Abuser Of DMCA Rescinds Bunk Takedown Notices

from the aptronym dept

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who did things like send specious cease and desist letters or hollow DMCA takedown notices had to pay a price for their abuse of the law? Typically, those on the receiving end of these notices don’t find it worth their time or money to fight back, so those who abuse the system rarely face any consequences. Last November, we linked to the story of Michael Crook, who sent a bunch of takedown notices to websites that posted a screenshot of his appearance on Fox News. His complaint was obviously rubbish since not only were the sites well within their fair use rights, but he didn’t even own the copyright on the screenshot. Fortunately, the EFF sued Crook for abusing the DMCA, and has won a settlement from him. The exact terms are unclear, but apparently he agreed to write all of the websites that he threatened and rescind his takedown notice. That, in itself, isn’t much of a punishment, but it’s still nice that he’s been rebuked, especially since he vowed to take down the EFF after they announced their lawsuit. So now that he’s been dealt with, we just need to do something about all the other illegitimate DMCA takedown notices that get sent out.Update: A reader writes in to let us know that technically the lawsuit against Crook was brought by Jeff Diehl and 10 Zen Monkeys, with legal assistance from the EFF. Also, there’s apparently more to the settlement that hasn’t been publicized yet, and that when these details come out, internet users should be “extremely surprised and satisfied”.

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Comments on “Abuser Of DMCA Rescinds Bunk Takedown Notices”

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Joshua says:

How to punish them for bogus takedown notices?

It’s simple. Make abusing the system in that fashion a criminal offense. There should not be a possibility of settling or of not being sued for it because the real copyright holder is lazy, it should be a court fine and/or prison. That way, script generated takedown notices are also affected. Maybe we could bring in a bit of that “ignorance is no excuse” stuff to it as well.

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