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Countering a DMCA Takedown In the Magnet Wars 475

An anonymous reader writes "Zen Magnets, a maker of neodymium magnet toys, has been under assault by the much larger and better distributed Buckyballs, maker of a nearly identical toy. After Zen Magnets listed a couple of eBay auctions with a set of Buckyballs and a set of their own, asking customers to decide which was of higher quality, Buckyballs replied with a legal threat. Zen Magnets countered with an open video response, in which they presented the voicemail from Buckyballs and demonstrated their claims of quality through repeatable, factual tests, providing quantitative data to back up their assertions. Soon after, Buckyballs CEO Jake Bronstein got the video taken down from YouTube via a DMCA takedown, despite the fact that the only elements not made by Zen Magnets are the voicemail he left and some images of himself, which are low-resolution and publicly available online. Zen Magnets has decided to file a counter-takedown notice — not effective yet apparently, since the video is still marked as taken down." Slashdot's sister company ThinkGeek sells Buckyballs. No, we don't get kickbacks, but we totally should.
Update: 09/23 13:23 GMT by KD : Reader Coopjust (872796) points out one place where the disputed video has been mirrored.
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Countering a DMCA Takedown In the Magnet Wars

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  • bullcrap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:44AM (#33674110) Homepage

    I think this is an abuse of the DMCA (some would argue that any use of it is abuse, but that's a different topic.) If they can back up their assertions with data and repeatable demonstrations, quit yer bitchin' and make a better product.

    • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:53AM (#33674176)
      Clearly you're not American and haven't been to America in a really long time. This is the way that corporations work. They could make a better product, but it's usually cheaper to abuse the court system or buy out the competition.
      • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:12AM (#33674384)

        The worst problem is in areas like Appliances where the company making cheap crap ("Whirlxxxx") buys out their higher quality competition ("Mayxxx"), and then starts producing cheap crap under the "Mayxxx" name.

        It has reached a point where it is impossible (as far as I can tell) to buy
        a dishwasher
        a hot water heater
        a washing machine

        That will last 20 years like they used to. The current dishwashers have electronics that are damaged by storms every 2-3 years. Some of the "money" parts are hard plastic so they wear out well before 10 years.

        It's better in some cases to buy used and spend big bucks getting the item repaired. Then at least you have a solid appliance.

        Please feel free to post if you've found a source for reliable (as in 20 year life span) major appliances.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NJRoadfan ( 1254248 )
          Mayxxx was making crap well before Whirlxxxx bought them out. This is based on first hand experience. People want cheap cheap cheap, so the design choices you mentioned were made to reach a price point.
          • Re:bullcrap (Score:4, Insightful)

            by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:15AM (#33675124)

            People want cheap cheap cheap, so the design choices you mentioned were made to reach a price point.

            Indeed they do. I have had multi-millionaires rave to me about how cheap Wallmart is. I don't fully get it. I understand wanting to pay less for something. But at some point that low price comes at the cost of quality or features. That seems like a bad trade to me, but many people don't seem to consider it. Maybe they think that if their widget breaks, it's ok because it's cheap to replace. That still seems short-sighted to me.

            • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Interesting)

              by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:41AM (#33675480) Homepage Journal

              I buy Land's End Business Outfitters clothing. After 2 years i lost some socks to laundry room theft, so bought some new ones. The new socks are ... a shade whiter than the old ones. The 2 year old ones that I do still have are otherwise indistinguishable. They also cost $20 for 3 pair ($6.66/pair)

              I used to buy Wal-Mart clothing. Socks come $8 for 8 pair I think ($1/pair). The socks are not as nice to begin with. After about a month (maybe 4 washes), they have little lint balls hanging off and are flattened out like paper, and fraying. In less than a year they have holes. Realistically I could justify replacing them each month or at most 2 months, so maybe $8 x 6 = $48/year versus $40 for 6 pair that last me ... probably 3, 4 years? I haven't actually found out yet. And those expensive socks are a hell of a lot nicer. We're talking nicer things for $10-$15/year.

              It's the same with the shirts. I bought undershirts that are nice and fluffy... over two years ago, $20 for a 3 pack. They're good as new, but a little yellowed due to my horrible water (they're UNDER my shirt and feel nice), no fraying at all. I have shirts I bought 2 years ago from Land's End; one frayed around the edges, the other 5 are almost brand new. The pants... one has frayed because I kick my shoes off and catch the cuff under my sole; the others I haven't damaged and they need to be ironed. The shirts cost me $25 (wal-mart shirts are $15-$18) and pants cost me $30 (Wal-Mart pants cost me $18-$25, list price on Land's End pants is $40 but Sears has sales).

              The stuff I get from Wal-Mart lasts me about 2-3 months before showing holes, frayed/lost threads (bands around pants legs where thread has unraveled!), or complete loss of volume (socks, undershirts become paper-like). I pay 1.5 times as much and get something that lasts 2-3 years at least without fading or fraying, and it looks and feels better because it's dyed with better dyes and woven better (some of my cotton shirts have a smooth sheen and feel like silk!) and made of brushed Peruvian cotton. I'm sorry but yes, more expensive stuff just costs less; these people are indeed short-sighted morons.

            • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Insightful)

              by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:56AM (#33675666) Homepage

              We have few options to buy long-lasting products because nobody wants to pay a premium for higher quality. There is a good reason for this. Factory production is a process that can be automated from end to end with most of the labor coming from low-cost offshore workers.

              Repair is a different matter. It takes more labor to fix an appliance than it does to make one. The repair tech has a higher skill level than most of the factory workers, and this labor cannot be sent offshore. The cost of parts is much higher as well. Somebody has to operate a warehouse full of replacement parts for machines made over many years. Some of those parts will sit on the shelf for years, some will never be sold. Therefore, the markup on parts has to subsidize the slow-selling and non-selling parts.

              If someone could make a durable appliance that NEVER had to be fixed, it would be worth the premium. But as soon as service is required, we all know that a service call is dangerously close to the cost of a cheapie replacement appliance. Consumers generally demand features (like computerized controls) that increase the chance of failure at some point -- regardless of how well-made the rest of the machine is.

              Kirby vacuum cleaners are awesome machines. But if you buy a plastic Hoover every 3 years, it will probably cost less (even if you buy 7 of them over 21 years). Your carpet will still be clean, and your risk at any given point is limited to the cost of a Walmart plastic vacuum cleaner. The Kirby will cost more to fix than the Hoover will cost to buy.

              Some people buy exotic cars with the full understanding that the annual cost of repairs will be dangerously close to the payments on a brand new Toyota. But if you love the car, you accept the tradeoff. This happens far less often with appliances because it's hard to love a refrigerator all that much.

            • Re:bullcrap (Score:4, Insightful)

              by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @12:08PM (#33676534) Homepage Journal

              Often you're not paying for anything but a name; I could have spent $150 on a pair of Nike shoes, but I bought a pair at WalMart for $5 several years ago; they're only now to the point of needing replacement. I'd be willing to bet that if I'd bought Nike they'd be shot, too.

              I pick up Nike tshirts at garage sales for seventy five cents. It's stupid to pay extra for "quality" in an item you don't plan on keeping long, and IMO it's doubly stupid to pay extra for a name.

              Aleive costs three times what the same strength generic naproxin sodium costs, but the product is identical. The extra cost buys you nothing.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Big Bucks No Whammies!!

        • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:27AM (#33674518)
          "The Wal-Mart Effect" is the name for what you describe. See here [] and here [] for a wonderfully informative story on how it works.
        • It's much worse than that!

          Private equity funds purchase once great brands and marginalize them for profit. Take a look at some of the mattress companies.

        • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Informative)

          by value_added ( 719364 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:53AM (#33674836)

          Please feel free to post if you've found a source for reliable (as in 20 year life span) major appliances.

          How's "Miele" for a start?

          Most anything they sell will give you a good 20 years of service, and if not, the construction and quality of materials is such that a rebuild (motor, etc.) is worth the money and trouble. I've heard Steve Jobs opted for Miele washing machines and dryers. Could have been an aesthetic choice, but folks buying a BMW or a Porsche may be doing the same.

          If a stove is what you want, then try something from a manufacturer like Wolf. There's no reason a good quality stove shouldn't last you 50 years or more.

          All in all, it depends on how much money you want to spend. And how willing you are to shop somewhere other than the local mall. We live in a Walmart world where convenience and price reign supreme for most people, so any meaningful discussion of quality is typically among the "select few". Put another way, I have to make a special trip to buy my vacuum cleaner bags. ;-)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            How's "Miele" for a start?

            Second that. Miele is one of the last german appliances manufacturer who are still producing in Germany and were not bought out by some cheap Whirl***-alike company. Prepare to pay a little more than usual, though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by lowrydr310 ( 830514 )
          Let me tell you the story of my famous drill. When I was a teenager, my father and I were hiking in the woods and came across an old pile of garbage that someone had dumped. It looked like it had been sitting there for at least five years, and had obviously been through many seasons with plenty of rain and snow. We took it home with us and decided to clean it up. We disassembled it, gave it a brief cleaning, lubed it, and replaced the power cord because the existing cord was frayed and the insulation was dr
        • Re:bullcrap (Score:4, Interesting)

          by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:44AM (#33675520)

          That will last 20 years like they used to

          There's a selection bias here.
          There is cheap crap now which breaks right away.
          There has always been cheap crap that breaks right away.

          But you remember the lightbulb which lasted 10 years, not the other 20 that came with it and all burned out in the first few years.
          You remember the phone which lasted 10 years, not the one which you had to take back after a week with a flaky screen.

          People assume that they built things better in the old days because the items from that era have lasted so well.
          Ignoring that the items that didn't last aren't here to be evaluated.

          In 20 years there will still be people talking about the washing machine they bought back in 2010 which lasted 20 years and why can't they build like that nowdays.

          though I'll agree with you that whirlpool as a brand is terrible.

        • I'm pretty sure I've read that buying a new refrigerator every N years pays for itself in energy efficiency, which leads me to question whether it's even a good idea to keep an appliance for 20+ years. Advances in materials, components and engineering can make appliances that use less power, water, refrigerant, etc.

          We replaced a 10 year old dishwasher a few years ago and I was pretty amazed at how well it works. It has a water cleanliness sensor that monitors wash water for particulates and it has a notic

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by noidentity ( 188756 )

          It has reached a point where it is impossible (as far as I can tell) to buy

          a hot water heater

          I just now found a very cheap device [] which accepts raw hot water and produces heated hot water.

      • This is not an American only attribute. Just look at the EU.

        Anyway I agree that American companies have a higher profile, but that's because we have an over abundance of lawyers here. Maybe we should start exporting them.

      • >>>it's usually cheaper to abuse the court system or buy out the competition.

        Are European corporations any different? As I recall it was a European corporation (Opera) that sued Microsoft in order to gain competitive advantage. IIRC there was also an attempt by an European corporation to stop the Sun-Oracle merger.

    • Re:bullcrap (Score:4, Interesting)

      by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:59AM (#33674242) Homepage

      Does the DMCA offer any immunity to civil lawsuits for damages resulting from a [false/abusive] DMCA takedown notice? If not, then the answer here would seem to be simple. I think the plaintiff can prove through a preponderance of evidence that the issuer of the notice knew it had no claim of copyright over any of the material in the video. This would prove the DMCA takedown notice was wilfully abused for the purpose of censorship damaging the plaintiff's business.

      They should definitely sue.

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        I never even thought about doing that...turning the DMCA on itself would certainly be interesting.

        And law nuts out there able to weigh in on this?

        • Re:bullcrap (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[ten.orezten] [ta] [gninroh_trebor]> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:21AM (#33674470) Homepage Journal

          It is an interesting concept. The trick here would be to prove damages, although it is possible to file a libel tort if the assertion of copyright infringement was knowingly false. Because there was technically copyrighted material involved that was owned by Buckyballs, I don't think this assertion would work in court. Yes, the content is being reproduced under clear fair-use standards, which is precisely why the counter notice was issued. That process is spelled out very clearly in the DMCA and to me is one of the few good things in that legislation (surrounded by a whole bunch of evil text).

          Basically an ISP must respond to a take-down notice, but if a protest if filed then the content must be restored and the matter goes to a court for resolution. Of course companies like YouTube may not be entirely friendly about the process and may lean a little more toward taking stuff down rather than restoring it. It may even take a lawsuit against the ISP to "educate" them about what the DMCA actually says. This can get tricky though, as restoring the content which is later proven to be infringing in court can bring penalties that may be increased due to the content being restored. It definitely is time to hire an attorney if this kind of chest thumping starts to happen and you care about whatever it is that is getting yanked around on the net.

      • I haven't seen the video, but the summary said it included photos taken from some web page, presumably without permission of the copyright holder. It also played a private message left by the Buckyball owner, again presumably without his permission.

        Copyright in both photos and private messages remains with the creator by default, so there is a basis for a claim. It sounds from the summary that it was fair use, but apparently the copyright holder didn't think so, so it's not necessarily an abuse.

        Of course,

        • Phone messages left on *my* answering machine (or more likely voice mail) are *my* property. You're automatically consenting to recording, because that's what voice mail *does*. That's not even effective weaseling. The photo's maybe. Depends who took them and whether Buckeyballs has standing to request their take down (fair use or not). If the photos are AP news pics or something, then Buckeyballs doesn't own them and can't demand their take down. Just because a picture is *of* you doesn't mean you ow

      • Does the DMCA offer any immunity to civil lawsuits for damages resulting from a [false/abusive] DMCA takedown notice?

        Per Title 17, United States Code, section 512 [], the service provider (e.g. YouTube) is immune to liability for the required two-week downtime after receipt of the counter-notification (512(g)(1)). But the complaining copyright owner is not immune (Lenz v. Universal).

      • Re:bullcrap (Score:4, Informative)

        by RattFink ( 93631 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:19AM (#33674456) Journal

        The penalty is right in the notice. All proper DCMA take down request require this:

        I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

        A false or abusive notice can land the petitioner on the hook for perjury. The problem is getting it prosecuted and making the charges stick.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dziban303 ( 540095 )

      Pretty much anything sold by Thinkgeek these days is poor quality. Buckyballs are apparently no different.

      Note: The above statement is presented as fact, not opinion.

      Let's see how long it takes for my comment to be removed.

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 )
      Abuse? Sure, but that's what judicial process has been reduced in the U.S. - a tool by which well-funded litigants can bully and abuse those who lack the resources to fully defend themselves. Sounds all "18th Century Europe", doesn't it?
  • The Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ltap ( 1572175 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:50AM (#33674150) Homepage
    News about an unfair DMCA takedown (don't worry, there are thousands of those) or free advertising for Zen Magnets? You decide.
    • news. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by postermmxvicom ( 1130737 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:00AM (#33674246)
      This is news. However, Buckyballs is certainly giving Zen Magnets lots of free advertising by making it newsworthy. I can only assume after watching the video that the people making their PR decisions are just that dense.
      • Streisand effect (Score:5, Informative)

        by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:00AM (#33674936)

        Hey Buckyballs...ever hear about the Streisand effect? Someone here in the office has a set of buckyballs and I thought they were pretty cool. I was thinking about picking up a set sometime. I've never heard of Zen Magnets before today. Now that I watched the video you had taken down, I'm thinking maybe Zen Magnets would be the better purchase. Thanks for helping me open my eyes to your competition.

        Definitely a bad PR move.

  • Fair Use (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:51AM (#33674156) Journal

    One of the specifically noted exception to American Trademark Fair Use is that you can use a competitor's name in an advertisement as a way of comparing your product with theirs. Since the whole point of trademarks is to inform customers about the source and quality of a product, the whole trademark infrastructure is geared toward benefiting the customer. So we want want companies to say "My brand X is better than brand Y!". Buckyballs, if Zen Magnets don't back down and this goes to court, have no case.

    • Er, not exception, but example (I need coffee).

    • by Teancum ( 67324 )

      It should also be pointed out that fair use exemptions also apply to short excerpts used for criticism. Generally this applies to something like a couple of screen shots of a computer game or a few seconds from a movie for a "review", but it can also apply to something like what is being done here with the voicemail message. Yes, the voicemail copyright is owned by Buckyballs, but is use and reproduction is protected under copyright law by way of the fair use clause. Making commentary about a recording i

    • One of the specifically noted exception to American Trademark Fair Use is that you can use a competitor's name in an advertisement as a way of comparing your product with theirs. Since the whole point of trademarks is to inform customers about the source and quality of a product, the whole trademark infrastructure is geared toward benefiting the customer. So we want want companies to say "My brand X is better than brand Y!". Buckyballs, if Zen Magnets don't back down and this goes to court, have no case.

      Having not seen the complaint, I can't verify, but DMCA takedown notices are for copyright violations, not trademark violations. You're correct in that nominative fair use is an exception to trademark infringement in Lanham sec. 43, but if they filed a DMCA takedown, then they're not claiming trademark infringement. Nominative fair use is not an exception to copyright infringement.

      My guess is that Buckyball's CEO is claiming copyright in the voicemail. Who retains copyright on it - the sender or the receiv

  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:53AM (#33674174) Journal

    YouTube is probably laughing right now... if anybody human actually saw it so soon.

    Not the way it should be, of course... a counter-takedown notice is basically legal notice that you, the uploader, take full legal responsibility for the content, and they must IMMEDIATELY restore it – and they face full legal responsibility of any losses you incur if they do not!

    (Personally I’d love to see the outcome of a lawsuit to try to recoup damages from YouTube after a counter-takedown notice was ignored. Granted they have other stuff in their TOS that pretty much makes them not liable for anything, but if they explicitly took something down because of the DMCA, shouldn’t they be liable under its terms?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Coopjust ( 872796 )
      The reddit link seems to indicate that they're in the process of making sure they're completely clear:

      Decision is we're going to do a counter-notification, but we're gonna have a lawyer back us up. (Especially since there have been good points about potential $$$ damages for perjuring a false copyright take-down.)

      The video has been reuploaded to Youtube by a few others though.

  • Is it possible to sue someone for this kind of abuse? I know that if Zen Magnets were infringing and filed a counter notice that Zen Magnets could be sued. What about this situation? Is there any legal remedy for abusing DCMA? Is the DCMA silent on this kind of thing?
    • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:02AM (#33674268)
      Yeah, there are penalties. Out of 512. Limitations on liability relating to material online []

      (f) Misrepresentations.— Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section—
      (1) that material or activity is infringing, or
      (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,

      shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.

      • Which is to say that even if you're fighting with high-caliber corporate lawyers, the law still favors the abuser as long as they show any moderation whatsoever.
      • Knowingly? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:31AM (#33674566) Journal

        I always love when they through in language like "knowingly", because, I'm no lawyer, but isn't it pretty hard to prove that someone 'knowingly' misrepresented. If they just say, "We didn't know", how do you counter that? The only way I can think of is if you happen to get lucky and find an email or other record of a private conversation between company employees where they essentially admit it.

        Also, to what extent can lawyers "shield" their clients? I.e. if a Client goes to their lawyer, and the lawyer tells them "yeah, that's infringing", even though it isn't, does the law hold the lawyer liable? I mean, if you acted on advice of your attorney, can you claim you didn't know you were making a misrepresentation (after all, your lawyer told you so, it's just your lawyer was wrong)? Is there anything to stop corrupt little deals where lawyers tell their clients what they want to hear, so that the client can act on advice of their attorney, and because the attorney doesn't face any penalties, it's all sort of 'legal'?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Teancum ( 67324 )

      The problem here is that while this may seem like abuse, I think the law is on the side of Buckyballs here in terms of a potential copyright violation. Fair use is a defense against copyright infringement and while you and I may think that the content is clearly used properly under fair use provisions, that is not a proven legal fact until it has been tested in court. The counter take-down notice (demanding that the content be restored) is indeed the proper legal remedy that should have been followed here

      • by Coopjust ( 872796 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:23AM (#33675994)
        The voicemail was left on the mailbox of a recipient. A voicemail is a knowingly made recording, and one that has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

        I'm no lawyer, but if a voicemail sender retains copyright on their message, I have no idea how a site like Audioo [] (which shares embarrassing voicemails with the world) hasn't been sued into oblivion yet.

        As far as the images of Jake (Buckyballs CEO) used in the presentation go (which are images from Google Images, all freely available, used as a representation of a subject matter at a low resolution), I am extremely doubtful. I'm not a lawyer, and it's why Zen is consulting one.

        There was no other property belonging to Buckyballs. The trademark was identified as that of a competitor, so there's no basis for a trademark infringement claim. The rest of the video was recorded entirely by Zen Magnets.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:57AM (#33674218)

    Here's a mirror of the video. []

    Zen's delay is most likely due to the fact that they're consulting a lawyer to make sure things are done by the book and they're legally in the clear (and don't damage any possibility of suing Buckyballs for committing perjury on the DMCA notice).

    This is what they've last said on the matter on reddit:

    Edit: Decision is we're going to do a counter-notification, but we're gonna have a lawyer back us up. (Especially since there have been good points about potential $$$ damages for perjuring a false copyright take-down.)

  • thinkgeek (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:59AM (#33674240) Homepage Journal

    I have been a customer of ThinkGeek for a long while... and I hope that they really show where their values are and DROP BuckyBalls as product. I've always believed that they took more notice of this type of stuff and tried to stock items that didn't participate in this type of corporate asshattery. I hope I don't get proved wrong...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mandark1967 ( 630856 )

      Their values? Seriously?

      I purchased two golf-type shirts from them. Both are a bit oversized as I like loose-fitting shirts

      The first one ripped on its own under both arms due to the stitching not being properly done.

      The other? It unbuttons itself. While that may be a useful feature, if my name is Kandi and I'm dancing at "The Gold Club", it's not so useful if I am in a meeting at work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chysn ( 898420 )

      I have been a customer of ThinkGeek for a long while... and I hope that they really show where their values are and DROP BuckyBalls as product

      You are just so cute, I could eat your right up!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      >>>DROP BuckyBalls as product.

      Doubtful. Thinkgeek just filled their warehouse with millions of Buckyball products, in preparation for the Christmas season. They can't just drop Buckyball in an instant.

  • ThinkGeek (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:06AM (#33674322) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot's sister company ThinkGeek sells Buckyballs. No, we don't get kickbacks, but we totally should.

    Perhaps your sister company should stop selling the products of a known DMCA abuser?

  • by pariahdecss ( 534450 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:10AM (#33674362)
    Apparently now the makers of Ben Wa Balls ( [] ) have gotten wind of this fracas and have filed their own injunction
    • by macraig ( 621737 )

      You do realize that scrunching "" in front of some random term doesn't make a useful page of that name magically appear on Wikipedia?

  • by StuartHankins ( 1020819 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:12AM (#33674378)
    I will buy the Zen magnets instead. Screw the Buckyballs people for being such dicks.
    • by seebs ( 15766 )

      Yeah, now I'm sorta sad that I bought a bunch of Buckyballs, but I'll happily switch brands for my next batch.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:12AM (#33674382) Homepage Journal

    So, where are the mirrors? Who has copies of the video?

    Haven't we always thought that the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it? Well, where is the backup route?

    Hm, maybe all this centralized infrastructure in a few big providers does have some drawbacks after all...

  • ...isn't there a period wherein Youtube's allowed to decided whether to put the content back up or not?

    • There is a period for processing and processing can take a significant amount of time. As long as you have an internally documented procedure and follow it you can take a pretty significant amount of time to in doing so. From the link it looks like they still have not sent in the counter claim to get that process started.

  • Toys (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    While some people argue over toys, there is a real life macro economic crisis brewing over some of the metals used in these toys..and in advanced tech useful products, the important stuff we all use. China is blocking the transfer of rare earth metals to Japan in a dispute over ocean territory and fishing rights, etc. More of a big dick contest with japan, and therefore the rest of the world, and I tell you, China will win that contest. At this minute, they are denying it is happening, but that seems to be

  • by kipin ( 981566 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:33AM (#33674592) Homepage
    I recently purchased 4 sets of BuckyBalls when they were recently on woot. I'm pretty pissed that I did now and want to show my support to Zen Magnets and buy a set of theirs. They seem to have much better quality from everything I have read and seen, and can attest to BuckyBalls "flakes" now coming off in my hand after using the magnets for about 2 weeks.

    From what I have heard, this company BuckyBalls made about $500,000 in sales from the woot sale (woot actually bought more from BuckyBalls on the day of the sale because demand was so strong), and $250,000 in sales on the day Google changed its logo to honor the Buckyball. Seems they may have grown too big for their britches and feel a sense of entitlement now.
    • The origin of the name Buckyballs is not the toy [].

      Google was honoring Fullerene, not the toy, although Buckyballs put out a press release saying it massively boosted their sales as a side effect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pwnies ( 1034518 )
      Playing the devil's advocate here, the flaking that you're experiencing will happen with all Neodymium Iron Boron magnets with nickel platting. The underlying metals are highly brittle, which means that continuous clacking together will eventually break off small pieces of the NdFeB under the nickel coating. This metal sand will no longer support the shape of the original coating, leading to warping, weakening, and eventually flaking of the nickel coating. The only thing that really determines the endurance
  • You can always repost a voicemail. US law only mandates that both parties are aware that the content of the phone call is being recorded. Leaving a voicemail implies knowledge that your voice is being recorded, thus there is no issue there. The picture can be more complicated as far as copyright, as just because it's available online doesn't make it fair game.

    The more important issue is the fact that the DMCA is unbelievably flawed, and this points out a perfect case. If I use the DMCA to demand a video

    • A DMCA notice has to include a statement that, under penalty of law, the person filing it knows they have a copyright being infringed and their statements are accurate.

      As you might imagine, the difficulty is proving that in court.
  • They are using DMCA because they know they cant patent spherical magnets.

    I didnt even know about Zen Magnets until buckyballs filed their DMCA notice.

    Maybe it should be called a Definitely Massive Competitor Ad

  • by definate ( 876684 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:38AM (#33674656)

    LOL, After watching the response Zen Magnets vs Buckyballs Comparison Video [], Zen Magnets seems far superior to BuckyBalls.

    Not because of product quality, though that seems significantly superior, but because they seem to be way more in tune with the nerd culture. Buckyballs should be ashamed of themselves for issuing a DMCA takedown notice. No geek/nerd would stoop so low.

    In comparison, Zen Magnets seems to be kicking it nerdcore, which is how I roll.

    ThinkGeek, you need to drop Buckyballs and pick up Zen Magnets. You gotta protect your nerd points, and getting behind a DMCA abuser, and a company which doesn't seem to understand the geek culture, is not cool. Drop Buckyballs, pick up Zen Magnets!

  • by Myopic ( 18616 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:06AM (#33674992)

    In the interest of peer-reviewed science, I was inspired to test my coworker's Bucky Balls using the Rigid Stick Test. When we made the rigid stick, it was much straighter than the one shown in the video. Then, when we pushed it over a ledge, it stood up to 27 balls. The video showed 24 for Bucky Balls and 25 for Zen Magnets, so I would say that the test would need repetition and graphing, like they did for the ball diameters.

    Still, I loved the video and I thought it was wonderful tongue-in-cheek advertising. It makes me want some Zen Magnets.

  • by Cow Jones ( 615566 ) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @02:13PM (#33678242)

    I bought a magnet set from in April, and I love them. They're every bit as advertised, and delivery to Europe was only a little over a week. I can't attest to the quality of the BuckyBalls product, but what I can do is compare the companies' attitudes. We've just read what the BuckyBalls execs are like. As a contrast, here's the confirmation email I got from Zen Magnets after my purchase.

    HOORAY! I'm pleased to announce that your order ( #xxx ) has been processed and is now complete.

    Please rest assured that we hold great urgency to each and every shipment. We promise your order will be out of our door within 24 hours of receiving this email. Unless you selected a shipping service with tracking, there will not be an additional email.

    After a rigorous 4 step process of verifying the quality and consistency of each and every magnet, we donned silk gloves and placed it into a sacred padded envelope made of magic and lined with Unicorn fur, sealed the envelope with an adhesive made from strands of Gypsy hair, and wrapped the whole thing in a snazzy looking faux gold leaf paper, with elm leaf inlay from Costco. Unfortunately, by the time it gets to you, all of that fancy stuff will likely have been picked clean by the greedy postal service employees. Please don't be surprised to see just a plain padded envelope.

    Now which company would you rather do business with?


All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly