Like many other Internet-based services, The Ultimate Ebook Library (TUEBL) has to process numerous takedown requests to make sure that pirated content is swiftly removed from the site.
Unfortunately, not all requests they receive are legitimate. According to TUEBL there’s one company that stands out negatively, and that’s the London-based outfit MUSO.
When browsing through the takedown notices TUEBL founder Travis McCrea stumbled upon several automated requests that were submitted by MUSO, each listing inaccurate information.
The takedown notices were not merely incorrect, according to McCrea. They also circumvented the site’s CAPTCHA system, which is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
This isn’t the first time TUEBL has noticed problems with MUSO’s takedown tactics. The company previously tried to remove several legitimately hosted titles, including a Creative Commons licensed book by Cory Doctorow.
“A year ago, after another issue where they were sending requests without any of the required information, they had filed a wrongful DMCA request for one of our featured authors Laurel Russwurm, and we sent them a warning,” McCrea tells TF.
“They further used our system to send a DMCA request for a book by Cory Doctorow. At that time we sent them an $150 invoice for our time reverting their improper DMCA request. When they didn’t reply, we let it slide… not wanting to make waves.”
MUSO never paid the $150 ‘fine’ and TUEBL initially let them get away with that. But after the recent mistakes McCrea decided that enough is enough.
On Sunday evening TUEBL sent the anti-piracy company an ultimatum. If MUSO fails to pay up, the company will be banned from sending further notices. In addition, hundreds of previously removed books will be restored.
“Today we are going to insist that your $150 fine be paid, or we will cut off all MUSO IP addresses, computers, and/or servers from accessing our DMCA page. Emailed requests will also be rejected as SPAM and all requests to be removed will have to come directly from the copyright holder instead of MUSO,” TUEBL wrote to the company.
MUSO has until 10PM PST today to respond, but thus far TUEBL hasn’t received a reply. The ebook library is still holding out for a peaceful resolution, but as the hours pass by this becomes less likely.
Despite the current problems, TUEBL’s founder says that the site respects copyright and notes that the amount of infringing material on its server is less than one percent of all books. However, wrongful takedown notices are making it harder to keep the site clean.
“DMCA abuse is a real threat to not only community websites like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and our own… but it also makes it more difficult to successfully process legitimate DMCA requests by authors who have had their copyright violated,” McCrea says.
“We have decided to fight this, not in spite of authors and their rights regarding their work, but rather to protect authors and to ensure our automated system remains open for them to use for the rare cases that copyrighted material make it onto our site,” he adds.
TF contacted MUSO for a comment on the allegations, but we haven’t heard back from the company at the time of publication.