I was shocked to find an email from youtube claiming that the irrlicht example 5 video infringed on viacom's copyright.
I haven't a clue what it is that's in the example 5 video that viacom owns. Maybe they own the user-interface of irrlicht?
Here's the full email:
I have two possible suggestions. One, you may consider suing them for filing a false DMCA notification. If it is obvious that the item is something that they do not own and would clearly should be aware that they have no ownership, the takedown notice was fraudulent and they are liable. Also, there may be grounds to sue them for libel since they have, in effect, damaged your reputation. You can probably get a lawyer to take this at no cost to you on a percentage basis of what is recovered if the misconduct (of fraudulent takedown notice) is obvious, Viacom is an obvious deep pocket target. It may also - since the notice was sent by e-mail - constitute wire fraud. The problem with this is you have to sue them in the judicial district where their home office is located, and if it's a long way away this might not be an option.
The second option is to file (as the letter states) a DMCA counternotice. Unless Viacom sues you within ten days their takedown request becomes void. And they have to sue you where you live, not in their home city, and you then have grounds to file all the countersuit issues.
You could also write Viacom and demand they withdraw their knowingly fraudulent DMCA takedown or you will sue them for all of the above and anything else you can think of.
It may be an unfortunate condition these days but large organizations will pick on small and weak ones when they think won't fight back, especially since they (usually correctly) presume the target can't afford to defend itself.
This is one of the reasons I recommend anyone running a software project operate it through a legal entity such as a corporation or an LLC and never under their own name or using a partnership. My actual comment is "never run any business larger than a roadside lemonade stand as a sole proprietorship and never use a partnership."
A corporation is a separate person legally from its owners, incorporators or managers; as long as the paperwork is done correctly, the people running it are not liable for its debts if it is sued or owes money to someone. If you release a software package under your own name, you personally can be sued and are liable for up to every dime you own in damages. If you release it under a partnership or as a group, each person who is a partner and every member of the group is individually and jointly liable for any and all damages. If you release it under a corporate name, you personally are not liable for damages if any occur. Even if the corporation is owned by one person, as long as the paperwork is kept correctly the corporation and its owner(s) are separate and neither is liable for the other's debts or claims against it.
The cost to incorporate is not very high in most places (usually under $200 and as low as $50 a year thereafter if set up correctly, and it doesn't require a lawyer; I know because I've set up more than 5 corporations in more than one state) and because of the liability protections it's a real bargain vs. a potential $100,000 copyright infringement claim. Or a patent infringement claim if someone thinks your program violates a patent (or several patents). Plus if someone does threaten suit and you can't afford to defend it, you can always sell the assets (the program) to a new corporation, forfeit the old one's charter by folding the corporation and there's no assets to go after if it is sued and loses.
Paul Robinson <email@example.com>
The lessons of history teach us - if they teach us anything - that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.