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Censorship Your Rights Online

EFF Forces DMCA Abuser to Apologize 222

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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  • 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????
  • 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: []
  • Inapplicable (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @08:56PM (#18356787)
    Disclaimer: IANAL

    But back when we had lawyers from the Copyright Office interviewed on Slashdot, they said that the perjury provisions are only applicable to the statement that whoever sends them actually represents the (alleged) copyright holder. In other words, all Crook was swearing to under perjury was that he represented himself. The way it would actually come into play was if, say, he had pretended to represent Fox News (or whoever *actually* owned the copyrights) and then filed DMCA notices under their name with YouTube to get those video clips taken down.

    That said, I think they *should* put up some kind of penalty for frivilous DMCA Takedown Notices, but if there is any such thing, I haven't seen it litigated. I loved that he had to agree to take a course on copyright law, though. Creative settlements at their best! I wonder if they mandated that he had to *pass* the course, though?

    Lastly, in a completely offtopic note, am I the only one who is now picturing this guy holding a press conference to announce "I am not a Crook!"? :-)
  • hypocritical =b (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fugu ( 99277 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:09PM (#18356887)
    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 [] on his blog
  • Re:Lip service (Score:3, Interesting)

    by diablomonic ( 754193 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:35PM (#18357125)
    understood (see sig)
  • by sn00ker ( 172521 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @09:39PM (#18357157) Homepage
    Just posted a comment on that post, asking if he'd be willing to pay the copyright holder of that photo of Emma in order to make use of it. Will be interesting to see if he approves it.
  • 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".
  • by Gabriel_503 ( 1056052 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @11:02PM (#18357707)
    On his website [] he claims the subject of a photograph should have copyright of it, that using the image should require written consent, and that abusers should pay $50-1,500 in fines.

    Suppose you put an online family photo album up. You would never dream of asking your family for written consent, in fact that would sound insulting. Then your cousin gets pissed at you and decides to sue so that you get fined.

    This guy's a frigging genius. With laws like this, you might as well use that new digital camera as a bookend.

  • by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2007 @11:23PM (#18357847)
    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 only time precedent is established is when there is some ambiguity in the statute. There's nothing in the DMCA that is ambiguous about non-copyright holders submitting take down notices.
  • 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" []
  • Re:That's it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by reub2000 ( 705806 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @01:38AM (#18358581)

    A flip through any tabloid should assure you that you don't need permission to use it for monetary gain.
    In Nussenzweig v. DiCorcia, the New York Supreme Court decided that selling an image doesn't constitute commercial use. Commercial use would be using the persons image on an advertisement.
  • Re:That's it? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:49AM (#18360145)
    "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.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire