Dear Vijaya Gadde,
Twitter has not provided me with my legal right to counter-claim, or my legal right to notification of the party making the complaint. My video is protected by "fair use" Section 107 of the US Copyright Act.
Me and those who signed this petition, including leading copyright experts, petition to
1) immediately reinstate every instance of content taken down due to the fraudulent claims
2) compel those who fraudulently reported be held to Twitter terms they agreed to and be made to pay for legal time used by Twitter, and
3) have Twitter commit to working with advocacy groups like Color of Change and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to institute a system that no longer automatically acts in favor of corporations at the expense of individual publisher's speech.
Why is this important?
On Tuesday, October 7th 2019, Ellen DeGeneres shared a clip defending her friendship with George W Bush. The lecture reached 4 million television viewers and over 17 million Twitter viewers. In her lecture, Ellen and her writers skillfully erased the human rights issues her critics held up, and pretended that the critiques were about a liberal being friends with a conservative.
Youtube copy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbhgEQv5KwU
Facebook copy: https://www.facebook.com/rshimunov/videos/10156455084562212
Instagram copy: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3Z5x4AABcr/
In response, I felt it was important to unerase the million Iraqis Bush harmed, and used the blue screen behind Ellen to reintroduce Bush's long gone victims and still suffering survivors. Shortly after this, the video was flagged by Ellen's legal team and immediately taken down by Twitter.
To do so, Ellen's team ignored multiple Twitter screens warning against flagging parody or commentary as copyright violations.
As other human rights defenders learned of this censorship, they began to upload their own copied versions of my video. Users with large and small followings refused to allow Iraqis to be erased this way, and have collectively put their accounts at risk in order to protest censorship.
Users with small and large following had reaching hundreds of thousands of views before also being taken down. These copies continue to be removed. And Ellen has successfully stifled what would have been the most viewed Twitter video that day.
Later, the person behind the Ellen's fraudulent enforcement was leaked to me by his colleague at Warner Bros. named Michael Bentkover, Director of Anti-Piracy Forensics. According to press, Mr. Bentkover has been abusing US copyright law for a decade with impunity. One Gizmodo article referred to him and his team as "copyright d###s, crooks and liars."
Twitter users believe that no one, not even Ellen and her half a billion dollar fortune, should be able to decide what we see and don't see. Twitter users believe that everyone should be held to the same standards. And Twitter users believe that when Twitter systems automatically favor the powerful, Twitter must work to apply law equally lest it be complicit in censorship by design.
Sincerely, Rafael Shimunov
Fair use checklist:
Twitter policy on liability for false claims: https://twitter.com/rafaelshimunov/status/1181756781032329217
Original content taken down after fraudulent report:
Sample of copies taken down after fraudulent report:
https://twitter.com/Of_the_People7/status/1181789635812290560 (100K views)
https://twitter.com/adrielhampton/status/1182032010010742784 (6K views)
https://twitter.com/NostalgiaTrap/status/1182033053872541696 (3K views)
https://twitter.com/robrousseau/status/1182007874748329984 (67K views)
https://twitter.com/HunterBoone/status/1182060036664770560 (17K views)
Sample of copies under threat for fraudulent reports:
https://twitter.com/markgongloff/status/1181975704453468161 (587K views)
https://twitter.com/doorsixteen/status/1182015858740039680 (46K views)
https://twitter.com/rafaelshimunov/status/1183796922945064964 (global television views)
Warner Bros. Copyright Clowns Take Five Spoons of Their Own Medicine
Gizmodo 9/12/11, Jesus Diaz