We've all heard the horror stories of the RIAA's investigative practices. We've heard about them accusing innocent people, dead people and people that don't even own computers of pirating music files, all to the amusement and shock of everyone watching this continuing fiasco unfold. It's been made obvious that their methods of research are flawed, but many assumed that they, along with other groups such as the MPAA, had at least some type of evidence to suggest a particular person might be involved. Apparently that isn't the case.
Believe it or not, DMCA takedown notices have been issued against inanimate objects, including a LaserJet printer. A recent study by the University of Washington has brought out serious flaws in the investigate practices of these media giants, proving that the so-called Copyright Cops are simply reaching out random and hoping they snag a file sharer, or at least scare someone into coughing over money for something they didn't even do.
The study used various techniques to find holes in how these media giants are probing for offenders, and as a result ended up receiving over 400 DMCA takedown notices – despite not downloading or uploading a single file at any time. They also demonstrated how trivial it was to incriminate innocent people of doing the same with forged packets. Essentially, they've established that companies like the MPAA and RIAA do nothing but harvest IP addresses – and don't even remotely pay attention to what sort of content is actually being shared.