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Censorship Your Rights Online

EFF Forces DMCA Abuser to Apologize 222

Posted by samzenpus
from the depths-of-my-mothers-basement-I-stab-at-thee dept.
destinyland writes "The EFF just announced victory over a serial abuser of DMCA copyright notices. To set an example, their settlement required Michael Crook to record a video apology to the entire internet for interfering with free speech. He's also required to withdraw every bogus DMCA notice, and refrain from future bogus notices, never contest the original image again, and take a remedial class on copyright law. He'd attempted to use flaws in the DMCA to censor an embarrassing picture of himself that he just didn't want appearing online — but instead the whole thing backfired."
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EFF Forces DMCA Abuser to Apologize

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  • by JonathanR (852748) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:39PM (#18356643)
    Who will own the copyright to the apology video?
  • The last link seems dead already.
  • That's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:42PM (#18356677) Homepage
    He'd attempted to use flaws in the DMCA to censor an embarrassing picture of himself that he just didn't want appearing online

    That's it? They finally get a serial abuser of the DMCA to apologize, and it's just some guy with a nudie picture that he didn't want people to see? How about getting an **AA or something to apologize for *really* infringing on free speech/expression?
    • Lip service is infinitely cheap. As long as we're living in a nation which is d0minated by artificially created taxpayer debt you'll never see a significant victory over the organizations which help to maintain that debt.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:57PM (#18356797) Journal
      ... with shallow pockets. Once the precedent is established you use it to go after people (scumbags or otherwise) with deeper pockets.

      That's why prosecutors start a child molester, if possible, when they're prosecuting the first case under a new censorship law.

      Works just as well for the good guys:

        - Start with some idiot who both exposed himself in public as part of a scam and used bogus DMCA takedown notices. Get the precedent established that bogus DMCA takedown notices are wrong and you can be punished for them.

        - Next go after somebody who used bogus takedown notices without exposing himself or committing other previous (but somehow related) scams, but DID cause a bunch of financial and/or other damage by his activities. Establish that he has to pay for the damage plus a penalty.

        - THEN take on the MAFIAA.
      • That's "resurrection".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aero2600-5 (797736)
        "Once the precedent is established.."

        This case was not decided by a judge. It was settled out of court.

        I may be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that there is no legal precedent set when someone settles.

        Aero
        • This case was not decided by a judge. It was settled out of court.

          I may be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that there is no legal precedent set when someone settles.


          You're correct. (The fact that he settled may make others more likely to cave. But it doesn't establish any law that courts look at for those that don't settle.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Score Whore (32328)
        Just out of curiousity do you know what precedent is? I'm thinking you don't. First, this case was settled. It never went before a judge or jury, it wasn't decided. So no precedent. Second, let's go ahead and say this did go to trial and a judge actually rendered a judgement. It would mean zero to the next DMCA case that comes along unless it's "on all fours" with the original case. So your theory that a case about false DMCA notices will reflect on legitimate DMCA cases is complete bullshit. Thirdly, the o
      • by Tim C (15259)
        Nice theory, just two little holes:

        1) This was settled out of court, so no precedent
        2) This was about claiming to own copyright when you don't, which is explicitly in violation of the DMCA; the "MAFIAA" actually work on behalf of the legal copyright holders, and so it's doubtful that that provision would apply

        • by mpe (36238)
          This was about claiming to own copyright when you don't, which is explicitly in violation of the DMCA; the "MAFIAA" actually work on behalf of the legal copyright holders, and so it's doubtful that that provision would apply.

          Actually it's quite possible for this to apply. Especially when there have been cases of claiming a copyright infringement based purely on regular expression matching of filenames.
    • Re:That's it? (Score:5, Informative)

      by StringBlade (557322) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:00PM (#18356821) Journal
      If you search around a bit (Google cache helped here) you'll see that it wasn't a nudie picture he was embarrassed about, it was his entire bit on Hannity and Colmes where they verbally beat him down for badmouthing our troops. He figured that he owned his own image and that somehow the DMCA gave him the power to prevent the reproduction of his image in that broadcast.

      Naturally you don't own the copyright to your image if someone else takes a picture of you and you sign a waiver giving up your copyright to that particular image and likeness.

      In the end, he's just a sad, disillusioned jerkoff who does things the American Way(TM) - without thinking about or understanding his actions.
      • by lorcha (464930) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:42PM (#18357177)

        Naturally you don't own the copyright to your image if someone else takes a picture of you and you sign a waiver giving up your copyright to that particular image and likeness.
        Whoever creates a work owns the copyright, unless the creator signs away the copyright (in the case of work for hire, etc.) So if I take a picture of you, your dog, even Michael Crook, I own the copyright on that image.

        What you are thinking about in your post is what's called a "model release". It's a little wrinkle in copyright law. It says that even though I own the copyright to anything I create, I can't use that photo commercially if there is a person who can be identified in the photo unless that person gives permission. But make no mistake about it. If I take a picture of you, I can display it wherever I want (including my webpage), as long as I'm not using it commercially, without your permission.

        This is why the newspaper can post your picture in an article, even if you object to it. It's called an "editorial" work.
        • by Bios_Hakr (68586)
          So, how does "To Catch a Predator" work? Or any other undercover journalism for that matter? I doubt the mechanic ripping off customers signs a consent form. I really doubt pervs busted for trying to make little girls fuck their cats give consent.

          In the cases above, and even your newspaper example, the work is being used as part of a commercial work. Newspapers sell ads. Therefore, the paper is making a profit off of my image.
          • 'editorial' use (Score:3, Informative)

            by ScentCone (795499)
            In the cases above, and even your newspaper example, the work is being used as part of a commercial work. Newspapers sell ads. Therefore, the paper is making a profit off of my image.

            It's called "editorial use," and that's a specific case. An image that illustrates news or editorial information is different than an image that is sold as the image. So, selling a poster of you is different than publishing an article about you that happens to include your image. It's a little vague, because it has to be, bu
        • Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

          by zoomshorts (137587)
          "Whoever creates a work owns the copyright, unless the creator signs away the copyright (in the case of work for hire, etc.) So if I take a picture of you, your dog, even Michael Crook, I own the copyright on that image." IF I am a public figure, I have no right or expectation to privacyy. Should I not be a public figure, or person of note, Then I OWN MY IMAGE and you need a release to publish.

          This is NOT rocket science.. If I appear in public, that changes the outcome.
        • Being a film and television producer who deals with this kind of stuff on a regular basis, I should point out the errors in your post. If what you're claiming were true every paparazzo would be up to their necks in litigation, since making money off unauthorized photos is their business.

          What you are thinking about in your post is what's called a "model release". It's a little wrinkle in copyright law.

          It isn't part of copyright law at all: people's faces are not subject to copyright (and if they were, the ri
      • by rossz (67331)
        A few minutes with photoshop and it WILL be embarrassing nude photos that he'll want removed.
    • some guy with a nudie picture
      He was not even nude... Just a rather run-of-the-mill suit-and-tie [edified.org] picture that he's embarrassed about for some weird reason.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StormReaver (59959)
      "They finally get a serial abuser of the DMCA to apologize, and it's just some guy with a nudie picture that he didn't want people to see?"

      It wasn't even a nude shot, or anything anyone would think twice about. It was a picture of him appearing on Fox News in a suit and tie. All jokes aside, the picture shows nothing embarassing. The only thing that's embarassing about is the supreme lack of intelligence he showed in trying to get it removed. That broadcast to the world how rabidly insecure he is.
    • What are you talking about? This is just a mugshot of the guy fully clothed as he appears at an interview.
  • Why not Purjury (Score:5, Interesting)

    by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas&dsminc-corp,com> on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:42PM (#18356679) Homepage
    Since the guy appears to have made knowingly false statements under penalty of perjury clause of the DCMA when will the DA file the criminal charges????
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by purduephotog (218304)
      They tried that on BestBuy when BB sued FatWallet.com for posting their BlackThursday ads. I wanted to see a lawyer rot in jail, but they got themselves off.

      Yes, pun intended.
  • Oh, the irony... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imemyself (757318) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:43PM (#18356683)
    Isn't it ironic - not only that a very large number of people will see his picture because he was an &^*hole, but also that the site that he apparently tried to have taken down, is offline (presumably due to the /. effect or because it was linked to by other sites).
  • exile (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:52PM (#18356759) Homepage
    apology to the entire internet
     
    I think he should be banned from the internet, hey they did it to mitnick.
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:54PM (#18356771) Homepage
    The best apologies are the ones that are forced by court order.

    BTW, here's a good indicator of how sincere he is: http://www.stopfairuse.info/ [stopfairuse.info]
    • hypocritical =b (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fugu (99277)
      He wants to stop fair use, but I'm guessing he doesn't hold the copyright for the picture of Emma Watson that he used in this post [michaelcrook.org] on his blog
    • by rossifer (581396)
      I posted this comment to his blog entry [michaelcrook.org] protesting fair use:

      If you want to write a critique for a book, it's often necessary to refer to specific portions of the book, by description and repetition of the actual content, so that someone wanting to read your critique doesn't have to go and buy the work themselves just to understand what you're arguing. Fair use protects the ability of everyone to do that, thus protecting the ability to discuss, criticise, parody, promote, etc.

      Ultimately, the ability to publi
    • Here's yer website, and I raise you a WHOIS...

      Well, I'd post it but I'm afraid I'd get sued for releasing public information that is available from your local *nix command line by simply typing `whois stopfairuse.info`. Anyone from New York?
    • by PhxBlue (562201) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:15PM (#18356945) Homepage Journal

      Good find! If you don't like Crook's two-faced approach to his case, feel free to write him a letter or give him a call:

      Michael Crook
      8417 Oswego Rd. #179
      Baldwinsville, NY 13027
      Phone: 347-218-7773
      Email: mcwhoismail@gmail.com

      Info courtesy of Whois.net [whois.net].

      • (Have to give credit to an AC buried farther down for pointing out his contact page [michaelcrook.org]...)

        In addition to the phone # you've provided, here's a fax #: (315) 663-3036

        He also seems to use IM a bit, he's got an AIM account (MikeFromSyracuse), an MSN Messenger account (mike@silentmike.us), and a Yahoo account (mikechatcny).

        Oh, and his "email me" page [michaelcrook.org] doesn't have so much as a CAPTCHA on it.

        You should note that I'm not advocating spamming the living shit out of his ugly, pathetic, lying ass. Indeed, I would never ev
  • by Etyenne (4915) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:00PM (#18356823)
    ... just post a link to the embarrassing picture in question ? I don't care about TFA being slashdotted, I just want to make fun of the idiot.
  • Michael Crook? (Score:5, Informative)

    by secolactico (519805) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:11PM (#18356903) Journal
    I didn't know who the guy was so I looked him up.

    Man's a creep. So he posts pictures of men he baits on craiglist posing as a woman but his image should be considered off limits? Hypocrite, to say the least.

    What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Every action has a reaction. Play with the bull, get the horns. Crap, I just ran out of clichés.

    For those who can't access 10zenmonkey, you can read a short blurb here [blogspot.com].

    Not sure why he got all worked up for that picture anyway. I look way worse on most of my photos. And usually with my eyes closed.
    • One of his latest blog posts has a picture of Emma Watson [wikipedia.org] of Harry Potter fame, pointing out that in a month's time she'll be 17 - the age of sexual consent in New York State.

      Sure she's attractive, but that's just disgusting!

      • by Tim C (15259)
        This is pretty far off topic, but I remember a similar thing here in the UK a few years ago (ok, probably 10 or more years...). One of the sleazier tabloids had "discovered" this 15 year old girl with huge boobs, and was teasing its readership with scantily-clad pictures of her in the run-up to her 16th birthday (age of sexual consent in the UK). I remember the day before they ran with a large photo of her on the front page, bare-chested apart from a finger covering each nipple, and a headline something lik
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          in the run-up to her 16th birthday (age of sexual consent in the UK). I remember the day before they ran with a large photo of her on the front page, bare-chested apart from a finger covering each nipple, and a headline something like "Tomorrow she's TOPLESS!". Meanwhile, they were joining in the general tabloid frenzy about paedophiles.

          Is this legal any more? I'm sure that they changed the law at some stage so that topless photos of under-18s (at least in the papers) weren't allowed.

          FWIW, it would have been far sleazier if the girl had looked like she was 12 or 13 with a flat chest, and they were doing the same stunt.

          Okay; the age consent laws- both for photography and intercourse- are (supposedly) in place for the protection of the child, and anyone actually f****** a 15-year old knowing his/her age probably should be locked up. (*)

  • I can see why he wanted his photo removed permanently from the 'net: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/02/michael_crook _sends_.html [boingboing.net]
  • scumbag (Score:3, Informative)

    by jdc180 (125863) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:17PM (#18356965)
    what a scumbag. He's creator of http://www.stopfairuse.info/ [stopfairuse.info]

    Just what we need, He's bitching the the DMCA doesn't go FAR enough. He goes on national TV, and complains someone snapped a shot of it. Scumbag.
  • Okay...? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rmckeethen (130580)

    Humm, well, OK then -- Michael Crook says he's sorry. I'm just so thrilledto have this new information. I guess this is a victory for some website having to do with monkeys, and FOX News is somewhere in there too. Gee, well, huh. So there it is then. All right. Swell. Thanks.

    On second thought, can I have back the five minutes of my life I just wasted watching this apology?

    • by Kamineko (851857)
      Nope. I'm afraid not.

      You could always get the guy to apologize for his apology, though.
  • Lie! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jma05 (897351) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:39PM (#18357159)
    This guy is a bare faced liar. He does not seem to have learned a bit about basic decency and continues to remain the perfect example of a "griefer".

    "I had an honest belief that one could control their image when it was used contrary to the original intent"

    And what was the original intent of the posters Crook tricked into giving their private pictures. It is unbelievable that he expects people to believed all this while doing the exact opposite. He must live in some kind of bizzaro world.

    "Who knew you can't control your own image?"

    Wasn't it the same confidence that one can't, that allowed him to do this in the first place? And yet when it comes to him the rules don't apply.

    "The appearance on Hannity and Colmes was very embarrassing for me"

    And I thought all along that he did not know the meaning of embarrassment. Or maybe, he just lacked empathy. For those out of the loop, he called the troops "scumbags" and "pukes" on his web site for which he was called to the show where he was completely unprepared to give any valid response. Other quotes from Crook on the soldiers - "What idiots risk their life for a country...? Let 'em die in combat - we don't need their ilk in this country!".

    "I firmly believe that he chose the photograph in an attempt to attack and unduly humiliate me"

    Unlike his compassionate treatment his victims? Crook said "he's enjoying exposing the perverts" and "pathetic men".
    • Many people pooh-pooh the distinction, but I think this is a perfect case. He has no *guilt* for what he's done: he doesn't feel badly about any of it because he thinks everything he did was justified. He has tremendous *shame* being heaped on him because everyone else can see that he's a bottom-feeding hypocrite. He is embarrassed because he's ashamed.
    • I happened to be be in an IRC channel were one also hang out, or claimed to be one anyway, and he was very proud for posting the troll that the GNAA does (or used too).

      Yet one day he was ranting about how some guy was wasting his bandwidth on his site by downloading the same thing over and over again.

      Griefers, bullies and their like can dish it out but they can't take it. This is absolutly nothing different from criminals who abuse their victims without mercy and then complain when the police is a bit too

    • There were no nude pics! EVER!

      He just made an ass of himself on some TV interview, then tried to prevent them from airing it. He might be close to having a case if he xeroxed his ass or something, but it's not even that close -- it was an interview conducted solely for the purpose of being disseminated, and he knew that.
  • Hey, everybody! Look at this -- it's that boy who throws DMCA takedown notices at everyone. Let's laugh at him!

  • Here's a link (Score:2, Informative)

    by ZDRuX (1010435) *
    Here's a link to the bogus DMCA takedown notice he sent out. http://www.boingboing.net/images/dmca-boing-boing- nov-1.doc [boingboing.net]
  • by JayAEU (33022) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @11:49PM (#18357983)
    Has anybody actually read what he says in his blog?

    Taken from http://www.michaelcrook.org/thedmcacase.html [michaelcrook.org], where he's talking about this (http://www.michaelcrook.org/extrafiles/crook.jpg) screenshot of his:

    "And hey, I rather like this screenshot. It makes me look like Hitler and shit. Cool beans-- it was exactly the statement I was trying to make."

    I'm still sitting here with my jaw hanging down after having read this! I think not only should he be sent to a basic lesson of copyright law, but also to a history lesson focussing on WW2!
    • This is also about when I started to really notice -- and get annoyed by -- the fact that his site uses JavaScript to filter out clicks (right or left), in an attempt to avoid you selecting text to copy and paste, or right-click+copy on any images or something.

      I mean, just wow.

      I see that maybe once a year -- some moron who tries to prevent you from copying something directly from a website through some sort of javascript hack. Other examples include a site which offered "encryption", wherein they have some
  • Apologetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:47AM (#18358321) Homepage Journal
    From here [michaelcrook.org]:

    In total, this case had to have cost the EFF at least $46,000 in attorney's fees and costs, whereas all I will have spent after the copyright courses is $215.00. Sometimes, not being wealthy rocks. Not being wealthy sucks when you're at the strip club, and down to your last $20 just when the girl is willing to "do a little more".

    It's good to see that he has learned his lesson, instead of revelling in the destruction caused by the inefficiencies of the legal system.

    What a seriously evil asshole.

  • wget blip.tv/file/get/10zenmonkeys-DearInternetImSorry6 75.flv
  • by gwoodrow (753388) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:50AM (#18358339)
    ...isn't from slashdot. It's the last part of this page: [10zenmonkeys.com]

    "I can foresee a day when this community of nihilistic pranksters hold its first convention, and they spend a week at the Marriott sneaking up on each other, flicking each other's ears and laughing until they drool."
  • by jma05 (897351) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:35AM (#18358557)
    As mentioned earlier, the apology was a sham.

    On his blog, he returns back to gloating
    - that he recorded the video to just get out of the case
    - that it didn't cost him much.
    - that he got free publicity that would otherwise have cost him
    - that he will go back to his old ways.

    "but the DMCA is but one of the many tools available these days. This was merely a battle in the war"

    http://www.michaelcrook.org/thedmcacase.html [michaelcrook.org]

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