by Mike Masnick
Wed, Aug 31st 2011 3:13pm
As a bunch of folks have been sending in a "prankster" was able to remove all of Justin Bieber's videos from YouTube by filing a bunch of bogus DMCA notices. While a lot of people find this amusing for one reason or another, it really highlights a key problem with the DMCA's notice-and-takedown process, which is a "censor now, deal with the consequences later" system. As has been pointed out in the past, it seems like this process is a violation of the First Amendment, in that it involves the shutting down of speech prior to any sort of due process or adversarial hearing. I'm still amazed that the DMCA doesn't allow for at least a notice-and-notice process, giving the uploader/host a chance to respond before the content is removed. In a case such as this, it would have prevented the removal. As for the "prankster," he might want to be careful. Filing totally false DMCA claims can open you up to serious legal penalties, and assuming that Bieber makes a fair bit of money from his videos on YouTube, his representatives probably have decent reason to go after the prankster. And that might not be a bad thing. In the process, perhaps they could establish greater precedence for the ability to punish those who file bogus DMCA takedowns.
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