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YouTube, Viacom bow to light-sabre wielding defender of online justice

Jedi Knight saves the world

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You're on Counter Notice

But shortly after we last spoke to him, Knight had the courage to file a DMCA counter-notification claim with YouTube - something that happens all too rarely on the net, according to Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a big-name digital watchdog.

"Almost no one ever files a counter notice. That's the biggest problem we've encountered [with DMCA claims on sites like YouTube]," von Lohmann told us. "Most people have no idea that right exists."

Plus, in filing a counter notice, you risk a lawsuit. "It can be very intimidating when you're just one guy against a media company. In order to send a counter notice, you have to certify that you believe the take-down was inappropriate - and you have to certify your willingness to be sued."

Knight took a gamble few ever take - and it paid off. Much to the surprise of everyone, Viacom admitted that Knight's behavior wasn't all that different from its own. Of course, Viacom's initial take-down notice was a "bonehead move" - in the words of Fred von Lohmann.

After Viacom's about-face, YouTube didn't just reinstate Knight's clip, it sent him a note saying his account would not be destroyed. As von Lohmann points out, the Google-owned video sharer deserves some praise as well.

"YouTube should be commended for notifying their users when they get take-down notices," von Lohmann continued. "They tell you that a notice has been received, and they tell you that you have the right to counter-notice. Not everyone does that."

So YouTube is the Han Solo of our story. Or is it the Rebel Alliance as a whole? The Ewoks? ®

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