Wednesday, October 28, 2009

EFF opens the "Takedown Hall of Shame"; Ars Technica, 10/28/09

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica; EFF opens the "Takedown Hall of Shame":

Missing that wonderful surge of anger that comes from hearing about some bogus attempt at shutting down free speech with a DMCA takedown notice? The EFF has you covered, opening a new "Hall of Shame" to highlight the worst of the worst.

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a big fan of naming and shaming. When it launched its patent-busting project a few years back, the activist group put up a "Wanted by EFF marshals" poster; eight of the ten patents on the list have already been narrowed, invalidated, or reexamined.

So when it wanted to highlight the overzealous use of DMCA takedown notices on the Web, the EFF went a similar route with its new "Takedown Hall of Shame."

Initially, eight items have been granted the coveted laurel wreath of infamy:

NPR's takedown request of some All Things Considered audio used in a recent same-sex marriage ad

The National Organization for Marriage's takedown request on audition footage for its anti-gay marriage ad

Nativist radio host Michael Savage's takedown request against the Council on Islamic-American Relations for posting clips of the rhetoric found on Savage's show

Polo Ralph Lauren's takedown request against Boing Boing and the Photoshop Disasters blog over a ridiculously photoshopped model whose head looked like a pumpkin on a toothpick

Warner Music Group's YouTube takedowns against "literal videos" and teens singing Warner songs a cappella for friends

Diamond giant DeBeers' attempt to shutter a parody site that looked like the New York Times and contained a fake DeBeers ad reading: "Your purchase of a diamond will enable us to donate a prosthetic for an African whose hand was lost in diamond conflicts. DeBeers: from her fingers to his."

Diebold's 2003 takedown attempt against internal e-mails revealing problems with the company's voting machines

NBC's takedown request of an Obama campaign video in which Tom Brokaw calls the election for John McCain...

One other item of interest: Big Content is represented less than one might think. The complete list does mention NBC, NPR, Warner Music, CBS News, and Universal Music, but it's dominated by smaller, non-media players like Union Square Partnership, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Uri Geller, Diebold, and DeBeers.

If you talk to lawyers for the big content providers (which we do so you don't have to! I kid, they're nice people), they will point out that the flood of DMCA takedown notices they issue results only in a handful of problem cases. These are then—unfairly, in their view—harped on repeatedly to suggest that they care nothing for fair use, have no sense of proportion, and probably nibble on succulent children for breakfast."

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