Once Again, You Don't Get To Use DMCA Takedowns To Remove Any Content You Don't Like

from the it-has-to-be-copyright-infringement-of-your-content dept

Michael Geist has the latest example of what appears to be a company abusing the DMCA takedown process to try to quiet the speech of someone they didn't like who was criticizing them. In this case, Canada Post sent a takedown notice to YouTube for a video from union members making fun of Canada Post's CEO. The video was a parody song, sung to a Dr. Seuss tune, with lyrics making fun of the CEO. Since the song was clearly not covered by any Canada Post copyright, a DMCA takedown would break the law, which requires any takedown be from the copyright holder. Canada Post tried to claim that the infringement was actually an altered photo of the CEO briefly shown in the film -- but that's a pretty clear fair use, and, as Geist notes, recent US court rulings say that fair use should be taken into account before sending a takedown.

This seems like a pretty clear case of abusing the takedown process to try to silence critics. But it's made even more interesting that it involves two Canadian organizations... but is using US law. That's because the video was hosted at YouTube, in the US. It certainly does raise, once again, questions concerning jurisdiction on the internet -- and how laws apply across borders.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 4:13am

    The DMCA takedown process is the single worst part of that horrible law, and it should be completely rewritten to allow content providers to examine content before taking it down to see if the content is actually infringing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    eleete, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 4:30am

    Re:

    Guilty 'til proven innocent. That's IP law for ya.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Denis @ Ottawa, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 5:12am

    Bring from Canada and the Capital City to boot (government town) and work in Government. I can tell you from experience many times this is done without knowledge of the person who was parodied. Most likely it was a junior aid trying to "look good" for his boss so he can say he did this. Nothing like watching something blow up in someone's face because of brown nosing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    International Territory

    Really its the only way. You can't secure the traffic without disrupting the entire network. Everyone in the world has access to every part of it for the most part, notable exceptions being sites requiring login credentials or if you are in China.

    Only downside is then the UN has to make laws regarding the Internet and I don't agree with a lot of the laws that would be and are pushed by some other countries regarding the Internet.

    But I'm biased, I'm an American. And while we haven't been showing it of late, at the core America is about individual liberty which seems to be anathema to some other nations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 6:05am

    Real penalty's for Lawyers acting in bad would resolve this issue in a heart beat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Frosty840, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    As I recall, there's no penalty in the DMCA for sending a takedown request in bad faith, is there?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    Yes, but there's also no penalty for not responding to a takedown request.
    It just removes an accused infringer of a statutory exemption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re:

    Yes there is. I'm fairly certain you are stating you're the rightful owner under penalty of perjury. Therefore if you aren't, you're committing perjury.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    Re:

    Actually, if you refuse to comply with a legitimate takedown request, there are consequences.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    There is no immediate penalty, but the accused offender loses their safe harbor protection. They can then be sued for infringement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Huh. In the NZ "guilty-on-accusation" story in the "Related Stories" link, it is made explicit: no due process.

    I'm usually not one for paranoid "it's just the foot in the door" theories, but if the gov't can suspend due process at the behest of an industry, how justified must they feel suspending it for the noble purpose of "national security"?

    The really disturbing part is when you consider just how "national security" might be defined, and by whom.

    Or maybe it's the other way around, and the little chinks and dents already in the protection of due process (that have gotten through by appealing to the strong "bust a Muslim" sentiments in the country) actually WERE setting up moves towards greater gov't power to abuse it's citizenss?*

    Seriously. Scary. Shit.

    *- ...to the enrichment of the class of the already wealthy /left unsaid for obviousness.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Xiera, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Re:

    Maybe I'm just slow today (or in general), but did that have anything to do with this article?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Mojo Bone, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    RE: # 12

    Yes, it did. The article is about the use of copyright law for non-intended uses such as censorship. The Kiwi above feels the DMCA is being used to bypass "due process".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Dan, Jan 30th, 2009 @ 11:03pm

    What is really needed is a competition for like videos about the Post's CEO. The winner gets to sue the Post for a false take down notice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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