Opening Statements

Takedown Putdown

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently “honored” National Public Radio, De Beers Diamond Jewellers and Warner Music Group. But chances are that none of the entities is crowing about the accolade because the digital media watchdog group awarded these and others entry into its Takedown Hall of Shame.

The EFF launched the hall to highlight abusers of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows copyright owners to force infringers to immediately remove from the Web allegedly infringing materials.

The San Francisco-based foundation inducted “the most egregious examples of takedown abuse” into the Hall of Shame to protect free speech, says senior staff attorney Corynne McSherry. These often are cases “where the own er should have known better, particularly news organizations,” she says. “If you’re a media own er, you don’t want to be shamed.”

NPR fit the bill for the foundation after an organization, Stand for Marriage Maine, created an ad critical of gay marriage that used a portion of an All Things Considered segment from NPR, which demanded that YouTube remove the video. The EFF says NPR failed to recognize that the excerpt came under the fair-use exception.

The foundation hopes the Hall of Shame will reduce the number of bogus takedown requests. To date, all of the targeted materials have been restored to the Internet, but it is too soon to know whether the hall or efforts such as counternotices forced the restoration.

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