Saturday, September 15, 2007

More alleged DMCA abuse on YouTube: Creationists use law to silence critics

Now that the Viacom/YouTube situation is behind me (I hope), I'm in the process of putting together a collection of the various published news stories/blog posts about it all: from the time it began to its resolution. And I'm also working on documenting the step-by-step process that I went through to contest it, including the full text of the counterclaim.

Suffice it to say, one of the things that has happened as a result of all this is that I'm now much more interested in digital copyright matters than I was before.

So this article on Slashdot caught my eye: a pro-atheist group called the Rational Response Squad has had its YouTube account terminated after an organization called Creation Science Evangelism Ministries allegedly flooded YouTube with "false DMCA copyright requests". The termination apparently came after the Rational Response Squad tried to contest the copyright claims (I'm assuming this means that the Rational Response Squad filed DMCA counterclaims as I did in my situation).

I definitely don't agree with the Rational Response Squad and what they stand for. And there's probably not much at all that these people would ever appreciate about my being a believer in God and a follower of Christ (albeit a very imperfect one).

All the same, if these allegations are true then a dire injustice is being done to the Rational Response Squad by way of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And YouTube has a lot of explaining to do.

And if Creation Science Evangelism Ministries is indeed attacking its critics with fraudulent claims like this, then the people behind it are showing a very poor example of Christ-like character. And they should be called out for that. But right now I'm more concerned about what is happening with YouTube and the DMCA.

I can almost understand what happened with YouTube so far as my incident went. They were put between the proverbial "rock and a hard place". And under the DMCA once a copyright claim was received, they had to act accordingly. They acted wrong, but in looking back and knowing more about it than I did before, I don't see how YouTube had any choice under the law but to remove it... at least until I filed the DMCA counterclaim.

But this situation with Rational Response Squad and Creation Science Evangelism Ministries is, in many ways, far worse than mine was. The thing with my video was at best, I like to think anyway, ignorance. The actions against the Rational Response Squad could - it might be argued in a court of law - be criminal.

However what is really troubling is that, if the report that Slashdot posted is true, then YouTube has terminated the Rational Response Squad's account without a complete and considerate investigation of the matter. And maybe I'm thinking on a way wrong level here when I say this but after reading what is supposedly happening with the Rational Response Squad, it's enough to make me wonder what might have happened to my own account when I filed the counterclaim against Viacom's move against my own YouTube video. Without the considerable press that my situation generated, would YouTube have been just as keen to not have my account be terminated?

You would think that YouTube would give every claim and counterclaim the seriousness that each deserves, even knowing that many of them are no doubt going to be frivolous. That's to be expected of any enterprise that's put itself in the public position that YouTube has done. But to possibly not only fail to investigate such inane claims but also acquiesce to them goes so far beyond negligence, that I also cannot but believe that these actions would be criminal in nature also.

As I said before: as a Christian, I don't agree with what the Rational Response Squad stands for. But if what they are saying is true and they are indeed being quashed on YouTube by Creation Science Evangelism Ministries, then I'll give the Rational Response Squad my full support in this matter.

I'll close this post out with an observation using my personal "worst possible epithet for anything". This situation, along with my own and numerous others, proves one thing: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act sucks donkeys balls to no end.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, you're the first Christian we've seen come to our defense. Thanks for standing up for what's right.

- Brian Sapient

Anonymous said...

Christopher,

Kudos from another atheist for your principled stand.

cynthax said...

I admire people that can think clearly and honestly enough to be able to separate their opinion about a person/group from whether an action was fair or not. I'm not a Christian myself, but I believe that if you subscribe to some faith, you should at least act in a way that is coherent with what you claim to believe in. Your attitude seems very coherent to me, well done.

Anonymous said...

Christopher, the issue is more complex than some may be presenting. No doubt CSE filed DMCA's against people the question is were they legitimate copyright issues involved...that's a great question, I don't know. 'Assuming' CSE filed false DMCA's they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
To my understanding the RRS account was suspended not for copyright issues but because of violation of Terms of Service. I'm not exactly sure what about their latest video violated TOS, however, Brian Sapient was aware that the music video they played at the end of their video, which mentions raping Kent for Jesus, had been taken off of YouTube at an earlier time.
Is CSE trying to 'quash' RRS? Well, it seeems RRS would like for people to believe this. CSE, definetly 'seems' to be quashing those that have used their material and it seems even people who haven't used their material, however, this isn't RRS.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree.

I'm an atheist as well.

I support your right to speak your mind as well as anyone's.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a Christian who understands truth and discernment, understanding and well, you know...many of those gifts which are born of the greatest of gifts. I thank you and your god (I assume the christian god, though it is difficult for me to say that due to the way many christians that I have met/seen have revealed God) for what you are doing here. I hope that true justice takes place and that all will be solved fairly.

yours in a metaphorical Christ,
myspace.com/wellillbeamonkeysuncle

Anonymous said...

You're unknowingly(?) doing what the RRS is all about; taking a rational stand on an issue.
All in the spirit of "I may not agree with what you stand for, but I'll give my life to ensure you can say it".

And, ofcource, refuting bogus claims about copyrigth is all about that.

Have a nice day :)

Unknown said...

Sweet blog, man. Finally, a Christian who isn't about building a dogmatic empire of falsities and hypocrisy. I'm an atheist and a subscriber (not member) of RRS, but I also believe that exercising your personal faith responsibly summons no ire from those in disagreement.

Please tell me there are more Christians like you! :)

Regards,
Vasil

Frank Walton said...

Christopher,

Personally, I think the fact that it's the Rational Response Squad getting banned is a hoot. You should know that RRS are known for banning their opposition from their website quite a number of times. But it may interest you to know that a Christian was suspended from youtube because of RRS! Talk about hypocrisy! At one time they even threaten to sue me for using their pictures in my blog for copyright infringement! Anyway, sablechicken and Jack have responded to Brian Sapient (aka Brian J. Cutler) and his hypocrisy.

All in all though, I really don't care about RRS getting banned, or even getting reinstated back to youtube. They're a bunch of idiots that almost everybody loves making fun of.

Frank Walton

Frank Walton said...

PS Here's more stuff I've written on this so-called "censorship" of RRS: Define "cry baby", Open Letter to Youtube by Brian J. Cutler, and Britney Spears and RRS.

PPS Also, Christopher, I know you don't care for what RRS stands for but why defend a bunch of sick-minded freaks? Brian J. Cutler puts up a cartoon about Hovind getting raped! Is this the kind of idiot you want to stand by? He wants Eric Hovind in jail just for (get this) getting some atheists suspended from youtube. Wow! The awful, awful, Hitler-esque crime! And to top it off, Cutler jokes that Eric Hovind ought to have incest with his father in jail. I mean, is that sick or what? To even think that, makes you wonder about the mentality of Mr. Cutler. Kent Hovind is doing 10 years in jail, haven't the Hovinds suffered enough? According to Cutler, no. Cutler wants them totally annihilated and brainwashed (as he suggests his own mother should go through).

Frank Walton said...

This just in:

Brian Sapient Caught using a "Kent Hovind" excuse!

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for your support, you are a credit to your religion. if more Christians acted like you there would be less tensions between Atheists and christians

Anonymous said...

The full story goes like this: Many videos critiquing the work of Kent Hovind have been taken down due to copyright claims by CSE. However, CSE has repeatedly stated that they have no copyright on their material. Therefore, they cannot claim copyright on them now. Furthermore, filing false DMCA claims is a CRIME. The fact is that it is quite clear that CSE is filing claims against ANYBODY that criticizes them, not just the RRS. ExtantDodo has had 3 of their videos taken down. Overall, it is CSE illegally censoring anybody who exposes them. Not just the RRS.

pbh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Kudos for your support of principles - it makes a good common ground.

---j

pbh said...

I have always believed that when someone does something right, it should be welcomed, no matter how different their beliefs are from my own.

I don't in any way share your belief in God, but I support your right to keep control of your own words.
I don't agree with the rude and confrontational methods of the RRS, but I support their right to free speech.
I know that you disagree profoundly with the RRS on most matters, but you have (and I think rightly) supported them on this.

The DMCA is being abused, by dishonest people of all persuasions, and will no doubt be abused by many more until this broken legislation is mended.

To you, the RRS, and anyone else who takes a stand, I salute you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, principles are hard to come by in this world and especially pertaining to the issue of religion. Many of your "brothers and sisters in Christ" are not, as you said, showing the qualities that they claim to apply to their religion.

As an atheist, this is refreshing to see.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your blog wholeheartedly. There's too much deception being pandered about as it is. As Frank Walton proves here, by self owning three times in an hour.

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