First off, congratulations to Jeremy Steele for successfully guessing which notice was correct! Due to an appeal to the Plagiarism Today Supreme Court, namely my wife, Jeremy has been declared the winner of the contest and I’ve been ordered to pay a heavy fine for being evil.
So Jeremy, congratulations. You earned it by figuring out a very tough puzzle.
However, the puzzle was designed to make a point about the complexity of submitting and determining the validity of a DMCA notice. I think it achieved that.
That, of course, brings me to the solution. The third notice was the valid one, if you want to know why, keep reading below.
All three notices were missing something, the trick was to figure out which missing item was not actually required by the law.
The first notice was missing a statement, under the penalty of perjury, that the notice was accurate. Several who played the game caught that and were completely right. The notice is completely invalid.
The second notice is a bit more tricky and was the one that tripped everyone up. However, it’s missing feature was actually related to the first one. To figure out what is wrong, we’ll look at the sixth requirement under the DMCA:
(vi)A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
The notice has to be filed by either the copyright holder or an authorized agent. Though the second one states that they do not believe the use is authorized by either, it does not state that the notice is submitted by one or the other.
That is a major distinction from EU notice and takedown and is a legal requirement of the DMCA. The second letter, theoretically, could have been submitted by anyone without authorization from the copyright holder. That would be against the DMCA and would haev been grounds for rejecting the notice.
It is a tricky law in that regard, but it is an important element.
Finally, the third DMCA notice was missing the URLs from the original site. However, as Jeremy pointed out, there is no requirement for URLs to be there. All that is required is that the original work be identified, which it was by the title, and that the infringing material be identified as well, which it was via URLs.
You can see examples of this in the DMCA notices filed by companies such as Viacom and Scholastic, which rarely have URLs to original works since their material was never supposed to be online.
The third one, despite being shorter and containing less information, was actually valid.
I want to say thank you to everyone who participated and hope that you will take part in the next game, whenever that is. There were a lot of great ideas kicked around and a couple of you emailed me for hints, which is definitely cheating, but was a lot of run.
Let me know what you thought of the game and I’ll try to make the next one a little bit less evil.
Quizzes always bring out my sinister side.