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DMCA vs. the World - Derik in Minnesota

Jul. 30th, 2009

12:23 pm - DMCA vs. the World

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hillsong_takedown2
Today I went to look up Grant Morrison’s 2000 DisinfoCon speech, because he explores several high-level issues that I think are philosophically relevant to my ongoing exploration of the Creative Commons.

So I was a little nonplussed to discover that the video– which was on literally dozens of online video sites… was missing. When media goes missing, sites usually don’t tell you why. Some sites pretended like the videos had never been existed, some retained the meta-data like descriptions and comments, but ditched the video itself. Some sites said simply that it had been removed due to a copyright violation. And exactly one site, (YouTube) provided any sort of followup info.

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Hillsong Publishing.

Naturally, I assumed, Hillsong Publishing was The Disinformation Company, and they requested a takedown because they sell DVD’s of the ‘con. Regretable, but understandable. Or maybe Grant finally got someone to buy Pop Magic (a long-threatened book whose subject overlaps his DisinfoCon speech) and the publisher is protecting its interests. A bit more marginal… but still believable.

Turns out Hillsong Publishing is the publishing arm of Hillsong Church, and Australian megachurch with a somewhat questionable record of past actions.

So… fundamentalist megachurch issues takedown order against a speech they don’t own that happens to be about Shamanism, working magic, and how some groups (such as political parties, media multinationals, and organized religion) try to control what people can think.

The wonderful thing about the DMCA is that sites like youTube are required to comply with takedown requests, but there is no corresponding burden on the party making the request to establish that the video is a copyright violation.
In this case, Hillsong Church doesn’t even own the rights to the video– it seems they just claimed they did in order to get a video they disagreed with removed.

Abuse-prone as that system is… what really worries me is that 9/10 sites that this video was removed from gave no indication who had requested the removal, making it virtually impossible to tell when someone is abusing the system.
And that’s terrifying.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:jarodrussell
Date:July 30th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
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This one?
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From:deriksmith
Date:July 30th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
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Yup. It was on google video twice, this is the one still there. (Probably because it doesn't come up as easily when you search for it because the title uses 'disinfo' instead of 'disinfocon'.)

It also go ganked off of YouTube, Vimeo and... something else, I forget. It's still on Myspace, of all places. I have no idea if they were overlooked, or simply haven't processed the takedown request yet.

Understand... the youYube takedown wasn't one video. Every part got a separate takedown request and it was on there multiple times, as well as shorter excerpts, all by different posters. They've all been removed... dozens of separate requests.

And I can't figure out why. I mean--there's the obvious-- he spends most of the speech talking about witchcraft. But it's... the video isn't related to Hillsong at all, in any way. Not even in general. It just falls under the general category of "stuff in the world we wish didn't exist," and that's baffling to me.

Marlyn Manson spoke at the same convention... maybe that's what drew their fire. But really it just seems so... utterly random.
It makes me worry HSC could be sending thousands of takedown requests and this isn't some isolated oddity; they could actually be hitting everything, and no one's noticed yes because videos usually vanish with no explanation at all...
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[User Picture]
From:jarodrussell
Date:July 30th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
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If my memory of the DMCA is accurate, it may not even be HSC who requested the takedown. It could be someone claiming to be from them. DMCA is the perfect vector of attack for social-legal DDOS attacks.
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From:deriksmith
Date:July 30th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
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Lovely.
Of course HSC has a history of takedown requests via Mercy Ministries LLC. (like Hillsong Publishers, a subsidiary) that we're fairly sure sure were actually them (since they were directed at videos critical of the church) which it much more likely this is the same group.
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From:dvandom
Date:July 30th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
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Takedown, shakedown, no diff.
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From:dvandom
Date:July 30th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Okay, that's more than a little scary. And irksome...I hate it when douchebags abuse the letter of the law in order to advance their regressive agendas.
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[User Picture]
From:deriksmith
Date:July 30th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
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I hate when douchebags pass a letter-of-the-law that's so open the abuse.
Its' not like this is a surprise-- peopel screamed their head off whent he DMCA was first passed about how it had a zero-accountability system, but the lawmakers sponsoring it insisted that it'd be fine because as they saw it, only major media companies would be issuing takedown requests-- and we trust them to perform due diligence before making such a claim, right?

(There's about 16 different problems with that logic. Can you spot any of them? Bill Clinton can't.)
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