Revulytics Blog

DMCA Takedown Notices - A Ride on the Hamster Wheel?

August 26, 2013


Back in November 2010, the New York Times published a fascinating story on Microsoft's war on piracy. It discussed Microsoft's "link-removal machine" - an artificial intelligence system that "scans the Web for suspicious, popular links and then sends takedown requests to Web service providers, providing evidence of questionable activity." At the time the article was written, Microsoft was "removing 800,000 links a month."

This July Microsoft made headlines like, "Microsoft accuses Microsoft of copyright infringement, asks Google to scrub search links" and "Microsoft Accidentally Files DMCA Take Down Request On Themselves." Basically, " a company working with Microsoft to combat copyright pirates asked Google to remove multiple Microsoft web pages from Google searches—for infringing Microsoft copyrights." Microsoft later noted that this was the result of a clerical error in filling out Google's online form and that steps had been taken to correct it and fix their submission process so it would not happen again in the future.

Regular readers of this blog - and anyone tasked with software license compliance - know that DMCA takedown notices are akin to playing "whac-a-mole." As soon as you knock down one link, more links pop up to take its place. Choose whatever metaphor you like: whac-a-mole, riding the hamster wheel, sisyphean tasks, or Pyrrhic victories - it all amounts to the same feeling at the end of the day. You've done your due diligence in trying to stem the tide of piracy distribution channels, but you know there will be even more work to do tomorrow.

Come on people! That's a lot of work for little reward. You know that there is greater reward in focusing on the demand side of the equation: the use of unlicensed software by businesses that can and will pay for your software. So what should you do?

  1. Track the use of unlicensed software using software like CodeArmor Intelligence. The supply of unlicensed software is often a good indicator for demand - don't you want the data on actual usage so you can make better informed decisions on how to address piracy and overuse?
  2. Identify who is actually using your software so you can decide on the best course of action.
  3. Are they a good candidate for license revenue recovery? Our partner Software Compliance Group can help you with this.
  4. Do you want to send in-application messages to them or limit the functionality of the unpaid software? CodeArmor Control gives you a wide range of choices to dynamically respond to unpaid use.

Download this whitepaper from IDC and learn more about how software intelligence is driving new license revenue for software vendors that have recognized the limitations of takedown notices and have focused instead on unpaid use.

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Michael Goff

Post written by Michael Goff

Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.