Apr 14, 2017

HN strips trailing periods from URLs; add a period at the end, or click the Search link at the page the above links to, to see the case. The raw opinion is here: https://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca9/0...

It's a very interesting finding. The appeals court actually did reverse parts of the decision, including the hard-drive-to-RAM argument, ending up in favor of MDY for many of the claims!

But the devil is in the details. Even though MDY wasn't found to be infringing copyright by breaking the covenants of the license agreement against botting (simply copying static code to RAM was not considered sufficient "reproduction" to be infringement)... it was found to violate the DMCA because it was circumventing Blizzard's Warden framework designed to protect access to dynamic server-side materials. MDY therefore had the lower court's "permanent injunction" against doing so upheld.

So if you were to create an ad-blocker detector that detected all current ad-blockers, and required that detector to digitally sign a request for dynamic content, but then someone circumvented that detection by subsequently creating an ad blocker that wasn't detected, would it fall under this precedent and violate the DMCA?

And there's also fuzziness around whether MDY was tortiously interfering ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference ) with Blizzard's contracts with its subscribers. In this case, it wasn't, because MDY arguably was behaving as a good steward here. For instance, the opinion cites how MDY "enhances some players' experience of the game, including players who might not otherwise play WoW at all." One could see an argument that an ad blocker would encourage more visitors... but if there's no other revenue source other than ads, does the pendulum swing in the opposite direction in favor of the content creator?

Very difficult to tell. Just because Adblock Plus avoided a lawsuit in Germany, and (as the research paper from the OP http://randomwalker.info/publications/ad-blocking-framework-... points out) most ad embeddings today are "trivial" overlays that wouldn't be considered DRM per the DMCA, that doesn't mean that advertisers won't evolve another piece of ammunition in this war.

(I am not a lawyer; the above is not legal advice.)

Apr 14, 2017

Coauthor of the paper here. No --- this is not one of the three techniques that we implemented. It was a hypothetical suggestion for future work. Unfortunate that the article didn't make that clear.

Here is the paper http://randomwalker.info/publications/ad-blocking-framework-...

Here is our blog post about it: https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2017/04/14/the-future-of-ad-bl...

Apr 14, 2017

here's a direct link to the whitepaper: http://randomwalker.info/publications/ad-blocking-framework-...