Geek v Troll: New Media Rights stands up for the underdogs of the Internet

San Diego CityBeat, San Diego's alternative newsweekly, published a great cover story this past week about our work at New Media Rights.

It also has an amazing Street-Fighteresque illustration of a Geek punching a copyright troll. Check it out!

 

 

From the story:

"Let’s say you’re a citizen journalist who wakes up one morning to an alert from Google that, due to purported copyright infringement, it has removed one of your blog posts about a student in Scotland who’d been posing online as a Syrian lesbian to score a book deal. You know the copyright claim is crap, but what then?

“Yes, I’ll use the F-word: Frightening,” says gay-rights blogger Michael Petrelis, whose blog, The Petrelis Files, received such a “takedown notice” in August 2011. “To get that email from Google, I just knew, to keep my stress level down I was going to need expertise to challenge Google. Just saying that—‘challenging Google’—gives me tingles in a way. I’m a person with AIDS, struggling with disability in San Francisco, who now has to navigate Google’s rules.”

During the last decade-and-a-half, major online communities—most notably Google’s Blogger.com and You- Tube—have instituted a largely automatic, frustratingly bureaucratic system of censor-first self-regulation when it comes to alleged copyright infringement. It’s easily, and often, abused and tends to favor aggressive “trolls,” who use the system as a weapon. These trolls are sometimes corporate legal teams; other times, they’re just independent bullies seeking to block critical content from release.

“I think he saw me as an easy target,” Petrelis says of his troll. “He’s certainly intelligent, smarty-pants enough that he knew how to lodge the right kind of complaint with Google.”

After talking to attorneys at Harvard University’s Citizen Media Law Project, Petrelis was referred to a San Diego legal clinic, New Media Rights, whose executive director, Art Neill, personally talked him through the process and helped him file a successful counter-claim."

Read the whole story here!

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