MPAA receives DMCA takedown for copyright infringement

How do I love irony, let me count the ways.

The MPAA has a stated hard line stance against infringement of copyright. “pirates are thieves, plain and simple” and has vigorously prosecuted both direct infringers and producers of DRM breaking software.

In their website targetted at teaching kids about copyright (understandable by any kid with a law degree) they rigourously define the terms that apply to copyright, including this one about permission granted by a copyright holder.

The GPL gives permission for derivative works to be created as long as the GPL applies to the whole work. To enable the freedom of further derivatives, the GPL specifies that any software covered by that license must have source code available.

Ubuntu Linux is highly committed to open source and in their license explains clearly what is required of anyone creating applications or distributions based on Ubuntu, including the following line

Must allow these rights to be passed on along with the software. You should be able to have exactly the same rights to the software as we do.

The MPAA released a University Toolkit designed to help univerities detect copyright infringement on their networks, which included Ubuntu and Apache amongst other applications covered under the GPL. This toolkit included custom traffic monitoring software. The source code for this component was not included or otherwise available, no doubt to prevent easy subversion.

Given this violates the permissions for reuse specified in the license for Ubuntu, the technical director asked them to either include the source code or stop distributing the package. The MPAA essentially ignored the request until their ISP was served with a DMCA takedown notice.

Irony is indeed delicious.

Legal notice: My opening line is protected free speech as parody, which is probably irrelevant given that Elizabeth Browning died in 1861.