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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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  • 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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • You nailed it. Legal questions in Ask Slashdot are requests for the community's help in performing steps 1 (understand the basics of the law) and 2 (understand the costs and benefits of suing) in order to become better prepared for step 3 (initial consultation with lawyer).
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by caballew (2725281) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @04:19PM (#41430569)
    Depends on the local jurisdiction whether they can issue an injunction. The good news is that Adnan Oktar aka Harun Yahya probably will not answer a complaint in a local small claims court therefore you would win a default judgment of up to $5,000 or more (amount depends on jurisdiction) which would be all that YouTube would need to take it down and you could also try to seize any advertising funds generated (if any) by YouTube on behalf of Harun Yahya. Plus it might be sufficient cause to get the YouTube user banned since they submitted an affidavit under threat of perjury that they were entitled to use video.

    Downsides: 1) They could answer charge and have it dismissed in favor of moving it to a Federal court. 2) Filing fee of ~ $50 (amount depends on jurisdiction)

    But then I've always like tilting at windmills.

    Another idea is that maybe they have done this numerous times and it involved 5 or more people then maybe you could sue under RICO statutes which might entice a lawyer working on a percentage basis to take the case. Then again, my "limited knowledge" of the RICO statutes make me believe it is under utilized by private citizens which leads me to wonder if I know just enough to sound ignorant.
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @05:28PM (#41431075) Journal

    > This is a civil case. So no, the OP can't spend tax payer dollars to enforce their copyright.

    This isn't strictly true. If OP is big enough to buy some congressmen he can, in fact, spend tax dollars to enforce his copyright.
    See: RIAA, MPAA

  • 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?

  • by ComputerInsultant (722520) on Sunday September 23, 2012 @06:24PM (#41431397)
    In the US this would almost certainly be considered 'fair use' because it is commentary on OP's original work.

    The US four factors test for fair use is largely met:
    Purpose: The authors of this video have added significant commentary that was not present in OP's original work.
    Nature: They are using OP's video not as a creative work, but as statements of facts to support their commentary.
    Portion: They used a large percentage of OP's video, but not all. This might be an item in your favor, but since this video is low res, they used as little as they could to make their point.
    Market: They are not likely to have reduced the commercial value of OP's video.

    So this seems to me that this is 'fair use' of OP's video. The commentary they present is certainly utter rubbish, but the law allows people to use evidence from original works as evidence for their arguments, even rubbish arguments.

    OP has already posted a comment that attests that this is an unauthorized use of his original video. That taints the authors and their message. I am not sure that any further action improves the situation.

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