Now that I’ve ranted about the stupidity of the DMCA, let’s move onto the stupidity of the people who try to use it to unjustly silence their critics.
DreamHost, a web hosting service, detailed on their blog over a year ago a fun little experience of gross misuse of the DMCA by a malcontent named Michael Crook. I don’t want to steal their thunder since they have a great story to tell, so I recommend you read all about it here.
For the purposes of the post however and for all you lazy readers out there, I’ll run down the important and humorous parts of the story.
Michael Crook went on a Fox News show to discuss an anti-military website he ran. He made an idiot of himself. When other people posted a screen capture of him from the show, some on their DreamHost-hosted sites, Crook sent take-down notices claiming to be the copyright owner of the image to DreamHost. Never mind the fact that Fox News and not Michael Crook owns the rights to images from its show. Never mind the fact that Michael Crook filed these take-down notices fraudulently because he didn’t own the rights. Never mind researching a law and maybe getting a lawyer before you try to pursue legal actions under a law you apparently know little about.
In the end, DreamHost didn’t flinch in the face of insults and threats of being called child molesters by Crook. Crook was then sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (aka the good guys when it comes to copyright law) for his abuse of the DMCA. Crook settled the lawsuit and made an apology (which accompanies DreamHost’s post) and best of all, was forced to take a class in copyright law.