April 09, 2008

Rusty Gets a Cease and Desist Request from .... GEERT WILDERS [UPDATE: Rusty Caves]

**Bumped and sticky. Scroll down for newer posts**

UPDATE II: I'm going to go ahead and switch out the new video for the old one on the post that Geert Wilders notified me about. The only problem here is that I sent the embed code for the old version of Fitna to dozens of people. Genie is out of the bottle, sorry Geert.

I'm not doing this because I'm particularly afraid of a lawsuit. I'm not. Not in the least. I'm doing it out of respect for Mr. Wilders. That's all. End of story.

We're on the same team. As all of you know, sometimes you take one for the team. No big deal.

UPDATE: In the comments a few people have mentioned that a rapper had also insisted that his image be taken out of the film and that was the real problem with the edits, not the removal of the Westergaard cartoon. Does any one have any info they can send me about that?

It seems to change things a bit since the implication, if I'm reading the comments correctly, is that the rapper charged libel in that he was identified as a promoter of terror and not copyright infringement.

I received a 'takedown notice' from Geert Wildrs today. If you'll recall, The Danish Union of Journalists threatened to sue Wilders on behalf of Kurt Westergaard for the use of one of the Muhammad cartoons in the film Fitna. Now, if I was Wilders I would have told Westergaard and company to stick it, but that's only because I understand U.S. fair use law and am pretty confident that the Muhammad cartoons can be used in a political film without the copyright owner's consent. But I don't claim to understand EU law so maybe Wilders had to reedit the film.

In any event a new version of the film is out, and apparently the copyright Nazis are going to hold Wilders responsible if third parties, such as The Jawa Report, continue to show the first edition of the film. Doesn't this seem, I dunno, excessive? That somehow Wilders would get in trouble for actions caused by third parties?

Here's the letter:

Dear Sir,

I ask your attention concerning the following.

The Foundation Friends of the PVV (Stichting Vrienden van de PVV, hereafter: “the Foundation”), has commissioned the film Fitna. This film was made public on Thursday the 27th of March, via the website LiveLeak.com. Since that moment, a number of copyright owners of material used in this film have contacted me, requesting to stop publication of the film. These copyright owners claim that publication of the film is an infringement of their rights.

The Foundation has met the requirements of the copyright owners. The film has been removed from LiveLeak.com because of possible copyright infringement. As the media have already widely announced, the film has been altered.

Your website features the film Fitna. It concerns the following url: http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/191989.php

Considering the abovementioned, your publication of the non-adapted version of the film may be unlawful. In order to prevent possible damage – of any sort – I request, and if necessary demand that you take all appropriate measures as soon as possible to remove the film Fitna from your website or prevent access to the film.

An adapted version of the film has been made available.

Yours sincerely,

G. Wilders

Chairman Foundation Friends of the PVV

So, what should I do?

On the one hand, it seems a bit of an insult after all the effort at this blog to support Geert Wilders' freedom of speech, including a petition started at this blog by Ragnar in which we threatened to boycott the Netherlands if that country prosecuted Wilders criminally or civilly for exercising a fundamental human right, that he would turn around and try to suppress ours. Yeah, I know it's his lawyers behind it, but still.

On the other hand, I like Geert Wilders* and think his film Fitna--even the second version of it--should get the widest possible distribution. I'm not looking to start a conflict with Wilders and the main point of the film has not essentially changed, even with the forced edits. The point that Islam is somehow connected to Islamist terrorism remains the theme.

I don't really have a problem taking down the old version and replacing it with the new. Somebody have an embed link for the new version? My only hesitation has to do with a) the principle of the thing b) I'm stubborn as a mule.


*I once received a similar request from George Lucas. Since Lucas seems intent on ruining my childhood I promptly threw it in the trash and told his lawyers to suck eggs. The day he edited Han Solo firing only after Greedo had fired first sealed the deal.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:55 PM | Comments |