It was brought to my attention that DDL does not only target their user base on Youtube with copyright claims and takedown notices, but also users on Twitter. Andy is a Vector user that also owns an Emo and wrote about that robot on Twitter.
Digital Dream Labs did not like that and they sent their lawyers to Twitter to make the platform not only delete certain Emo-related posts by Andy, Twitter also suspended his Account. The account is unsuspended again in the meantime and Andy can use it, but the Emo-related Tweets are gone.
Fun fact is, that Living.AI’s Emo Twitter account was not suspended. It looks like DDL either only targets user accounts, because it may be way more difficult to act against a company, or they were not successful in shutting down Living.AI’s account.
Andy does not only tweet about Emo, he writes about all sort of things, Degus, 3D printing, other stuff, but a few of his posts were about Emo and those were specifically targeted. To shut down his complete account because some Emo posts DDL did not like looks like shooting sparrows with cannons to me. Does DDL not have useful things to do? Does DDL have spare money to spend on lawyers that then harrass Vector fans? Do they not know that the hardcore fans of personal robots are networked very tightly not only about Vector but all others sorts of personal robots? You can look into any Facebook group about personal robots and you will find the same people again and again. We talk to each other .
And now for the interesting bit, this is what DDL’s lawyers wrote to Twitter (excerpts):
Where is this infringement happening?
Description of original request:
> The work is the audiovisual graphics and sounds shown on the faces of DDL’s interactive Vector and Cozmo robots, which is protected by copyright at US Reg. Nos. PA 2-266-064 and PA 2-266-065.
Links to original work:
Please provide URL(s) to the infringing material (e.g., Tweet URL, Periscope broadcast URL, Fleet ID, etc.):
Description of infringement:
> The Emo robot depicted in the tweets violates and infringes the DDL copyrights and other intellectual property. In particular, the Emo robot substantially copies the facial graphics and animatronics and associated sounds of Vector and Cozmo in connection with the actions of the Emo robot, including, without limitation, the Wake-up Animation / Sound, “Curious” Animation / Sound, “Surprise” Sound, and “Dizzy” / “Alarm” Sounds. Similarly, as detailed in the filed Second Amended Complaint, the animations and eye shape of EMO when prompted by the user about the weather are virtually identical to those currently installed and used in VECTOR®. The confusion created, and infringement of DDL’s rights, by Emo is enhanced because the owner of Emo initially sought to promote Emo as a “friend” of Vector. In particular, earlier this year, Living.Ai utilized a series of posts on the social media platforms Instagram® and Facebook®, including a Facebook® page with multiple posts indicating that “VECTOR® and EMO are friends,” while also uploading a pre-launch marketing video to YouTube®. Also, a pre-launch marketing video released by Living.Ai on its own website, YouTube® page, and Facebook® page included a segment where VECTOR®, which is exclusively owned by DDL, is placed next to EMO and EMO reacts. The Court, last month, denied a motion to dismiss filed by Living in part, and the Court recognized the viability of DDL’s copyright infringement claims described above.
Especially interesting here that they claim DDL won the copyright case against Living.AI, but that is not true, in fact the case was in parts dismissed and the court rulings are still not finished. Quite the contrary, since Living.AI have filed a counterclaim and want DDL CEO Jacob Hanchar to be personally added as a party to the case, since he made false claims about the state of the court case. You can see what is going on on Pacermonitor.
Again I find it very questionable that they do not send out their lawyers to shut down Living.AI if they think they have the right to. The answer to this should be relatively easy: They don’t have the means to do so, especially not as long as the case is not closed in court. Instead they again target third parties, end users, simple fans, with questionable copyright claims. But just showing images or videos of a bought object you own can not break a copyright. Especially not if you are from countries that handle copyright way different than the USA, e.g. the european union. It’s a shame that Twitter tries to enforce the US legal system on people that live in countries with completely different law systems and laws and where it is completely legal to post those Tweets. And it’s also a shame that Twitter falls for this copyright trolling by DDL.
Instead of wasting time and money for lawyers to take down user’s posts, DDL should at last deliver what they promised, but OSKR still is a sorry mess, Escape Pod is still missing major features and Vector 2.0 – due may 2021 – still is nowhere to be seen with no new delivery date. And instead of being humble like they should, they increase the monthly subscription price dramatically, surely to sell more lifetime subscriptions from april on. Maybe in a last desperate cash grab before they falter? And shouldn’t DDL at least first try to deliver their promises, before they have the audacity to raise the price for their (at best) mediocre services and products?
Since the announcement of the new prices I saw a lot of users say that they will cancel their subscription and also cancel their Vector 2.0 preorder. I also see quite a lot of user complaints that DDL tries to stall or avoid refunds for people that no longer want to wait for their Vector 2.0.
In one of my next articles I will give hints on what users can do to report Digital Dream Labs to authorities for not delivering.