I didn’t want to write about this anymore for awhile, but oy vey, this is quite the flameout.
Yesterday, Craig Brittain resorted to the DMCA in an attempt to shut down Popehat’s criticism of him. Yes, this is the same Craig Brittain who runs a website that brags about not being subject to that same law, and refuses to remove pictures — to which he indisputably does not own the rights — forcing upwards of 12 people to ask Google to remove links to their pictures on his site.
In doing so, Craig screwed up. Not only did he claim copyright over a public record (to wit: his criminal record provided by the State of Colorado), he also claimed that he owned the copyright to emails written by David Blade. Ken’s host, fortunately, saw right through this and rejected Craig’s DMCA complaint as too insufficient to warrant even a DMCA counter-notice from Ken. (Somehow, my site didn’t merit a DMCA takedown demand, even though I’m pretty much Popehat, Jr.)
“If you can’t figure out how to submit a DMCA, that probably means you have no business trying to submit a DMCA, and also that your DMCA is probably invalid/bogus to begin with.”
Today, Craig turned his cannons of sophisticated application of legal canons towards Wikipedia. Using the same IP address that emails from both Craig and “David Blade” originated from, Craig attempted to erase portions of the Wikipedia article about his site. Craig’s edit history is here, and the history of the article is here.
Craig proffered these justifications:
- “Does not meet wikipedia’s notability guidelines. Article is being used to harass an individual business owner. The posters of the article are currently being investigated [...] Article is being used to defame and harass an owner. Article must be deleted immediately“;
- “Article is not notable and is being used to harass and defame an individual. Please DO NOT REVERT”.
- “It is defamatory and therefore must be blanked immediately. It is illegal. By reverting it you are aiding in the commission of a crime.”
- “The sources are invalid, and being used to defame. Any further revision of my edits and I will make sure you are charged as an accessory.“
- “Must prove that the creators are notable people, if not, article should be deleted and not recreated“;
- “Removed all non-notable sources. DO NOT CHANGE THIS EDIT“;
- “Not notable, deleted“
- Request for page protection (essentially locking the article, if approved): “Non-neutral POV, consistent group sockpuppetry and vandalism of a potentially notable article that does not meet neutral POV, article should be protected circa my last edit as a stub to prevent further vandalism for the timebeing and to prevent users from accidentally reverting to vandalized versions of the article.”
- Deleting similar material from an article about Chance Trahan;
Apparently Craig has given up on his revolutionary mission to create a future where one’s online reputation has no bearing in the real world. He was so close, too.
Here’s where I agree with Craig: Wikipedia’s rules require reputable sources in order for there to be an article. Blogs like mine are fun to read, but we’re not the high-quality media Wikipedia requires, and no media outlets have covered this yet. Until then, the article should go.
Furthermore, if I’ve indeed made some erroneous statement of fact, Craig, Chance, or “David Blade” are all free to get ahold of me to correct the record. While I can only speak for myself, I’m sure Ken and Marc are happy to do the same. Me — I’d even be happy to post his responses to these allegations. All of the bloggers involved — Marc, Ken, and myself — have exchanged emails with Craig and, thus far, he’s declined to make use of those avenues.
Craig is also free to make unsupported allegations that he’s being illegally “defamed” and that some kind of ‘investigation’ is under way. But claims of defamation without a willingness to point out what statements are defamatory is a hallmark of censorious thuggery.
Update (1/2/2013): Chance Trahan has also jumped on the censor’s bandwagon. First, he posted legal threats claiming “slander” and “invasion of privacy” in comments at a variety of sites: myself, Ken White of Popehat, Wikipedia, Techdirt, Ethics Alarm, and this satirical video - twice. When that didn’t work, Chance complained to YouTube about the satirical video, claiming that the video invades his privacy (let that sink in for a moment) because it uses his name and a photo he posts online. The satirical video (which hasn’t been removed):
Meanwhile, in a misguided effort to improve his online reputation, Chance has posted a list of other videos he would prefer that you see. Like this one: