Richard Bartholomew maintains a thoughtful, well-informed British site about religion and religious extremists, as well as hate groups. His site was taken down last night, apparently in response to a US DMCA copyright complaint from Charlie Flowers, who had allegedly posted remarks about a debate between the English Defence League (a UK rightwing extremist group) and the Muslim Debate Initiative, and concluded them with "a legal notice forbidding anyone from 'reproducing' what he had written." According to Bartholomew, Flowers used this as the basis for a DMCA complain to Bartholomew's ISP, objecting to a 16-word quotation." Bartholomew writes,
If we take seriously Flowers' claim that no-one should be allowed to quote (or even to report indirectly) what he has written, then there isn't much hope for the future of any kind of discussion or reportage on the internet. Apparently, the only course of action that my webhost will accept is a "counter notice” from me, which has to contain my address and which will then be passed on to Flowers. If Flowers does not respond to that within two weeks, then the disputed content can be restored. My host is interested only in "liability”, not in the merits or otherwise of the complaint. Further, the DMCA process is concerned only with establishing ownership; it does not appear to take account of fair usage or the public interest.
Of course, if Flowers really thought he had a case, he'd be suing me personally for copyright infringement in the UK – where we both live – rather than misusing an American law to go after my webhost. It's a typically desperate and unprincipled act by a thug, and it makes a mockery of his free speech pose in relation to the EDL/MDI debate. Al Andalusi ought to be embarrassed by him.