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Monday, September 08, 2008

DMCA Abuse: 4,000 Anti-Scientology videos pulled from YouTube

During the past few days American Rights Counsel LLC has forced YouTube to pull more than four thousand videos that are critical of the Church of Scientology. At this time it's unclear whether American Rights Counsel are representing the cult and did so at the behest of Scientologists. What is known is that a butt-load of Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices went out from the firm over a period of twelve hours this past Thursday and Friday, and YouTube had no legal alternative but to immediately yank the contested clips.

The affected YouTube users have already begun responding with DMCA counter-claims (which might explain why this blog has been registering a ton of visits to how I filed my own counter-claim a year ago against Viacom). That is indeed a wise step to take in fighting back.

But YouTube users shouldn't be forced to deal with this anyway. I've said many times since my own dealings with Viacom: the DMCA has turned out to be horrible legislation, rife for all kinds of abuse. Think about it: if anyone currently running for office wanted to, he or she could simply deluge YouTube with fraudulent DMCA infringement notices, and YouTube would be obligated to remove every video that's critical of that candidate... and maybe even official campaign ads from the opposition. And YouTube would have to do it without consideration or oversight.

Isn't that what's happening now with the Church of Scientology?