Techdirt takedown shows how easy it is to use copyright to muzzle opponents

Competitors launch 67% of takedown requests, as SOPA supporters try for even more power to abuse

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"With so many people misunderstanding copyright law and so many companies overwhelmed by the amount of notices they are filing, some of the notices are bound to be south of brilliant," wrote the blog's editor Jonathan Bailey, a "legally minded Webmaster/Writer frustrated with the plague of plagiarism online and doing something about it."

Bailey is right that a lot of the misfired DMCA takedown notices are mistakes; most seem not to be mistakes, however.

According to one analysis, 57 percent of DMCA takedown notices are generated by businesses taking shots at their competitors.

Errors and corporate vendettas are two of the big problems with DMCA – one of the reasons many copyright experts and analysts have been urging Congress to come up with another update the DMCA rules and prescriptions for enforcement, which were passed in 1998 and updated once in 2000.

It's too much of a coincidence to believe two anti-SOPA articles were hit with DMCA takedown requests on Jan. 20, the day SOPA was killed in the House.

If DMCA hits this hard, how much damage would a bigger club do?

It's even more unbelievable when the two victims were among the loudest opponents of SOPA and PIPA – both of them darlings of the music, movie and software publishing businesses, which often claim to be at the mercy of content pirates even when exercising undeserved, illegal control over them.

With no paper trail or admission from Armovore or PaperStreet it's hard to say for sure this particular incident is malicious.

It would be even harder to argue that it is likely to have been an innocent mistake.

Which was the problem with SOPA, PIPA and copyright-protecting alternatives to both of them that still live in Congress: All the copyright protection legislation – written by associations protecting copyright owners or with their interests in mind – provide plenty of ammunition to those wanting to shoot down what they consider to be violations of their rights.

But they provide little or nothing to protect the rights of the sites being punished for violations that may or may not exist.

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