US District Judge, Kathleen Williams, has ordered movie giant, Warner Bros, to reveal documentation detailing the company’s flawed anti-piracy measures. The records are a part of a now closed case between Hotfile and the MPAA.
Three years ago, file locker site, Hotfile, countersued Warner Bros, stating that the studio had repeatedly abused the DMCA takedown process. Hotfile then went on to allege that after giving Warner access to its systems, the company went on to delete hundreds of files that it did not own.
The case was previously set to reveal Warner Bros anti-piracy strategy but it was abruptly closed after Hotfile and Warner settled. This decision was a disappointment to the Electronic Frontier Foundation as the group stated that the public had a right to know about Warner’s DMCA abuse.
Warner Bros at first denied requests to release details of its anti-piracy measures, claiming that by doing so, it would decrease how effective they were. The studio then made an appeal to the court, asking that these records be sealed forever but things didn’t go in Warner’s favor as Kathleen Williams denied the appeal and has ordered the company to release some relevant documentation within the next ten days.
The rest of the documents will have to be made available but Warner is allowed to come up with its own schedule for this. The EFF is happy with the ruling and believes that it will help legislators refine the DMCA process. EFF’s Mitch Stoltz gave a statement:
“More information about how the DMCA process has been abused – particularly through automated takedown systems with inadequate human review – will help us improve it, and hold people responsible when they use this powerful tool of censorship abusively or without caution.”
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KitGuru Says: Media companies do have a tendency to throw out blanket DMCA takedown notices without thoroughly checking that they actually own what they are trying to take down. The release of Warner’s anti-piracy measures will help the public understand how these companies handle DMCA takedowns and will hopefully lead to stricter policies.