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Paranormalist's legal claims highlight DMCA problem

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 09 Jul 2007 11:41 User comments (10)

Paranormalist's legal claims highlight DMCA problem Uri Geller, who became famous as a "paranormalist" in the 1970's with an act that included bending spoons, supposedly with his mind, is at the middle of a controversy regarding YouTube and other online video sites.
At issue is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, which makes it easy for Geller and others to persuade Internet companies to remove videos and music simply by sending so-called takedown notices that claim copyright ownership. Most companies, including YouTube do almost nothing to investigate the claims.

"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.

For nearly as long as Geller has been bending spoons and moving compass needles with the wave of a hand, professional magicians have been loudly debunking his claims of psychic ability.

A new generation of critics led by 30-year-old Brian Sapient of an organization called the Rational Response Squad have taken their crusade online. Sapient and others recently posted several video clips to YouTube demonstrating how Geller allegedly uses simple sleight of hand in his act.

In March, San Bruno-based YouTube Inc. took down many of the clips and suspended Sapient's account when Geller sent takedown notices claiming he owned the copyrights to the unflattering clips. That touched off an online tempest that has made Geller the subject of widespread derision and ridicule on several popular blogs like

The video and Sapient's YouTube account were restored two weeks later after Sapient complained. 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.

Sapient and EFF have countersued, accusing Geller of misrepresenting to YouTube that he owned the disputed clips, and abusing the DMCA, which shields Internet service providers from lawsuit so long as they immediately honor those takedown notices. It's the fifth such federal lawsuit EFF has filed against people who sent bogus takedown notices to YouTube and other online video forums. EFF has not lost.

Source: The Times Tribune

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10 user comments

19.7.2007 12:21

Sounds like this Uri Geller guy has ran out of money and is deperately trying to score some quick cash.

29.7.2007 12:42

Based on the EFF's record this dummy better have a way to get some hard cash quick. The settlement or his lawyer's fees are going to cost a chunk of change. Maybe he can bend some spoons at the county fair and earn a few bucks for his legal defense lol

39.7.2007 13:31

What's the big deal? I can bend spoons, sheesh...

49.7.2007 14:27

There is no spoon..

59.7.2007 21:23

I hate bent spoons . . they make me spill food on my clothes

610.7.2007 4:30

My nan wants to do spoons with Uri!

710.7.2007 14:06

Spoons are sooooooo 70's..........I wanna see him bend a spork.

810.7.2007 16:17

Originally posted by Fiji5555:
Spoons are sooooooo 70's..........I wanna see him bend a spork.
"Use the phoon luke."


916.7.2007 23:39

Originally posted by limelight:
Sounds like this Uri Geller guy has ran out of money and is desperately trying to score some quick cash.
LOL!! I like that one :)

1018.7.2007 5:12

For those of you who are not old enough to know who Uri Geller is. He was a run of the mill sleight of hand magician who became famous by claiming that he had paranormal powers. This enraged professional magicians who did the same trick routinely but made no pretense that they were anything but tricks. His career took a nose dive when Johnny Carson, the host of the Tonight Show at that time and amateur magician, had Geller on as a guest. As part of his act, Uri bent one of Carson's house keys with his his "mind". While examining the bent key Johnny Carson just as mysteriously straightened the key out with his "mind". It was very funny. Needless to say Uri looked like a fool and has never been able to restart his career. Apparently he's still trying.

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