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Monday, March 10, 2008

Air Force Cyber Command's New Weapon: DMCA Notices

Slashdot It! It's cyber war! Lawyers representing the Air Force's elite electronic warriors have sent YouTube a DMCA takedown notice demanding the removal of the 30-second spot the Air Force created to promote its nascent Cyber Command. We'd uploaded the video to share with THREAT LEVEL readers. How quickly alliances shift in the murky new world of Cyberarmageddon. It was just last month that the Air Force sent us the ad, and thanked THREAT LEVEL for agreeing to run it. The spot shows earnest airmen deftly thwarting a hacker attack on the Pentagon using Minority Report-type touch-and-drag screens. I'm certain hundreds, if not thousands, of geeks have already enlisted as a result of our patriotic shilling for the Air Force. Now, though, it seems we're just another cyber enemy to be squashed like so many Chinese DDoSers or unsanctioned blogs. Was it something I said? But Air Force marketing chief Keith Lebling, who sent us the spot in the first place, says any intellectual property claim should have gone through his office, and none did. U.S. Government works aren't even copyrightable. YouTube doesn't know that -- presumably because it has no lawyers -- and it's taken down the video. A spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the Google-owned service has no choice but to comply with DMCA notices. That's not quite right, though. YouTube has no legal obligation to remove non-infringing content. Fortunately, we have our own servers. You can see the restored Cyber Command ad below. Catch it before someone drops an EMP bomb down our chimney. Update: YouTube has sent along the DMCA notice (.pdf). It's signed by Meredith Pikser, an attorney with international law firm Reed Smith LLP, on behalf of the Air Force. Kurt Opsahl at EFF notes that, notwithstanding Pikster's sworn statement, the Air Force website promoting the video contains this language in its privacy policy: "Information presented on the Air Force Recruiting website is considered public information and may be distributed or copied." Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare Get paid $7.50 for reviewing my post Ad Space

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