Spoon-Altering Psychic Has Copyright Advocates Bent Out of Shape
Uri Geller Runs Afoul of YouTube Users
by Paul Elias
The Associated Press
July 9, 2007
San Francisco – Uri Geller became a 1970s superstar and made millions with an act that included bending spoons, seemingly through the power of his own mind.
Now, the online video generation is so bent out of shape over the self-proclaimed psychic’s behavior that he’s fast reaching the same Internet pariah status as the recording and movie industries.
Geller’s tireless attempts to silence his detractors have extended to the popular video-sharing site YouTube, landing him squarely in the center of a raging digital-age debate over controlling copyrights amid the massive volume of video and music clips flowing freely online.
Geller’s critics say he and others are abusing a federal law meant to protect against online copyright infringement, and that YouTube and other Web sites are not doing enough to combat frivolous claims.
At issue is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, which makes it easy for Geller and others to persuade Internet companies to remove videos and music simply by sending so-called takedown notices that claim copyright ownership. Most companies, including YouTube do almost nothing to investigate the claims.
“All it takes is a single e-mail to completely censor someone on the Internet,” said Jason Schultz, a lawyer for the online civil rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing Geller over an unflattering clip posted on YouTube for which he claimed a copyright ownership.
For nearly as long as Geller has been bending spoons and moving compass needles with the wave of a hand, professional magicians have been loudly debunking his claims of psychic ability.
A new generation of critics led by 30-year-old Brian Sapient of an organization called the Rational Response Squad have taken their crusade online. Sapient and others recently posted several video clips to YouTube demonstrating how Geller allegedly uses simple sleight of hand in his act.
One slow-motion clip shows Geller quickly placing a small magnet on his left thumb before purporting to move the needle of a compass in front of a live television studio audience in Israel, where Geller was born. Another includes Geller’s infamous “Tonight Show” flop, in which Johnny Carson exposed Geller by providing his own spoons and other props. Read the rest of the article here.
Here is the disputed Geller clip depicts magician and well known skeptic, James Randi debunking Uri Geller’s claims of magical abilities: