Gordo Loses Copyright Battle

For the last few weeks, Gordon Klingenschmitt has been trying to prevent Right Wing Watch from putting clips from his online TV show on Youtube to expose the ridiculous things he says by filing scores of frivolous copyright complaints. It looks like he has now lost that battle.

In early November, Klingenschmitt filed multiple claims against our account, resulting in our entire account being terminated by YouTube. We immediately filed counter-claims against all of Klingenschmitt’s complaints, asserting that our videos were protected by Fair Use and, two weeks later, after Klingenschmitt failed to pursue his bogus claims in court, our account was restored.

But just one day later, Klingenschmitt filed another series of false copyright claims against our account and got our account terminated once again. Just as before, we filed another round of counter-claims against all of his copyright notices and, late last week, our YouTube account was restored for the second time.

Over the last month, we have been working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and law firm of Hogan Lovells on how to respond to Klingenschmitt’s attacks on our YouTube account and our work.

As such, last week Klingenschmitt was mailed a cease and desist letter [PDF] on our behalf informing him about Fair Use and explicitly warning him that if he continues to file bogus copyright complaints against our YouTube account, legal action will be taken against him.

It’s inevitable that he loses. He has no legal claim at all. What RWW is doing is undeniably covered under Fair Use. What I don’t understand is why Youtube (Google) keeps letting it happen in the first place. After the first batch of fake copyright claims, it should no longer be automatic that the account be suspended when he makes a complaint.

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  • I’ve read that Google has a “zero tolerance” policy about copyright infringement, and that certain complaints — such as a complaint by the person who made the video — result in an automatic account suspension until the complaint’s validity can be assessed. This kind of makes sense, given the world of trouble that Google would face if someone, say, posted a blockbuster movie, or was sharing pirated songs. I’m not sure they can make a “it is fair use and the creator of the video has no right to complain” mechanism.

  • unbound

    Much of the YouTube system heavily relies on automation for complaints (Facebook too for that matter). It is very likely that over 90% of the complaints that result in automated shutdowns transpire with no response. It is cheaper for Google to only respond to shutdowns that get a response.

    Although I would agree the account should have been flagged, it is entirely likely that Google either simply didn’t add such a flag and associated processes to handle that, or they figured out that it was still cheaper to just respond manually each time.

    Remember, first and foremost, corporations exist to make money. Actual services provided is just the space they play in to generate that money.

  • On a related note: YouTube culls game clips as publishers defend fans.

    Basically, YouTube uses a bot to track down potential copyright violations and remove offending videos. Major gaming companies such as Blizzard, Capcom and UbiSoft have voiced objections to this procedure, as they see the fan videos as free advertising: watching the game is a good way to get people playing the game (and thus paying for the privilege.)

  • lanir

    There doesn’t seem to be any penalty under the DMCA and other grossly expansionist copyright laws protecting a service provider from false claims. There are penalties for service providers who ignore claims however.

    The practice of automated copyright claims has grown so huge that even film companies who largely pushed for such laws in the first place have at times found themselves falsely generating takedown notices for their own promotional material or generating notices against videos they explicitly authorized. I would be very surprised if any of these automations contain checks for fair use.

  • keithb


    I believe there is. I believe I read on Popehat that there are perjury penalties for filing false claims.

  • petemoulton

    The copyright battle isn’t all Gordo’s lost; he’s also lost his mind, though there wasn’t much there to begin with. Now he’s threatening to shoot Right Wing Watch’s readers, though he does promise to pray for their ‘souls’ afterward. I think he needs to be locked in a rubber room for about the next hundred years.

  • scott

    In theory, DMCA claims are made under penalty of perjury; in practice, I’ve never heard of any penalties being applied.

    As far as fair use, I wonder if those penalties would apply in cases of fair use anyway. The penalty applies to your statement that you own the content and did not authorize the use. That may all be true whether the accused is claiming fair use.

    I’m not a lawyer so that’s just rampant speculation though.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I believe I read on Popehat that there are perjury penalties for filing false claims.

    And how often do you see any sanctions for perjury?

  • raven

    Ex-Navy chaplain: I’ll shoot ‘Right Wing Watch’ readers and then ‘pray for your soul’

    Raw Story ‎- by David Edwards ‎- 1 day ago

    Ex-Navy chaplain: I’ll shoot ‘Right Wing Watch’ readers and then ‘pray for your soul’ … “Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt accused Right Wing Watch encouraging “the … Watch this video from Pray in Jesus Name, broadcast Dec.

    Gordon Klingenschmitt is now threatening to kill Right Wing Watch readers. He is claiming he has gotten death threats. Since Gordon lies a lot and is a repulsive human being, that may be true or not. No way to tell.

    He’s done this before. He threatened to shoot Hilary Clinton a few months ago.

  • John Pieret

    scott @ 7:

    I am a lawyer and you’re right. Perjury commited in the course of a civil proceeding is almost never prosecuted as a criminal charge.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to any action RWW might take against Clingyshit if he keeps it up (I wouldn’t be surprised if he, at this very moment, is filing more DMCA notices against RWW … he really is that nuts). But the more he does so and the more his claims are shown to be bogus will be evidence that he is doing so maliciously and opening himself up to punative damages.

  • colnago80

    Re D. C. Sessions @ #8

    Too often for Mark Fuhrman.

  • Doug Little

    Please let him continue. I can barely contain my excitement.

  • marcus

    Basking in the warm glow of schadenfreude.

  • Michael Heath

    petemoulton writes:

    Now [Gordon Klingenschmitt’s] threatening to shoot Right Wing Watch’s readers . . .

    raven writes:

    Gordon Klingenschmitt is now threatening to kill Right Wing Watch readers. He is claiming he has gotten death threats.

    Neither of these are a fair representation of what Mr. Klingenschmitt actually stated. According to what I think is raven’s Raw Story article, Klingenschmitt stated:

    “So for those of you watching on Right Wing Watch and issuing death threats against me, just know that if you come to my home and you threaten my wife that I will defend myself and my wife,” he added.

    Now I find it difficult to imagine anyone holding Mr. Klingenschmitt in more contempt than I do, expect those who’ve directly suffered from his behavior. But I don’t think it’s good form to misrepresent others, even disingenuously by narrowly framing one’s assertion to the point it’s pedantically accurate but conveys a meaning different than what was actually conveyed. Both methods misinforms others so both are dishonest.

  • Donnie

    curoois on rampant speculation, from above, ex-naby chaplain filed take down notice – fair. DMCA allows that. RWW responded that it was under fair use. RWW reposts videos after receiving no response in time limit from ex-Naby Chaplain. Ex-Navy chaplain reissues take down notice. Lawuer issues cease-and-desist letter. I would lobe to know if RWW could file an anti-SLAPP lawsuit for that is what this Ex-Navy chaplain , is doing – harassing.

  • Donnie

    Damn phone…..sorry for piss poor typing…

  • dan4

    @9. Lying bastard. The context clearly shows that Klingenschmitt was talking about “shooting” in a self-defense context.

  • dan4

    Yikes, let me rephrase that: The context clearly shows that Klingenschmitt was talking about shooting people in terms of self-defense.

  • dingojack

    So shooting someone who, you claim, is being ‘threatening’* is perfectly fine, as long as it’s ‘in self defence’?

    Ever stop to wonder why America has a relatively large number of gun related deaths?



    * Any guesses as to how Klingshit will define that (or how readily he’ll identify that guy in the postal workers uniform as being really a member of RWW in disguise)?