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submitted 3 months ago by lwadmin to c/lemmyworld

Removal of piracy communities

Hello world!

Some of you will already have noticed that we have removed some piracy related communities from Lemmy.World during the last day.

Lack of communication

First off, we want to address the lack of communication.

Not everyone in our current admin team has been with us long enough to be aware of the previous issues and discussions related to these communities and the impact this has on our community.

We should absolutely have published this announcement when or before we removed the communities, not hours later. After realizing this mistake, we would have liked to write this a lot earlier already, but we were all busy with irl things, that we just didn’t have time for it.

Lemmy.World is run by volunteers on their personal time, nobody here gets paid for what we do.

Removed communities

Next, we want to explain how we got to the decision to remove these communities.

[[email protected]](/c/[email protected])

A lot of the recent content posted to this community included images instructing users to visit a specific website to obtain a copy of the release that the post is about. These instructions were in the form of Type in Google: visit-this.domain. The domain referenced in these posts is entirely focused on video game piracy and providing people with access to copyright infringing material.

While there may be legal differences between whether one is linking to specific content on a domain or just linking to the domain itself, such as linking to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_piracy compared to linking to https://en.wikipedia.org/, we do not consider this to be clear enough in laws and previous lawsuits that linking to just the domain is acceptable, if that domain is primarily about distributing copyright infringing material. We therefore do not allow linking to such domains. Additionally, we do not see a significant difference between posting a link directly to a website and embedding said link in an image, so we treat them equally.

[[email protected]](/c/[email protected])

This community is, for the most part, just about discussing various topics related to piracy. We do not at all mind discussion about this topic, and if it had been limited to that, this community would be fine.

This community, however, contains a pinned Megathread post by a community moderator, which, through a few levels of a pastebin-like site, provides an aggregated overview of various sources of content. Some of these sources are entirely legal content, but it intentionally includes various other references, such as the website referred to from the CrackWatch community, which are primarily intended for copyright infringement.

lemmy.dbzer0.com is willing to accept this content on their instance, as well as the potential legal risk coming from this, which they’re free to do.

We do not plan to defederate from lemmy.dbzer0.com, but we will continue to remove communities that are directly facilitating copyright infringement. @[email protected], the admin of lemmy.dbzer0.com, is a great person, and we have no problems with him as a person. This is just a matter of different risk tolerance.

[[email protected]](/c/[email protected])

Same as [[email protected]](/c/[email protected]).

Why have the piracy communities been restored previously? What changed?

Currently, based on the memories of team members involved in the decision back then, it appears that there was a misunderstanding between the community moderators and Lemmy.World admins in how the community will be moderated going forward, as well as which types of content are allowed.

Lemmy.World expected/assumed that links to websites primarily focused on facilitating distribution of pirated content would be disallowed in these communities.

The community moderators however do tolerate references to such websites, as long as people are not linking to individual content directly.

We suspect that this may have been missed during our original review when restoring the communities, which lead us to previously restoring these communities.

Why now?

We have recently received a takedown request for content not directly related to these communities, but it prompted us to review other piracy related content and communities.

Terms of Service clarification

Last, as we’ve reviewed our Terms of Service, we have updated our wording here to make it more clear what is and what isn’t allowed when it comes to piracy. This was already covered by "Do not post illegal content of any type. Do not engage in any activity that may […] facilitate or provide access to illegal transactions" in section 4, but we have now added section 4.1 to better explain this.

We apologize for the delays in communication.

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[-] [email protected] 152 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

lemmy.dbzer0.com is willing to accept this content on their instance, as well as the potential legal risk coming from this, which they’re free to do.

Well, it's more that we believe a domain root url embedded in an image, or a link to a rentry doesn't really have any risks. At least, nothing likely to get us sued. Note that all these domain links existed (and still exist) in the reddit /r/piracy wiki for years without problems.

The reason being that almost all of these takedowns are coming from automated crawlers, who won't bother OCR every image they come across, or b64-decoding every string.

[-] [email protected] 21 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

yeah, as long as you don't specifically point to a copyright infringing content things will be fine. that's why all piracy related subreddits are still not taken down.

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[-] [email protected] 95 points 3 months ago

I'm unhappy with this decision and don't support it.

[-] [email protected] 31 points 3 months ago
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[-] hal_5700X 60 points 3 months ago

Again. Really? 🤦‍♂️

[-] Draconic_NEO 13 points 3 months ago

Yup, and this time it seems like they're getting more support from the community than downvotes (or they're upvoting their own post).

[-] [email protected] 16 points 3 months ago

Its currently in the negative, so I don't think the support is there. Just early upvotes.

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[-] RightHandOfIkaros 48 points 3 months ago

This is where the benefit of having more than one account on different instances comes in. When admins make a move users don't like, users can just log into a different instance to access the content they want to see.

Honestly though, not very good optics on doing this without any prior communication. You are going to do whatever you want on your instance, but as IIRC the biggest Lemmy instance, its a really bad look to be making changes without saying anything. It makes me (and likely others) wonder if you hadn't been called out on it by some users posting about it if there would even have been an announcement like this at all. Granted, there is no legal obligation for transparency, but many users here greatly appreciate the transparency in the past that was done prior to taking action for the most part.


Side note: Going to go out on a limb here and assume the content takedown request was Nintendo related, and the takedown request was probably filed by someone who does not actually represent Nintendo. This happens so often that it is basically my default assumption. This may or may not be the case here, but its hard to imagine that there would be anyone else with their eyes on such a tiny community as Lemmy, especially in comparison to Reddit.

[-] [email protected] 47 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

When it comes to linking to content, it's essential to understand that simply providing a link does not equate to sharing the actual content. Each URL on the Megathread serves the specific purpose of leading users in a particular direction.

If this practice is deemed negative, then one could argue that every search engine operates erroneously. Search engines display results and guide users to specific destinations, mirroring the functionality of our approach to linking.

[-] Brkdncr 37 points 3 months ago

I suspect lemmy.world doesn’t have the time, money, or patience to deal with the potential lawsuit or legal actions to required to defend that argument.

[-] [email protected] 14 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

But the communities are hosted on .ml and dbzer0 not on World. So .ml and dbzer0 will be the ones in legal trouble.

[-] Stovetop 23 points 3 months ago

This is an untested legal question. The way federation works is that the content is hosted on Lemmy.world servers by virtue of being federated. The only way to not have the content hosted locally is to block those communities.

Lemmy.world didn't develop the federation standard and didn't put the content up in the first place, but takedown requests and lawsuits traditionally targets content hosts, not necessarily the specific offending party who used the host. Sites avoid legal liability by policing their content, which Lemmy.world did in this case.

I personally still think it's shitty because fuck the man and all, but I get it. It's not my ass on the line, it's theirs.

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[-] [email protected] 11 points 3 months ago

Nevertheless, they will need legal guidance to navigate this issue. These Lemmy instances are run by volunteers.

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[-] Sanctus 38 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

This shit again? Last time I jumped from world the instance I went to shut down. I guess its time to start looking at spinning up my own.

I get it. But I want to see that stuff. So I can't stay where I can't see it.

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[-] [email protected] 36 points 3 months ago

People are always welcome to join the ship , the seas are all open for everyone to adventure.

[-] despotic_machine 36 points 3 months ago

The decisions you make are one thing. The way you keep handling them so incredibly poorly is quite another.

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[-] [email protected] 33 points 3 months ago

Whilst I completely understand why you, as private individuals with limited income and not a huge org that has high priced legal teams on call, have made this decision (I think people forget that it costs money just to defend yourself in court, irrespective of how accurate or legal the charges might be), this is about the 3rd or 4th time that the Admin team have communicated and taken action very, very poorly.

It's really not a difficult thing to do. A post such as this either before or immediately after taking such important actions. I realise you're all busy people with real life stuff to do too but surely you tell new Admin's when they're onboarded that momentous decisions that affect a lot of people must be communicated to the members immediately?

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[-] [email protected] 31 points 3 months ago

Might as well ban Lemmy.ml under rules 1, 2, 4, and 5.1 if you're going to start enforcing your rules.

[-] Canyon201 31 points 3 months ago

Why isn't this pinned to the site? I had to go searching for the reason

[-] Draconic_NEO 20 points 3 months ago

Trying to avoid people seeing it because they'll get more backlash and probably lose donators and rightfully so. These types of knee-jerk reactions combined with the refusal to address feedback are very concerning.

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[-] [email protected] 31 points 3 months ago

We have recently received a takedown request for content not directly related to these communities, but it prompted us to review other piracy related content and communities.

What a pathetic response. I am interpreting this as:

We will fold whenever we get a legal request, real or not.

To users on .world, I strongly recommend scrubbing your posts, deleting your account, and then going to a different instance. These admins have proven that they WILL buckle to legal pressure no matter what - that means also giving up user data upon request. Your data is completely accessible by admins. That includes your private messages and unpublished pictures.

Off the top of my head I can think of a few scenarios:

  • Being LGBTQIA+ in a country where its illegal to be
  • Consuming content from websites not approved by the Chinese government while being a Chinese citizen
  • Disparaging the Chinese government while being a Chinese citizen
  • Activism discussion (eg. extinction rebellion, antifa, the auntie network)
  • Right to repair in countries where its illegal to circumvent device DRM to perform repairs

I've deleted my account there because that TOS and so-called privacy policy are complete and utter trash.

[-] [email protected] 26 points 3 months ago

That includes your private messages

Those messages are not private, there is a disclaimer about it every time you write one

[-] AtmaJnana 14 points 3 months ago

Which is why we should refer to them as "DMs" or "direct messages".

[-] CurbsTickle 16 points 3 months ago

@[email protected], this is my concern right here.

Thanks for running things, but I can't recommend people use lemmy.world at this point.

[-] MrKaplan 10 points 3 months ago

Lemmy.World is legally primarily bound by the countries listed here.

If we get a request, of course we will evaluate that request.

When it comes to taking down content, such as copyright infringing content, we may err on the side of caution to reduce the legal risk we're exposing ourselves to.

When it comes to handing over data that is not already publicly accessible, such as (not-really-)private messages or IP addresses of users, we will not "err on the side of caution" and hand out data to everyone, but we must follow the laws that we're operating under. See also https://legal.lemmy.world/privacy-policy/#4-when-and-with-whom-do-we-share-your-personal-information.

[-] psychothumbs 29 points 3 months ago

Not cool, reverse this

[-] 0xb 27 points 3 months ago

I don't like the decision, like most people here.

But it's unbelievable to see the reaction of many users. Providing a free uncompensated server and bandwidth and monitoring and all the related stuff is apparently not enough. There's is people basically demanding free legal representation, protection, and challenges to many country laws. That's completely insane. The comments criticizing the instance for 'folding' against legal request better have ready 100k USD for retainer of a top copyright legal firm, with even more ready for a lengthy and expensive legal battle. Otherwise it is just nuts to me the responses we are seeing.

Again, of course I don't like it and will consider my options like moving instance, but I understand that I am responsible for the content I seek and the legality of it. I will not feel entitled to offload the burden of that responsibility on someone else demanding that it be carried for free.

To the instance admins I only have to say thank you for the service you provide, thank you for putting in actions the spirit of sharing and community. And please do exercise your right to protect yourself legally.

For us users is seems so simple as just export our stuff and go somewhere else, but for the instance admins there have been so much time and other resources invested that certainly must be sad and frustrating to risk it all, so it's better to follow the way that leads to the continuation of the project, and we should understand that if we want the project to continue, like I do.

I wish there were better options, like better laws or the independent tech for better protection and anonymity, but this is the reality of what we have and we all have to engage with things as they are. We can keep demanding changes to the people really in charge of the system instead of fighting among each other.

[-] [email protected] 12 points 3 months ago

The comments criticizing the instance for ‘folding’ against legal request better have ready 100k USD for retainer of a top copyright legal firm, with even more ready for a lengthy and expensive legal battle.

I hope you're not going to take this the wrong way, but I want to be clear - this is not at all what is involved in legal services or remotely the costs involved. Generally speaking, the review of a claim like this is an hour or two at most. You can also preemptively review these concepts with a lawyer, and get a handy-dandy letter or two to be used as a common first tier response (which also handily dismisses the majority of claims, which tend to be bunk). Several hours at least.

Costs for lawyers are typically in the $100-$600/hour range, with very few (top partners at large firms) getting into the $2k-$3k/hour territory. A lawyer with a specialty in intellectual property is going to land smack in the middle of average these days, around $250-$350/hr.

A $100k retainer, or any retainer really, is unnecessary. The actual costs for some basic legal support are about the low range in costs for a month of operation of their servers ($900-$2200/mo per their own public costing statements through opencollective).

Forget anything else in terms of piracy communities or anything else. Speaking with a lawyer to cover the bases is a smart decision - remember that there have already been issues like CSAM that have cropped up. A bit of up-front smarts and a couple of hours with a lawyer pays dividends. The reality is, them making guesses - and immediately backing down to any request - is a problem for anyone using their servers. Its a real concern, don't be dismissive.

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[-] Iceblade02 23 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

ಠ_ಠ

Behold my look of slight disapproval.

I'd much rather find out about these sorts of things from you guys than a fediverse post.

I already have an alt for nosing around on such stuff since last time around, so it's not hugely inconvenient.

Still, thanks for keeping things running. Much appreciated!

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[-] [email protected] 22 points 3 months ago

I knew this announcement was coming and I'd figured this action would have come from an admin who wasn't aware of the previous context.

[-] [email protected] 24 points 3 months ago

I just love the idea that an admin would take action without communicating with literally anyone else on the team, and that be a totally normal and okay thing.

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[-] [email protected] 21 points 3 months ago

where’s the integrity? quite frankly i don’t get the “we didn’t know” rhetoric. the previous removal is literally the most controversial post of all time. understood that they can be subject to legal action. no blame for being risk adverse but this post is kind of a nothingburger.

[-] [email protected] 17 points 3 months ago

Running my own instance really starts to pay off

[-] WarshipJesus 16 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

So you had plenty of time to make a decision, and follow through with it by banning multiple communities. But offering an explanation it's all "we're all volunteers and we're too busy for this shit!". Nice.

[-] [email protected] 16 points 2 months ago

What a shame, well the last piracy ban was what motivated me to join lemm.ee, no regrets at all, better uptimes, quicker updates and no censorship.

[-] [email protected] 14 points 3 months ago

Shame that you folks couldn't even allow educational discourse on Piracy.

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[-] [email protected] 12 points 3 months ago

So to make it clear: people are allowed to make new piracy centric communities with the express rule to not post direct links to primarily providing copyright infringing material?

I‘m not a lawyer but I read legal texts at times.

This would most likely save .world from the repercussions (btw its how reddit mostly handles it afaik) and maybe some posts could be crossposted on a per case basis.

I‘m trying to be constructive here so please be gentle.

Disclaimer: it is fairly easy to host a lemmy instance, please consider helping thw fediverse by hosting if youre a tech savvy person. Otherwise, join a stable instance at https://fediseer.com

[-] [email protected] 16 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

So to make it clear: people are allowed to make new piracy centric communities with the express rule to not post direct links to primarily providing copyright infringing material?

Nope, it's more than that. Lemmy.world admins don't want you to link to any websites that link to anything that might contain direct links or references to direct links. Strangely that means that linking to Google or Reddit would fail that test so links to those sites should be removed by lemmy.world admins too.

Per admin's own post they removed [email protected]

This community, however, contains a pinned Megathread post by a community moderator, which, through a few levels of a pastebin-like site, provides an aggregated overview of various sources of content. Some of these sources are entirely legal content, but it intentionally includes various other references, such as the website referred to from the CrackWatch community, which are primarily intended for copyright infringement.

The megathread post that admins are referring to contains links to a different website that contains links - that website is not on Lemmy at all. Lemmy.world admins took this removal action because the community contains a link to another site that may contain links lemmy.world admins don't like.

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[-] kylian0087 12 points 3 months ago

looks like I be spinning up my own private instance to not have to deal with de-federations or anything like that.

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this post was submitted on 19 Mar 2024
-136 points (29.3% liked)

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