DMCA, robots.txt, and Rogers Modem Upgrades

I recently received a couple of DMCA takedown notices. The first was from a company called BayTSP, on behalf of Borland. Here’s an excerpt:

Title: JBuilder
Infringement Source: BitTorrent
Initial Infringement Timestamp: 15 Oct 2004 00:18:00 GMT
Recent Infringment Timestamp: 15 Oct 2004 01:33:54 GMT
Infringer Username:
Infringing Filename: 09.11.04.Borland.JBuilder.2005.Enterprise-SHOCKiSO
Infringing Filesize: 953556942
Infringers IP Address: 69.93.230.10
Infringers DNS Name: mail.distrust.net
Infringing URL: 69.93.230.10:6881/09.11.04.Borland.JBuilder.2005.Enterprise-SHOCKiSO

Looks like an automated scan and report, considering the complete lack of a reasonability check. Torrents by nature are transient; by the time the takedown notice gets to a human at the ISP, and the ISP gets it to the customer, the “infringer” is long gone. Not to mention the difficulty in proving that any one peer (except the seeder) in a torrent actually contributed a full copy of the “infringing file”.

The second one was from “James Young, Internet Investigator”, on behalf of Microsoft:

Computer program(s):
Windows XP Professional
Windows XP Home Edition
Office XP Professional
Windows 2003 Server Enterprise

Copyright owner(s):
Microsoft Corporation

Infringing material or activity found at the following location(s):
http://home.distrust.net/dsze/xpkey/MS%20Windows%20XP%20SP%202%20And%20Office%20KeyGen.exe

The above location is offering ‘Cracks’ or ‘Product Keys’, intended to circumvent technical measures that control access to Microsoft’s copyrighted works and that protect Microsoft’s copyrights in those works.

Based on the web server logs, this one looks like it was not-automated; found by a real “Internet Investigator” using MSN’s search. Now I know what you’re all thinking; I should have just created a robots.txt file to prevent that directory from being indexed by search engines.

Sure, except for one tiny problem. It’s like attaching a sign to your house listing all the valuables that you don’t want people to know about. It makes the job of a nosy “investigator” much easier, since they can go straight to the goods as long as they know where your “house” is. Want a real example? Check out the robots.txt on Rogers’ web site here. For those too lazy to click, here’s what it contains:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /yahoo/
Disallow: /modemupgrade/

Gee, I wonder why they want to hide /modemupgrade/. Suffice to say, I’ve successfully traded in my Terayon here in K-W for a Motorola DOCSIS, even though I never received an “upgrade letter”.

As for the XP/Office/2K3 keygen, it’s now password protected. Those that need access should be able to easily decipher the instructions when they click on the link.

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