Friday, February 16, 2007


Carlos Mencia Claims Copyright Infringement On Comedian Who Accuses Mencia Of Stealing Jokes

from the ah,-the-tangled-web-we-weave dept

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Another day, another convoluted DMCA claim. Earlier this week, one of the hot stories getting passed around was how comedian (and Fear Factor host) Joe Rogan had confronted comedian Carlos Mencia at a comedy club in LA last weekend. Rogan's complaint was that Mencia, who has a hit show on Comedy Central, constantly uses other comedians' material as if it was his own. Rogan posted a video of the incident and interspersed the argument with additional clips proving all of his claims against Mencia, and disproving many of Mencia's claims. It is an entertaining video no matter how you look at it. Now, given our position on intellectual property issues (especially when it comes to plagiarizing), some might think that we'd support Mencia using other's jokes. However, we also have no problem with Rogan then exposing Mencia's failure to give credit where it's due. The fact is that when Mencia started using other's jokes, the risk (or price) he paid was that he might be exposed some day for it -- and Rogan has pretty damning evidence, which clearly hurts Mencia's reputation. In other words, it's not that we don't think things like plagiarism are bad -- but, rather that many people use it creatively to expand the art -- and those that don't risk harm to their own reputations (as is the case with Mencia).

So what does this have to do with technology? Well, Kevin writes in to to point out that he noticed the video on YouTube that Rogan originally pointed to from his blog has been taken down following a DMCA request from... Carlos Mencia. The video is still available elsewhere and Rogan is offering up various mirrors for downloads -- so it will likely keep appearing. However, it does seem ironic that Mencia is claiming copyright violations to takedown a video that pretty clearly shows him using other's material. It's difficult to see how Mencia has a DMCA claim at all. The video material was mostly taken by Rogan's associates -- so he holds the copyright to it. The short clips he used from other sources to prove his point are pretty clearly fair use. Either way, it seems pretty ridiculous to claim copyright infringement on a video revealing evidence that you used someone else's material without credit.