Is The Copyright Act Biased Against Those Who Can’t Read?

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act may have been created to combat internet piracy, but does it unfairly penalize those with reading difficulties? That’s the question at the heart of a lawsuit filed against Viacom, News Corp., MTV Corporation and Google (amongst others) by Montana-based investigative reporter Todd Ouellette. Ouellette, who has dyslexia, claims that he has suffered harrassment and takedown of his video work without notice in part because the ToS of sites like MySpace and YouTube are available only in written form, discriminating against those who may be unable to read it.

Ouellette is representing himself in the lawsuit – which, judging from the scattered complaint, may not be the best idea (YouTube is described as “indispensable to any person trying to publicize political issues,” with users including “President Barack Obama, al-Qaeda terrorists, and freedom fighters opposed to oppressive regimes in China, Tajikstan, Myanmar and numerous other countries and regions”) – and although his complaint is shot through with more than a little paranoia, it’s worth hoping that it makes the companies named as defendants and others reconsider their approach to information dissemination. If nothing else, you’d think that YouTube could have a video version…?

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