Earlier this week, Michael Crook posted his Answer and Counterclaim to the EFF lawsuit. To those who read my previous update, there are no real surprises here. Everything is pretty much as Crook said it was.
However, there are a few interesting take away points from the answer. Though I will go into more detail about it in the next few days, I wanted to quickly highlight a few things that stood out.
- He is claiming that he is “co-author” of the work in question and that he somehow holds joint copyright on the image.
- In a somewhat contradictory statement, he is also claiming to own trademark over the image, even though the DMCA is a copyright law and trademark, with some limited exceptions, is designed to protect things that can not be copyrighted.
- He denies the validity of Diehl’s fair use claim by calling into question the language used in the post, saying it can’t possibly be commentary or criticism and claiming that Diehl “intentionally misrepresented” the copyright of the piece.
- He claims that he can not be held responsible for Diehl’s moving to a new provider as it was, in his view, a voluntary act.
- Finally, as someone who has read many legal documents, I am stricken by how poorly written this one it. I can not imagine that it was written by a lawyer and was most likely written by Crook himself.
All in all, Crook’s answer appears to be nothing more than one poorly thought out false argument after another. There are a few interesting points in there, but they are easily overshadowed by the sheer insanity of some of the larger arguments.
Expect a more thorough review some time later this week.
Preparing to Lose
In an equally interesting development, it appears that Michael Crook may be preparing for his own defeat. He recently posted a series of articles on his home page detailing how to hide assets to they can’t be seized in a judgment, deal with aggressive attorneys and “legally dodging process servers”.
In his article on hiding assets, he boasts that “People who use the courts to seek justice will always get screwed one way or another when it comes to me.”
What Crook likely forgets is that the EFF is less interested in collecting fees and more interested in establishing precedent. Any judgment against Crook in this case would likely set precedent for other false DMCA cases in the future. Winning the case and the judgement is much more important than collecting it. This fits in with the EFF’s stated mission of championing public interest in battles involving digital rights.
Unfortunately for Crook, this case is not “all about the money.”