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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:55 pm 
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My fellow OpenTTD-players,


this week there has been an incident with a user on this forum with regards to communication about abuse of OpenTTD services. I write this thread to inform you what happened, what should have happened, hopefully avoiding this issue in the future.

First off, if you ever have any issue with services provided by openttd.org, please do contact us at info@openttd.org. Do not try to estimate which developers would be best to contact and email them individually; individual developers might be on a holiday, not available for a time period, or just busy. info@ arrives at a wider group of developers, and you have more chance of your communication to be read and handled.
Although our Contact page does state this, history shows this is hard for people to understand. Although info@ is primarily intended for getting information, you can also email your complaints to that address.
As of today there is an alias for this address: abuse@openttd.org. Hopefully this extra address catches the few cases where people got confused about the purpose of the address.
Of course, it goes without saying that OpenTTD client related bugs (such as crashes, ..) should be reported at our bug-tracker.


As System Operator of all OpenTTD services, I am in the end responsible for all actions flowing from our services. To my horror I found out that an individual user of this forum considered that we do not respond in a reasonable timeframe to claims about copyright infringement, and made some outrageous claims towards 3rd parties (the ones that help us distribute our binaries). I feel the need to explain here, as I had to talk to our 3rd parties explaining the same. To me, it is sad that one individual user can cause so much trouble as he felt wrong-done, that I had to offer a lot of my time solving the issues he created, where in reality there was no issue to start with.

To be a bit more concrete: when we receive a claim of copyright infringement, we take it seriously. We have done so in the past, and will continue do so in the future. But, two things are very important to remember:

- Even DMCA suggests a 72h timeframe to allow organizations to handle such claims; Less than 24h is FAR outside the 'fair' region, and in fact common sense would consider it rude.
- Emailing individual developers in the expectation that they read their email within any timeframe is stupid. Email info@ if you want attention, as someone will read your email, and act on it in cases like this, for sure within the DMCA set timeframe of 72h.

So, what should you do when you notice, for example, someone uploaded your NewGRF under the wrong license on BaNaNaS? Well, as stated, email info@ (or, as of today, when you feel the need, email abuse@. It is an alias, so it doesn't matter). Explain your claim, give links to proof your claim, and we will look into it. We have enough knowledge and feeling with our community to establish claims in a very short timeframe. As we did in this case. When we do establish the claim to be valid, we remove the file from our services, and synchronize our mirrors. This always has happened (to my knowledge, but for sure in this case) within 48h.

Luckily, we receive very few claims in a year. Very very few. In general, our community has enough common sense and respect for NewGRF authors to not upload grfs not belonging to them. We do not have a structural problem, but incidents do happen. But to just repeat it: it is against our Terms of Service (in fact: it is point 1) to upload any NewGRF (or any other content) of which you are not the original author. As of tomorrow BaNaNaS will hold an extra checkbox at which you have to confirm you are the original author of the content being uploaded. Sadly, new users are not always aware of this (and people rarely read Terms of Services), and so incidents happen.


Of course it is possible that you feel we do not reply fast enough to your claim. As it goes with these problems, the author feels he is wrong-done, and it has to be fixed an hour ago. This is a common feeling we all have when it happens. I would like to urge every one of you to suppress that feeling, as it is unfair. Ignoring the fact we do this work for free, you cannot expect us to fix your problem instantly; give us some time to handle it carefully and precisely.
But if you do feel we don't reply fast enough, just send another email. Copyright infringement is a top priority for us, both on our openttd.org services, and on this forum. It is a violation of our ToS, and illegal in most countries.


What I dislike is, if you send a DMCA Takedown (which you send when we talk about copyright infringements) to our 3rd parties. Although it is within your legal rights, it doesn't help anyone. It never has been a need for anyone to do so, as I take my job as SysOp serious, and it is also just a bad thing to do. We distribute these files, so you should contact us about your problems (and takedown notices). Not our 3rd parties.

What I think is just wrong to do, is suggest to those 3rd parties that this is a structural problem, that it happens a lot, and to terminate "subscribers or third parties who are repeat infringers", implying we are. Sending words like these to our 3rd parties carry heavy weight for them: you suggest this happens all the time and we never do anything about it. This is a false claim, and hurts us (and thus the community). It could in fact lead to our hosting being terminated. In my opinion, people who defame us like that should publicly apologize for said actions.


tl;dr:

- if you notice a copyright infringement on any file uploaded to BaNaNaS (or any other service), contact info@openttd.org and give us 72h to process your claim.
- this is not a new policy, and has been in place for as long as BaNaNaS is operational.
- in general, our community respects all NewGRF authors enough to not upload files they are not suppose/allowed to.


[Edit 2012-06-09 21:59 CEST - Added replied amend for completion ]

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:30 pm 
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I´m happy that TrueBrain accepted my proposal for a better feedback in case of copyright and ToS violations. The establishment of abuse@openttd.org seems to be a step in the right direction.

As being stated by TB, it´s obviously within the legal rights of a copyright holder to get infringing files removed from servers in due time, and that´s why the operator of a mirrored site is bearing an even higher responsibility for files being uploaded to his servers.

For those being interested in this case, it can be found here.

Please note that this wasn´t a "simple" copyright violation like so many before, but this time it was more of a "criminal" act, insofar some individual deliberately removed my custom license from a newGRF zip file, just to upload it anew an Bananas with a GPL license added. And this file got only removed after already some 7500 downloads. In other words, now there exist some 7500 faked files which their downloaders don´t even know of their illegal status, and which could possibly be spread further and further w/o anyone having a clue about its illegitimacy.

regards
Michael

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:40 pm 
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To amend my post:

Although sending a DMCA Takedown is within your legal rights, defaming in said takedown is not. In fact, the honest way would be to publicly apologize for said action.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Note that a DMCA takedown notice is actually a legal action and when you file one you should be prepared to go to court. There have been plenty of cases on the internet of people trying to censor through DMCA takedown who hadn't realised this and actually needed to lawyer up because they didn't actually own the content they filed a takedown for. Most of the time people will settle with publicly apologising though.

On a side note, AIUI the DMCA is an American law and only applies to US citizens and websites hosted/run by companies in the US. As I'm not a lawyer I don't know how it affects OpenTTD though as one of the mirrors is in the US, but it might be possible that the law doesn't affect OpenTTD content.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:04 pm 
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The DMCA references were purely for reference; A DMCA takedown is generally accepted by any hosting company (both US and EU), and the set timeframe in it (72h) is generally used as standard. Purely as indication what is considered 'fair' in common terms. More, to put it in contrast with the "less than 24 hours".

PS: did some digging (curious mind at work). In the EU we have the EDEC, which includes parts of (the idea of) the DMCA. It boils down to the same as DMCA, with respect to takedowns. The only big difference: the EDEC does not define any timeframe such removal should take place. So DMCA is much more fair in those regards, as it turns out.
PPS: far off topic, but fun fact: EDEC states that services that are "mere conduits" of information (read: our EU based mirrors) cannot be liable for this kind of infringement, and they in fact don't have to remove any of said content. Only the Web hoster itself (in this case: us) has to. Good to know :D But not relevant to this topic btw.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:22 pm 
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michael blunck wrote:
...


I completely disagree with your assumption that a mirror host bearing a 'higher responsibility' to anything.

As a mirror, people have an agreement with the 'source' (in this case the OpenTTD team), that they will mirror everything the source sets as mirror-able.. if you disagree with a piece of content (regardless of the legality of the claim), you should be going to the source, not the middle man.

Also, I completely disagree with your (again) assumption that 'your' case was anything but a copyright violation.. Copyright infringements are not dealt with by the local authorities, as such they are not a 'criminal' act... yes, as a copyright holder you have several rights and privileges, but to combat it, you have to start a civil case (rather than a criminal case) against the offending party. Perhaps you worded it badly, but this should clarify things for people.

Don't get me wrong, I agree on the fact that your case was 'legit', and that the infringing data has to be removed (as it has been in a timely fashion), however, I don't agree with people claiming things just to get what they want in the way they want it. If you want to claim something, at least have some form of idea what you are claiming..

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Xaroth wrote:
michael blunck wrote:
...


I completely disagree with your assumption that a mirror host bearing a 'higher responsibility' to anything.

Please read carefully:

mb wrote:
As being stated by TB, it´s obviously within the legal rights of a copyright holder to get infringing files removed from servers in due time, and that´s why the operator of a mirrored site is bearing an even higher responsibility for files being uploaded to his servers.

regards
Michael

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:08 pm 
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michael blunck wrote:
Please read carefully:


I did, I still fail to see your point.

I could copy/paste mostly what TrueBrain said regarding the liability of hosts, but that would only spam this thread needlessly.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:15 pm 
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He said it was the responsibility of the "MIRRORED" site (i.e. OTTD), not the "MIRROR" itself. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:34 am 
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michael blunck wrote:
Please read carefully:

mb wrote:
As being stated by TB, it´s obviously within the legal rights of a copyright holder to get infringing files removed from servers in due time, and that´s why the operator of a mirrored site is bearing an even higher responsibility for files being uploaded to his servers.

regards
Michael
You can quote whatever you like and look very smart, but your action nearly took down entire openttd, while if you had waited a few hours more, the entire matter would have been resolved quietly.

I hope you are very happy with that achievement.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:46 am 
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Alberth wrote:
You can quote whatever you like and look very smart, but your action nearly took down entire openttd, while if you had waited a few hours more, the entire matter would have been resolved quietly.


...or better yet, if providing a site where anyone can upload just about anything regardless of ownership/copyright, also make sure there's some sort of control of such files from time to time... I've had files uploaded by others as well, and found out about it thanks to someone notifying me. But at that time it had been sitting there for quite awhile...

With that said, of course the copyright holder of a file that has been uploaded without permission will take action one way or another...

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:09 am 
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SAC wrote:
Alberth wrote:
You can quote whatever you like and look very smart, but your action nearly took down entire openttd, while if you had waited a few hours more, the entire matter would have been resolved quietly.


...or better yet, if providing a site where anyone can upload just about anything regardless of ownership/copyright, also make sure there's some sort of control of such files from time to time... I've had files uploaded by others as well, and found out about it thanks to someone notifying me. But at that time it had been sitting there for quite awhile...

With that said, of course the copyright holder of a file that has been uploaded without permission will take action one way or another...


I'm not sure if you read ANY of the posts above.. as a copyright holder it's your responsibility to notify hosts about infringing material, not the other way around...
I'm sad to say it, but the world does not revolve around you, people should not be doing what is your task as copyright holder.. if you can't take that, either use a less restrictive copyright, or don't publish stuff.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:18 am 
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It's a Pirate Bay situation then... As long as your host is fine with it... :roll:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:22 am 
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Alberth wrote:
You can quote whatever you like and look very smart, but your action nearly took down entire openttd, while if you had waited a few hours more, the entire matter would have been resolved quietly.

Surely everybody will love you for that.

Dear Alberth,

you don´t need to try to put the blame on me. Instead, you should be happy that probably only by this "incident", cases like that might be handled more seriously by the "OpenTTD team" ("you", furthermore) from now on, hopefully avoiding similar unpleasant situations.

In any case, I am the "victim", there is absolutely no reason to complain about me.

In fact, the problem arose only due to inadequate precautions on your part. And, being said, it was not the first incident, so the general problem with uploading illegal content to your site was already known by you, but obviously not taken seriously.


With regards to the timeframe you mention, in fact I never got any adequate response to my notification from you (I mailed TB and Rubidium), but only a "formal" message from TB telling me that directing copyright infringement notifications to the OTTD web administrator would be the wrong way to do, and that he would forward my message to the "general email address" info@openttd.org. This message arrived the next day. But it contained no information that the incident is already being handled nor about the needed timeframe to handle it.

O/c, I contacted the adminstrators of those servers distributing the infringing file, and, unlike yours, their response was in a timely manner und helpful. And more obviously, w/o them contacting your webmaster in return, there would have been an even longer delay in handling the incident, I suppose.

So, no reason to try to put the blame on me ("Surely everybody will love you for that."). Indeed, a comment like this is showing that you might still not understand two possible aspects in full:

- in contrast to my opinion and that of the mirror´s operators, handling copyright infringements seem(ed) not too important for you, this will hopefully change now to the better.

- only by this incident, some more adequate technical precautions are now being added to your server, which is a needed and welcomed prerequisite.

regards
Michael

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:24 am 
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Do you expect the OpenTTD team to go through and check every upload for its authenticity?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:37 am 
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Class 165 wrote:
Do you expect the OpenTTD team to go through and check every upload for its authenticity?

That would be extremely unwise. Service providers should make no attempt to determine the legality (or otherwise) of content transmitted by a service, this changes the relationship from service provider to publisher, and increases the scope of liability. They should instead rely on strong Terms of Service and notifications from third parties about infringements.

N.B. to the best of my knowledge, the provisions on this in the EU rely on some relatively inconclusive and possibly conflicting case law.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:40 am 
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SAC wrote:
It's a Pirate Bay situation then... As long as your host is fine with it... :roll:


Then explain me how this has ANY relevance to TPB.. I mean.. I can shout all kinds of things, but if one is discussing, one provides arguments to their points.

To kick down some of the most common arguments people will bring

- OpenTTD is aimed at non-infringing content, whereas TPB is aimed at providing infringing content
- TPB hardly ever heeds a DMCA Takedown notice, as far as I can tell, OpenTTD took heed to all of them
- TPB makes it a sport to p*** off copyright holders and companies that represent them.. so far I've only seen suggestions from the OpenTTD team to HELP copyright holders.

You can, ofcourse, always just be a (wo)man, and say 'yes, good steps, I fully support this'

now, back to the real tro^h^hopic


Quote:
In any case, I am the "victim", there is absolutely no reason to complain about me.


No, in this case you are NOT the victim. You made a claim, and you pushed that claim too far.. You even went over the line that they can hold you liable for any losses they would have suffered from this.
To explain
- You did NOT go through the proper channels
- You did NOT give them ANY time to respond
- You went behind their backs to contact 3rd parties, who, by every law imaginable, are even LESS responsible for the content, and caused a lot of trouble there.

Quote:
In fact, the problem arose only due to inadequate precautions on your part. And, being said, it was not the first incident, so the general problem with uploading illegal content to your site was already known by you, but obviously not taken seriously.


Seriously, go read up on laws before making wild accusations, OpenTTD, as a content provider, has NO responsibility over the content USERS upload.. they also can NOT be hold accountable for the actions of their users, as long as they cooperate in cases like this..

Quote:
With regards to the timeframe you mention, in fact I never got any adequate response to my notification from you (I mailed TB and Rubidium), but only a "formal" message from TB telling me that directing copyright infringement notifications to the OTTD web administrator would be the wrong way to do, and that he would forward my message to the "general email address" info@openttd.org. This message arrived the next day. But it contained no information that the incident is already being handled nor about the needed timeframe to handle it.


As mentioned before (seriously, again, read up!), by DMCA (which don't even apply here), the OpenTTD team has 72 hours to respond with actions taken.. seeing they are EU based, they have NO set timelimit what-so-ever... stating the word 'timeframe' alone, shows how little you know about the laws involved

Quote:
So, no reason to try to put the blame on me


There are enough reasons to do so; you caused potential losses for the OpenTTD team, and you can be held accountable for those losses made.. it's a simpel case of slander, which can be taken very far.. Instead, the OpenTTD team has showed (imho) more than enough initiative to compensate for the lack of knowledge of the potential copyright holders, by allowing for more than just the obvious routes to report infringing material.

Quote:
- in contrast to my opinion and that of the mirror´s operators, handling copyright infringements seem(ed) not too important for you, this will hopefully change now to the better.


Mind sharing your wild accusations, as I seriously doubt that any mirror operator would side with you

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Last edited by Xaroth on Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:47 am 
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Right; it seems you are very good in changing the chain of events. I didn't want to bring this all this public, but as you clearly want, let's do that.

You send me an email around 1900 my time. It was addressed to me personally, not having the time, I notified the developers to look into the matter, and get back to me if the file was ruled legal yes/no. This was the 5th of this month.

Around 1630 the next day, my time still, you send our 3rd parties an email. You gave us LESS THAN 24h TO REPLY TO YOU! By that time I had no notification you send that email.

Getting home at 1700, I first replied to you that you emailed the wrong address, to avoid future incidents you try to reach me personally, and told you which email address to use. For documentation purposes I CC'd that address, so we have these cases documented at a central place. Despite your believe, we do want to keep track of these incidents.

Next, I picked up the response of the developers: the file is illegal. I removed the file from the system, sync'd the mirror, and replied to you at viewtopic.php?p=1023581#p1023581 , telling you I didn't appreciate you contacting our mirrors, and notifying you of the removal.

Around 1900 the first mirror knocked on my door asking what the f*** was going on. You told them we didn't reply to copyright infringements, and that it happens "often". This made me go: what the hell is going on? Of course I told them what happened, I have the emails to proof the timeframe and all, and they were lucky enough pleased to see how we handled these cases, and that it was by far in a timely manner. In fact, the file was already removed from their system by this time.

Quote:
This message arrived the next day. But it contained no information that the incident is already being handled nor about the needed timeframe to handle it.

By this time you already took it upon your self to email our 3rdparties. Don't try to act: owh no, they didn't reply instantly to me. We were processing your case, it just takes TIME. Like everything in the world does. It is unfair and highly unprofessional to not give us at least 24h to reply to your case. We take these claims seriously, and we need time to verify and process.

So to make a few things very clear:

NOTHING has changed in our regards of handling such claims. We handle them correctly, in a timely matter, in a professional way. Giving us less than 24 hours to reply to a claim is UNACCEPTABLE by any standard.

All YOU did was forcing us to make even better documentation of facts, making us want to leave the Open Source community as a whole (as with people like you, why bother making software at all?), and stealing a lot of my time as I had to reply in an official matter to abuse departments of organizations hosting our mirrors. Really: what the f*** is wrong with you?


What is even worse, and what is the main problem and reason of this thread to start with: you told our 3rd parties that we did not reply at all. In less than 24 hours of you emailing us, you told them we did not reply at all. What the f***. Seriously. What is wrong with you? Of course I could just send them your email with timestamp to show how insane your claim was. Then you went on telling them they should terminate parties which frequently violate copyright. Seriously? What is wrong with you?

So don't come here and start playing the victim. Yes, there was a file uploaded that was in violation of copyright. These things happen on the internet. You report them, we fix them. That is what should happen, that is what always has happened, that is what will happen. But don't go defame us in front of our 3rd parties. That is lame, that is very very very bad, and should result in your sending us a public apology for said action. It is NOT acceptable behaviour by any standard.


And seriously, you suggesting that we don't take these things seriously just sickens me. You have no proof what so ever to make that claim, as there is no such proof. I know that, because we do take it seriously. So stop defaming us, stop with your bulls***, take responsibility for your actions, and next time: give us 72h to reply to your claim. If you like it or not, that is what the standard is.



As far as the rest goes: BaNaNaS is a public service, compare it with Youtube. We do what is in our power to prevent illegal uploads, but we cannot avoid it, nor filter for it. Like the whole Internet, you as copyright owner have to indicate what is in violation. We cannot track that kind of information, nor it is our job. By law (DMCA in US, EDEC in EU) this is described for exactly the same reason. And I can understand you don't like it, but the basic quote: you are not as important as you think, holds here. We do our best to keep illegal uploads from our services, but we cannot promise you it will never happen. As it will happen. And if you detect that, all you have to do is email us, and how it always has been: it will be handled appropriately. But in our timeframe. Not yours.



[Edit]
michael blunck wrote:
(..)
(..) And more obviously, w/o them contacting your webmaster in return, there would have been an even longer delay in handling the incident, I suppose.
(..)

Again, stop defaming us. Things might appear to you in a certain way, but that doesn't make them true! The file was already removed long before any mirror contacted me. (and I have the documentation to proof that) Stop making claims that are unfounded, which you cannot proof, and are downright untrue. Sure, it is easy for you to sit there and go: OpenTTD are BAD people, BAD BAD BAD people. It doesn't make us bad people. Your perception of the world is just that: YOURS. And if you make those claims here, I just ignore you, no problem. But do not make such unfounded claims to people we are in business with. That is called defaming, and illegal by law. This is not a treat, it is a warning. I suggest you take it seriously.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:01 pm 
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@Michael, looking at this from the outside:
- the impact of the infringement looks serious, but low (a GPL infringement puts a lot of people at risk, yes. But it's not the end of the world).
- the expectations of response seem broadly unreasonable on your side.
- your actions appear to be disproportionate to the scale of the infringement.
- the potential costs/negative outcomes arising from your disproportionate actions appear to be also disproportionate to the scale of the infringement.

You are clearly starting from a correct first position, which nobody disputes; the ensuing actions as described seem to lack sense.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:16 pm 
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andythenorth wrote:
Class 165 wrote:
Do you expect the OpenTTD team to go through and check every upload for its authenticity?

That would be extremely unwise. Service providers should make no attempt to determine the legality (or otherwise) of content transmitted by a service, this changes the relationship from service provider to publisher, and increases the scope of liability. They should instead rely on strong Terms of Service and notifications from third parties about infringements.

I realize that it would be quite an idiotic thing to do, but from reading between the lines of what SAC said, that seemed to be what SAC was saying - that the OpenTTD team should take responsibility for checking whether a file is infringing or not, which is of course the copyrighter holder's responsibility.

SAC wrote:
Alberth wrote:
You can quote whatever you like and look very smart, but your action nearly took down entire openttd, while if you had waited a few hours more, the entire matter would have been resolved quietly.

...or better yet, if providing a site where anyone can upload just about anything regardless of ownership/copyright, also make sure there's some sort of control of such files from time to time... I've had files uploaded by others as well, and found out about it thanks to someone notifying me. But at that time it had been sitting there for quite awhile...

With that said, of course the copyright holder of a file that has been uploaded without permission will take action one way or another...

SAC wrote:
It's a Pirate Bay situation then... As long as your host is fine with it... :roll:

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