My lawsuit with Uri Geller AND role reversal by James Randi
This post contains details on my lawsuit with Uri Geller along with a video and story at the bottom from James Randi...
"I’ll no longer say that I have supernatural powers. I am an entertainer. I want to do a good show. My entire character has changed." - Uri Geller
Along with the EFF I am currently "at court" with Uri Geller for filing a DMCA take down notice on a video that I have on my youtube channel. Today it has more than 1 million views. It can be seen here.
I am able to convey to you that which is on public record, and I can't answer most questions/comments you may have, so check the public record if you're interested.
Brian Flemming offers commentary on Sapient V Geller at the very early stages of all of this.
The DMCA allows copyright owners to file a "takedown notice" with a service provider such as YouTube, provided that the copyright owner swears under penalty of perjury that he or she owns the copyright in question "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is infringed".
It appears that on March 23, Geller or his representative filed with YouTube a series of these DMCA takedown notices, which should have included swearing to the stated facts under penalty of perjury. When internet griefer Michael Crook tried this method of critic suppression, it didn't work out too well for him.
I mean, really not well:In a March 2007 settlement [with the Electronic Frontier Foundation], Crook agreed to withdraw his DMCA complaints, take a copyright law course, and apologize for interfering with the free speech rights of his targets.
Will Uri Geller similarly be brought to his knees?
Link to the EFF page outlining everything about Sapient V Geller
Despite the fact that only eight seconds of the over thirteen-minute video contain footage allegedly under copyright owned by Geller's corporation Explorogist Ltd. -- a classic fair use of the material for criticism purposes -- Geller filed a takedown demand with YouTube under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). That violates the DMCA requirement that copyright holders only send takedown notices for infringing content. Because of Geller's unlawful DMCA notice, Sapient's YouTube account was suspended, and his videos were not available for over two weeks.
On May 8, 2007, EFF filed suit on behalf of Sapient, asking for damages due to Geller's violation of the DMCA, a declaratory judgment that the NOVA video does not infringe Geller's copyrights, and that Geller be restrained from bringing any further legal action against Sapient in connection to the clip.
"All it takes is a single e-mail to completely censor someone on the Internet," said Jason Schultz, a lawyer for the online civil rights group ;">Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing Geller over an unflattering clip posted on YouTube for which he claimed a copyright ownership. For nearly as long as Geller has been bending spoons and moving compass needles with the wave of a hand, professional magicians have been loudly debunking his claims of psychic ability. A new generation of critics led by 30-year-old Brian Sapient of an organization called the ;">Rational Response Squad have taken their crusade online.
Sapient and others recently posted several video clips to YouTube demonstrating how Geller allegedly uses simple sleight of hand in his act. One slow-motion clip shows Geller quickly placing a small magnet on his left thumb before purporting to move the needle of a compass in front of a live television studio audience in Israel , where Geller was born. Another includes Geller's infamous ";">Tonight Show" flop, in which Johnny Carson exposed Geller by providing his own spoons and other props.
Arsetechnica on my case, link to full article.
The video also contained clips from various other shows—notably Geller's appearance on the Johnny Carson show where he was embarrassingly unable to demonstrate his abilities due to not being allowed to use his own props. On the whole, the video was highly critical of Geller's supernatural abilities.
That's when Brian Sapient came in, a member of a group called the "Rational Response Squad." The group's focus is debunking the claims of those who claim to be psychics or possess special powers, such as Geller. In November of 2006, Sapient posted a portion of the NOVA broadcast to YouTube as part of his group's mission to educate the public. In March, Geller and Explorologist sent a takedown notice to YouTube, signing a document saying that under the penalty of perjury, "I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed; I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and this notification is accurate."
As a result, YouTube not only removed Sapient's video, they also suspended his account and all videos associated with it. Sapient promptly filed a counter-notice to YouTube, but by the time his account came back online, it had been suspended for two weeks. The problem was that Geller is not the copyright owner to the video and was not otherwise authorized to act on behalf of the owner (PBS). According to the EFF's complaint, Geller and Explorologist can only claim copyright to three seconds of the entire 13-minute video posted to YouTube—those three seconds of which the EFF describes as "a classic fair use of the material for criticism purposes."
Sapient, with the help of the EFF, seized this opportunity to turn Geller's obvious abuse of the DMCA into an example for other abusers."We filed the lawsuit to protect our client's free speech rights and to fight back again illegal use of the DMCA takedown process," EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz told Ars Technica. "We believe the sole reason Geller sent the takedown was to silence our client's free speech critiquing him."
James Randi brings an interesting story to his excellent swift newsletter about Uri Geller.
Didn’t I tell you that Uri Geller, due to the recent exposures of his tricks on YouTube and on live TV, was no longer able to support the mythology that he is psychic, and now has to back away from the firm claims to genuine psychic power that he’s made for the last 35 years? Well, he’s done so. Reader Stefan Pochmann writes:
At youtube.com/watch?v=zGrn1IkMXbE you can see Geller in a recent German show completely failing to guess a picture of a square with four dots in it. Then at 2:14 into the video he explains:
"Sometimes when I do things, this is not a trick. Do you understand me?" - Geller
Interesting comment! This implies that he sometimes has a miracle happen in his hands, though he usually uses trickery. He’s got to keep some woo-woo in there, it seems… I must add that the reason Geller didn’t come up with the identity of the sealed drawing, just might be that it was prepared by the highly-skeptical host without Geller being present (see randi.org/jr/12-15-2000.html for the Geller method) and the spoons, etc., were kept away from him, too. But, Geller did manage to minimally bend a key, by his usual method, which was quite visible on camera.
Then in November of 2007, in an interview with Magische Welt (Magic World) he said, clearly and plainly:
"I’ll no longer say that I have supernatural powers. I am an entertainer. I want to do a good show. My entire character has changed." - Geller
No, Mr. Geller, just because you’ve run out of options and have to retreat, your character hasn’t changed at all. You’re still the man who lied – for 35+ years – to the media, to your sponsors, to the public, to researchers, to naïve scientists, and to government officials, saying that you were not a magician, that you didn’t and couldn’t do magic tricks, that you had genuine psychic abilities. And you said all this knowing that these people would choose to believe you and would commit themselves to promoting and endorsing your spurious claims.
Some of you may remember the Criss Angel, Jim Callahan, Uri Geller controversy from the show phenomen. This should show some results for video on that controversy.
Similar story about a bunch of Kent Hovind videos that were removed by Creation Science Evangelism Ministries.