TechDirt schools a copyfraudster who tried to censor a critical post with copyright threats

TechDirt got a malformed takedown notice from Human Synergistics International, a company they'd previously written up for sending copyright threats to a blogger who quoted four sentences from a "human factors training" exercise. The original TechDirt post quotes the four sentences at issue, and this prompted Human Synergistics' lawyer to send a ham-fisted threat to TechDirt as well.

TechDirt's Mike Masnick proceeded to thoroughly, mercilessly demolish this nonsense, in its every aspect and element, and took care to remind Human Synergistics, and its counsel, of the potential penalties for sending out baseless copyright threats. Masnick, of course, is the man who coined the term "Streisand Effect." You'd think that HS and its lawyer would have had a bit more common sense, but the urge to commit copyfraud is a powerful one.

Finally, the last factor is "the effect of your use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work." It's important to note here, (again referencing back to the Campbell case) that the courts are clear here that they are not addressing whether or not the criticism harms the market, but whether or not the direct use harms the market. We freely admit that our criticism of your despicable copyright practices may lead organizations to think twice about doing business with your company. But, as the Supreme Court noted, while "a scathing theater review kills demand for the original, it does not produce a harm cognizable under the Copyright Act." In our case, the specific use of the text clearly does not harm the potential for your market, because we were not using it in a competitive manner at all. No one would read our post and use that to administer the exercise in question.

It's that last point that is the most bizarre in all of this. The original blog post, by Patti O'Shea, which we were commenting upon, said nothing negative about your organization or the exercise, which she seemed to enjoy. Most reasonable persons would actually have read it as an endorsement of the exercise itself, which would reflect well on you and could lead more people to wish to hire your organization or license the specific exercise details. Thus, the end result of your bizarre copyright extremism is that you caused a blog post that would likely drive more business for you to be disappeared from the internet. In response, you received criticism from us. And, rather than change your ways, you have now dug yourself an even bigger hole by threatening us with what appears to be a clearly bogus threat. So you have gone from one mostly positive blog post to an increasing series of negative blog posts criticizing your activities.

It is unclear how that series of responses from you furthers Human Synergistics' business interests, which must be a part of your job.

Open Letter To Human Synergistics International In Response To Your Accusation That Techdirt Is Infringing