads. It's exactly the case where they give me a free paper with an ad insert and I have the secretary throw away the ad insert before I read it.
Do you think I'm a monster because I throw out the ads in my weekly periodocal unread?
(For the record, I'm taking about ad blockers, not bypassing paywalls -- I generally just don't go to those sites. Your arguments hold more weight when discussing bypassing paywalls.)
Whether distributing a list of domain names counts as distributing "tools" or whatever the exact language of the act is, I don't know. This other subthread contains a better discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14991624
Using the DMCA to protect company's defective and flawed DRM scheme does not constitute circumvention. As such, I do not believe that DMCA's anti-circumvention laws are relevant.
Or that domain could be used to collect views stats for copyrighted content and make decisions based on that stats. Blocking this domain is obviously messing with copyright protection scheme which is illegal inder DMCA.
The people who invented this are really smart I must admit.
admiral provides some service. some people do not want it. the list is not owned by admiral and easylist does not go into the functionalclam website, nor is it a list of results to copyright material. what exactly does a text file do to violate the dmca? this is setting a dangerous precedent.
The DMCA is not just about direct copyright infringement, but also about preventing the circumvention of technological protections for copyrighted content.
No one is saying there was copyright infringement here.
You can think that this is super bogus (I sure do) but make sure you understand the nature of what you're mad about. ;-)
- Host content A subject to copyright on site X
- Devise platform Y on site Z whose claimed role is to check whether user has rights to access content A
- Send DMCA on any list or apparatus that tries to block site Z on the ground that it would be a circumvention attempt of platform Y to unlawfully access content A
- Piggy-back on platform Y to do some tracking/stat building about ad-blocking
- Manically laugh at your brilliant scheme
Note that content A and site X could literally be anything and anywhere, possibly even as trivial as a haiku such as "our hard work / by these words guarded / please don't steal". It doesn't even matter that no one is ever meant to ever see the copyrighted work. In this case the copyrighted work could very well be the text/image displayed when ad-blocking is detected, making A == Y and Z == X to confuse everyone while they think this is about displaying ads W.
To sum it up: ad blocking enabled -> copyrighted work displayed -> user views content unlawfully -> ad blocker just circumvented a technological restriction intended to prevent this -> DMCA applies.
Another possibility is that platform Y is preventing ads W to be shown to a certain theoretical group G of people, hence if you are blocking Y, control about W cannot be enforced, whether you were part of group G or not (and of course you were not, but then even though you're not infringing on copyright about seeing W, you're still infringing on circumvention of a device intended to control copyright of W).
Totally roundabout, entirely bogus, but hey, not the first time such heavily pictured crap could still hold water in court.
It's like saying that turning off TV block the distribution of GOT hence is a tool to circumvent HBO copyright
As for your TV comparison, the better comparison is probably with satellite TVs, where you are just decoding signals being sent to you anyways, and if they don't want you watching those signals, they shouldn't send them to you. It's not the same, but it's far closer than your comparison.
Note, I'm not backing either side with this post. Only explaining the argument so you have a clear understanding of the issue at hand. Whether you agree with it or not is immaterial, but understanding the rational is important.
IANAL, so i guess until it goes to the court and is decided, we won't know.
It's just super dumb, really.
This number is illegal: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
If Admiral enables paywalls, then I kind of agree with Admiral.
If companies want to put paywalls, circumventing them is kind of like jumping the gate to see a concert for free.
I always hit the back button, but publishers should be free to put up paywalls (no idea why they don't do it server-side, but that's another story).
So, I guess the article or at least the title are a little sensationalistic?
Surely it should be the other way around - the paywall doesn't let you through unless the code is accessible and gets run?
I'm not going to try and claim people wouldn't be so stupid as to try to implement it this way...
They aren't stupid: they are incredibly intelligent.
It was implemented this way to weaponize the DMCA, plain and simple.
I do and I don't. I think paywalls should be allowed to happen, but I don't think EasyList is circumventing paywalls. The companies that use EasyList might use it to circumvent a paywall, but what they do with a list of domains is up to them.
If I grabbed the EasyList repo, there's no way I could use it to circumvent a paywall. Nothing in that repo carries that functionality. It's not a matter of semantics or mincing words, either.
I don't understand. Why would GitHub have to "agree" that EasyList removes a domain from their own list (for whatever reason)?
The real source of the problem with ads, is that almost every ad network allows ads to be self posted with little to no filter. This opens us all up to the abuse from ads we've been experiencing for over a decade now.
Could you imagine what would happen if you were allowed to self-post an ad on television without the network manually approving each one?
It's time to hold ad networks responsible for their own content. If a virus spreads because of their ads, THEY should be sued, just like MTV and others were when they violated FCC decency rules during the Super Bowl.
On the other side of things, I would love to see a search engine that pushes sites down in its rankings proportionally to the obnoxiousness of their ads.
This is not always true - for instance, the "brought to you by" slots at the beginning of the PBS Newshour are advertiser-supplied audio clips.
“We really think the free internet is at risk because of ad-blocking, so these types of solutions are needed to turn the tide”, said Dan Rua, CEO of ad-blocking “revenue recovery” company Admiral, which recently raised $2.5 million to help build its platform."
It's amazing how selective the CEO's concern for the "free internet" is. Threatening community github repos with DCMA takedowns is OK though?
>The power of the internet to inform, entertain and liberate mankind is at a crossroads. The future of ad-supported content is in peril, and with it, free access for citizens to critical news, education, discourse and resources the world over. The shorthand name for this looming catastrophe is "adblocking"
It's like a pimp claiming the human race is going to stop reproducing and die out because people don't want to pay for their prostitutes
I would say this is more damaging.
Anything behind a paywall. I'm not defending what they did. But I sort of understand how it could be permissible under the DMCA. (A law regarding which the EFF and I share many opinions.)
What copyright was being violated here and how?
It's similar to having a movie theater with a locked door. We want to see the movie, but we don't want to pay, and distributing lock picking tools is illegal. And their door is "designed to only stay locked when a light is shining on it".
Here again, we are using technology to disrupt old laws.
a) whitelist their site in my adblocker
b) or subscribe to their monthly subscription and keep reading their site with adblocker
I don't trust you not to show me scammy ads, load 2MB of tracking JS, maliciously redirect me, or generally ruin my overall user experience with your content you claim is so valuable. So I run an ad-blocker. I'm blocking your infrastructure because I don't trust it and blocking your ads because I question your judgement.
And the only other option you offer me is for me to give you my credit card number!? To infrastructure I don't trust and to a company whose judgement is in question.
Only works on some sites, but where it does it's effective.
It's a pain and it's often easier to use the cached version from a search engine or some archiving service.
Close tab is way better than back. Easier, more consistent and faster.
I'm also often using a laptop, on linux, and I do the middle-click-simulation (both buttons at once) with two hands, which is really annoying. I suppose I could fix it.
Also I always have my left hand on the keyboard, so for me it's not a problem to ctrl-click.
Ctrl+click doesn't work on a tab, though--have to hit the X.
Besides grasping at maintaining stranglehold over distribution. They are hoping to replicate the cable model. Pay for the base package where all the crap no one wants is, then pay for all these extra premium packages.
I really like that I can visit the vast majority of links I click on for free.
I wonder how others rationalize blocking ads and not subscribing either but still feeling entitled to access the content.
Just saw your subscription update. Why would I subscribe to something that I am unlikely to return to?
The only solution that I can think of, are micropayments. Perhaps this financial pressure will motivate the powers that be to eliminate roadblocks to its implementation.
If you put something on the web, and you want me to pay for it, put up a paywall. If you want to instead serve ads, don't expect me to read them (or load them, even). My bandwidth, my decision.
I don't think this is a perfect or even passable long-term mainstream solution.
But then I look at the list of 50 different domains blocked on the page, and I am not sorry--not one little bit. I don't really need to watch your little news video that badly. And I certainly don't want it to autoplay.
They are by far the worst offenders among sites I am likely to encounter frequently, as destination links from aggregators and social media. Newspaper sites are far more well-behaved with respect to their scripts, but also more likely to directly monetize the page view.
Bonus: After I asked The Atlantic, they partially refunded my subscription and a magazine arrived at my door (for my now cancelled and partially refunded digital only subscription).
I have always blocked ads and always (try) will be, but I this is the outcome from Adblock going mainstream. Yes, the ad networks/sites were the reason in the first place, but it doesn't matter. Another side-product is (hidden) "native advertising"... so many tweets/share/likes are purely marketing. That gay marriage article Madonna tweeted? Think twice before you believe he does it out of morals, most likely she is being paid to share that out with her audience.
Someone put effort in to create content, and has the option of putting this kind of paywall up. There is a consumer choice made to sell their own attention by viewing ads, pay a subscription fee for the content directly, or just move on to free content elsewhere.
That said, most places where you pay the subscription fee will ALSO show you ads and silently sell your data, but still... The above scheme feels reasonable in principle.
Which means that using the best available adblocking technology is a necessary personal-safety step on the modern internet.
But they could still profit from me. There are less annoying ways to monetize which I might accept.
For example affiliate links to buy products I am interested in (books, video games, gadgets). I'd be willing to pay % extra for some nice product in order a fund a website which pointed me to it. Or extra traffic I'd refer to their site.
Either way I assume people like me are a fast growing part of millennial population so their business model based on ads is doomed to fail anyways.
Also the ad business is not going anywhere, the tech will evolve and you'll start seeing more native advertising and sponsored content.
Then perhaps you are not their target audience, and they won't miss you.
Ad-blocking makes sure they have to make the hard choice of putting content behind authorization. A user-agent's job is simply to be the user's agent, and not the publisher's monetization platform.
I prefer this to the WaPo model of paywalling or having a limited number of articles.
I do object to the Bloomberg model though, where they say "We notice you're using an ad blocker, which may adversely affect the performance and content on Bloomberg.com. For the best experience, please whitelist the site."
Wth? No way. Please ask nicely, no FUD.
I would very likely unblock a site if they spoke to that. "We've taken numerous steps in the last 3 months to increase your privacy and eliminate bad, bloated, malicious, and frankly user-unfriendly advertising. We value and will not abuse your trust in allowing us to share advertising with you."
Asking nicely doesn't work.