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DMCA notice from Nao Hirano

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Posted: Feb 03, 2007 6:46 pm Reply with quote
羽ありたまご 羽ありたまご
Joined: 13 Apr 2005 Posts: 2094 Location: Canada
This is bad news, sorry for ruining all the excitement about the karaoke contest. The gallery and several images such as the header of Renai forum style and the blog header has been removed due to formal DMCA filed by a person called Nao Hirano who claim to represent the owner of the copyrighted materials.

Here's the letter I received from our server host:

We have received a formal DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice
regarding allegedly infringing content hosted on your site. The specific
content in question is as follows:

Images served at:


NOTE: The entire "gallery" folder was moved out of the domain folder,
since we cannot exctricate the specific photos without access to your
gallery's administration tool. You may place the gallery back online IF
AND ONLY IF you remove all images listed above. If you place any content
back online which has been removed, we may need to close the account to
protect ourselves from a potential copyright claim.

The party making the complaint (Nao Hirano), claims under penalty of
perjury to be or represent the copyright owner of this content. Pursuant
to 17 U.S.C. 512(c), we have removed access to the content in question.

If you believe that these works belong to you and that the copyright
ownership claims of this party are false, you may file a DMCA
counter-notification in the form described by the DMCA, asking that the
content in question be reinstated. Unless we receive notice from the
complaining party that a lawsuit has been filed to restrain you from
posting the content, we will reinstate the content in question within
10-14 days after receiving your counter-notification (which will also be
forwarded on to the party making the complaint). This response can be
sent directly to me at

In the meantime, we ask that you do not replace the content in question,
or in any other way distribute it in conjunction with our services.
Please also be advised that copyright violation is strictly against our
Terms and Conditions, and such offenses risk resulting in immediate
disablement of your account should you not cooperate (not to mention the
legal risk to you if they are true).

We also ask that if you are indeed infringing upon the copyright
associated with these works that you delete them from your account
immediately, and let us know once this has been done. We also ask that
you delete any other infringing works not listed in this takedown
notification, if they exist.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to let us know.


This is really frustrating indeed. There are so many forums and galleries on the internet but they have no one else to target but our gallery (apparently we grew huge enough to be noticed). Also, it is not like me or anyone else is making a profit out of these materials. Lastly, I have my school work to worry about and have zero time to deal with this crap. The gallery will have to stay offline for the moment until I figure out what to do about it. Same goes to the current Renai Shashin forum header and the original blog header.

If anyone of you have any suggestion or experience with this kind of situation, please post your comment here or send me a PM. I really need help on this since I have zero experience dealing with such complaints. Possible solutions I could think of is to switch to a new server, switch to a new domain name, or hide all our contents to "invited" members only.

Sorry about this bad news. I couldn't afford reviving the gallery by ignoring this complaint or the evil coorperation will sue my ass off and that will be REALLY bad. Also, this is not a joke if you think I have that much time on my hand.

The worst thing I'm afraid of right now is that if more complaints are filed against the forum and the blog, I'll have no choice but to shut down the whole site. Crying (or we could start over without dealing with any copyrighted materials)

Last edited by eyn on May 15, 2007 4:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Feb 03, 2007 7:05 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Jun 2005 Posts: 497 Location: New York
Unfortunately, there isn't much you could do. First off, you can check to see if Nao Hirano really is the photographer for those photos. For Ren'ai Shashin, it should be in the single's booklet with the credits, and with magazines, it's always in small print with the other text on the photo, or to the side. Since I can't see any of the pics at all, I can't look myself.

But, unfortunately, it is within his rights to do this. This is his art and he is the copyright owner. The best thing you can do is either, a) take those pictures down, I really wouldn't suggest trying to "bypass" him in anyway. He'd def. keep a close eye on you and the forum, and maybe other Ai sites as well. You can also b) try to contact him and negotiate a deal, although this will, no doubt cost a lot of money. Switching servers may help for a WHILE, but he'd most likely check up on it again, especially if you keep the domain name, which we all love.

The best thing I can suggest to you, is to get an artistically gifted member of this wonderful forum to maybe "create" a banner based around Ai's latest single releases (perhaps more banner contests, like in the past, or a member or two who has the time to do this for every new release). As for the other themes, since he can't see them because he's not a member, you're safe for now with those. However, newer themes, obviously, cannot have his art displayed publicly on the site. You can get in MAJOR trouble for this if you do not comply because, yes, this is copyright infringement, and I understand why you're upset, most people in this forum will be, no doubt. Maybe limiting the pictures mentioned to select registered users (maybe users with more than 5 posts?).

Sorry to have this happen to you. Sad With last year of uni and everything. But, you'll make it through, you super geek you. Smile

Leanne Smile
Posted: Feb 03, 2007 11:09 pm Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 26 Aug 2005 Posts: 958 Location: Japan
This is indeed frustrating. I looked through the single's booklet, but I couldn't even find the section where they credit the photographer or artwork design, etc. I just saw a bunch of writing about the DVD, the music, etc.

The way I see it, if we intend to keep a complete collection of Ai's pictures we'll have to move to a new host. There's no way they'll let us keep the Renai Shashin images from now on. I'm all for keeping the gallery to members only, and for various reasons too. I can't imagine what will happen if we got a complain for every Ai image that we uploaded.

Right now I'm worry about the blog. Not only do we have different artists' images there, but video clips too. If this Nao Hirano found us, who knows who else had found us.
Tatsuka Ito
Posted: Feb 03, 2007 11:26 pm Reply with quote
フレンジャー フレンジャー
Joined: 28 Nov 2006 Posts: 918 Location: Surrey,Canada
it seems very likely that this is true.

why not just take down the pics and deal with the loss. i think it'd be better than legal troubles, and its in your best interest to get this shit of your back, especially at such a time for you.
Posted: Feb 03, 2007 11:54 pm Reply with quote
フレンジャー フレンジャー
Joined: 14 Nov 2006 Posts: 868 Location: Los Angeles, California
i also flipped through my renai shashin booklet...and googled/wiki'd nao hirano and his japanese name and found nothing concrete. anyway i believe this is a little beside the point because we should just be treating this as legit and figuring out what to do about it.

so...i say things need to be cleaned up some. not just...hiding from non-members. nothing stops them from just registering and seeing all this stuff. if they know we host stuff like this they can just register and check up on it if their suspicions get far enough.
anyway all i am saying now is that the forum comes first. in my mind i see that the forum can continue to function properly without these pictures or whatever else they will ask us to take down. sure it's going to suck, but at least this community will live on.

*sigh*...this sort of did ruin the karaoke a little. i came and saw the entries and got all excited! then like...hey there is another announcement. it says... Surprised Sad No ...
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 2:14 am Reply with quote
大好きだよ。 大好きだよ。
Joined: 08 Oct 2005 Posts: 217 Location: California
From what eyn was telling me, it sounds like this would all be false and the so called Nao is fake. This is strange since Channel-Ai is not at all that huge, if comparing to BoAjjang or AyumiSekai Forums. It's getting there but i don't believe to the extent where people would complain. I remember with, a final fantasy 7 movie fansite, had many complaints from Square Enix to take down their downloads of trailers, but not the images.

Usually if it was serious, it would be Avex to complain not this Nao person. This is wierd for a person to complain and not the company. For now it would be best to just listen to the host. What I think would work out, is to wait a couple weeks until things cooled down, then offer a hidden link for regulars to access to the gallery. Have the gallery hosted on another domain name, another server and have the url link posted through PM or something for members who are trusted. Seems like a lot of work, but that is the best you can do for now.

Sorry about this eyn, it must really suck having to go through this, and yeah man I would be really upset if there was a complaint about my Nami Tamaki gallery being taken down due to the same issues. It would be frustrating to deal with. Shifty

I hope things will be resolved soon. Wow, no banner for the forums, that is just wrong. Surprised
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 6:57 am Reply with quote
ユメクイ ユメクイ
Joined: 23 Sep 2005 Posts: 1137 Location: USA
I was wondering what happened to the header! Mad

First of all, I find it odd that there is no information to be found on the internet about this person. It just seems strange that in this day and age, you can't find a single mention of them. It also seems like a completely random choice of images, if you ask me.

The only thing I think you can do is to just comply with the request and tighten security around here a little more. For all we know, it could just be a disgruntled former member. However, bringing the whole thing to the attention of the DMCA itself probably is not a good idea. While that person may or may not hold the actual copyrights of the photos, Channel-Ai certainly doesn't, so I don't think we'd get anywhere with an actual complaint.

Just concentrate on your studies and don't worry too much about all of this. I know it sucks, but there's really not much you can do.
Tatsuka Ito
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 1:05 pm Reply with quote
フレンジャー フレンジャー
Joined: 28 Nov 2006 Posts: 918 Location: Surrey,Canada
Does not eyn have the ability to block the IP of banned members?
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 1:10 pm Reply with quote
ハイパーガル ハイパーガル
Joined: 21 May 2005 Posts: 641 Location: USA
Yeah, I HIGHLY doubt the actual photographer is this dude. A photographer of such degree wouldn't have time wandering through galleries looking for their work. Now, if the photographer's agent or secretary (??) or whatever did it, then yeah, maybe. If this guy is fake, then... why? Why would someone do something like that?
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 1:18 pm Reply with quote
金魚花火 金魚花火
Joined: 05 Jun 2005 Posts: 176 Location: seattle
wow, this is a real shocker. Surprised

even if we cannot find information about nao hirano, i still believe we should treat this in a proper manner, not just hiding things away because i'm sure they will somehow gain access to our "hidden" things and that would cause more trouble for eyn & us as a whole. Sad who knows if he's the actual photographer, we just can't take the risk by saying he's not.

i wonder, will they tell us to take off out ai avatars & sigs too?
how about our download section?

even if we don't have a gallery or a banner, i'm totally sure we can still manage without them. any word on nao hirano targetting other ai fan sites? as Rokit has mentioned, we are not as large of a forum as boajjang or the sort, so why is it that we are the first (if first at all) to be targetted?

so frustrating! Mad

i'm sorry you have to put up with this eyn! i do hope things turn out better and everything works out in the end. as for now, good luck on your studies! Nod we all will help you in every way we can!
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 1:41 pm Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 14 Apr 2005 Posts: 2039 Location: Europe
Wow this really sucks. This Nao is a total prick. I mean so many forums have so many pictures (mine included) of other artists.

However as Rokit mentioned this sounds extremely fishy. I mean if you were asked to take down mp3's or promotional videos it would be plausible but asking for a fansite to take down pictures... fishy. Sounds like a personal attack to me. AHS recently had an idiot hack the site from one of the admin's email. It's pretty common for people to get revenge behind a computer because it's cowardly.

I think the best idea would be: hosting this gallery and putting it VIP members only so no outsiders can complain and trying to have banners which are from promotional videos rather than cover art.

Also be careful it's not someone who has a grudge towards you. Many losers get pissed off when they don't obey the rules and you tell them off. It happened to me in the past and you know how some people have nothing else to do rather than spend their time being morons. I also suggest doing membership cleanups so suspicious persons are removed. Maybe you have been targetted by one of these losers so be careful. Lately I've noticed some attacks against you in the form of spam so be careful.
Tatsuka Ito
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 2:11 pm Reply with quote
フレンジャー フレンジャー
Joined: 28 Nov 2006 Posts: 918 Location: Surrey,Canada
Yes, i think Shuu should be the last exception, and after this anyone who pisses you off should get the boot. (even if it sounds harsh).

Though...wouldnt that mean eyn would make MORE enemies? just block all their IP's!
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 2:52 pm Reply with quote
クムリウタ クムリウタ
Joined: 07 Feb 2006 Posts: 362 Location: Vancouver, CA.
I think this person is definitely fake, because as mentioned, such a successful photographer don't have the time to look around on the web, let alone English sites, plus he probably can't care less that his images are being use or whatsoever, since it's common fact that people use them everywhere.

But this is troublesome, since hosting companies take these things seriously. Sad We should close off the gallery, or make it VIP only or something. There are tons of places to find images on the net, it's not really worth it to risk so much to keep the gallery. I'm more worried about the Ch-ai TV, radio, or blog. x_x;

We should just take those things down for a while, and see what to do after the fuss has gone down.
Tatsuka Ito
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 2:57 pm Reply with quote
フレンジャー フレンジャー
Joined: 28 Nov 2006 Posts: 918 Location: Surrey,Canada
about the english thing, youtube ranked as one of the most popular sites in japan despite being an english site.
So just cuz he's japanese doesnt mean he doesnt know english,

as everyones said (and much to eyn's annoyance) we should take it seriously, and like VIP everything. or we could like change .com to .tv :P
Posted: Feb 04, 2007 3:55 pm Reply with quote
フレンジャー フレンジャー
Joined: 24 Oct 2006 Posts: 935
Rinoa wrote:
I also suggest doing membership cleanups so suspicious persons are removed. Maybe you have been targetted by one of these losers so be careful. Lately I've noticed some attacks against you in the form of spam so be careful.

I'm sorry but that's absurd.

Deleting members that you're suspicious about?

That's the sort of thing that destroys online communities.

I think I know what you're referring to by "attacks"...

I've explained the circumstances behind that to eyn and there's no need for it to go any further.
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