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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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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 :)


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