A Reddit user who received a copyright infringement notice for downloading Ubuntu, made on the basis of Linux and whose free distribution is permitted by Canonical, which owns the system. The development of the case gained yet another Kafkaesque element: the company that appears as the plaintiff, the German digital security firm OpSec Security, said it did not actually notify the user.
Anti-piracy company says system has been “tricked”
Amanda Hershey, OpSec’s marketing and communications manager, told Torrentfreak that the copyright notice of the user who downloaded Ubuntu Linux was designed to tarnish the company’s image. “The company’s program that issues notices of copyright infringement was misled yesterday, Wednesday, May 26, by third parties on various streaming platforms,” said Hershey. “The contents in question appear to be ISOs from Ubuntu. We have conclusive evidence to prove that these copyright strikes do not come from OpSec Security ”.
For now, OpSec Security’s “conclusive evidence” that rejects its authorship of the copyright notice has not been made public. What the company means by “streaming services” is also unclear: there are no streams from Ubuntu – users just download the system via torrent.
Nor did the German company reveal how it was tricked by “third parties”. But the copyright notice received by NateNate60 – the author of the post on Reddit – gave no clue of being forged. But if it was fake, how did the warning get in the user’s email?
Ubuntu Linux download does not expose email
NateNate60 claims to have downloaded the official Ubuntu BitTorrent from the Canonical website. When downloading the file, he logically exposed his IP address to the Ubuntu tracker and to everyone who shared the torrent. But the plot is further complicated, because the copyright notice was sent to the user’s email – and downloading torrents does not leak that data.
The sole owner of Nate’s personal information is his internet provider, Xfinity, a company that is part of Comcast. This is how copyright notices work: authors ask the internet service provider to forward the warning, as they do not have the user’s contact details.
That is, considering OpSec’s pronouncement, for a notice of copyright infringement to reach NateNate60, someone impersonated the German anti-piracy firm and tricked Comcast into believing that Ubuntu was pirated content. How did the third element convince OpSec convincingly? How was Comcast not warned that something was wrong? Let there be a Twitter thread that unfolds this story. In less than 240 characters, Canonical revealed the opening of its own investigation.
— Jeremy Soller (@jeremy_soller) May 26, 2021
The person intending to damage OpSec’s image would have to get NateNate60’s IP; the exact time when he downloaded the torrent; cross the IP with the user’s email; and anticipate that the copyright notice would be published on Reddit. It is a lot of effort to tarnish a company’s reputation. For now, the case leaves more questions than it answers.
If new information is revealed by the companies involved, Tecnoblog must continue its series of articles on this digital roll.