What’s the deal with these Microsoft takedown (DMCA) notices?

This week, Cryptome.org, a website that has taken to publishing “secret” guides for law enforcement agencies attempting to gain information held by internet companies such as Microsoft (with Hotmail, Live ID, etc.), Yahoo!, and others, was apparently served a DMCA for the Microsoft document it posted. (DMCA is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a US law governing internet copyrights).

After being served the notice, Network Solutions shut down Cryptome.org, until it could resolve the issue.  The site is back up in temporary form at http://cryptomeorg.siteprotect.net/, and the Microsoft document (which appears to be quite outdated, showing screenshots from 2006 and references to the defunct MSN Groups) has resurfaced all over the net.

Cryptome.org, and its service provider, Network Solutions, were served a DMCA notice by James Young, an “Internet Investigator” with an address at Microsoft-antipiracy.com… woah wait that name sure sounds familiar!

Numerous other websites (including LiveSide.net, a couple of years ago, and here, here, etc.), have been served with these same notices, and most were skeptical of the authenticity of James Young.  In our case, it was a matter of fighting the claim, convincing our service provider (who stood a lot to lose and not much to gain) to stick with us, or (which is what we did) just take down the offending material.

Interestingly, although Microsoft has never to our knowledge either admitted or denied a connection with Mr. Young or Microsoft-antipiracy.com, a friend of ours who worked at  Microsoft at the time and wasn’t too happy about our DMCA, asked around, and wasn’t able to find anyone within the company who knew anything about it.

There have been many James Young sightings over the years, most recently at XDA-Developers.com, where Mr. Young’s authenticity was again questioned.

A quick WhoIs check on Microsoft.antipiracy.com, in a twist of fate, shows that the site is now registered to Network Solutions, the same service provider where Cryptome was hosted!

Isn’t it time we found out who James Young and Microsoft-antipiracy.com are?  Certainly Microsoft is getting quite a bit of bad press for being “a#$holes” and taking down Cryptome.org, shouldn’t they finally come clean on their relationship, if any, with James Young?

UPDATE: The plot thickens

Microsoft has responded, with wording that indicates that James Young may indeed work for or with Microsoft:

“Like all service providers, Microsoft must respond to lawful requests from law enforcement agencies to provide information related to criminal investigations. We take our responsibility to protect our customers privacy very seriously, so have specific guidelines that we use when responding to law enforcement requests. In this case, we did not ask that this site be taken down, only that Microsoft copyrighted content be removed. We are requesting to have the site restored and are no longer seeking the document’s removal.” – Microsoft spokesperson