Friday, July 31, 2009

Watts Up with abusing DMCA takedown actions

Deltoid reports that Anthony Watts from a climate denialist site has filed a copyright claim against a Youtube video that critiques his work (more info and the video is at DeSmog). Watts incorrectly claimed that "Google agreed that complaint was valid and removed the video." Google removes Youtube videos automatically when these claims are made.

Watts also launched a very long attack on the video and peripherally mentions his justification for the takedown notice by saying it used "photographs and graphics from my published book “Is The U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”. He provides no details.

The book cover is shown in the video, which is indisputable fair use and exempt from copyright claims. Just because a photograph appears in Watts' book doesn't mean he owns the copyright, which likely belongs to the photographer. If the source is the US government then there's no copyright claim as the US government generally asserts no copyright to its content. And regardless, use of a small amount of information from Watts' book for purposes of critiquing it is fair use.

Watts has no justification for his attack, as may be seen from the fact that he hasn't attempted to take down the reposted Youtube video by DeSmog.

One additional wrinkle: the video author, Peter Sinclair, could post a "Counter Notification" to Youtube saying he violated no copyright. If Watts fails to sue Sinclair within 10 business days, then the video can go back up. Seeing as DeSmog has reposted it though as a separate video, I expect the whole thing will fizzle out with a fair amount of egg on Watts' face.

UPDATE: More data: for whatever reason I'm comparing Watts' book (in pdf form that he links to) to the video. In addition to the book cover, there's a pic of Watts that's from the book. There are some screen shots of surfacestations.org website, but that's both fair use and not Watts' claim. There are two graph at 2:35 shown for seven seconds from the book used to describe the book (repeated once later in the video for a few seconds); and a two second screenshot of a half-page at 4:37. That's all I could find. What a crock.

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