Takedown (Non-DMCA) Filed Against YouTube Video Challenging Controversial Cancer Clinic

from the standing-up-for-free-speech dept

Until reading up on this story, I had never heard of the Burzynski Clinic, which is a controversial "cancer treatment" clinic in Houston. It appears that the clinic has something of a history of trying to legally threaten and bully those who challenged its treatments, often with threats of libel lawsuits against critics. After the last major incident, in November of 2011, the clinic issued a press release saying that it had fired the "web optimization" expert it previously hired "to attempt to stop the dissemination of false and inaccurate information." However, the tone of the rest of the letter was still in line with the pattern of complaining about critics.

And, it appears, the clinic continues to bully critics too. The website Skeptical Humanities is claiming that Eric Merola, a filmmaker close to Burzynski who made an uncritical film about it, has been able to take down a video critical of Burzynski, and is also trying to get the author at Skeptical Humanities, Bob Blaskiewicz, kicked off Facebook. Skeptical Humanities claims that he used an "illegal DMCA takedown" to get the video taken down, but I don't think that's correct. You can look at the page where the video once was, and rather than a typical DMCA notice, instead it has a notice I hadn't seen before: "This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube's policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content."
That's not a DMCA (or even a content ID) issue, but rather (as it suggests) stems from complaints about the content being somehow spammy or scammy. Blaskiewicz decided to repost/mirror the video, and I don't see how anything in it qualifies as "spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content." It presents a bunch of information about why people might want to be skeptical of the Burzynski clinic, but is quite clear in laying out its evidence and suggesting people be careful and verify everything. Furthermore, Blaskiewicz notes that, last year, Merola had urged people on Facebook to report some Blaskiewicz Facebook comments as "spam" or "hate speech" with the very clear stated goal of having Facebook "knock this guy off for a while."
For a company that claims to be careful about its social media presence, you'd think it could do a lot better than going after online critics.

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  1. identicon
    David Gorski, 19 Apr 2013 @ 1:28pm

    A little background

    At the risk of shameless link whoring, I think a discussion of a little bit of the background is in order, starting with a link to a discussion of the first Burzynski movie that Eric Merola made, back in 2010:


    His second movie is no better, and apparently he's now letting his worship of Stanislaw Burzynski drive him to do nasty things like file dubious DMCA takedown notices:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/burzynski-cancer-is-a-serious-business-par t-2-like-the-first-burzynski-movie-only-more-so/

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