DMCA, Please Go Away


R.U. Sirius's webzine 10 Zen Monkeys ran a Fox News screen shot of Internet annoyer ("griefer" is apparently what the kids are calling it these days, for people using the Web to cause others grief) Michael Crook, a copycat who puts up fake Craigslist ads soliciting reponses from all the pre-verts out there and then posts them on his own website; (A similar stunt was first done by Jason Fortuny.) The links to Crook's other sites, including "Deny the Holocaust," on his perverts page, and his list of domain names he holds and is selling, including "" and "" and "," are instructive and amusing as to what type of character we are dealing with here (though not in any other way).

Now Crook has used threats under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to get one of 10 Zen Monkeys ISPs to delete the photo–although he is obviously not the copyright owner, and though the Monkeys crew maintains that the use of the screen shot is fair use even if he were.

He continued threatening them when they moved to another server (the excellent and hard-to-intimidate and the Zen Monkeys crew recruited the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to help them out in a civil suit against Crook for violating their free speech rights. Under the DMCA, ISPs have a safe haven against copyright violations if they remove them upon being warned; this is used by people like Crook to intimidate ISPs into chilling what should be legally protected communications.

As Boing-Boing discovered, even reporting on this can get you stupid and unfounded DMCA claims sent to your ISPs.

Here is the EFF's account of the suit.

Here is 10 Zen Monkeys own full account of the kerfuffle.

Mike Godwin in Reason way back in 2001 on why the DMCA is a threat to free expression.

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  1. The DMCA is the biggest piece of copyright crap on the books. But let’s be respectful, it took the MPAA and the RIAA many years, and many bribed and extorted members of Congress to get it through. Sonny Bono sucked a of MPAA teat in his day. Unfortunately, this clunker of a law will stay with us because, hey, why not just regulate everything until we have a perfect little world? Pro-extreme copyright people liken everything to stealing, but they don’t have a clue as to why copyright was created in the first place. It wasn’t created to provide more private property to sell. It was created to stimulate the flow of ideas. The DMCA is designed solely to clamp down on the flow of ideas.

  2. …of Internet annoyer (“griefer” is apparently what the kids are calling it these days, for people using the Web to cause others grief) Michael Crook…

    The term ‘griefer’ has been around at least 15 years, as far as I can recall. It was (and still is) used in the online gaming community for annoying players. I first came across it playing text-based MUDs in the late ’80s.

  3. Lamar,

    Don’t forget the honorable Howell Heflen. I wounder if the people of Alabama ever wondered why it was their Senator was the biggest friend of the big Hollywood corporations. Why is it that someone sent to Washington to represent the people of Alabama ended up spending all of his time and efforts making sure Walt Disney got to keep its copyrights forever?

  4. This reminds me of the various threats made against when they publish internet stupidity. Unlike the ISP’s that 10 Zen Monkey’s use, however, SA’s provider seems to back them 100% of the way and not be intimidated. Its great when SA then posts the legal conversation between them and the aggrieved. Its hilarious pretty much all of the time.

  5. Whatever else you may want to say about the DMCA, it explicitly imposes liability on people who send illegitimate takedown notices. Crook will likely end up ordered to pay Sirius’s costs and attorney’s fees in all this.

    L_I_T: ‘sup fellow goon?

  6. Geeze, I’d never heard of this loser until today.

    Fingers crossed that he gets what’s coming to him.

  7. Whoa,

    It is now required that anybody who hates Michael Crook’s bullshit view the photoshop contest at Too….damn….funny.

  8. Awesome, Lamar! The Lindbergh baby, LOL.

    Don’t people like this guy need publicity – any publicity? Why would someone like this – whose only reason for getting up in the morning is to be in the public eye – ever seek to remove an image of himself?

  9. What a funny coincidence… I just went on Crook’s site today. After wading through the holocaust denial and shitting-on-the-troops* on his website, I decided to take a gander at his forums.

    I went through the rings and hoops and things to get registered, waiting my 8 hours to get approved. I go to log in and find this awaiting me:

    You are banned, due to the following reason:
    No fags allowed.

    The ban will be lifted:Never

    I had used my angrygaydood email addie.

    * Just this morning he had a page up with pictures of dead, dying or crying soldiers with captions mocking them for being asshole enough to join the military and take our taxes. He now has a much more subdued page up, but you can still find the text of the old site on the Google cache.

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