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Ask Slashdot: How To Fight Copyright Violations With DMCA? 455

Posted by timothy
from the which-narrative-do-you-prefer? dept.
szyzyg writes "I've created some popular science videos showing how asteroid discoveries have happened over the last few decades. However I've run into a problem with a religious organization which borrowed my video and redubbed it to promote their religious message. Ultimately I filed a DMCA takedown request via YouTube's site, it's as easy as filling in a form and the video was removed. But this organization has since submitted a counterclaim claiming 'under penalty of perjury' that they do in fact have the rights to this work, and YouTube has reinstated the video. It looks like the only way I can pursue this further is to spend the money to take the organization to court and get an injunction, but even if I did so I'd have to pay court costs up front and since they're based in another country I'd have a difficult time actually collecting any money from the other party. It feels like this other group is simply gambling that I won't spend the time and resources to take further legal action, the DMCA is supposed to provide equal protection but the more lawyer you have the more 'equal' you are. So does anyone have any suggestions for how I should proceed here?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Fight Copyright Violations With DMCA?

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  • The DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by santax (1541065) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:01PM (#41429927)
    Doesn't mean shit outside the USA. Thank God.
    • The DMCA Doesn't mean shit outside the USA.

      Fuck yeah! [youtube.com]

    • Re:The DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:18PM (#41430091)

      Doesn't mean shit outside the USA. Thank God.

      Unfortunately, the USA doesn't care about inconveniences like sovereignty of a foreign nation. And you better not complain, or we'll bring Democracy to your country too. We've been very busy creating new treaties to expand DMCA-like law to other countries, building up extradition, and creating extrajudicial process to punish people who commit acts considered criminal in our country but not theirs. At the same time, we've been withdrawing from treaties that restrict the diplomatic rights and sovereignties of others, for the benefit of our military-industrialist complex. Ask Julian Assange how that works sometime... that is, if you can get him out of his new permanent jail in the Ecudorian apartme--er, embassy.

      • Re:The DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:23PM (#41431049) Journal

        Unfortunately, the USA doesn't care about inconveniences like sovereignty of a foreign nation.

        Doubly unfortunately, they'll only project their laws across borders if you're a billion dollar corporation.

      • Re:The DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

        by budgenator (254554) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @07:14PM (#41431741) Journal

        The DMCA has worked the way it was intended; he filed the claim with Youtube, Youtube took down the video and notified the poster of the take-down complain, then the poster counter-claimed. After the counter-claim it's up to the courts

    • Re:The DMCA (Score:5, Funny)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:37PM (#41430271)

      Doesn't mean shit outside the USA.

      . . . except in New Zealand. Ask Kim Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel-slash-dot-com.

    • Re:The DMCA (Score:5, Funny)

      by readandburn (825014) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:45PM (#41430339)
      Should that be:
      D oesn't
      M ean
      C rap
      A nyway
      outside of the USA?
    • Re:The DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Patch86 (1465427) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:45PM (#41430341)

      Seeing as YouTube is a US site, I'm thinking it still "means shit" in this guy's case.

    • Re:The DMCA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:59PM (#41431243) Homepage

      'under penalty of perjury'

      So...what's the penalty for perjury in the USA? Doesn't that change it from a civil to a criminal case?

  • If they're in another country, it's hard to get them to pay anything in a civil case, DMCA or otherwise. I don't know what to tell you other than "talk to a lawyer".

    • by stevelinton (4044)

      You tube however is in your country. Can you get seek an injunction on them to takedown the video based on the fact you can prove the other side is perjuring itself.

      • by szyzyg (7313) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:08PM (#41430003)

        Yes, but that would cost money, and while I could probably get damages It would be practically impossible to collect on them.

        • by morcego (260031)

          This seems like an open and shut case to me. Can't you get a public defendant (or prosecutor, in this case) to do this ? I really don't think you need a private lawyer. (Not really sure what public defendant/prosecutors can and can't do in the US).

        • by RDW (41497) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:50PM (#41430397)

          Yes, but that would cost money, and while I could probably get damages It would be practically impossible to collect on them.

          And possibly easier said than done, given this guy's previous form:

          "When Dawkins publicly lampooned the research in the Atlas of Creation (he pointed out that one of the photos of a Caddis Fly was in fact a fishing fly, complete with metal hook, stolen from the internet, pictured), and labelled Yahya a charlatan on his website, Yahya used his considerable influence and battalion of lawyers to sue for libel and have Dawkins's website banned in Turkey. This is just one of thousands of cases he has brought before the Turkish courts."

          Lots more here, including lurid claims about blackmail and sex parties:

          http://newhumanist.org.uk/2131 [newhumanist.org.uk]

          • by Pseudonym (62607)

            Lots more here, including lurid claims about blackmail and sex parties:

            Man, I wish I had enough sociopathy to be a cult leader.

            I hear a whirring sound. I think it's Kemal Ataturk spinning in his grave.

    • by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:08PM (#41430001) Homepage

      If everybody reading this goes in and makes a dislike of that video and others of that so called religion then at least we made a statement.

      • by Ironchew (1069966)

        If everybody reading this goes in and makes a dislike of that video and others of that so called religion then at least we made a statement.

        A statement too easily reversed if the uploader just decides to disable comments and voting.

  • Play God (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:03PM (#41429955)

    Release another video that shows asteroids smashing into the cultist's church and an undead dinosaur army emerging from the crater to devour their children.

    • Re:Play God (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qwertie (797303) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:52PM (#41430409) Homepage
      Or, you could just not worry about this weird video because it had well under 10,000 views before it appeared on Slashdot and currently has only 22 likes. And half of those likes may come from people that enjoy watching crazy nutters. The only harm comes from people believing the video, and the Slashdot crowd won't.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mbunch5 (548430)

        Or, you could just not worry about this weird video because it had well under 10,000 views before it appeared on Slashdot and currently has only 22 likes. And half of those likes may come from people that enjoy watching crazy nutters. The only harm comes from people believing the video, and the Slashdot crowd won't.

        Seriously. Since the OP posts on Slashdot, presumably he understands the Streisand effect. Practically no one was paying attention to the remake before you called attention to it here. Just roll with it and understand that more people are mocking this guy than believing him. If that just won't sit well with you, then you need to consult a lawyer versed in internet law -- though preferably not the one that tried to sue TheOatmeal....

  • 1. Read and understand the law before you try to apply it.
    2. Decide if you really want to pull the trigger.
    3. Hire a lawyer.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:04PM (#41429963) Journal

    > borrowed my video and redubbed it to promote their religious message.
    > ...
    > submitted a counterclaim claiming 'under penalty of perjury' that they do
    > in fact have the rights to this work

    A religious organization lie? You're kidding me!

  • You could get an injunction against google ordering them to take down the video. Talk to a lawyer to see what kind of fees you would be looking at.
    • by szyzyg (7313)

      Nah google is cool with this, if I take the other group to court then they'll remove the video. No point in suing google.

      • However, it appears you may have problems suing a religion in a different country. You may well find that suggesting to YouTube/Google that they are complicit and therefore liable to a lawsuit, and far easier to get at. You might find they just remove the video, it might well be part of their normal dispute process:

        1: Complaint received from X, video removed.
        2: Legally binding statement made by Y, video reinstated.
        3: X responds saying he has proof of Y making an untrue statement, and legal action wil
    • Get a declaratory judgment. Once a Court rules it is yours, then Google will listen. How much would Google spend to fight when it has no dog in the fight.

  • by truedfx (802492) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:08PM (#41429999)
    Either you're telling the truth, or they're telling the truth. I don't want to judge that, Youtube doesn't want to judge that, a judge should be the judge of that. And until a judge has looked at it, what reason is there to take down the video again?
    • by szyzyg (7313)

      Right youtube are happy to take the video down again if I spend money filing a court case against the infringing party. Which is what would happen if a single person submitted a counter claim against a major corporation's takedown.

      • Filing only costs $350, and you can save yourself some money and file it per se. They're not very likely to bother you after that.
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      Are you being purposefully ignorant considering that IN the video the guy admits that Scott created the video?
  • financial impact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by InPursuitOfTruth (2676955) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:10PM (#41430031)
    I missed the financial impact in your post. Are you just offended they re-used your works, or is it impacting your sales?
    • Re:financial impact (Score:5, Interesting)

      by szyzyg (7313) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:15PM (#41430073)

      I originally found out about this other video after Youtube's content identification system identified *my* video as infringing on *their* video and disabled revenue sharing, that took a month to sort out during which I was unable to monetize my work. (also, I suspect that this possible infringing status flagged my account and resulted in several of my other videos submitted during that period being denied monetization).

      Anyway, yes, offended and it cost me a bit of revenue

      • by Nemyst (1383049)

        You should've put this in the question. That's quite an important element to the whole thing, as it goes from what could be identified as "petty" by some to what is clearly just wrong and should be rectified.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      It's is not required to have a financial impact for it to be a copyright violation.
      If it were, the GPL and pretty much all other open source licenses wouldn't have any power.
      Besides, there is the - perhaps far worse - violation of his artistic vision.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:16PM (#41430077) Homepage Journal
    I am legally obligated to inform you that I am not a lawyer!

    Now that we have THAT out of the way, you could probably sue them both! Name Youtube and the church in your lawsuit, go for an injunction against Youtube and ask for ONE BILLION DOLLARS worth of damages from the church! It works for the music industry! The church probably won't even show up to defend itself, so take a default judgement against them and when they don't pay, use it to get warrants for the arrest of their leadership (for contempt of court or whatever) if they ever come to the USA! Just about everyone who's anyone has to come here eventually!

    It'll probably cost you several large briefcases full of cash in lawyers fees which you will probably never recoup, but if you want to make your new hobby making those guys' lives miserable, that's the way to go!

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:18PM (#41430085)

    a problem with a religious organization which borrowed my video and redubbed it to promote their religious message

    Re-redub their version to make the group's religious message blasphemous to Islamists.

    That should eventually take care of your problem, but there may be a wee bit of collateral damage to the rest of the world along the way, like World War III.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:48PM (#41430367) Journal
      Ha, World War III? If there is a WWIII over the middle east, it will be every other country in the world coming together, destroying the region, then negotiating how to split the remaining oil. None of the major powers care enough about the people in the Middle East to actually fight each other.
    • Re-redub their version to make the group's religious message blasphemous to Islamists.

      Two issues with this: I actually watched the three videos linked in TFS, and saw that the religious group/association did more than just re-dub one of the videos. It's a derivative work, sure, but they didn't use the video as-is.

      The other problem is a bit more practical: if the OP were to do what you suggest, eventually it would be found out that it's actually him who did the blasphemous dub, and that would put his life at risk.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:21PM (#41430123) Homepage

    Apparently the religious group is outside the US, which adds another level of difficulty.

    But anyway, in general, if you live in the US, and protecting your copyright is really important to you, you should file copyright forms with the US Copyright Office. Although current law says that you enjoy copyright protection regardless of whether you file, it doesn't give you *equal* protection if you don't file. If you file, you can sue for both actual damages and statutory damages. If you didn't file, then you can only sue for actual damages, which are presumably zero in your case. When statutory damages are in play, a lawyer will often be willing to take such a case on a contingent fee basis.

    The DMCA sucks, but it doesn't follow that enforcing copyright automatically sucks, or even that enforcing it using the DMCA automatically sucks. Laws are like beer and shotguns; they can be used for both good and bad purposes. I'm willing to contemplate living in a society without copyright, but in such a society the GPL and BSD software licenses, for example, would be unenforceable. Likewise, I'm willing to contemplate living in a society without private property -- but if I tried to implement such a society unilaterally, I'd run into all kinds of problems.

    • It would still have to be before it was published.

      While performances and demos are not considered publishing unless you're offering to sell (or something like that... might be in the FAQ or circular 40a), it's arguable that posting on YouTube is an act of publishing.

      But because you didn't register it, you probably can't get punitive damages.

      • You must register with the copyright office before infringement or within 3 months of publication. It seems like this video was uploaded Sep. 6, so the author still has plenty of time to register.

        you probably can't get punitive damages.

        I believe you mean statutory damages. The copyright act does not provide for punitive damages, and therefore registration would not be a prerequisite for trying for them.

    • I know this Catholic guy in Jersey who has "cousins" in Sicily who take care of problems...

      But I know you want to be Anonymous, ah hem...oh well.

  • But this organization has since submitted a counterclaim claiming 'under penalty of perjury' that they do in fact have the rights to this work, and YouTube has reinstated the video. It looks like the only way I can pursue this further is to spend the money to take the organization to court and get an injunction

    Perjury is a federal offense and by doing it under the DMCA they're violating US law.

    Whoever (...) (2) in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, United States Code, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true; is guilty of perjury and shall, except as otherwise expressly provided by law, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. This section is applicable whether the statement or subscription is made within or without the United States.

    Perhaps filing a police complaint or giving the FBI a call would help? Unlike lawyers they're free, so it wouldn't cost you any more than your time.

  • by TechnoGrl (322690) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:23PM (#41430141)
    His PUBLICLY AVAILABLE registration information for his website, http://harunyahya.com, is as follows:

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
    Publication, Global ms7uh6j58c5@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com
    Global Publication
    ATTN HARUNYAHYA.COM
    care of Network Solutions
    PO Box 459
    Drums, PA 18222
    US
    570-708-8780

    Record expires on 23-Jan-2022.
    Record created on 23-Jan-2000.
    Bulk whois optout: N
    Database last updated on 23-Sep-2012 14:42:05 EDT.

    Domain servers in listed order:

    NS1.P03.DYNECT.NET
    NS2.P03.DYNECT.NET
    NS3.P03.DYNECT.NET
    NS4.P03.DYNECT.NET

    Both the address and phone number are fake (they apparently are the address and phone of Network Solutions itself. However you CAN sue Network soultions in small claims since they are now attached to his company. Sue them in small claims for damages and ask alternatively that they hand over all the information that they have on the person. Attempt to take over his website via court order in small claims (it's an asset).

    There is also a Wikipedia page about the guy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adnan_Oktar

    Also: Some states allow injunctive relief (court order for youtube to take down the site) in small claims court and some do not. If your state does then file and ask that the site be taken down in addition to other damages.
    • by TechnoGrl (322690) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:30PM (#41430201)
      Some follow up:
      This man is a both a criminal (drugs and racketeering) and apparently very much a nutcase who lives in Turkey - a self described Muslim creationist extremist. Even if you get the youtube things taken down and his .COM websit shut down he will simply put up more websites .

      Consider carefully the consequences of getting involved with a criminal and nutcase living in a Muslim country who likely has followers in America as well.
      Your best bet may be to simply edit the Wikipedia page regarding your legal issues with him.
      • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:53PM (#41430411)

        Consider carefully the consequences of getting involved with a criminal and nutcase living in a Muslim country who likely has followers in America as well.

        In America when someone has a grievance with another party, rich folks sue them or poor folks shoot them. In Muslim countries the preferred method is to accuse the other party of blasphemy, which usually ends up with not so nice consequences for the accused party. The Economist had an interesting article on this: http://www.economist.com/node/21562262 [economist.com]

        We hear about the Muslim on Non-Muslim blasphemy cases, but there seem to be plenty of Muslim on Muslim cases, as well.

  • You're complaining that you'll have to file a lawsuit to defend your copyright. Boo hoo.

    You should be HAPPY that you have the ability to simply file a lawsuit. If they hosted their video on their own servers, in another country (rather than YouTube), you'd have no practical recourse.

    In this case, you file a case in a court that's close to home, the accused doesn't show-up at all, you win by default, and YouTube does what you want. And if by chance they DO show-up, then you've got more of a fight on your

  • My suggestion would be getting in touch with the EFF...

  • by jbolden (176878) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:25PM (#41430163) Homepage

    The DMCA is designed to force content distributors like YouTube to take action to get on the record statements. They did that. At this point they now have your statement made under "good faith clause" and the church's statement made under penalty of perjury.

    Assuming your version of events is correct you have a situation where the religious organization is engaging in perjury. The problem is civil perjury is rarely prosecuted. Generally the system responds to perjury via. large awards. So in your case if you sued you would be likely to get a large reward that you wouldn't be able to collect on.

    However, YouTube is potentially involved in contributory infringement if you notify them. Provide them a complete set of documentation proving your claims and then they are on the hook. What happens from there is up to them. Suing YouTube is not going to be cheap but then again they are unlikely to care enough for you to have to fight them.

  • You're screwed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:27PM (#41430181)
    It's always been this way. Law is expensive. Lawyer costs, court costs, transport, time off work. Even when the case is open-and-shut, it'll cost a small fortune to fight. This isn't new: It goes back as far as law does. Call it the cynic's golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

    You came here hoping someone would offer you the legal magic bullet - some way that lets you bypass all the expensive bits in between where you are now and where you legally should be. But there isn't one. This isn't even a politically important case, so you can't expect any activist group to come to your aid with money and experts. Basically, you're screwed. You really only have two options:

    1. Accept it. Let them have your video.
    2. Get MAD. Spend your savings and go through some legal hell. You'll win, easily, but all you will win is petty revenge. The victory will hurt more than just giving up. With a bit of luck you might be able to get them to cover some of the legal costs, but don't count on that even covering all the expenses.
  • by vertigovegan (2635771) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:28PM (#41430189)

    That guy may be grossly misinterpreting your data, but it almost seems like a fair use of the video, as absurd as the usage and interpretation is. Would you want to be limited as to usage of video clips in this way? And what would this say for free speech, which is supposed to protect this sort of speech, even though we find it ridiculous.

    • It is absolutely okay for the person to say whatever they want. It is not okay to steal the greater portion of someone else's work to say it. If it were a small picture, or representative clip, sure, but it's a large portion of the original video, in between two other videos. One could make the argument that they are using the work to comment on the work, but they are not commenting on the work itself, they are commenting on the facts the work expresses.

      Fair use is vague, of course, but this derivative work

  • Not sure why the religious org would lie and claim ownership. After all, I think fair use applies (whether or not you agree with the use):

    1) Satire.
    2) Did you create the video (looks to be an animated rendering), or is it mashed up? If it's your original content, then there's some protection there, but you can't copyright facts. The same organization could take the source data, and assuming they used the same software you used, would the end product be materially different?

    That said, IANAL, but I do believe

  • Talk to a lawyer. It may cost a bit of money to do this, unless you can find a lawyer that will do it pro-bono; but you need to know what your options are and what you are getting into. A simple lawyer's letter to YouTube may be enough, or you may need to go to court to enforce your rights. At least get competent advice; not the random collections of /. drivel and musings.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23, 2012 @03:47PM (#41430355)

    If no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

  • If I were you, I'd do a LOT of research before even thinking about suing a religious organization. Especially if I had a family, wife and kids.

  • then use a different approach...flag it for spam / mass advertising....with all those hyperlinks there...it can be viewed as attempting to do some form of SEO manipulation

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @04:23PM (#41430605) Journal
    Boo hoo. It's Youtube. Get over it. If you make enough of a noise, you invite the Streisand effect. Don't go blaring about it. Just fuck them over. Like copy THEIR stuff into a new video and make fun of them. When they go "wah wah wah" and have it taken down, pull the same thing - declare that it isn't. The law isn't set up to help YOU, it's set up to help major corporations extract wealth from the working class. Claiming DMCA with idiots like that is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. You're not going to win, unless you are very fast and very good at throwing knives. Since you've piddled away a lot of time on this already, fast isn't going to help, so you need to nuke the fuckers. Don't advertise it, just destroy them. And then: get over yourself. Anything on the web is fair game. That's the new rule: it's a game of TEGWAR.
    • by swillden (191260)

      When they go "wah wah wah" and have it taken down, pull the same thing - declare that it isn't.

      You're recommending that the guy commit perjury. Now, it's likely he'll never get called on it, but he could, and "But they did it to me first!" isn't a valid defense.

      Bad advice.

  • GrokLaw (Score:4, Informative)

    by brindafella (702231) <brindafella@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 23, 2012 @04:56PM (#41430903) Homepage
    Get a story off to www.groklaw.net and ask for publicity and advice there.
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Monday September 24, 2012 @03:04AM (#41434013)

    The poster has made a very interesting video, which was "borrowed" by an organization that he doesn't like. This organization gave proper attribution and their video is not strictly identical to the poster's. This case is probably not that trivial, it may border on the "fair use" side of things.

    The best response would probably have been to continue working with youtube and not publicize the organization's message, but it is too late now.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:14PM (#41442865)

    So if the RIAA/MPAA sued to protect their content then there would be a massive tirade on Slashdot about the evilness of DCMA and those trying to protect their content. However the moment some "average Joe" finds someone is using his content without his permission suddenly it's Slashdot to the rescue to try and offer advice on how to protect his interests.

    You can't have it both ways guys and gals.

    So either DCMA is evil and must be abolished, meaning that anybody posting content is at the mercy of unscrupulous users that would simply take the content and use it however they see fit,

    OR

    DCMA is a necessary component of digital distribution in which those people that choose to offer their content under its protection are entitled to fight for their IP distribution rights when its in violation.

    You can't pick and choose to defend or deny the existence of DCMA based on the amount of money the content holder makes off it. Just because some movie company wants to protect their billion dollar blockbuster is no less valid a claim to protect their IP as some guy that doesn't hope to earn a penny off their content. DCMA is offered to ANYBODY that wants to distribute content that requires licensing for use or viewing.

    So, the majority of posters here offering advice to this guy to protect his interest are pure hypocrites because if this was a story about the RIAA or MPAA suing some grandmother for distributing millions of songs and movies then the very same people would be in outrage.

    So, my advice. Get over it, accept the fact that the moment you post something digitally online people are going to abuse it. If you are suffering financial or personal damages because of its use, then sue like every other claimant under DCMA protection.

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