Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Uri Geller tries to bend copyright law

I got an interesting newsmail from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Spoon-Bending 'Paranormalist' Illegally Twists Copyright Law

Uri Geller Makes Bogus Copyright Claims to Silence YouTube Critic

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit Tuesday against Uri Geller -- the "paranormalist" famous for seemingly bending spoons with his mind -- on behalf of a YouTube critic who was silenced by Geller's baseless copyright claims.

EFF's client, Brian Sapient, belongs to a group called the "Rational Response Squad," which is dedicated to debunking what it calls irrational beliefs. As part of their mission, Sapient and others post videos to YouTube that they say demonstrate this irrationality. One of the videos that Sapient uploaded came from a NOVA program called "Secrets of the Psychics," which challenges the performance techniques of Geller.

Despite the fact that only three seconds of the over thirteen-minute video contain footage allegedly under copyright owned by Geller's corporation Explorogist Ltd. -- a classic fair use of the material for criticism purposes -- Geller filed a takedown demand with YouTube under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That violates the DMCA requirement that copyright holders only send takedown notices for infringing content.


Of course, this is not the only time that Uri Geller has gotten stuff removed from Youtube.

I applaud EFF's fight against such blatant unlawful takedown notices, especially when done by frauds who use them for hiding their dishonesty.

This is part of a larger EFF campaign, as they state in the newsletter.

This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. EFF is currently working with Stanford's Fair Use Project to develop a set of "best practices" for proper DMCA takedowns. At EFF's suggestion, media giant Viacom set up an email "hotline" to help users who believe their videos have been improperly ensnared in a takedown campaign.

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