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Someone keeps abusing the DMCA to get this headbutt video taken offline

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The much-maligned US copyright law’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is simply a terrible gift that keeps on giving.

Many “innovative” ways are being found to use and abuse this piece of legislation by those intent on issuing unfounded DMCA notices – but even in the world of bogus DMCA’s, all are not created equal.

After all, there have not been many prior attempts to remove content featuring brawls from proliferating on the web – by invoking the DMCA of all things.

TorrentFreak dives deep into this one, explaining that the video features an incident that, instead of remaining a blip on the local police records, now involves a copyright law row.

The story’s source, Steve Heflin, said he was in Fort Lauderdale last summer to interview a salesman, with whom he had dinner to then hit a local bar. An altercation ensued there with an apparently intoxicated patron.

The rest has been documented on film, showing Steve subduing the drunken man, who previously got violent with the bar’s staff after being asked to leave.

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Steve describes his experience as “surreal.”

And now, the interesting part. The video naturally went viral on various social platforms, featuring Steve as a hero – but it’s hard to actually find it online these days, due to “someone” issuing false DMCA notices against it.

That’s probably because they regrettably, though not mistakenly, operate under the belief that abusing copyright law might be the fastest way to get rid whatever you don’t like off the internet.

The video’s various versions became dogged with copyright complaints, that remained nontransparent thanks to the nature of giant social media platforms like Reddit and YouTube.

“However, two DMCA complaints filed with Vimeo and published on the Lumen Database actually lists the name of the sender. According to Steve, it matches the name of the guy he took down in the video,” TorrentFreak writes.

But the video’s author was neither Steve nor the “drunk guy” – it was an uninvolved woman. And now an entity called “TECHLAW” has filed DMCA complaints with Google to get rid of a new reference of the video.

“One was a standard DMCA takedown notice. The other was a highly dubious effort to have another URL removed on the basis that it breaches the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA,” the report said, concluding that the whole thing would have likely died down on its own had it not been for the “anti-circumvention” DMCA argument – controversial enough to create a “Streisand Effect” here.

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