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Environmentalists fight back, addressing important questions in the way the DMCA is used

The battlefield for the Digital Millenium Copyright Act just gained a new, unlikely set of occupants: environmentalists at SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

According to a lawsuit filed (PDF) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of SHARK, the PRCA “abused” the Digital Millenium Copyright Act by filing over a dozen takedown notices when the environmentalist group posted videos of animal abuse on YouTube.

The PRCA oversees a large number of rodeo events in the United States. SHARK focuses primarily on animal cruelty in rodeos and bullfighting.

Initially, YouTube complied with the PRCA’s requests, taking down SHARK’s YouTube account and the videos – posted between December 2006 and December 2007 – around the middle of December 2007. The outage lasted for a little more than a week; on Christmas Day 2007, YouTube restored SHARK’s videos and account a series of counter-notifications sent by SHARK’s lawyers.

In its lawsuit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation alleges that the PRCA “misused” the DMCA’s copyright takedown facilities, by falsely asserting copyright over videos it didn’t own.

“Live rodeo events are not copyrightable and that the PRCA’s copyright claim was baseless,” reads the complaint.

“The PRCA may not like it when our clients raise tough questions about how animals are treated at rodeos, “ said EFF Attorney Corynne McSherry in a press release issued Monday. “This copyright claim is … made simply to block the public from seeing SHARK's controversial videos. The PRCA can't be permitted to silence its critics through a misuse of the law.”

“We can't let the PRCA continue to interfere with SHARK's free speech rights,” said SHARK investigator Michael Kobliska. “It's simply not right for us to waste our time and money dealing with these baseless DMCA takedowns that block our message from getting out to the public.”

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the PRCA from filing future copyright complaints or lawsuits against SHARK.

While a seemingly routine quibble between environmentalists and animal handlers may at first glance seem unimportant in the larger arena of digital rights, SHARK’s lawsuit can have larger ramifications. Copyright law enforces penalties for falsely misrepresenting ownership in a takedown request, and the DMCA’s takedown provisions have a history of misuse.

More importantly, rules set in the DMCA are beginning to establish, indirectly, an international precedent. Sweeping Canadian copyright legislation, dubbed the “Canadian DMCA” by its backers, seeks to install “draconian” copyright rules and penalties and is styled in a similar fashion to the American law by the same name. Techdirt reports that the Canadian bill nearly died in late 2007 due to a public outcry, but was recently reinstated on a “fast track” as its backers try to get the bill approved as soon as possible.



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It's a sad thing,
By mindless1 on 6/13/2008 6:04:03 AM , Rating: 3
... when groups like this and other non-profit organizations have to amass a large cash reserve just to handle events like this. It make me sad to think about how much the US has changed in the last few decades, used to be people tried to talk through things and realized when their ass was left hanging in the wind from doing something arguably wrong, tried to make amends instead of using the law as a sword against whoever uncovered their questionable deeds.




RE: It's a sad thing,
By kusala on 6/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: It's a sad thing,
By mindless1 on 6/13/2008 8:24:02 AM , Rating: 5
There is a difference between slaughtering quickly and prolonging an animal's suffering. Obviously you were kidding about the livestock seeking or appreciating fame. Food yes, stardom, hardly.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By Topweasel on 6/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: It's a sad thing,
By eye smite on 6/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: It's a sad thing,
By Topweasel on 6/13/2008 3:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
Um.... I have killed a total of 3 animals my whole life and two of them were mice, and none of them senseless, they had there reasoning. I have never gone dog fighting, cock, running with the bulls, never attempted to go hunting, never watched a rodeo, and I actively try dodging animals in the road (number 3). I take no Amusement from killing Animals or having someone else kill animals (well maybe some times if its funny). That said, they are animals, and like you said so are we, we are a more advanced animals. While its socially acceptable for cats, and Orcas to play with their prey, it generally isn't acceptable here. Knowing that, they are not humans and whether its accepted by you or not it isn't really wrong, depraved yes, wrong no.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By mindless1 on 6/16/2008 4:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
I can't agree that they exist for our amusement. More like, we are the dominant species and as we evolved, found it very beneficial, sometimes even necessary to use them for food and clothing, but not nearly so much today.

I can't even imagine the number of animals I've killed. Sure, mice and other rodents and such, plus I have hunted in the past, I have property that took away (animal) habitats when the land was cleared, I buy meat at a store, I put weedkiller on my lawn that makes birds act funny (though over the counter legal formula type).

Our existance causes other animals to die, that's just the way it is when you're higher up on the food or evolutionary chain. I don't take amusement from it, except one time I was young, playing pretend-Rambo I suppose and stuck my knife through a frog's head where it sat, but I was going to kill and eat it anyway and that is the quickest way to kill one. The amusement was in play-acting, not in prolonging animal suffering. A naturalist would probably have preferred I had packed a turkey sandwich but it was a camping trip and I don't see the difference in raising a bird to kill on a poultry farm or eating a frog I killed myself, quickly.

To me the real difference is availability and choice. If that frog were sitting next to a bowl of vegitarian chili, I'd probably pick up my spoon instead of killing the frog. I wouldn't choose to cut off it's leg and leave it lying there squirming, nor employ animals in cruel ways like a rodeo, though if it were another time and place I might put a yoke on an ox and till a field with it.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By sxr7171 on 6/13/2008 4:17:17 PM , Rating: 2
I think reality TV is basically the use of humans for our amusement. When we take care of that problem, we can focus on not using animals for our amusement.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By rsmech on 6/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: It's a sad thing,
By McGuffin on 6/14/2008 4:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They are animals for all intents and purposes they exist for our amusement.


Sharks and big cats eat people. Do we exist for their amusement?


RE: It's a sad thing,
By Ringold on 6/14/2008 6:19:17 PM , Rating: 3
As far as cats go, yes, I believe that we do.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By AlvinCool on 6/13/2008 8:25:37 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
These bulls are famous!!! They should be happy about it. They get fed extremely well and get on ESPN.


Oh yeah, nothing like being fed steroids and having a leather strap tied to your balls while some cowboy cinches it tight and every time you buck it pulls the cinch tighter. Is that your idea of a good time?


RE: It's a sad thing,
By Sulphademus on 6/13/2008 8:44:34 AM , Rating: 5
Some men would pay good money for that type of thing.

I'm not raising my hand though.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By FITCamaro on 6/13/2008 9:39:14 AM , Rating: 2
If it was who would you be to tell me that its wrong. Granted I only let Cowgirls ride me.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By AlvinCool on 6/13/2008 9:46:35 AM , Rating: 4
Thats cause when you do it with a consenting adult, thats called consenting . When you do it to an animal cause you think you are macho, it's called cruelty. Eating the animal is one thing, beating, whipping and crushing it's testicles while it's alive isn't really tenderizing it.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By mezman on 6/13/2008 3:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Eating the animal is one thing, beating, whipping and crushing it's testicles while it's alive isn't really tenderizing it.


It's tenderizing the Rocky Mountain Oysters I suppose...


RE: It's a sad thing,
By rsmech on 6/13/2008 4:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
An animal can consent no nothing. You are giving human qualities to something that does not have them. To argue that I agree with animal cruelty would be mistaken but they are not equal to humans.

Does that make me prejudice because I feel superior to all other species?


RE: It's a sad thing,
By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 6:37:30 PM , Rating: 1
Just like Americants are superior and not equal to the rest of the human race?

Does that make me prejudiced?


RE: It's a sad thing,
By kusala on 6/14/2008 7:33:08 AM , Rating: 2
Where do we draw the line? We kill bugs and insects. We spray them with insecticide and they have an agonizing death. Why do these groups not speak out for them? Why are they so selective.

Nature is much harder than we ever are on animals. Lets just save all the bulls from lions and tigers. They have a very slow agonizing death at times.

My point is people have knee jerk reactions on this type of stuff. They say there so high and mighty and think its cruel to ride a bull the way they do. Yet we kill bee's, wasps, and termites, mice rats cockroaches by the millions in dome of the most inhumane ways. where do we draw the line? Or is there a line to cross?

What about grass we cut the grass and its living. Do we know for sure it does not hurt? It can die. Do we make grass rights and let it grow as nature intended? Seems far fetched but I bet there is nutballs out there like the Animal rights people who think they know whats right and everyone should heed them.

They are just people with mental problems usually looking for attention.


RE: It's a sad thing,
By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 6:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
They are selective because they have to start somewhere.

Nature is harder but never sadistic wannabe-muchoman cowards torturing 3-4 month old calves.

Now to the mental case=Seriously dude, have YOUR HEAD
checked ;)


RE: It's a sad thing,
By mindless1 on 6/16/2008 4:37:44 AM , Rating: 2
You might be right, but since we defined the word suffering I think we can say subjectively that someone would suffer more if you clamped their testicles and pulled before killing them, than killing them without having done that. I suspect (and a biologist would probably agree) that the bull's balls hurt just as much as yours or mine would.

So the answer is that they aren't charging acts of unfair death or any kind of pain, just unnecessary cruelty and/or abuse.

Is nature much harder on animals? I tend to suspect there would be more of them if we didn't exist, except possibly foodstock animals, I couldn't venture a guess about that since we keep large populations of them in artificial environments.


How?
By FITCamaro on 6/13/2008 6:13:15 AM , Rating: 5
How is a live rodeo event not copyrightable but a baseball game or football game is?




RE: How?
By notposting on 6/13/2008 7:15:07 AM , Rating: 2
it's not the game that is copyrighted, it's the broadcast--I'm assuming these videos were made by people at the rodeo with their own equipment.

just like you could go to a baseball game and record the whole thing and then broadcast/post online.


RE: How?
By FITCamaro on 6/13/2008 7:17:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
just like you could go to a baseball game and record the whole thing and then broadcast/post online.


I don't believe you can.


RE: How?
By FITCamaro on 6/13/2008 7:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
Let me clarify that. You can go and record it with a home camcorder. But I don't believe you can distribute it in any way.


RE: How?
By Topweasel on 6/13/2008 8:47:33 AM , Rating: 2
I believe you can use the video to some degree but you can't broadcast the game in its entirety. So if you taped lets Moss's and Tom Brady's record touchdown, that would be okay to put on YouTube but if you tried to put up all 3 hours that you can't. I know the NFL likes to say they have full control over every second but I don't think they do.


RE: How?
By tmouse on 6/13/2008 9:13:30 AM , Rating: 2
No you cannot rebroadcast ANY of it. News organizations can do a single report as news and it’s covered but if they reshow it they pay a small fee, similar to radio. Technically you cannot record it with a camera but since it’s not really possible to look for them in the audience it’s a don't ask don't tell policy.


RE: How?
By theapparition on 6/16/2008 8:10:21 AM , Rating: 2
The laws are based on the ticket contract.

You purchase a ticket to attend a private event. The rules and regulations are printed on that ticket. If at any time you don't agree with the terms, you have the right to return the ticket. Attendance of the event implies that you agree to those terms.

Now, I can guarantee that the back of any major sporting event or concert ticket clearly states that your not allowed to record any portion of the event, and rebroadcasts are strictly prohibited.

Rodeo's?.........don't know, never been to one.

So to paraphase what really happens since it's rarely enforced......you can take pictures and video for personal use (even though illegal), but if you try and show the whole game, they'll come after you.

And doesn't everyone know that MLB stores everyone's personal info in satellites? They are watching.


RE: How?
By Kougar on 6/13/2008 7:44:33 AM , Rating: 2
Hm, probably because there is no similar NFL, NBA, or MLB organization for rodeos that seeks to control media, promotions and other items for profit?


RE: How?
By tmouse on 6/13/2008 9:25:37 AM , Rating: 2
Actually that’s what the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is. They have traditionally allowed camcorders in since many of the venues are "home fields" for some one participating so their friends and family are there. Rebroadcast is strictly prohibited. Now the other side say there are not rebroadcasting for the entertainment purpose but I guess as news reporting on animal cruelty. I think the NFL, NBA and MLB would do the same thing if some group felt their activities were cruel to humans and showed clips to refer to steroid injections, ect (I do not know if they also use leather straps on anyone’s testis in reference to an earlier thread in this post).


RE: How?
By tmouse on 6/13/2008 9:53:41 AM , Rating: 2
I'll qualify my previous statement. It really is only appropriate if the event is PRCA sponsored and uses video of ANY of the events themselves. A "behind the scenes" type of tape should be exempt outside of the possible trespass laws that may be broken.


Most Disturbing part
By dgingeri on 6/13/2008 8:05:15 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
the Canadian bill nearly died in late 2007 due to a public outcry, but was recently reinstated on a “fast track” as its backers try to get the bill approved as soon as possible.


This obviously means they are trying to get something passed against the will of the people. they want to get it passed, just like DMCA, before the general public knows about it. This shows they are bought and paid for by certain business leaders.




RE: Most Disturbing part
By MetaDFF on 6/13/2008 11:59:11 AM , Rating: 3
It seems this new bill is drawing some attention from the Canadian media.

Both the free newspapers "Metro" and "24 h" made the new copyright bill front page news. They even point out in the article that under the new legislation making copies of CDs and DVDs protected by DRM to your iPod would be illegal, which hopefully will raise some eyebrows. They do put some positive spin on the new bill by saying it will limit personal download infringement penalties to just $500.

http://www.metronews.ca/Toronto/Edition

http://v2.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/24hrstoronto/2008...

Metro and 24 h both have a pretty large readership in Toronto, so hopefully it will draw more attention to the issue before the government has a chance to slip it under the radar.


RE: Most Disturbing part
By oab on 6/13/2008 2:30:17 PM , Rating: 4
If you want to fight the "Canadian DMCA" the best thing to do is this:

1) write a letter to Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Josée Verner Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women.
2) Write a letter to your local MP
3) Write a letter to the opposition party (Liberals, NDP and Bloc) expressing your desire to kill the bill. It certainly will not be a confidence motion so they won't kill the government over it so they should have nothing to loose.
4) Send a letter to PM Harper
5) Send a letter to your local provincial legislature (these last two likely won't accomplish much, but do it just the same).

You can reach all of the above at (free, no stamp required):

<MP name here>
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A9.

Also go here and visit the online auto-email letter to your MP thing as well: http://www.copyrightforcanadians.ca/action/firstlo...

Their phone numbers/extensions can be reached by calling: 1 (866) 599-4999

Remember: letters and phone calls are more effective than emails with politicians.


RE: Most Disturbing part
By exanimas on 6/13/2008 4:38:34 PM , Rating: 3
>>"Remember: letters and phone calls are more effective than emails with politicians."

Because unfortunately a majority of the people that make laws about things that happen on the internet barely have any idea how to use it. (Yes, this is a generalization, but come on, one guy said it's a series of tubes.)


RE: Most Disturbing part
By Garreye on 6/15/2008 8:15:54 AM , Rating: 2
I think it also may have something to do with the ridiculous number of emails they receive every day.


RE: Most Disturbing part
By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 7:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
Which only an intern glances over and deletes en masse.


RE: Most Disturbing part
By Ringold on 6/14/2008 6:26:19 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds to me like the Lisbon treaty in the EU; only one referendum.. and speaking of that, I just heard Ireland voted it down -- HOORAH!

Sounds also like how an immigration bill will likely get rammed through Congress at their earliest convenience, since the last time they tried countless thousands of people protested in front of congressional offices across the country.

As a small-government conservative I'd point out government is running roughshod over peoples desires throughout the West, but people only care when it is their particular interest at stake. By then, it's too late.


RE: Most Disturbing part
By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 7:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
Currently I am in Canada and completely attest to that. The Canadians I talked to, all, more or less have the same thoughts.

The media report on this bill was more of an afterthought :(


You know something SHARK
By Reclaimer77 on 6/13/2008 10:11:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
“We can't let the PRCA continue to interfere with SHARK's free speech rights,” said SHARK investigator Michael Kobliska. “It's simply not right for us to waste our time and money dealing with these baseless DMCA takedowns that block our message from getting out to the public.”


Even if you win or whatever, guess what, the public doesn't care !

Activist groups are simply made up of people that don't have anything better to do with their lives. A side effect from living in a country where you have things so good, you eventually just start hating other people for no reason. Example, the environmentalist movement.

People just don't have time to care. Most of us have enough issues already today than worrying about some stupid rodeo cows that would just end up as steak anyway. Boo freaking hoo ! Who cares ?

I'm pretty sure far more people are abused every day than rodeo bulls, but thats not classy enough of a cause. Plus you can't make it into a cool acronym like SHARK.




RE: You know something SHARK
By 1prophet on 6/13/2008 12:24:58 PM , Rating: 3
Activist groups are simply made up of people that don't have anything better to do with their lives. A side effect from living in a country where you have things so good, you eventually just start hating other people for no reason. Example, the environmentalist movement.


It's because of the sacrifices of activists some with their lives that we have it so good here.


RE: You know something SHARK
By rsmech on 6/13/2008 4:42:45 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's because of the sacrifices of activists some with their lives that we have it so good here.


I would attribute it to our nations troops through-out history before I would the activists. They are the reason you could even be an activist in a free society.


RE: You know something SHARK
By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 7:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
Amen to that brother.

Already seeing the holier-than-thou nutcases dragging in our troops into this mess again.


RE: You know something SHARK
By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 7:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A side effect from living in a country where you have things so good, you eventually just start hating other people for no reason


Are you talking about YOU? Then I completely agree with you :)


I never liked those rednecks anyway
By sh3rules on 6/13/2008 4:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
If they want to prove how tough they are, they could torment each other instead of animals that didn’t ask to be in a rodeo. And no, I’m not an activist, although I occasionally contribute some money to organizations that fight abuse against animals.




RE: I never liked those rednecks anyway
By kusala on 6/14/2008 8:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
um how do you know they don't at night? Also if you give money your an activist. I did not know animals could talk or write to sign up for a rodeo?

If people would take heart on real issues the world would be better off. Helping a cow/bull is doing what for us exactly? Oh yea it does nothing. You save the bull from the rodeo and toss it to the slaughter house.

There is no fairyland for a cow. He is not gonna live happily ever after. The world is not gonna change from a rodeo stopping and nobody is gonna recognize sharks efforts. Or thank them for that matter



By wjobs55 on 6/15/2008 7:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
So your reply is to do nothing? Corporate Welfare Nation FTW.
YEE HAWH.


Comment Count Wrong?
By mindless1 on 6/16/2008 4:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
What's up with the comment count? I could around 9 posts but it reads 49.




RE: Comment Count Wrong?
By mindless1 on 6/16/2008 4:31:26 AM , Rating: 2
Strange, I loaded the page twice and only saw 9 comments, then the next time I did it far closer to all 49 (then 50, 51) showed up. Website malfunction?


So...
By Locutus465 on 6/13/2008 10:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
Not at all familiar with this case, but it sounds like these SHARK people were doing their own filming of these rodeo event capturing what they see as animal abuse (I'm giving the issue a wide birth as not to confuse the issue) and the rodeo cowboy's assoc tried having the videos pulled on the basis that they own the copy wright to the rodeo event it's self there for the taping and distributing of the event is a copy wright violation? I'm not so sure what kind of legal ground they have to stand on with that one...

I've only been to one rodeo, but I don't think they disallow camera's or video gear... I know that such devices are not allowed for instance, in movie theaters, or music concerts and I do not belevie you'd be allowed to bring such devices into an NFL, NHL or MLB game... So while I'm no expert, why don't they look at how restrictions were implemented for these other events? Of course doing so would only make sense if they also then planned to film all of these events, release then on to DVD for sale with an expectation of reasnoble sales. I'm not sure how many rodeo junkies there are out there, I probably wouldn't buy such a DVD but who knows, maybe others would.




Your all missing the point.
By markitect on 6/13/2008 11:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
If SHARK wins then it sets a legal precedence for companies being held accountable for misusing DMCA take down notices. There is always something in the news about some company misusing them this could very well stop, or at least reduce, this practice of DMCAing stuff huge companies don't like.

Personally I don't care about the cows, but SHARK can complain all they want, thats their right and it is a blatant misuse of DMCA to use take-down notices to censor people/restrict free speach.




I hope that SHARK wins...
By Hawkido on 6/13/2008 2:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
Because then I can bring my camcorder into the movie theater, or Opera, or Play theater, or Concert hall and record the event and put it up on YouTube! LOL!




PRCA has the legal right
By Screwballl on 6/14/2008 3:19:11 PM , Rating: 2
Any and all events sanctioned and handled by the PRCA have the right to prevent video and/or photos from being taken curing the events. Only licensed or previously approved video/photo/sound sources can record these events legally.

The PRCA has every right to demand these are removed.




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