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Censorship

4,000 Anti-Scientology Videos Yanked From YouTube 658

Posted by timothy
from the y'just-don't-get-it-do-ya? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From the EFF webpage: 'Over a period of twelve hours, between this Thursday night and Friday morning, American Rights Counsel LLC sent out over 4000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube, all making copyright infringement claims against videos with content critical of the Church of Scientology.'"
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4,000 Anti-Scientology Videos Yanked From YouTube

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  • Legal consequence? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmack (197796) <{ten.erifrenni} {ta} {kcamg}> on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:33AM (#24917855) Homepage Journal

    Aren't DMCA notice senders supposed to be legally responsible for the accuracy of the notice? Where is the consequences for blatant abuse?

    • by advocate_one (662832) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:35AM (#24917859)
      this could be highly amusing... just think of all those perjury charges...
    • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:37AM (#24917871) Homepage
      I don't know the content of these videos, but yeah.. a DMCA notice is a sworn statement. If the information is false then potentially it could be regarded as perjury.
      • by TheJasper (1031512) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:49AM (#24917953)
        The problem with that is how often are people/organistations charged with perjury? I suspect not much if at all.
        • by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:59AM (#24918033) Homepage

          Well, someone has to issue the DMCA notice - somebody is in charge somewhere. I know it may not seem like it some time, but someone will become accountable if you prod hard enough.

          In fact, if they are careful, all those users who had their material taken down could cause so much trouble for Scientology they may never send another DMCA again. I mean, these video posters are dedicated enough to submit anti-Scientology videos, I'm sure if they have enough time and energy for this sort of thing they'll have enough time and energy to fight back!

          • by aunticrist (952359) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:36AM (#24918349)
            You've not seen what the Church of $cientology can do in a court room lately, have you? They have so many judges in their pockets that they are able to do crap like this and never see the inside of a court room.
        • by dattaway (3088) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:01AM (#24918049) Homepage Journal

          Money is required to fight injustice. Most people aren't willing to retain a lawyer over something that isn't feeding their families.

          • by ari_j (90255) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:15AM (#24918189)
            "Principle" and "sorry" are the two most expensive words in the law. Arguably, in that order. That said, 4,000 videos may mean enough plaintiffs for a class action, which could have some hope of compensating a lawyer for fighting this on principle whereas the 4,000 individuals couldn't afford it on an individual basis. The EFF has also filed lawsuits over DMCA abuses in the past, so at least be sure that someone over there has a way to get in touch with the people adversely affected by this one.
        • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:35AM (#24918339)
          Everyone who had a video taken down because of this needs to form a class-action suit and counter immediately. You can't have a video taken down in this manner without it (a) violating many nation's free-speech laws; and (b) violating perjury laws. Hit 'em where it hurts.
      • by boarder8925 (714555) <thegreentrilbyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:50AM (#24917967) Homepage

        If the information is false then potentially it could be regarded as perjury.

        Not with the amount of money they have. . .

      • by dbIII (701233) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:00AM (#24918041)

        a DMCA notice is a sworn statement. If the information is false then potentially it could be regarded as perjury.

        I'm curious. Has this ever actually happened with a single one of the vast number of DMCA notices ever issued?

    • by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical.gmail@com> on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:42AM (#24917921) Homepage

      What would the process be for having them prosecuted for perjury?

      I assume you would have to file charges at a police station in their local area. Then, you'd probably have to get the DA there to actually press the case. Finally, you'd have to have a judge willing to apply pretty harsh sentencing.

      It might actually be fun to have 400+ people roll up in Podunk Police Station and all file criminal reports against these people.

      It would also probably be a good idea to send a letter to their local BAR association and advise then that their people are perjuring themselves while slandering innocent people.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:10AM (#24918141)

        I would wager that Scientology sees this as a win-win situation. Either the videos come down without reprisals, or the video creators have to file charges/suits using their real names, opening them up to being 'fair gamed'. What I wouldn't give to see them caught downloading Schindler's List or something - they and the MPAA deserve each other.

        We can only hope they use Thunderdome rules. Two men enter, one man leaves!

        • by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:05AM (#24919265) Homepage

          I would wager that Scientology sees this as a win-win situation. Either the videos come down without reprisals, or the video creators have to file charges/suits using their real names, opening them up to being 'fair gamed'.

          Bingo. This actually started a week ago courtesy of porn baron/Scientologist Oliver Schaper. At the time, the possibility of DMCA counter-claim was mooted among Anonymous, and shot down due to this exact reason. Scientology monitors Anonymous message boards, and for this reason, some of us think that they came to the conclusion that they had the green light to do this.

          What Scientology didn't gamble on was the fact that there are some Anonymous whose identities are already known and who were willing to take action. I was one of them.

          I delved back into my Slashdot experiences for this purpose and used the old sysop trick for catching spammers: set up a honeypot. I created a YouTube account and uploaded certain videos which seemed to have a good chance of getting taken down for specious reasons. Sure enough, one of them was. Within thirty minutes, I filed a counter-claim.

          We can only hope they use Thunderdome rules. Two men enter, one man leaves!

          There is a very good reason why we in Chanology call our out-of-control playpen at Enturbulation.org the Thunderdome...

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:49AM (#24917943) Journal

      That is a damned good question. A quick search on Google will show that we've been here before. www.xenu.net Had no end of trouble with this. I think that if they attempt to link all anonymous videos as being from one source it will be MORE than interesting.

      FTFA:

      YouTube users responded with DMCA counter-notices. At this time, many of the suspended channels have been reinstated and many of the videos are back up. Whether or not American Rights Counsel, LLC represents the notoriously litigious Church of Scientology is unclear, but this would not be the first time that the Church of Scientology has used the DMCA to silence Scientology critics. The Church of Scientology DMCA complaints shut down the YouTube channel of critic Mark Bunker in June, 2008. Bunkerâ(TM)s account, XenuTV, was also among the channels shut down in this latest flurry of takedown notices.

      It sounds like Google did what is required of them by law, becoming just the bullets used by both sides to fire at each other in a war that I hope ends up in court. Flagrant misuse of DMCA takedown notices should be punished. CoS is proving once again just exactly why it is they deserve legal status as a church. You know, one of those organizations of compassion and love. hmmmm, then again Tammy Fae Baker wasn't too happy with some of the public comments about her either.

      It's kind of a shame there is no particular way to make CoS leaders 'fair game' though I'd like to see someone find a way in court to fair game them there.

    • DMCA this, bitches (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:13AM (#24918677)

      The head of the Galactic Federation (76 planets around larger stars visible from here) (founded 95,000,000 years ago, very space opera) solved overpopulation (250 billion or so per planet, 178 billion on average) by mass implanting. He caused people to be brought to Teegeeack (Earth) and put an H-Bomb on the principal volcanos (Incident II) and then the Pacific area ones were taken in boxes to Hawaii and the Atlantic area ones to Las Palmas and there "packaged".

      His name was Xenu. He used renegades. Various misleading data by means of circuits etc. was placed in the implants.

      When through with his crime loyal officers (to the people) captured him after six years of battle and put him in an electronic mountain trap where he still is. "They" are gone. The place (Confederation) has since been a desert. The length and brutality of it all was such that this Confederation never recovered. The implant is calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc) anyone who attempts to solve it. This liability has been dispensed with by my tech development.

      One can freewheel through the implant and die unless it is approached as precisely outlined. The "freewheel" (auto-running on and on) lasts too long, denies sleep etc and one dies. So be careful to do only Incidents I and II as given and not plow around and fail to complete one thetan at a time.

      In December 1967 I knew someone had to take the plunge. I did and emerged very knocked out, but alive. Probably the only one ever to do so in 75,000,000 years. I have all the data now, but only that given here is needful.

      One's body is a mass of individual thetans stuck to oneself or to the body.

      One has to clean them off by running incident II and Incident I. It is a long job, requiring care, patience and good auditing. You are running beings. They respond like any preclear. Some large, some small.

      Thetans believed they were one. This is the primary error. Good luck.

    • by Edward Kmett (123105) on Monday September 08, 2008 @09:33AM (#24918929) Homepage

      Sure they are, but they can always claim they were operating in "good faith".

      However, the "consequences" are unfortunately quite obvious:

      By sending arguably baseless DMCA takedown notifications to thousands of Anti-Scientology videos on Youtube, they just have to wait for the DMCA counter- notices to be filed.

      The counter-notices contain personal information for all those otherwise pesky anonymous internet users and get forwarded to them for free. Thats a lot cheaper than trying to hire people to track down your enemies on the internet.

      And as an added bonus some fraction of the content - filed by folks whom are not aware of the counter-notice procedure, or whom are unwilling to divulge their personal information to the Church of Scientology - just goes away.

      Finally, the counter-notice is a testimony that they can try to get the person to perjure themselves on that the content doesn't belong to the Church of Scientology, which gives them even more ammunition, given that a fair chunk of the content out there really does consist of Scientology documents.

      It seems like a pretty effective end run around the system.

  • It's Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:34AM (#24917857)
    It's really simple - critique =/= infringement.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but it's a big no-no to use the DMCA knowingly falsely, right? Not that I think anything will come of it...
    • by TFGeditor (737839) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:37AM (#24917869) Homepage

      For reasons I do not understand, Xenu and clan seem immune to reaping the consequences of their actions.

      Scientology: The Teflon Religion

    • Re:It's Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nursie (632944) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:38AM (#24917877)

      Yes, DMCA takedown notices are supposedly sworn, under penalty of perjury, to be from a person/organisation with a good claim to owning the copyright.

      Where this gets tricky is proving they were used to quash criticism and not in good faith. IE if they say "we thought we owned it and had a good claim", that may be enough to get them out of it. Depending on how blatant they were, of course.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:37AM (#24917867)

    By abusing the DMCA they can get slapped pretty heavy. Especially in light of the latest ruling that copyright owners must explicitly consider whether a suspected violation is fair use. Certainly if any of the folks that got harassed decide to litigate back they may well have a decent case.

  • Some videos back up (Score:5, Informative)

    by fprintf (82740) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:38AM (#24917875) Journal

    From the article: "YouTube users responded with DMCA counter-notices. At this time, many of the suspended channels have been reinstated and many of the videos are back up."

    Good for those YouTube users for responding with the counter notices.

  • I wonder... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Monday September 08, 2008 @07:40AM (#24917893) Journal

    Will we see DMCA Takedown notices claiming news stories like these infringe on the property of the lawyers who issued the original DMCA Takedowns? :P

    Actually... I really shouldn't joke about that. It may just happen...

    • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The Spie (206914) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:26AM (#24919577) Homepage

      Some of the videos that were taken down were broadcasts of news stories.

      One of the main targets for Scientology during the takedown was an expose done on the Australian news-magazine program Today Tonight a few months ago on Scientology's use of child labor. This was targeted because Anonymous' protest theme this month focuses on children, and the Today Tonight story was being prominently used in Anon promotional material for this protest.

      In fact, it was this video that was taken down from my honeypot account that I used to file a DMCA counter-claim.

  • by smchris (464899) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:13AM (#24918167)

    We think Disney is bad? Imagine if the bible were copyrighted. It'd run the eternal life of the author plus 75 years. But with a religion so blatantly a business like scientology, what will copyright be like _next_ century?

  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:23AM (#24918263) Journal

    ...American Rights Counsel LLC sent out over 4000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube...

    ... leaving them with 250,000 more to send.

    I say go to it. The only way these jokers can know which videos to hit with a DMCA is to watch them. Maybe if they're exposed to anti-CoS messages enough, it'll start to crack through the brainwashing, and they'll free themselves.

    So keep posting those videos, folks! It's good karma.

  • by Twyst3d (1359973) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:31AM (#24918313)
    Yay! I was wondering when Scientology was going to wield a big wad of cash to make this go away. Good for them, they are only proving the videos have information they do not want seen. I just hope the Anonymous movement against the church of Scientology can use this to pick up some momentum.
  • by Kenrod (188428) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:45AM (#24918409)

    Do the anti-Scientology posters to youtube have to reveal information about themselves to Scientology Inc. through their counter-notices? Isn't this just a way for Scientology to get the identities of the posters?

  • by Cookie3 (82257) on Monday September 08, 2008 @08:59AM (#24918541) Homepage

    Consider the possibility that the main aim of CoS was not simply to remove those videos, but to gather information about the people who posted them. Google DMCA Counterclaim information: http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=59826 [google.com]

    2. Provide your full name, address, telephone number, and email address, and the username of your YouTube account. ...

    What happens next?

    After we receive your counter-notification, we will forward it to the party who submitted the original claim of copyright infringement. Please note that when we forward the counter-notification, it includes your personal information. By submitting a counter-notification, you consent to having your information revealed in this way.

    CoS files false takedowns, Anonymous critics file counter-claims, CoS gets all of their personal information.

    And yes, they do collect personal information and do exploit it to threaten and silence their critics. See, for example, the case of G. Allen. Allen was a regular guy who stopped by to look at the Anonymous protesters in February, with no real interest in the group, and then received a threatening letter from CoS because they ran his license plates and dug up his information to harass him.. and harass him they did. http://blackfish.biz/allen/?p=246 [blackfish.biz]

  • UNBELIEVABLE! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spasmhead (1301953) on Monday September 08, 2008 @10:09AM (#24919321)
    The fact that it was necessary to display "This is what scientologists actually believe" on the screen while parodying the cult of scientology on Southpark speaks volumes. This is the show that puts a nuke up Hillary Clinton's snatch and a hamster up Mr Slaves ass in front of a class of school kids.

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