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Salty Droid

The Chilling of the DMCA

Orwellian DMCA

The Internet moves at the speed of the Internet :: The law moves at the speed of Congress. The result of that juxtaposition is that the Internet is largely lawless and ungoverned, but littered with silly and ineffective rules that are helpful only to criminals, oppressive corporations, dictatorial governments, and others willing to exploit ambiguity and uncertainty to repressive effect.

The current state of copyright law in America is blatantly, and depressingly, repressive of free speech and expression.

Over the last several days I’ve had both of my Twitter accounts suspended, and twice had my blog completely shut down by my host {bluehost}. The Twitter suspensions, and my server take downs, were in response to false DMCA claims made by the representatives of InfoMastery, a company owned by Ryan Deiss {aka Front for Perry Belcher}. Ryan is also the proud owner of three of my domain names {.com .net .org}, which he registered in contravention of the ACPA {link} in a previous lame attempt to silence the truth, and carefully crafted jokes, contained within this blog.

The claims were in reaction to a recent post in which I revealed the fact that Perry and Ryan had left direct and open links to the files contained in their new info product scam {link}. The scam is series of lame videos, priced at $3000, which describe in inaccurate detail how to use Twitter follow spamming to create massive wealth {an impossible task}. The links had not been manipulated in any way. When viewers clicked on the links, Ryan and Perry’s own servers answered the request and started sending the files to the user.

This was NOT a violation of copyright law. Read it and weep ladies …

  1. The basic rule in Internet Law, although everything is unsettled, is that linking is not infringement. If I had linked to another site where someone else was illegally making Perry’s shitty program available, that would very likely still not be considered infringement. In this instance however, the links were to the copyright owners own servers **where the files were all **publicly available. That’s not infringement … that’s hilarious!

  2. By the time the DMCA claim was filed with my host, the supposedly infringing post had no links at all. The files were removed {or properly secured} just a couple of hours after I pointed to the open accessibility, leaving just dead links in their wake. I’m quite certain that you can’t have a copyright claim in dead links.

My intention was never to distribute this “content.” Even a cursory overview of this site should convince you of that. I think the program is of zero real value, and is fraudulent on its face. The post was timed to fall at the peak moment in Perry Belcher’s spam cycle, two hours after the official launch. It was intended to cause a spectacle that would bring potential Perry Belcher customers to this site where they would find out some very disturbing facts about the “man” they were about to pay $3000, and give access to their Credit Card info.

So even if the linking itself could be considered infringement :: I am still protected by Fair Use. I’m reporting, criticizing, exposing, parodying, and dissenting against what I believe to be the open acceptance of horrible crimes. It is a right that should be, and is, protected in the United States. I have ZERO doubt about how an infringement case on this issue would be resolved.

But arguments about whether or not infringement has actually occurred are all but moot. This is the SIXTH time in six months that a bogus DMCA claim has been filed by the D-Bags in order to silence The Salty Droid. The most grievous example was Harlan Kilstein’s multiple DMCA claims to YouTube regarding my video exposing him as an Internet stalker and offensive sexual harasser {link}. That video took considerable time to make, and didn’t contain any of Harlan’s own materials {expect the hilarious last frame in which he squeals, “Stop!”}. He just didn’t like it. So he filed a false claim with YouTube, and they took the video down immediately :: while I was still actively promoting it {to great effect}.

Why? Why would Bluehost, Twitter, YouTube all be willing to repress speech in such an obvious instance of Good {me} vs. Evil {them}. Because the HORRIBLY flawed rules have created an environment where repression of speech, especially of the little guy, is an economic imperative for the large companies that dominate the web {and thus the future of all human communications}. Here’s how it works ::

The DMCA gives safe harbor {freedom from legal liability} to Online Service Providers {OSP’s} who abide by certain guidelines. The guidelines require OSP’s to block access to infringing content upon notification from the holder of the copyright. Easy! So that is what they do … in all cases … and without exception or examination. It would be expensive to examine claims, and why should they expose themselves to liability when they don’t have to? The laws pertaining to copyright have not kept pace with technological innovation … so almost all copyright claims can be seen to have some merit. Laws written by candlelight at drafting tables provide nothing but ambiguity to a world which contains Amazon Web Services and multi-acre Data Centers.

But if OSP’s were to just routinely block speech without examination {EXACTLY what they do} they would be liable to their users. Unfortunately for justice, the DMCA also grants OSP’s safe harbor against users provided that content is reposted once a user files a proper counter notification. However, the counterclaim {unlike the claim itself} is made under the threat of perjury, and REQUIRES the user to reveal NAME and ADDRESS to the person making the claim {which, remember, is always accepted and acted upon without examination}. This unbalanced approach means that many DMCA claims are filed leading to automatic repression of speech :: But counter claims are rarely, if ever, filed.

Actual anonymity, one of the most powerful possibilities of the Internet, is effectively impossible. Sure you can still maintain your “thief in the night” anonymity. You can open up multiple accounts and bounce around … remaining untrackable and unstoppable {the way in which most dark forces operate}. But if you want to establish a fixed anonymous identity to which you build credibility and attention for your cause … then you can be COMPLETELY and utterly silenced by the misuse of this sham of a law. It is a horror show … it is the institutionalized repression of THE MOST fundamental and important right in a free society … and something should be done about it. Nowish!

Action Plan

While these false claims, and the banishment of legitimate accounts, has made me very angry philosophically … it doesn’t actually do harm to my mission. My anonymity is not required, and {in case you hadn’t noticed} I’m a fighter.

Hi :: My name is Jason and I write this interesting blog. I live in downtown Chicago {South Loop} with my genius wife and adorable dog. I’m a lawyer, a radical, and an advocate for change.

  1. I will be filing counter-notifications on ALL six of the false DMCA claims that have been filed against my project. ALL of the content {including those ridiculously non-infringing dead links} will now be coming back.

  2. I’m demanding copies of the DMCA complaints filed against me from all of the platforms that have silenced me. I’m more than willing to sue if copies are not forthcoming.

  3. I will be posting all the false claims here on this blog to further expose the shenanigans {and desperation} of these criminals. I will also be posting the claims in the Chilling Effects clearinghouse :: An online forum hosted by several law schools that tracks the scope of this problem.

  4. I will be filing lawsuits against the scammers who intentionally abused the DMCA. See this summary in Ars Technica

  5. ALL **future DMCA notifications will be met with **immediate counter notifications :: And lawsuits where appropriate.

It was fun being anonymous; using encrypted lines, making grown men call me “Droid,” watching as the D-Bags hired Private Investigators and witch hunted their own. Ha! What a waste of time and money. But, in fact, it made the actual work of changing minds and stopping harm harder to accomplish. No one returns calls to Salty Droids, and people have a natural {and reasonable} distrust of the anonymous.

You D-Bags should have just taken your rhetorical lumps and not inflamed my {almost forgotten} passion for the 1st Amendment. The Droid may have been mean and full of snark :: But Jason is THE REAL NIGHTMARE :: And now here he comes!

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