John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

And for My Next Trick, I'll Turn Myself Into a Complete Jackass

uri_geller.jpgIf you’re going to demand that YouTube remove a video to which you object under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it’s probably wise to make sure that you understand the DMCA. Wiser still to make sure that you actually hold the copyright to the video in question.

Uri Geller, the purported spoon-bending paranormalist, apparently did neither when in May of 2007 he sent a DMCA take-down notice to YouTube demanding that it remove a clip debunking his “supernatural” abilities. And boy, did he ever pay for it.

You see, Geller didn’t own the video. And that made his DMCA take-down notice unlawful, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation pointed out when it filed suit against him for misrepresentation of copyright claims. “We’ve seen a rash of people abusing the DMCA lately, attempting to take down legitimate criticism and commentary online,” EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz said at the time. “To allow thin-skinned public figures like Uri Geller to abuse this system forces critics to remain silent and creates unfair hurdles for free speech to thrive online.”

Well, the hurdle to which Schultz was referring was knocked down today when Geller settled the EFF suit. Under the terms of the settlement, Geller will license the disputed footage, all eight seconds of it, under a noncommercial Creative Commons license. A monetary settlement was also reached, but the terms are not public–unless you too are a paranormalist and can divine them.


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