For the first time, a critic that Molyneux had hoped to silence strikes back—in a major way.
“Live by the gun in the room; die by the gun in the room.” Or words to that effect.
Something quite awkward has happened to Stefan Molyneux.
The Freedomain Radio “community” leader, who is emphatically anti-state, anti-intellectual property, and anti-copyright law, has been sued by Tru Shibes for invoking copyright law and using the power of the state to protect his intellectual property.
In an apparent fundamental contradiction to his stated beliefs, Molyneux—who frequently condemns the power of the state as “the gun in the room”—used that very power to silence Tru Shibes, a popular critic of Molyneux’s opinions.
It gets worse.
Molyneux’s actions may have been more than hypocritical; they may—as the suit alleges—have also been fraudulent.
The suit filed today in federal district court for the Central District of California, seeks “a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and damages for misrepresentation under Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as codified at 17 U.S.C. section 512.” The complaint includes Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio forum manager Michael DeMarco, and other possible defendants. You can read the complaint in full here.
The complaint continues, “Plaintiff also seeks damages for defamation arising out of Defendants’ published false statements about Plaintiff that she was ‘doxing’—engaging in harassment of and stalking—Defendants’ listeners and callers.”
The next chapter in the Tru Shibes story
Those familiar with Stefan Molyneux already know part of the story. The YouTube personality, already under fire for what many believe to be an increasingly misogynistic tone in his podcasts and videos, may have been more than annoyed by the appearance of a troublesome critic who published her own videos under the name Tru Shibes.
As the suit states, it all began when Tru Shibes became “curious to learn for herself the truth of Molyneux’s critics. Plaintiff began listening to his podcasts, starting with the earliest podcasts and going through them chronologically, taking notes and cataloguing what appeared to her to be peculiar, inconsistent, offensive, and factually incorrect statements, for her own reference. Since Molyneux had created so many podcasts, over 2,800 in total, Plaintiff presumed that many of his followers, casual listeners who probably only listened to a few of Molyneux’s speeches, interviews, or scripted podcasts on topics that interested them, were likely unaware of troubling statements and opinions reflected in Molyneux’s vast collection of material.”
…for the purpose of bringing awareness to the flawed logic, contradictions, and bizarre claims buried in his podcasts, which frequently ran hours in length.
The complaint describes how Tru Shibes began to distribute the results of her research: “In March 2014, Plaintiff decided to start a YouTube channel, playfully called ‘Tru Shibes,’ that would feature short videos with written commentary to document and critique Stefan Molyneux’s published statements and assertions for the purpose of bringing awareness to the flawed logic, contradictions, and bizarre claims buried in his podcasts, which frequently ran hours in length.
“In order to produce the videos, she would analyze statements made in Molyneux’s podcasts, published statements, videoclips, and other materials Molyneux had published and made publicly available through various Internet sources including, but not limited to, fdrpodcasts.com, the Freedomain Radio website, Molyneux’s YouTube channels, Molyneux’s Facebook page, other Facebook pages focused on Molyneux…
“In some cases, she would combine excerpts of the Molyneux Material with graphic elements and text into a short video ranging in length from about 15 seconds to about 11 minutes, for the purpose of critiquing one or more of Molyneux’s viewpoints or highlighting various assertions that he made, which Plaintiff found alarming, inconsistent, hypocritical, and factually incorrect and felt the public needed to be aware of…”
Molyneux’s surprising reaction to the Tru Shibes videos
On August 17, 2014, Tru Shibes received seven Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) takedown notices from Youtube. The notices were filed by Michael DeMarco on Molyneux’s behalf.
On August 18, 2014, Tru Shibes received two additional DMCA takedown notices from YouTube, which had also been filed by the defendants. As a result of these complaints from DeMarco, YouTube eliminated the popular channel, even though many of the videos had already been “embedded in published online articles and blogs.” As a result, all links to those videos were broken.
Even if Molyneux weren’t anti-intellectual property (he has actively removed the standard copyright notices on his own forum) most believe that Tru Shibes’ work clearly falls within Fair Use guidelines.
Molyneux apparently admits to fraudulent misuse of DMCA law
DeMarco has claimed on the Freedomain Radio forum that he had used DMCA to take down various Youtube channels, including Tru Shibes, because those channels featured videos that attacked listeners (and therefore not because of copyright violations).
To date, no one has been able to produce a Tru Shibes video that ‘attacks, harasses, stalks, or provides the personal information of any of Molyneux’s listeners.’
In addition, during an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience (#538), a popular podcast, Stefan Molyneux “openly admitted his efforts to take down Tru Shibes and other YouTube channels have ‘nothing to do with copyright or anything like that.’ On the contrary, he admits he used the takedown procedure because he ‘felt that listeners were being acted against in a negative way.’ Moreover, he admitted that he allows people to use his copyrighted material without authorization: ‘People use my stuff all the time.'”
To date, no one has been able to produce a Tru Shibes video that “attacks, harasses, stalks, or provides the personal information of any of Molyneux’s listeners.”
In short, not only was Molyneux use of DMCA law quite possibly fraudulent, his stated real reason for the attack on Tru Shibes may itself turn out to be a harmful act of character assassination.
Tru Shibes seeks damages, prevention of further copyright claims
“…To justify their actions, they maliciously promoted rumors that I used my videos to harass and dox their listeners and callers.”
The Tru Shibes videos were produced by a woman named J. Raven. We asked her why she believed it was important to pursue this action against Molyneux. She responded, “In abusing the DMCA Procedure to take down my Youtube channel, the Defendants Stefan Molyneux and Michael DeMarco acted with complete disregard for my free speech rights, as alleged in the Complaint. They misused United States copyright law to remove online content, and admitted this publicly. To justify their actions, they maliciously promoted rumors that I used my videos to harass and dox their listeners and callers. It was necessary for me to file this Complaint in order to set the record straight, and to establish my right to criticize Molyneux’s opinions through the forum of my choice.”
The suit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, as well as enjoining Molyneux and his representatives from further copyright claims against the videos she has produced thus far.
Please check this site or the FDR Liberated Forum for further news as this story unfolds.
Help fight for free speech
Did Stefan Molyneux use the gun in the room to silence a critic? If you think so, you may want to consider hitting the Tru Shibes’ Web site and donating anything you can to help her fight back. Anything you can offer would be gratefully accepted.
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