ADBLK-1: Blocking Admiral Anti-Adblock Domains



Issue Information

Issue Type: Improvement
 
Priority: Major
Status: Open

Reported By:
Ben Tasker
Assigned To:
Ben Tasker
Project: Adblock Lists (ADBLK)
Resolution: Unresolved
Labels: Admiral, Anti-Adblock,

Created: 2019-02-10 10:43:08
Time Spent Working


Description
Background

I noticed one of these domains a little while ago - https://publicrepos.bentasker.co.uk/projects/adblocklists.git/commits/f38ef3f68618257076a99e7126593f3ee2df6a7c

The thing that struck me at the time (and you can see it in the commit message) is that the domain being blocked there carries some boilerplate text
This domain is used by digital publishers to control access to copyrighted content in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and understand how visitors are accessing their copyrighted content.

I'd stumbled upon that domain because they were serving an Anti-adblock script - which clearly is not a copyright protection mechanism.

Having got around to searching the net a little more, there's actually quite a bit more to this story.

The company behind that domain are called Admiral - https://getadmiral.com/

A little while ago, Easylist included one of their domains (functionalclam.com) on their block list, and as a result Admiral filed a DMCA 1201 Takedown notice with Github. (https://gizmodo.com/a-copyright-claim-was-reportedly-used-to-stop-ad-blocki-1797767169).
Easylist then removed the domain from their blocklist (https://github.com/easylist/easylist/commit/a4d380ad1a3b33a0fab679a1a8c5a791321622b3) - though this was reportedly actually because the domain wasn't being used to serve ads just anti-adblock scripts.

Admiral appear to have begun by trying to bluff their way through though, commenting on the commit which originally added it, using the username "dmcahelper" and writing in a manner that implied they were Github - https://github.com/easylist/easylist/commit/1ba8d4afeec6d562a5871fc7504c756e4b2bd5bc#commitcomment-23157626

The DMCA notice can be viewed here - https://github.com/github/dmca/blob/ff44d37f62d772bfec5fd4327e4a2009b9ad47aa/2017/2017-08-02-LevenLabs.md

The code in question attempts to circumvent copyright access controls to copyrighted content on the site listed in the title of this commit (https://github.com/easylist/easylist/commit/1ba8d4afeec6d562a5871fc7504c756e4b2bd5bc ) by adding functionalclam.com to code in the repository.

GitHub's DMCA Guide https://help.github.com/articles/guide-to-submitting-a-dmca-takedown-notice/ recommended this process for handling this specific situation: "Code [that] may be alleged to infringe, not because it is a direct copy, but because it is used to circumvent access controls."


There's a good writeup here (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170813/00092137987/how-dmcas-digital-locks-provision-allowed-company-to-delete-url-adblock-lists.shtml) on what the relative merits and pitfalls of their chosen approach are. It's not black and white whether the DMCA applies here or not.

Admiral themselves also responded at the time - https://blog.getadmiral.com/dmca-easylist-adblock-copyright-access-control-admiral-10-things-to-know/ - it focuses very much on their claim that it's circumvention under DMCA.


However, they do not have authorisation to run their code in my browser, so they're still going onto my list. I also have the luxury of not being in the US, so the DMCA doesn't apply.


Toggle State Changes

Activity


btasker added 'Admiral Anti-Adblock' to labels
Sources

A list of 400 known domains was pulled from https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jkrejcha/AdmiraList/master/AdmiraList.txt

A list of the latest detected domains can be generated via Urlscan - https://urlscan.io/search/#hash%3A32afacb9285649aa4af43ea03e7cd9a522aa3e6d0554a2dabe308fac4531be5f - At some point I'll set up a utility to use their API to automatically build and update a list.

Repo: adblocklists
Commit: 9e0212f20d204c5af0b7a76c79052c686389f24f
Author: B Tasker <github@<Domain Hidden>>

Date: Fri Feb 15 12:31:01 2019 +0000
Commit Message: ADBLK-1 Block another Admiral Anti-Adblock domain



Modified (-)(+)
-------
config/manualzones.txt




Webhook User-Agent

GitHub-Hookshot/f107969


View Commit


Repo: adblocklists
Commit: 8468515cec9aef93eeda9a8b5a6df948feaa4a77
Author: B Tasker <github@<Domain Hidden>>

Date: Tue Mar 19 15:01:12 2019 +0000
Commit Message: ADBLK-1 Block another Admiral domain - forecasttiger.com



Modified (-)(+)
-------
config/manualzones.txt




Webhook User-Agent

GitHub-Hookshot/6beb166


View Commit