The Discovery Institute and Censorship

Ignorant slimeball Casey Luskin appeared on Fox News to peddle some tired lies about evolution and creationism. YouTube user Donexodus2 recorded a thorough, point-by-point takedown of Luskin using clips from the Fox News show. The Discovery Institute filed false (and therefore illegal) DMCA claims, successfully convincing YouTube to remove the video despite the fact that they do not own the copyright to those clips. Now, Donexodus2 needs users to mirror the original video and help with suing the pants off the lying creationists.

Here’s his explanation and call for help:

And here’s his original video:

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. I’m compelled to believe, by now, that Luskin is actively dishonest and deceptive, rather than ignorant. I hope he gets his ass thoroughly DMCA’d. The penalty for false claims is about the only thing that legislation did right, IMO.

  2. A clarification: there isn’t a specific “DMCA clause” that mentions comment and criticism; that’s the purview of fair use. According to the DMCA itself, nothing in the DMCA is supposed to affect fair use. (This ends up not being true primarily due to the anti-circumvention measure, but that’s not an issue here.)

    That is, because comment and criticism should be a fair use, this particular use should not be an infringement of copyright, DMCA or not.

    Has Donexodus2 filed a counter-notice with YouTube? If not, I’d suggest doing so. The Chilling Effects site has an automatic generator:

    I’d also contact groups like EFF and Public Knowledge.

    I’d also see if I could get the original takedown document to determine whether or not the Discovery Institute actually did send a proper DMCA takedown notice or actually did claim copyright in the material. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did; that’s a pretty common view people have regarding interviews that they’re involved in, although it’s usually incorrect.

  3. Donexodus2 has made a great attempt at an impossible job here because idiots like Luskin are so full of wrong that logic just cannot penetrate.

    I remember as a teenager over 40 years ago trying to write a full refutation of a Jehova’s Witness book about Evolution – giving up when my page count was ten times more than the book!

    Rebecca, I identify strongly with your outrage because the advantage in this ongoing argument lies so clearly with the dishonest writer.

    This was my earliest experience as a budding scientist – the term Skeptic was unknown then (I think).

    I admire you and others whose writing skills are so much better than mine, who can confront this danger to civilisation head on. You sure are in the front line there!

  4. Of course Luskin is actively deceptive. I can’t see hoe that is possibly in dispute. Creationist apologists, when speaking to the public, almost always are.

    I am always sorry to see people caught up in private self-delusions. However, that’s a personal matter. It’s just that when trying to convince the public to join them, the evidence does not stand on its own, and outright lies are their only recourse. It is unfortunate that so many people are gullible enough not to ask too many questions, and just take someone at face value just because they throw the bible into it.

    I think I would not be quite so disgusted if they were not blatantly and consciously lying to us, and lording a sense of moral authority over us at the same time. Well, that and trying to quash curiosity and engagement in science in our nations children…

  5. not so sure about Donexodus2’s request to upload his video onto “any” forums you might be part of (he mentions gaming, sports, etc).

    spamming forums with off topic videos is a bad way to try to get support for your cause, in my opinion. if you can work it into the topic or it’s a general discussion forum, great.

  6. Does the DMCA have criminal or only civil penalties. Didn’t some creationist douche bag have to do a long video apology and admit that he was a liar because he filed a lot of false DMCA claims with youtube?

  7. @Gabrielbrawley: You’re thinking of Thunderf00t vs. VenomFangX. You can see the apology video here:

    The DMCA orders civil punishment for making a false claim of infringement, but it’s pretty expansive. The damage award includes any costs incurred by the alleged infringer and the ISP when the content is removed. The key part is that it puts the false claimant on the hook for an attorney’s fees and costs incurred in defending against the infringement claim. Automatic awarding of fees and costs is relatively rare. Given the complexity of copyright litigation, it can get expensive pretty fast.

    The one snag, though, is that the claimant must “knowingly materially misrepresent… that material or activity is infringing.” U.S.C. 17 Section 512(f)(1). To successfully push back against a false DMCA filing, the alleged infringer has to show that the claimant knew that he was lying, rather than making a mistake. That can be tough to prove. Without some direct evidence, it winds up being a battle of credibility of the parties.

    At least, that’s my sense of it. If there any actual copyright lawyers out there, please feel free to point out if I’ve cocked up my explanation.

  8. @Oskar Kennedy: Okay, I can see one thing I messed up re: “successfully pushing back.” If the claimant did make a mistake, rather than lying, the alleged infringer can get the material restored. It’s the award of damages that’s contingent on showing a deliberate false filing.

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