The Internet Computer is the most powerful general-purpose blockchain for building infinitely scalable Web3 dapps, that is, the only blockchain with the speed and capability of hosting content 100% on-chain. As a result, the Internet Computer blockchain is the first blockchain that needs to tackle issues related to the DMCA process for smart contracts. For other blockchains that rely on centralized cloud services to host content, content is removed by vendors, such as AWS, in compliance with takedown notices. Web3 will look to all of us to lead on this issue — and the first challenge has arrived.
DFINITY Foundation was contacted on December 6, 2021 by a node provider who received a notice of infringement of copyrighted materials from Nintendo Co., Ltd. asking to remove the Super Mario 64 emulator that was deployed to canister smart contract culg2-qyaaa-aaaai-qa7sa-cai by controller u4u53-bhmqg-vc4mk-abm2u-mo6kz-jptpk-icn6i-gpkve-5b57m-m4cn5-jqe on November 27, 2021 (details on ic.rocks here). This poses a new question for the Internet Computer community regarding copyrighted content in canisters hosted on the Internet Computer blockchain and is an opportunity to learn how situations like this can be handled by neuron holders of the Internet Computer via the NNS.
To deal with situations like this, the NNS has a proposal type “remove canister”. When a proposal of this type is adopted by the NNS, the canister specified in the proposal is removed from the Internet Computer. In the future, additional methods will be supported to suspend the canister to provide more opportunity for due process and debate.
Possible reasons for submitting such a proposal to remove a canister from the Internet Computer blockchain include the following:
- While the Internet Computer is designed to be censorship resistant, in order for it to be adopted as the “world computer” by the mainstream, it is critical to abide by laws against terrorism, child pornography, etc., as well as regulations around copyright infringement and intellectual property laws.
- The Internet Computer network is comprised of independent node providers, who can choose to comply with any legal notices sent to them and remove their respective node(s) from the network. While the Internet Computer has close to 400 independently operated node machines (+ approximately 600 idle node machines) and is constantly expanding, the removal of any healthy nodes should be avoided to ensure network stability and continued growth.
Going forward, we encourage the community to develop an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for the Internet Computer blockchain. Once a draft of this policy is complete, we would then put it forth as a “motion” proposal to be voted on by the neuron holders. Once approved, community members could review content on the network and enforce the policy by putting forward NNS proposals. Updates and changes to the policy could also be made via NNS proposals.
Many developers are choosing to have Terms and Conditions for their products on the dapp level. For one-off canisters, such as culg2-qyaaa-aaaai-qa7sa-cai, and for even more complex cases, we will need community-driven, network-wide standards and processes.
As a complement to the above approach, we are encouraging the community to also discuss the following:
- The possibility of an independent review board, made up of leading organizations outside of the Internet Computer ecosystem with expertise in topics such as content moderation and internet freedom. We envision that these organizations could be provisioned with their own neurons to vote on issues and proposals related to the AUP. We are open to your feedback and ideas of organizations you would like to see involved.
- Implementing the full DMCA process, including counter notifications, in the form of NNS proposals.
We invite your feedback here in the thread both on this specific situation as well as the ideas we have put forth on longer-term solutions.
Please be on the lookout for a “remove canister” proposal within the next hours. The DFINITY Foundation plans to abstain from voting.