13
Mar
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A French image processing company by the name of DxO Labs has filed a DMCA takedown request targeting 12 GitHub repositories containing device-specific code for ROMs, most of them maintained by CyanogenMod team members. The notice is vague, only citing:

[3] I have a good faith belief that the file downloads identified below (by URL) are unlawful under these copyright laws because among other things, the files circumvent effective access controls and/or copyright protection measures;

[4] Reason:

Content Type: "Custom Firmware" files

Violation(s): Trafficking a device that circumvents effective access controls and/or trafficking a device that circumvents effective copyright protection measures.

The likely culprit has been identified as libDxOAF.so, a file that would have come from an OEM's stock ROM and is almost certainly used to operate the company's Auto Focus Speed-Up feature. The takedown does not just target projects with the offending binary, but also those that merely name it within their scripts and configurations. Here is a list of affected devices:

  • HTC EVO 4G LTE (Jewel)
  • HTC One XL
  • HTC One S (Ville)
  • HTC One X (Evita)
  • HTC Droid DNA (DLX)
  • Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE XT897 (Asanti)

At first glance, it appears that DxO Labs is acting maliciously towards these projects, but it is possible that the only intention was to remove a copyrighted driver. It is difficult to tell if the filing was meant to shut down entire repositories or just the individual files. GitHub's policy on DMCA Takedowns is not specific for this situation, but shuttering a repo for the short term is usually the most reasonable option until a fix can be worked out. Still, GitHub should be pushing back against claims as trivial as a single text file that includes the name of another file.

The distribution of copyrighted content is an open-and-shut case of infringement, but there may be no incentive for DxO Labs to pursue it. The driver is specific to a select set of camera hardware, making it useless on other handsets. Plus, the OEMs have already covered the cost of licensing. Ultimately, if 3rd party ROM makers are redistributing this file, they are only replacing software that came pre-installed. There is very little credible reason for the company to prevent end users from having convenient access to the binary.

Hopefully, this is just a misunderstanding that lead to an overreaction by from DxO's legal department. It wouldn't be the first time some lawyers got the message wrong. Unfortunately, this could also result in a permanent removal of the driver, leaving some custom ROMs with crippled camera functionality. Either way, DxO Labs is handling this situation very poorly. At the moment, little is known about what sparked the takedown request now as opposed to any other time, but we are watching the affected device maintainers for news, and have reached out to DxO Labs for clarification. We'll continue to post updates as more information becomes available.

Here is the full text:

Takedown Notice under DMCA

Date: March 11, 2013

Dear GitHub Copyright Agent:

I, the undersigned state UNDER PENALTY OF PURJURY that:

[1] I am, a person injured, or an agent authorized on behalf of a person injured by a violation of the U.S. Copyright laws, in particiular section(s) 1201(a)(2) and/or 1201(b)(1) of Title 17 of the United States Code, commonly referred to as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or "DMCA";

[2] I May Be Contacted At:

Name of Injured Party: DxO Labs SA

Name and Title: [private], Legal Assistant

Company: DxO Labs SA

Address: 3 rue Nationale

City, State, and Zip: Boulogne-Billancourt, 92100, FRANCE

Email address: legal@dxo.com

Telephone: +33 155 20 55 20 99

Fax: +33 155 20 55 20 98

[3] I have a good faith belief that the file downloads identified below (by URL) are unlawful under these copyright laws because among other things, the files circumvent effective access controls and/or copyright protection measures;

[4] Reason:

Content Type: "Custom Firmware" files

Violation(s): Trafficking a device that circumvents effective access controls and/or trafficking a device that circumvents effective copyright protection measures.

[5] Please act expeditiously to remove the file-downloads found at the following URLs:

https://github.com/TheMuppets/proprietary_vendor_htc

https://github.com/htc-msm8960/proprietary_vendor_htc

https://github.com/rohanmathur/aosp_device_htc_evita/tree/master/vendor/proprietary/lib

https://github.com/CyanogenMod/android_device_htc_ville/pull/1/files

https://github.com/xkonni/android_device_htc_ville_old/blob/master/proprietary_files.txt

https://github.com/Bajee11/device_htc_msm8960-common/blob/master/common-proprietary-files.txt

https://github.com/midnight88/android_device_moto_asanti/blob/master/proprietary-files.txt

https://github.com/lmartin92/android_device_moto_asanti/blob/master/proprietary-files.txt

https://github.com/hfase01/android_device_moto_asanti/blob/master/proprietary-files.txt

https://github.com/intervigilium/android_device_htc_ville/pull/5/files

https://github.com/timothyswt/android_device_htc_ville/blob/master/proprietary-files.txt

https://github.com/cofface/android_htc_device_dlx/blob/master/proprietary-files.txt

[6] I have a good faith belief that the circumvention of effective access controls and/or copyright protection measures identified above is not authorized by law; and

[7] The information in this notice is accurate.

Thank you for your kind assistance.

Truthfully,

DxO Labs SA

[Signed]

Land Of Technology, GitHub

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Thomas Steinbrüchel

    If others follow their way, the android community will blame at them.

    • paleh0rse

      and rightfully .so.

  • Carlos Paixao

    Time to perform a Nandroid backup!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      True, but if you have one of those phones, you're going to have to figure out a workaround to get it back and (most likely) do it every single time you flash a new ROM. It would be similar to how we have to flash Gapps separately after a new install - with the important difference being that this likely won't be distributed individually by anyone (at least not legally).

      • Mike Reid

        A pain for those of us accustomed to semi-automatic OTA updates for nightlies. On the March 1 nightly for my ATT OneX LTE it's a relatively smallish 22,716 bytes in size.

        Now I wonder why many of the internal symbols start with "__gnu" ? If it contains Gnu code licensed under GPL, then they might be out of line here. Here's one of the symbols; Google it and find open source:
        __gnu_Unwind_Restore_VFP_D

  • Ivaylo Stoyanov

    DxO is literally Hitler.

    • Vandré Brunazo

      I looked it up on the dictionary. He's right.

      • andrew galvin

        story checks out

  • Stefan

    That's life. Putting proprietary files publicly online is against the law, nothing more. Don't do it and it's all good.

    The only silly thing about this particular request is that they even included the txt files which only contain the names of the file. I hope GitHub is clever enough to not let them take those down, after all a file name is not under copyright AFAIK.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      No, I'm pretty sure that would have to be covered under Fair Use. Otherwise, it would be like saying AP wasn't allowed to include the name of it in the article.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      You're right. And having an entire repo shut down, rather than specifying the file in question, makes them assholes. It also runs directly counter to the law. They are causing the removal of content they do not own.

    • Offender

      It has nothing to do with using their files as much as it has to do with CM taking credit for the drivers. CM are notorious copyright thieves.

      • http://cyanogenmod.org/ ciwrl

        "Taking credit for their drivers".

        There are no proprietary files on github.com/CyanogenMod.

        • Offender

          CM is famous for removing copyright headers and replacing them with their name and never making any code changes. I dare anyone to "diff" CM's "copyrighted" code against Google's and see if you can find ANY changes. Google removes copyright headers faster than they have these posts taken down.

          • Offender

            My mistake, CM removes copyright headers. It doesn't matter how many times people say this or prove this because these posts will be flagged by CM and removed! Again, prove this for yourself and "diff" the files.

    • TaliBong

      IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL, DRIVER HOSTS DO IT, ROMS HAVE GPU, WIFI, ETC DRIVERS THAT ARE ALSO PROPRIETARY,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1002797290 Dorian Snyder

    Evo 4G LTE codename is actually jewel, not jet. The jet named is only used in the defconfig and board files within the kernel.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Fixed.

  • ReedSolomon

    Looks like I won't be buying any devices that use their driver

  • Offender

    CM is probably the biggest copyright violator associated with Android. It is common practice for CM to change the copyright header in their code without making any changes. I dare anyone to "diff" CM's code against Google's and find ANY difference. You won't. Just for the record, making comment changes does not allow you to claim copyright.

    • http://cyanogenmod.org/ ciwrl

      Bwahahaha......

    • attn1

      At best, that's a ridiculous misrepresentation of facts. I have no idea why you're so butthurt, but the butthurt is obvious.

    • Ricardo Cerqueira

      Not sure if trolling, lazy or just stupid. Go read the Apache license, particularly 4.2 and 4.3. A notification that the original work has been changed by another entity is *mandatory*, and changes don't inherit the original author's copyrights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizondojohn John Elizondo

    DxO Y u do dis

  • TaliBong

    "I, the undersigned state UNDER PENALTY OF PURJURY that:[1] I am, a person injured, or an agent authorized on behalf of a person injured by a violation of the U.S. Copyright laws" - Guilty of perjury as no one was injured by the "violation" of the web Mafia's rules, But DxO will be injured by my boycott of them.