CSE Uses DMCA to Chill Criticism

12 September 2007

From The Panda's Thumb:

From reports that we are getting, starting yesterday a user account on YouTube, called cseministry, began fraudulently claiming that any video which criticized the felon, cheat, liar, fraud, huckster, etc. Kent Hovind violated the copyrights of the Creation Science Evangelism.

Under the draconian DCMA, CSE can use such false claims to silence their critics, with little legal risk to themselves. Once a claim has been filed, YouTube is required by US Law to remove the content immediately and without any review. The real copyright holders then have to jump through hoops to get their content back on YouTube, that is assuming that they haven’t already been falsely banned.

Hovind’s critics have a strong case against CSE’s DCMA claims because CSE’s own website waived copyright: “None of the materials produced by Creation Science Evangelism are copyrighted, so feel free to copy those and distribute them freely.” That waiver appeared in the About Creation Science Evangelism page as recently as yesterday. It looks like they’ve scrubbed their site today, after this waiver was pointed out to them. Apparently, CSE is trying to retroactively remove their productions from the public domain. (They can’t legally do this, but has the Hovind Bunch ever acted within the law?)

But more infuriating to me is that several users have reported that CSE is claiming copyright to homegrown videos that contain no CSE content, and in many cases no content by anyone other than the YouTube user. They are issuing clearly fraudulent DCMA complaints to remove videos critical of their organization and the liar that ran (runs?) it. This type of behavior should land the rest of the Hovind Bunch in jail except that fraudulent infringement notices are not illegal under the DCMA.

They keep calling it the "DCMA," but it's really the "DMCA" (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Anyway, this highlights a serious problem with the law, insofar as it compels Youtube to take down videos based merely on a bald assertion of copyright violation. Basically, Youtube videos are vulnerable to censorship through baseless copyright claims.

In addition to the copyright waiver, there's also this:
17 U.S.C. § 107
the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe the DCMA is going too far and is being used to silence critics of corporations such as eBay who server a notice on my host because the site I run at ebuster,co,uk contains documents relating to wide scale fraud on eBay and as such it is important that pages that are displayed are not tampered with.

This time I had some luck since eBay picked on a fake login page I displayed after I had asked eBay on several occasions to get the page remove and from what I can understand they are upset about the eBay log at the top of the pages but it’s not like the site trying to compete against eBay and provides hundreds of links back to eBay.

The reason I present copies of pages is because eBay often remove pages where a dispute is involved so just how can anyone present case of wide scale fraud when it is becoming impossible to present evidence without have a gag order place on your host.

Yes I understand the reason for the DCMA but using it’s powers in this manor strikes at the heart of democracy and is allowing eBay to do as it pleases and in some cases it is not possible to remove the logo as some of the pages displayed on the site have been hijacked by script injection using hexadecimal code to overwrite the original page and therefore making it all but impossible to remove the eBay tm logo and no I don’t have a zillion$ to get involved with eBays lawyers but I do have freedom of speech so if that involves moving the site offshore then that is what I will do