Darryl Anka telepathically channels a space alien from the future named Bashar who lives on the planet Essassani; on this basis, he has claimed many copyright infringements in the creations of Tumblr's GIF artists.
The "trained members" of Tumblr's Trust and Safety team who "reviewed" these claims decided they were sufficient grounds for action, and promptly removed the offending GIFs, sending emails to the artists who'd posted them explaining what had happened. Each artist received a "strike" against them under Tumblr's three-strikes-and-you're-terminated policy.
This went over about as well as you might expect.
The evidence provided in the letter sent to me:
Description: Copyrighted Work: Bashar channeled by Darryl Anka. Copyright 1984-2015. All Rights Reserved. From multiple event productions presented by Darryl Anka on dates ranging from 1984-2014. The copyrighted works can be found at www.basharstore.com/.
The claim is that my work is in fact copyrighted by “Bashar channeled by Darryl Anka” What? I looked it up. Darryl Anka believes that he is channeling information from a space alien from the future named Bashar that lives on a planet called Essassani via telepathy. Cool story bro.
What exactly is the legal basis for their claim? Maybe it has something to do with “ ” ? Is that some kind of alien code? Or did Tumblr just auto copy and paste the email they got including stray HTML garbage characters? What is the evidence? “The copyrighted works can be found at www.basharstore.com/.” I clicked that link. There’s no GIFs on it.
There’s nothing that resembles anything on my blog. Again, Tumblr’s policy states “Each claim is reviewed by a trained member of our Trust and Safety team.” I find it difficult to impossible to believe that actually happened.
Annoyed GIF artists pestered by lunatic [Bruce Sterling's Tumblr]
(Image: Twemoji 1f47e, Twitter, CC-BY)