AIDS Denial Crazies Go All DMCA On Videos Educating People Of Their Craziness

from the abuse-of-power dept

We’ve made the argument before that it’s about time we all took a hard look at copyright law and the DMCA, since both are regularly used as censorship tools. There are those that believe that this happens infrequently, but that just simply isn’t true. It’s used to censor criticism, to censor other people’s original creation, and to censor negative reviews. It’s a problem and no amount of pretending otherwise is going to wash.

But the problem really gets my blood boiling when the censorship in question is censoring scientific knowledge and criticism. All the more so when the criticism is aimed at a group of people that are quite likely actively putting anyone listening to them seriously in danger. Take, for instance, the story that jameshogg writes in about, in which well-known scientific debunker Myles Power is having a series of videos he produced debunking a documentary called House of Numbers DMCA’d by the producers of the documentary.

In case you can’t watch the video, here’s the skinny on the situation. House of Numbers is a documentary that essentially makes the claim that HIV and AIDS isn’t really, you know, a thing. It’s part of a conspiracy theory that’s been traveling around for some time that AIDS isn’t what doctors say it is, that anti-viral medication doesn’t effect whatever the disease actually is, and so on. In other words, it’s a big bucket of crazy that, unfortunately, some unsuspecting people take seriously, quite possibly putting themselves in harm’s way if they take the message of the film to heart. Myles Power is a scientist who creates videos debunking this kind of thing. He, if I may say so, should be appointment YouTubing if you have any interest in science versus popular myths. He created a series of videos showing both why the claims in House of Numbers are bullshit, as well as the tactics the filmmakers employed in order to pretend people said what they actually hadn’t. All of this, of course, falls squarely in the realm of fair use. That didn’t stop several people who either produced or were featured in the documentary from filing DMCA claims against him and getting the videos removed.

The first DMCA filed against me was from Liam Scheff who starred in part 5 of my video series. Liam believes that my videos are not protected under fair use because they are not made for educational purposes, but instead for propaganda. Over the last week, Liam has been constantly posting on my Facebook and has called me a retard, a cunt, a little bitch and, of course, a paid shill. Yet at the same time believes that I have been slandering him. What is also bizarre is that even though Liam has made it clear of his intentions to drag me through the courts, at the same time he does not think I am a real person but part of Myles Power inc. Liam later went on to remove his DMCA, but by filing it in the first place he has left himself open to legal action.

As soon as part 5 was restored, it was taken immediately down by Martin Penny and the people at Knowledge Matters, who then decided to file 2 more DMCA takedowns against part 1 and 2. I want to take this time to remind people that there are multiple copies of House of Numbers uploaded to YouTube. If Martin Penny and the people at Knowledge Matters truly thought I was infringing copyright, then why are they not going after people who uploaded the entire movie? It is very clear that these people are trying to silence my criticism. For those who don’t know, Martin Penny is the Executive Producer of House of Numbers and a multimillionaire from Leeds who used to be the CEO of GHD. What’s interesting is that Martin is now a chairman at OHS Ltd – one of the leading health, safety and environmental consultancies who have worked for the NHS.

This is censorship in its purist form, and it’s using the law to get away with it. There may be legal repercussions to be had for some of this, but how often do we actually see those attempting to ignore fair use and censor speech get punished? It’s all the more egregious given that what they’re attempting to censor is the debunking of a conspiracy myth that has the very real potential to hurt people. Anyone with a modicum of interest in science and the dialectic method would welcome such a conversation, not attempt to stifle it under the guise of copyright law.

Meanwhile, as Power notes, the person doing the censoring is the chairman of a consulting group that is advising the National Health Service in England. A censoring AIDS denier is advising the NHS. Let that sink in for a moment. Then, ask yourself it it’s about time we took a hard look at whether the DMCA is doing more harm than good.

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Comments on “AIDS Denial Crazies Go All DMCA On Videos Educating People Of Their Craziness”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

…and yet, when I suggest that the DMCA needs to be done away with, repealed in its entirety, and replaced with something that actually makes sense, what’s the reaction around here? “No, we can’t do that; that would get rid of the safe harbors!” Which, even though they have utterly failed to actually keep anyone safe if the bad guys want them gone, are apparently an indispensable part of the modern Internet. Just remember, this that we’re seeing being abused right now, this article, this is the Safe Harbor provision in action. This is what it’s really about: the DMCA takedown process, extrajudicial censorship and punishment for allegedly violating copyright law.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The safe harbors part isn’t the problem, or at least not the major one, the problem comes from the compete and utter lack of punishment for abusing the system with bogus claims.

Put some real teeth in it, hit people with massive fines or even jail time for repeat offenders, and you’d get rid of a lot of the problems with the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

with the way that Cameron is censoring the UK Internet, ramping up the list of what can be viewed and what cant, then trying to add a ‘White List’ that is supposed to take things out of a block and back as viewable, conveniently forgetting to mention that the sites that go on to that list will be according to what the person(s) checking the sites decides. in other words, censoring will still happen but it will be someone else name in the crap, not his! and it will depend on whether that someone favors, for example, C of E more than Buddhism!
censorship is censorship, Cameron! whatever way you try to swing it, it’s basically you pulling the strings! you dont like something, no one else will be allowed to look at it! you have no right to DICTATE what adults cqan and cannot do! the UK is supposed to be a free and open democracy, not a part democratic dictatorship, part democratic authoritarian state, depending on what the Prime Minister decides! the UK is not a clone of N.Korea or Saudi! you need to get of your dictatorial high horse!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course. Anything that questions the “official” story is nothing but a conspiracy theory. You can always count on government, scientists, and doctors to tell nothing less than the whole truth in its “purist” form. All else is just a big bucket of crazy. Don’t question what you’ve been told; just accept it. They only have your best interest at heart.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You mean like those kids online that claimed some lawyers were breaking the law and extortion money from people?
And all the powers that be said no no no that never happens.
And then like people found out those lawyers were breaking the law and extorting people.

We got there by discussion and not by using a tool for copyright to censor something we didn’t agree with. People challenged our claims and we provided MORE evidence, not DMCA notices that aren’t valid – but because the DMCA doesn’t punish anyone who misuses them they get used for all sorts of things to silence speech and criticism.

And they call me a wackjob.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m always a bit suspicious of fast talkers like this Myles Power dude, but I thought I’d check out what he says. I have some knowledge on both sides of this issue, and am not emotionally charged either way so I think I can comment fairly. In one of his You Tube videos which he seems to go way over the line of fair use he shows a clip of one of the “crazies” named Liam Scheff who states that there was zero transmission from male to female in the Padian study. Power insists over and over again on how we are being lied to, and how he can’t believe the Liam Scheff is lying to us when “it’s right there in front of us”, and other rather nasty libelous accusations. Power seems to relish in his obviously overly self absorbed self proclaimed ability to debunk, but doesn’t seem to have actually studied the study. Power keeps presenting the viewers a paragraph from the beginning of the study, the section that states a higher number than zero. Problem with his viscous attack on Liam Sheff’s credibility, it that it’s usually the end of such a study that has the most revealing conclusions that are not taken out of context. There it says “In general, we estimate that infectivity for male to-female transmission is low, approximately 0.0009 per contact, and that infectivity for female-to-male transmission is even lower.” That’s .09% or 9/100’ths of one percent, so that’s basically ZERO and thus, it appears Liam Scheff was not blatantly lying as Power claims and as we continue to study these wild allegations of this debunker, the more this kind of error pops up.

Padian study link:,d.cGU

Fraser says:

0.09% ≠ 0.00%

Without wishing to state the obvious, a 0.09% per contact transmission rate is not zero, “basically” or otherwise. It adds up to 70 transmissions from the 442 index cases to their heterosexual partners, identified in the retrospective portion of the study. The 0.09% per-contact transmission rate was derived by taking the 70 idenified transmissions and dividing them by the estimated number of contacts among the 442 couples over the estimated period in which the index case was infected.

A 0.00% transmission rate would add up to 0 transmissions. 0 ≠ 70.

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