Infamous SF "eviction" lawfirm abuses DMCA to censor video of protest


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This just gets worse and worse, because it’s not just these guys, it’s every activist in the world. They all want their footage to be seen, and it deserves to be seen, and there’s always somebody who wants it squashed and Youtube just obediently squashes it.

Have they ever publicly addressed this issue? It wouldn’t be too hard to allow some users to be “Certified First Amendment” posters or something, and at least get a hearing before their videos are yanked. Alternatively, it wouldn’t be too hard to set up a parallel system on a lefty site like MediaMatters, that only allows political content, and uses donations to pay somebody to review content.


“…the claim against West is a “strike” against him in Youtube’s terrible three-strikes system, meaning that it could deny him access to posting Youtube videos altogether, something he relies on for his livelihood.”

Seems like a pretty dangerous way to try to earn a “livelihood” to me. Maybe a real job to go along with posting videos to a free service?


Darn those people who devote their life to social activism, anyway! They should let the nanny-state take care of things!


Clever. So the only choices are Youtube and nanny-state? How did Dr. King ever manage?

He was a minister, if I recall…

Seems like a pretty dangerous way to try to earn a “livelihood” to me. Maybe a real job to go along with preaching in a free church and marching along public streets?


False-dichotomy, false-dichotomy; wherefore dost thou come from, false-dichotomy?

If you look carefully (actually, not carefully at all), my comparison was between choosing a “livelihood” of social activism vs. getting a Real Job and expecting… I dunno, some larger entity to take care of us all (and since I’m thus presuming the absence of social activists, due to all of them having Real Jobs, that must be the gubmint). Youtube reaches a lot of people easily. Sure, there’s Alternet. [eyeroll]

UPDATE (29 minutes later): actually, the social-activists I know use for their audio/video uploads.

NB: I have no idea as to the actual disposition of the person in the OP, did not click-through [shame, SHAME!].

Update (couple mins after the LAST update): okay, I clicked through-and-through. The person in question is not a social-activist by-trade, his [resume] says:

For the last eleven years I’ve been a writer and multimedia producer in
San Francisco. My professional experience includes everything from
technical writing to breaking news; live broadcast engineering to
documentary production; digital photography, compositing, illustration
and animation; and packaging, promoting and publishing content for
print, broadcast and online.

So, by doing at least some piece of social-activism and having a youtube 3-strikes-strike against his record, two more would lock his account (as I understand it) which serves as an online portfolio, thus damaging him professionaly (he’s currently working as a freelancer. Which is a Real Job).

Yes, yes, caveat emptor, and all that.



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Question: How is sending a DMCA complaint that you know is groundless (because, say, you don’t own the material in the first place) not considered fraud, perjury or at the very least libel?


Well that’s condescending douchenozzelry of the highest order.

Hypothesis: No one has ever said the phrase “real job” without being a proud, ignorant hypocrite.


It gets worse - in the “oh boy, that’s really not legal” category - After West and the lawyer met and got the video reinstated, the lawyer added a comment to the video which says this:

The Law Offices of Bornstein & Bornstein request that you remove this video. As an attendee of this event, you do not have legal permissions to share this event footage online. If you choose to disregard this request, it may result in further litigation and further legal actions.

Here’s the legal problem with trying to pull that:

Unless West signed off as attendee that he wouldn’t film or share footage of any part of the event, he had every right to film anything going on that wasn’t specifically owned by the law firm as a paid-for presentation. He claims:

There were no stated or posted prohibitions against filming, I didn’t sign any release of rights or non-disclosure agreement, and none of the footage included Daniel Bornstein’s prepared remarks or materials.

Now hopefully he didn’t just miss something when he bought the ticket. If he read everything, and really didn’t sign off on “no filming” the law firm is now making a second spurious threat against him for material they can’t control. Youtube really needs to get their act together. If a legal claim is proven to be falsified, they need to strike it from the record - not punish an innocent poster who has broken no law. Someone’s going to decide that’s worth a serious news story one of these days.

Right now, it’s looking more and more like West will end up in court, but only because he might be suing the lawyers - and with good reason!


It really is time that the courts started enforcing the other side of the DMCA. How many people have actually been charged, let alone convicted, for blatantly false DMCA take down requests?
ISTR the wording of the act using the phrase “under pain of perjury”, or word to that effect. Pretty sure most people would get a substantial penalty for perjury, but the big 4 seem to have a permanent waiver for it, along with the one that they have for “theft” of copyrighted works.


The DMCA is written such that the complainant only has to pass the absolute lowest legal bar (good faith) to indemnify themselves against liability for a false takedown request. Sadly, if you are defending your work the bar is much higher. Basically, the RIAA and MPAA didn’t want people cramping their style so they wrote the law to be as one sided as possible. Congress of course was all too happy to do some work for their clients and passed the law with little debate. The public interest was barely even considered, nor was potential abuses of such a badly worded law.

Yep. That’s why I said that Youtube needed to do better on their end. With the law written as it stands, the number of attempts to use the law will be far higher than the number of valid attempts made. So that means Youtube should definitely not be holding it against people if it’s been honestly proven that they broke no law. Any invalid strike should be cleared from their record as it was cleared from the court.

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