This is why the DMCA makes zero sense for the creative community, yet perfect sense for everyone else.
Every other day it seems, there’s another gray area of content theft, and the idea that rights owners can police this activity with one-off takedown notices is simply ridiculous.
Take the pay-for-click space, a concept that pays users for directing others users to sought-after content. MegaUpload wanted to legitimize the pay-for-click idea, and cut artists in on the action. Ultimately, the music-focused Megabox never happened, for obvious reasons. But the idea of paying for clicks remains alive-and-well, which means that someone – ie, not you – is making money off of links to your content on BitTorrent, file-hosting sites, whatever.
The latest scam is happening on a variant of url shorteners, which inject ads into the redirect experience. So, instead of something mainstream like bit.ly of goo.gl, link shorteners like AdF.ly and adfoc.us create a stopover before the final redirect, and make money off the ads.
So, if bit.ly behaves like this:
…then AdF.ly behaves like this:
Which means that the middle step is where the cash is made. And, to incentivize users to play along (and impose this extremely crappy experience upon others), players like AdF.ly offer a cut of the action. That is, roughly $4 for 1,000 clicks (or $0.004 per click), or in the case of adfoc.us, $6.50 per 1,000 clicks.
This has legitimate uses, but the real ‘link bait’ involves all sorts of illegally-hosted and distributed content. And herein lies the problem: AdF.ly actually has a DMCA section for logging abuses, but that assumes anyone actually knows the abuse is happening in the first place. And even if you do, only the largest labels and studios have the manpower to address this level of enforcement. It’s a system that works fantastically for the tech community and users, but is laughably ineffective for protecting user rights.