EFF Sues Michael Crook for Bogus DMCA Claims

EFF Sues Michael Crook

The EFF has just filed suit against Craigslist copycat scammer Michael Crook for filing bogus DMCA claims. In September, a blog post about Michael Crook on 10 Zen Monkeys (which is run by Jeff Diehl) used a screenshot of Michael Crook from his appearance on the Fox News show Hannity and Colmes”. Michael then sent a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notice to Jeff’s web host, claiming that he had a copyright on the image. Jeff’s web host then forced him to remove the image or his account would be suspended. Jeff then moved 10zenmonkeys.com to Laughing Squid Web Hosting (the web hosting company that we run). Within 24 hours, our data center was sent a DMCA claim from Michael Crook, requesting that the image be removed. I immediately contacted Jeff to discuss the situation, as well as Jason Schultz, an attorney at The Electronic Frontier Foundation. A few weeks later, EFF filed their lawsuit. Here’s their case page with complaint. Hopefully this case will help set a precedent so others might think twice before sending content providers and web hosts unsubstantiated DMCA claims.

10 Zen Monkeys

Reason Magazine (Brian Doherty)

The Register (Drew Cullen)

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)

ZDNet (Denise Howell)

UPDATE 1: Holy crap, there is now a Fark Photoshop contest using the Michael Crook image.

UPDATE 2: Michael Crook has now sent a false DMCA claim to Boing Boing.

UPDATE 3: DIIS.net has a mirror of the video of Michael Crook on the Fox News show “Hannity and Colmes”, which is where the image in question came from.

UPDATE 4: Washington, DC attorney Ethan Ackerman provided Boing Boing with some great information on DMCA with regard to ISP’s and web hosts. Wired follows up on it.

UPDATE 5: “Great Moments in the War Against DMCA” (10 Zen Monkeys)

UPDATE 6: Ok, Valleywag is in the club now, Michael Crook sent them a false DMCA notice.

UPDATE 7: Self proclaimed asshole Tucker Max has challenged Michael Crook to a public debate.

UPDATE 8: 10 Zen Monkeys has a follow-up on Michael Crook, which includes photos of him when he was in his High School’s “Internet Club”.

UPDATE 9: Michael Crook now needs to send a virtual DMCA claim to Second Life. That would be perfect, fake DMCA notice for a fake world.

UPDATE 10: Jason Fortuny (aka RFJason), the guy who conducted the Craig’s List experiment that Michael Crook copied, has now weighed in with his opinion after he too was sent a false DMCA claim.

UPDATE 11: Jonathan Bailey writes an An Open Letter to Michael Crook, explaining to him that you do not own the copyright to your image.

UPDATE 12: Tucker Max completely pwnd Micheal Crook at their online debate. After that, I’m not sure what else anyone could even say about this issue.

UPDATE 13: Tech Alley interviews EFF attorney Jason Scultz regarding the case: Intro, Part 1

UPDATE 14: Michael Crook sends Kevin Burton a DMCA notice for a post using an image on his TypePad blog. TypePad owners Six Apart then ask Kevin to remove the image.

UPDATE 15: Jonathan Bailey writes another great post on the subject, this time for 10 Zen Monkeys: “The Crooks of the World Hurt Copyright, Free Speech”

UPDATE 16: “EFF, Bloggers, Everyone, Takes On Web Bully” by Jason Lee Miller (WebProNews)

UPDATE 17: 10 Zen Monkeys is looking for Michael Crook DMCA war stories in order to help in the case against him.

UPDATE 18: Here’s original video featuring Micheal Crook from the Fox News show “Hannity and Colmes”. This is the video where the screenshot was taken resulting in the image that is at the heart of this controversy.

UPDATE 19: PlagiarismToday conducts a Q&A With Michael Crook so he can tell his side of the story. At least he was honest about the part where he hung up on me after I had asked him to stop sending us false DMCA claims.

UPDATE 20: Michael Crook has been retracting all of his false DMCA claims as part of a pending settlement with Jeff Diehl and EFF.

UPDATE 21: The long saga is over, EFF/Jeff Diehl and Micheal Crook have reached a settlement and as part of the settlement, Michael Crook issued an apology video.

Scott Beale
Scott Beale

Scott Beale is the founder of Laughing Squid and is based in New York City. When not running the blog, Scott can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.