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EFF takes on DMCA abusers

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 18 Mar 2007 18:57 User comments (2)

EFF takes on DMCA abusers The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has recently taken on several individuals that have abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA) takedown notice process. The group recently filed two cases against two abusers, and it is rumored that Viacom may also be tackled by the group. The first of these cases was against Michael Crook.
Crook responded to Craigslist personal ads and made a list of those he considered "perverts" and posted them publicly online. After a Fox News appearance, several pictures of him (from that appearance) appeared on some blogs. Crook used DMCA takedown notices to order that the pictures be removed. He also claimed that he owned the copyright to the images.

Of course, the two problems with the notices are that he didn't own the copyright to the images and that "fair use" would have allowed the pictures in any event anyway. The EFF stepped in then and in a settlement, Crook agreed to stop using the takedown notices and recorded an apology video.

In another interesting ongoing case, the EFF has gone after Richard Silver, the "creator" of the Electric Slide dance. He claimed that a video uploaded to YouTube violated his copyright. According to the EFF's complaint, the video actually only had about 10 seconds of steps that "resembled" the Electric Slide, which was enough for Silver to issue a DMCA takedown notice against YouTube.

The EFF is accusing Silver of knowingly misrepresenting his claim and in taking the case to court, said that dance steps are not suitable for copyright at all. Silver also claimed to have copyrighted a single video performance of the dance, but according to the EFF, that does not mean others cannot record the same steps in their own videos. The case is pending.

Recently, Viacom issues about 100,000 takedown requests to YouTube, of which, up to 60 notices may have been invalid, according to a Viacom executive. The EFF has called for YouTube users who had videos pulled inappropriately to contact the group but did not reveal any future legal plans.

Ars Technica

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2 user comments

119.3.2007 6:09

interesting, cant copywrite a dance move, must be like not being able to copywrite a smell or frangrance. if the dance was your trademark, and someone did the dance then claimed to be you then you have a case.

and as far as pictures of that asshole on craigslist, posting pictures that were taken of him in public are totaly fine, especialy since they have a news worthy reason for being posted. if he was just some normal joe who didnt rat out craigslist perverts then he might have been able to get the pics removed, but not cause of copywrite it would just be from normal privacy laws.

219.3.2007 7:54

I hope this DMCA takedown process goes further, there's a line between sanity and bigotry. Someone using a couple 'resembling steps' to your 'copyrighted dance' is ridiculous cause to try and use the DMCA as a reason to take media down.

Maybe this will carry over to be effectful against the big media publishers as well. They've sued for things like clips taken from ads, etc; and it seems that when something is made public like that on a free basis; it would make sense that consumers and citizens could take that free picture, clip, etc; and use it as they please, as long as they don't claim to actually represent the company they used as a source. Besides, it might help advertising schemes if companies could spawn popular ad campaigns that people took, made their own, and (Whether they realize it or not) they would make the brand/idea/product feel closer, more personalized to them, or 'friendlier'.

Anywho, my rant really has only a little to do with the actual news bit. I hope these DMCA takedowns start to hit major companies, who do the same ridiculous things that these small people have done. It's not fair to smackdown the little guy who's only imitating the big guys who do it constantly, right?

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