Friday, May 11, 2007

The plot thickens...Geller & Co. still insist copyright infringement

The EFF's claims that only 3 seconds of the 14 minute video technically belong to Uri Geller and Explorologist Ltd are not going over well... in fact, in a press release from Explorologist's Lawyer, Richard Winelander, he says:

"The bottom line is Sapient did not ask for permission to use the copyrighted video--he does not own the portion of the video that deals with Dr. Hughes, it is important to note this was not the first YouTube complaint against Sapient."

It's also important to note, that this is not the first (and probably not the last) time Geller has tried to sue for damages based on dubious reasoning- Geller has sued for a number of things, not limited to suing Nintendo for creating a Pokemon with his name/symbols, and suing Ikea for a furniture line (with bent and twisted legs) called the "Uri Line" (both suits unsuccessful, by the way).

But the real kicker is, back in 1997-98, he complained to the Broadcasting Standards Commission in the UK that the episode of NOVA, "Secrets of the Psychics", treated him 'unfairly'. His claim was wholeheartedly rejected on the basis that they saw nothing wrong with Magicians duplicating his feats using plain, old fashioned trickery. In light of this fact, and the fact that Geller seems to enjoy making ridiculous legal claims, it's not hard to see why nobody is really taking his copyright claim seriously.

Meanwhile, I'm still wondering about whether NOVA originally had to get permission to use the clip, or if it fell comfortably within the boundaries of 'fair use'. If it's the former, then that is why Sapient has a problem. If it's the latter, then Geller has no right to complain. The easiest way would be to check the end credits of the episode itself, but alas, I have no copy. I'm also not an expert in copyright law.

Check out what James Randi has to say on the subject.

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