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Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Uri Geller Accused of Bending Copyright Law 273

JagsLive writes in with a Fox News report about Uri Geller's apparently playing fast and loose with copyright law in order to silence his detractors. "'All it takes is a single e-mail to completely censor someone on the Internet,' said Jason Schultz, a lawyer for the online civil rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing Geller over an unflattering clip posted on YouTube for which he claimed a copyright ownership."
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Uri Geller Accused of Bending Copyright Law

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  • by tronicum ( 617382 ) * on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @07:25PM (#19819737)
    Maybe someone could sue him because of using fake rolex [] watches he bends [].
  • by BoberFett ( 127537 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @07:32PM (#19819815)
    Abuse of the DMCA through fraudulent takedown notices should result in no less of a penalty than an actual violation of copyright. If a copyright owner can collect $150K per instance of copyright violation, then someone who fraudulently claims copyright on an item they do not in fact have a copyright on should be up against the same penalty.
  • by Rodyland ( 947093 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @07:43PM (#19819895)
    They do mention in the article:

    "The trick is that you are breaking the law when you knowingly send notices for videos that you don't hold the copyrights," Reyes said. "It's a good solution."

    Problem is, someone has to take them to court. Can you see YouTube standing up for your fair-use rights in the face of a takedown notice? Me either. And unless there are monetary penalties (can anyone point to some DMCA-abuse or takedown-notice-abuse cases that have been successfully fought? And resulted significant monetary penalties?) it's still going to be a case of the guy with the deepest pockets winning.

  • Re:oh geez (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Babbster ( 107076 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (bbabnoraa)> on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @07:46PM (#19819917) Homepage
    Indeed, let's let people have all their new, demonstrably false religions so that maybe in a thousand or so years we can have yet more groups of irrational zealots doing violence on unbelievers. Ignorance isn't a good thing, whether it's in you, your next-door neighbor or some poor douchebag on the other side of the planet.
  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ekhymosis ( 949557 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @07:50PM (#19819957) Homepage
    Looks like instead of the spoon, it's Uri that will be bent. Too bad he won't go to jail, I'd like to see him 'bend' out of that one =)
  • by DGolden ( 17848 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @08:02PM (#19820061) Homepage Journal
    Copyright law is pretty much designed to cause this sort of idiocy.

    Re the ease of censoring on the net- It is quite scary how easily controlled most people's internet access (including my own, really) could be. People often think the internet is this robust, uncensorable system, because of old stories about being "designed to withstand a nuclear attack" and all that. That kind of applied when most network nodes were in universities and research labs, who were owner/operators of routing nodes with peering agreements with eachother. Nowadays, the vast majority of people on the internet are "edge nodes", connected to a single corporate ISP. So it's basically degenerated to a star/tree topology at the "home" level. No longer resistant to control, in fact facilitating control by establishing choke points. Blind, complacent faith in the "power" of the internet to "interpret censorship as damage and route around it" as the adage used to go, when that power is being neutered further with each upgrade cycle and your own only routing consists of sending stuff upstream on your sole connection to your sole ISP, is probably not a good idea. What can one do? Learn about wireless mesh networking fast I guess...

  • Fair Use to me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @08:38PM (#19820307)
    It also turned out that Geller owned no more than eight seconds of the 13 minutes of video, according to Geller's own court filings.

    IANAL by I know people are allowed to copy a small percentage for fair use. 8 seconds in 13 minutes sounds like it would fall within that margin.

  • Re:oh geez (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @08:40PM (#19820327) Journal
    Promoting critical thought matters...

    That's my point. These people fall for this because they don't think critically. They want to believe, no matter how absurd the "product". Politicians are huckster because it works. If it didn't, they would be honest, but that's not what the voters want. They want tax cuts and entitlements. Those who promises those things, regardless of their real intent, will win. That is not the fault of the huckster. Adam and Eve were sinners, not victims. I say let the devil run loose. He can't do a thing without our help. Resisting temptation is our responsibility and nobody else's. And it is our responsibility to teach our children to resist. Don't ever expect the hucksters to "police themselves". And don't think for a second that legislation against tempting people will ever work. Critical thinking is indeed the key, but conditioned reflex is more likely to rule the day.
  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2007 @10:52PM (#19821233)
    No one with an ounce of intelligence is going to reclaim ownership on something they don't actually own or where this is no real dispute of ownership. The statement you file back is a sworn document and could be used bring perjury charges if the reclaim is seen to be completely bogus. So the issue of posters being sued for reclaiming ownership and losing in my opinion would be non-existent and if someone did you could in fact use the claim as justifiable evidence of compromised judgment or mental instability. In fact I believe so strongly this wouldn't occur with any sane individual where no real dispute of ownership exists that I would say there is a good chance the Judge would order a mental evaluation of the original poster for making such a ridiculous statement.

    YouTube and the other providers don't respond to reclaiming ownership simply because probably nobody has followed the letter of the law and issued the secondary claim of ownership. Under a system where the provider reacts under the law once the second claim of ownership is received and the provider reposts the disputed content the provider is still covered under the Safe Harbor terms. In fact implementing an easy system to submit these "repost" notices with instructions to the users on the exact framing and terms that must be used to meet the letter of the law and who to submit it to at YouTube would go miles to help users understand that the DCMA isn't some evil instrument of big organizations but actually a pretty fair law (for copyright holders, big or small) that helps protect copyright while handling the issue that it's often difficult to identify individuals on the internet. The DMCA take down notice is nothing more than a statement saying take "x" down until the person who posted it identifies themselves to me so I can sue them to get an injunction. If you legitimately own the copyright it SHOULD be a slam dunk to reverse the take down notice and both individuals then know who's involved so they can start REAL court proceedings without anyone being able to claim it was someone other than themselves.

    I actually think the DMCA is a very balanced (in the sense of size of the participants) law, in that it recognizes the difficulty in identification on the internet and uses probably the least invasive technique to allow immediate hosting of content and the protection of copyright with minimal delays. Under pre-DCMA terms you would have had to sue the provider to get the name of the poster, then launch a suit against the poster and ask for an injunction on the posting to get it down (probably 2 weeks or more under the most expedited court proceeding ever). With the simplified procedure you simply issue a sworn statement claiming ownership, the provider takes it down and notifies the poster, the poster then claims ownership and provides name, address etc... (to make a lawsuit easier to file) and the provider can then repost the material without fear of being liable for hosting the content. Then the two claimants go to court, one side proves ownership and an injunction is issued to the provider to take down and not repost the material or the original claim is voided and an injunction is issued against further claims of ownership. This way the copyright owner gets to find out who put it up, or it goes away immediately, the provider isn't liable and in the case where someone claims ownership and doesn't own it, the material can then be reposted very quickly and the original claimant then has to decide if they think their claim is strong enough to go to court or if the original poster actually owned the copyright and felt they were damaged by the false claim they could then sue the claimant to recover the damages.

    As I said, if it was handled correctly by the providers these incidents wouldn't occur frequently, and could be corrected VERY quickly and the claimants would be forced into highly stupid lawsuits.. It wouldn't be difficult IMO if you had filmed that sequence with Uri Geller to take him to court for damages, and in the case of such a blatantly false claim you could probably get punitive damages for Uri committing perjury in claiming ownership when he in fact he didn't have copyright.

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