On March 26 Memory Hole Blog was notified via its internet service provider that a copyright infringement claim was filed against MHB by Lenny Pozner and “HONR Network” on March 22. The aggrieved party claims that this violation arose from use of an image of his son, Noah Pozner in a January 2, 2015 post. This post addressed use of the same image in international news coverage of the December 16, 2014 Peshawar army school massacre.
In February Pozner filed a similar claim with YouTube against Infowars for using the same or similar image, even though this very photo was initially carried by the BBC and other international news organizations in their coverage of the Peshawar attack’s aftermath.
In fact, the BBC has since admitted to the photograph’s incongruous presence in Peshawar reportage. According to the DC Clothesline, “here is what the BBC had to say about Noah Pozner’s photo:
Meanwhile, another picture has been circulating online of victims of the Peshawar massacre – but the montage of images includes the photo of a young boy, Noah Pozner, who died in the Sandy Hook massacre in the United States in 2012.
In the complaint to MHB’s ISP, Pozner states the following:
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
I acknowledge that a copy of this infringement notice, including any contact information I provided above (address, telephone number, and email address), will be forwarded to the user who uploaded the content at issue.
Memory Hole’s ISP has stood firm, arguing that “because we believe that this instance falls under fair use protections, we will not be removing it at this time.” This is nevertheless a chilling example of how copyright infringement claims brought under potentially fraudulent pretexts can be used to stifle free speech.
Other YouTube channels belonging to researchers doing important research yet far less prominent than Infowars have been summarily shut down because of Pozner’s DMCA grievances. For example, in December 2014 Pozner’s HONR Network stymied online distribution of the We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook documentary. Despite these attempts the film’s producer maintains the documentary has already been viewed several million times online.