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Friday, 11 May 2007

More than spoon is bent, says EFF

The IPKat has learnt from Ars Technia that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a suit against pseudo-psychic Uri Geller claiming that, by requesting that YouTube take down a video featuring an excerpt from one of Geller’s programmes, Geller himself infringed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The YouTube video was posted by Brian Sapient, a member of the "Rational Response Squad," which aims to debunk the claims of those who profess to have a special connection with the supernatural. The video is an excerpt from a series originally broadcast by PBS in 1993, which featured James Randi, a magician, demonstrating how Geller did his tricks. As part of that demonstration, clips of Geller performing were included.

Geller sent YouTube a takedown notice under the DMCS, stating:

"I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed; I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and this notification is accurate".
However, the EFF claims that Geller only owns the copyright in 3 seconds of the 13 minute YouTube video, and that this is precisely the sort of thing that would be covered by the fair use defence.

The IPKat reckons that the use of takedown notices in such circumstances is predicated on the belief that their subjects will ‘go quietly’ and will take down the clips with minimal fuss and publicity. He commends the EFF for ensuring that this isn’t the case here. Merpel adds, if Geller’s a psychic, why didn’t he see this lawsuit coming?

EFF’s full complaint is available here.

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