Pirates of the paranormal

Under the DMCA, anything seems possible

Remember spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller? The cutlery-abusing 70's icon got bent out of shape recently after a video clip debunking his paranormal abilities surfaced on YouTube. Geller sent a DMCA take-down notice to YouTube, claiming the clip infringed his copyright. YouTube removed the clip and suspended the poster's account. (It's back, though -- and you can watch it here.)

The problem? Even the psychic's own attorney only claims 10 seconds of the 13-minute video infringed on Geller -- a portion any sane person would agree qualifies as fair use. A more likely reason is that Geller is trying to bludgeon his critics into silence. The Electronic Frontier Foundation certainly thinks so; it's suing Geller under a provision of the DMCA that makes it illegal to issue takedowns on stuff you don't actually own. (The EFF won a similar suit against Diebold in September 2004.)

Gee, you'd think he would have seen that coming.

In other DMCA news, Safwat Fahmy, CEO of SafeMedia, has issued a press release decrying the scourge of Internet Piracy. Among other things, Fahmy notes that fileswapping is illegal, sucks bandwidth, saps productivity, exposes your computer to malware, and hurts the "little people," as they say in tinsel town:

"Most artists and actors are not the superstars making millions. Plus there are the sound mixers and engineers, gaffers and best boys, office clerks and production assistants. It's a vast group of behind-the-scenes workers that help bring the final product to completion. These are the people hardest hit when a studio or label is forced to make cuts due to decreased revenues."

Fahmy apparently plans to repeat all this when he testifies before Congress on June 5. Not coincidentally, SafeMedia makes a network appliance that blocks illegal P2P traffic. They call it Clouseau.

You have to wonder about a company that names its flagship product after a bumbling fictional detective. Maybe Peter Sellers will rise from the dead and sue them. Under the DMCA, anything seems possible.

Should Congress be trusted to legislate technology? How about handling sharp objects? Post your responses below or email them to me here. Top tipsters may receive a Cringe bag.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert X. Cringely

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?