Geller v. Sapient (Letter)

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

10/02/2007

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

California

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Brian Sapient, a member of the "Rational Response Squad," a group which seeks to debunk what it considers irrational beliefs, posted a video on YouTube from the NOVA television program "Secrets of the Psychics," in which magician James Randi challenges the performance... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Brian Sapient

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • United Kingdom

Location of Party: 

  • Pennsylvania

Legal Counsel: 

Corynne Mcsherry, Jason Schultz, Marcia Hofmann (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Description

Brian Sapient, a member of the "Rational Response Squad," a group which seeks to debunk what it considers irrational beliefs, posted a video on YouTube from the NOVA television program "Secrets of the Psychics," in which magician James Randi challenges the performance techniques of famous spoon-bender Uri Geller. The clip allegedly incorporated images from a film of Geller performing at a charity event in England, the copyrights to which were assigned by the film-maker to Geller's company, Explorologist. According to Sapient, this portion of the NOVA clip lasts only eight seconds.

Geller sent a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube, alleging that the NOVA clip infringed his copyrights in the charity performance film. As a result,
YouTube removed the video from its website and suspended Sapient's account.

On May 8, 2007, Sapient, with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed a lawsuit alleging that Geller's takedown notice knowingly, materially misrepresented a claim of copyright infringement in violation of section 512(f) of the DMCA because no reasonable person could believe that the NOVA clip's use of the excerpted footage was not fair use. Sapient seeks damages, a declaratory judgment the video does not infringe Geller's copyrights, and an order restraining Geller from bringing further actions against Sapient in respect of the video.

(See also CMLP's entry for the related case, Explorologist v. Sapient, a suit brought by Geller's company against Sapient in Pennsylvania alleging that the publication of the footage breaches Explorologist's copyrights under UK law.)

UPDATE: Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case due to lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, and insufficiency of allegations surrounding the content of the takedown notice. The defendants also moved to change venue to the Eastern District Pennsylvania, where the Explorogist v. Sapient case is being heard. On Feb. 4, 2008, the court granted the motion to dismiss as to personal jurisdiction, primarily because the DMCA takedown notice was sent from outside the United States. The court noted that Sapient may now bring his misrepresentation claim against Geller as a counterclaim in the Explorologist case.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Video

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Copyright
  • Fair Use
  • DMCA
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • California

Source of Law: 

  • United States

Court Name: 

US District Court for the Northern District of California

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

3:07-cv-02478 VRW

Relevant Documents: