updated 12:58 am EST, Wed March 6, 2013
MarkMonitor system think video game mod is one of six possible videos
The first of the Center for Copyright Information system infringement notices have gone out, according to some of the ISPs enrolled in the plan. The MarkMonitor system at the core of the "six strikes" initiative is under fire again in a report on TechDirt, for misidentifying a legal game mod for Guild Wars hosed on the MediaFire file locker service as either television shows Downton Abbey, Contraband, Grimm, House MD, or the Office, or possibly the film The Man With the Iron Fists.
The file "Cantha Cartography Made Easy 2009.tpf" was hashed by the monitoring software, and identified as one of the previously mentioned television shows or movies. It then passed the user's information to NBC Universal automatically and without review, which issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notification against the user -- who was hosting no content violating any copyrights. A violation under the Center for Copyright Information's system flagged inappropriately like this would require a $39 fee for evaluation, in essence, making the accused prove innocence, rather than presumed innocent until proven guilty enshrined in US law.
This is not the first noted failure of the MarkMonitor service to accurately identify pirated content. The software has flagged HBO.com as in violation of the DMCA for violations of its own content -- an obvious failure of the system, and not the first such incident. The report sent to Google stated that HBO.com was using HBO's own cable content without permission. Additionally, the same automated report to the search engine named websites that were writing about HBO content (as in reviews of shows, criticism, or promotion), and thus clearly not violating "fair use" provisions of the law.
The Center for Copyright Information claims that it has independent oversight over the Copyright Alert System. Former paid lobbyist Stroz Friedberg for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was hired to monitor the system. After the news broke of the hire and his previous affiliation, the CCI promised to hire a second consultant to supervise the alerts, but no news on a hire has surfaced. The CCI has a page labeled "Independent Expert Assessment of MarkMonitor AntiPiracy Methodologies" but it contains no content at this time, over a week after the system has gone live.