Linux group rebuffs Hollywood piracy charge

MPAA hits wrong target with "shoot-in-the-dark approach" in movie copyright fight, says Linux Australia.

What seems to be a blunder by the Motion Picture Association of America in its hunt for online pirates has prompted Linux Australia to contact its legal representatives and warn of a possible breach of Australian law.

Linux Australia President Pia Smith told Builder AU that the MPAA had issued the organization a notice of claimed infringement, demanding that the group cease providing access to two copyrighted movies--one called "Grind" and the other "Twisted"--and ordering it to "take appropriate action against the account holder."

However, the files in question had nothing to do with those movies. The file labeled Twisted is a download of the popular framework written in Python, and Grind refers to a download of Valgrind, a tool for developers to locate memory management.

The MPAA has no legal rights over this software. The agency did not return Builder AU's calls regarding the matter.

url="http://www.linux.org.au">Linux Australia is an association that caters to the Linux community Down Under.

Smith said the incident demonstrated that the process used to locate allegedly illegal files on Australian servers was flawed and that the MPAA could be breaking a number of local laws.

"We realized that the MPAA must be doing blind keyword matching against Internet content and then sending out automatic take-down notices with no real research or double checks," Smith said.

"This seems to be a huge misuse of resources, an infringement upon various global spam laws, an infringement upon our own Copyright Act under Section 102 and needless stress and cost upon small Australian organizations and companies," Smith said.

Linux Australia's legal counsel plans to contact the MPAA to inform them of the mistake and the legal implications of their actions.

"Linux Australia is concerned that this kind of shoot-in-the-dark approach to copyright protection is potentially damaging for Australian organizations and companies," Smith added. "Organizations that participate in such behavior should be held accountable and forced to put at least some effort into researching the validity of their keyword searches."

Brendon Chase of Builder AU reported from Sydney.

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