Infamous Viral 'Goblin Toppler' Video Taken Down In Copyright Claim

from the fair-use dept

You may have heard the story of the now infamous “Goblin Valley Topplers.” Some Boy Scout leaders on a trek through Goblin Valley decided to push over a “goblin” rock formation which was millions of years old, and then cheered about it. The video went viral, as did plenty of people condemning Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall (who filmed the video and posted it online). The backlash was quick. The two men were relieved of their Boy Scout leadership positions. Meanwhile, authorities (back on the job after the government shut down), began exploring possible felony charges against the men. Oh, and then it came out that just a month ago, Taylor, who is the man seen actually pushing the heavy rock off its ancient pedestal, had just filed a “personal injury” lawsuit against a woman and her father for supposedly “debilitating injuries” in from a 2009 car crash.

The father, Alan MacDonald, points out that Taylor doesn’t appear to be particularly debilitated in the video, in which he climbs over rocks and then shoves the giant boulder off of where it’s rested for probably a few million years:

“He’s climbing over other rocks,” he said, “then he lines up, gets leverage and pushes that big old rock several times before he finally pushes it over. Then he turns and twists and high-fives and yucks it up and flexes his muscles.

“He just doesn’t look like a terribly disabled person to me,” he said.

Taylor, when confronted by a news reporter about this, displays very little grasp of the law, weakly trying to excuse his behavior before insisting that the interview cannot be put online (that’s not how it works):

“You don’t seem very debilitated [on the video],” Jones said,

“You didn’t see how hard I pushed,” Taylor replied.

“It looked like you were pushing pretty hard,” the reporter said.

“You don’t have my authority to put this online, to put this on the news,” Taylor said, ending the conversation.

And now, to top it all off, it would appear that Hall, who took the video, also does not have a particularly good grasp of the law. He’s using copyright claims to take down as many copies of the video as he can, apparently not understanding how fair use — especially for news reporting works. While he did film it, and likely does have the copyright, taking down the video and arguing it’s a copyright violation is pretty damn questionable.

Hall would not say Wednesday what he had to do to file the copyright claim. He said he was working with an attorney, but declined to provide the attorney’s name.

The Salt Lake Tribute notes that the video had about 4.5 million views on YouTube, last they checked, though they’re not sure how high it got before it got taken down. Of course, some others still have the video up, and now (of course), it’s getting even more attention, thanks to the weak attempt to take it down. Here’s the Associated Press’s version. One hopes they won’t cave quickly to a bogus takedown notice. We’ve removed the video because it refused to stop autoplaying, even though we had it set not to autoplay. Very sorry about that.

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Comments on “Infamous Viral 'Goblin Toppler' Video Taken Down In Copyright Claim”

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Zos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

i use adblock, i usually don’t bother with noscript, but techdirt doesn’t normally hit us with autoplays. when it’s unavoidable, in the past, they’ve acknowledged that it was an unavoidable dick move.
i mean, ‘m not crying about it, but i was certainly taken by surprised, and there’s no need to jump down dudes throat for bringing it up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Video BAD

/smug asshole expression

The video doesn’t auto-play on my browser.

You know why?

/serious expression

Because some years ago I decided that I would no longer be at the mercy of the whims of people that, most of the time, don’t even qualify to write a document in their own mother language, much less HTML.

For that reason I run Firefox (considering switching to SeaMonkey) with NoScript, Ghostery, FlashBlock, AdBlock Plus and RequestPolicy, plus a ton of other minor tweaks just to try to make the web sane again.

You might think that I am crazy but it is precisely because of crap like this that my browser is built like a fortress.

Andrew Norton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Video BAD

I think you proved my point. Unless you do set your client up like that, it’s bad.
And will be for anyone else who opens the site before the story has dropped off the bottom.

I wouldn’t even have noticed myself, had I been at my main system, but I’m not, so I did. And this was more a request for all the others that would be annoyed by it.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Video BAD -- Please fix it Mike! -- HA, HA!

Holy cow, Mike. HALF the comments so far are to complain about you embedding the video! And one AC really has nailed it: the CRAP that smartasses force on us is ruining the net. — That means YOU, Mike. I’m not impressed by your acumen at page design. When I drift into here testing an un-crapped-up browser, it’s a horrible experience.

By the way, people, use Noscript plus hosts file to block “” so you won’t have to click to view comments the fanboys censor.

out_of_the_blue says:

What's your point? To smear copyright by association?

Heck, you even admit: “While he did film it, and likely does have the copyright,” — So, you actually know the law and support copyright (direct flames on that point to Mike, kids), and are only saying that in this anomaly, the news aspect is overwhelming besides that as a matter of fact the boob shouldn’t have published it.

Nothing to do with copyright as such then, is there? Just playing to your ankle-biting piratey fanboy-trolls.

Mike is a professional troll: he has no visible purpose other than to gin up controversy to draw eyeballs.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What's your point? To smear copyright by association?

“Mike is a professional troll: he has no visible purpose other than to gin up controversy to draw eyeballs.”

Says the actual troll, projecting and ignoring fair use, an actual part of copyright law.

(I know, I know, don’t feed them, especially after Midnight…)

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And the ridiculously stupid arm of the law
> just keeps getting more ridiculous. Felony
> charges for moving a rock which any extremely
> small earthquake would have moved anyway.

Using that dubious logic, people should be free to chip off souvenirs from the faces on Mount Rushmore. After all, nature will weather them away in 100 million years anyway, so what’s the big deal?

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