Uri Geller in Trouble Once Again May 9, 2007

Uri Geller in Trouble Once Again

I got an odd “press release” email yesterday. Why it was emailed to me, I don’t know. But whoever wrote it needs grammar lessons:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: EXPLOROLOGIST LIMITED, a British company filed suit today, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, against BRIAN SAPIENT, individually and doing business as the Rational Response Squad, for copyright infringement under the United Kingdom’s copyright law. EXPLOROLOGIST LIMITED is represented by Philadelphia lawyer, Alan L. Frank, Esq. of Alan L. Frank Law Associates, P.C. and Richard Winelander, Esq. of Baltimore, Maryland. EXPLOROLOGIST LIMITED alleges in its lawsuit that BRIAN SAPIENT posted a film on YouTube, without its permission or consent, in violation of British copyright law. The film entitled “??Dr. Hughes” depicts Dr. C. J. Hughes introducing Uri Geller in 1987 at the Hexagon in Reading, England at a charity show for the Royal Berkshire Hospital. EXPLOROLOGIST LIMITED had requested YouTube to remove the clip containing the Dr. Hughes segment. Initially YouTube removed the clip however at the request of BRIAN SAPIENT the clip is reinstated.

So Explorologist Limited filed a lawsuit again Brian Sapient for copyright infringement because Sapient supposedly put up a video on YouTube that included copyrighted material.

Then, today, I get a more in-depth explanation. It seems Uri Geller is just trying to pull another scam:

[Uri] Geller’s U.K. company, Explorologist Ltd., sent a [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] takedown notice to YouTube, claiming copyright in a video posted by the [Rational Response Squad]. It depicted magician James Randi, a prominent skeptic of the supernatural, showing how Geller could have performed “magic” tricks. (Some of his critics go farther, alleging that Geller is little more than a successful con artist.)

YouTube replied by suspending the relevant account.

There was one problem: Geller doesn’t seem to own the video. It’s nearly 14 minutes long, and Geller’s company apparently can claim copyright in only three seconds of it, a brief excerpt that would likely be permitted by U.S. fair use laws.

Wait. It gets better:

The DMCA requires anyone sending a takedown notice to state “under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”

If it was in fact only a three-second excerpt, Geller is facing potential legal liability. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking advantage of this possible vulnerability — and seizing a chance to make it a public lesson — by filing a lawsuit in federal court in northern California on behalf of Brian Sapient. (That’s the nom de plume of the fellow whose YouTube account was suspended.) The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, asks for an injunction against Geller, damages, and attorneys fees.

For those interested, here’s information on the EFF’s lawsuit (on behalf of Sapient).

And here’s the video that’s raising such a ruckus:

[tags]atheist, atheism, James Randi, Uri Geller, Explorologist Limited, Brian Sapient, Rational Response Squad, United Kingdom, Alan L. Frank, Richard Winelander, YouTube, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Electronic Frontier Foundation, psychic, scam[/tags]
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  • Richard Wade

    It’s a refreshing change of pace to see a fraud exposed who is not of the religious sort. Again, what always remains is the question of why people are so willing to believe absurdity.

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