Ironic: Perez Hilton uses DMCA to silence NOM

I’m one of the last people on the face of the earth who will defend the National Association of Marriage (NOM), the group who claims that gay marriage will ruin freedom and kill traditional marriage. However, I’ve long been fond of a quote from US Justice Robert H. Jackson, the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, a former United States Attorney General and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court: “The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish.” That quote for me even trumps the famous quote wrongly attributed to Voltaire (which I support none the less): “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It’s in that regard that I take umbrage at a gross violation of free speech from someone who should know better: Mario Lavandeira, better known as Perez Hilton. NOM has launched a new ad attacking gay marriage that includes exactly three seconds of Perez attacking Miss California, then later in the clip shows Hilton, but only on part of the visual. We’d embed the YouTube clip, but there’s a problem there (see pic above): Perez has slapped a DMCA claim on the clip. Instead we have no choice but to link direct:

var so = new SWFObject(“http://www.nationformarriage.org/atf/cf/{39D8B5C1-F9FE-48C0-ABE6-1029BA77854C}/mediaplayer.swf”,”mediaplayer”,”320″,”240″,”7″);
so.addParam(“allowfullscreen”,”false”);
so.addParam(‘allowscriptaccess’,’always’);
so.addVariable(‘autostart’,’false’);
so.addVariable(“width”,”320″);
so.addVariable(“height”,”240″);
so.addVariable(“file”,”http://nomblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/no-offense-spot.flv”);
so.addVariable(“image”,”http://www.nationformarriage.org/atf/cf/{39d8b5c1-f9fe-48c0-abe6-1029ba77854c}/NO-OFFENSE-SPOT.JPG”);
so.write(“NOM-0806”);

Whether you like the ad or not is irrelevant: the three seconds of video from Perez constitutes fair use under US copyright law. But the irony is rich here, because here’s a guy who has been sued numerous times for among other things, using third party material on his site. I don’t seek to argue for or against those lawsuits, only to make a clear point: when is it fair for Perez to use third party material for commercial gain (fair use or not), but not fair for a group like NOM to use three seconds of a Perez clip? Hypocrisy 101.

The sad thing is that in issuing the DMCA, Perez will likely help NOM drive more traffic and exposure to the ad (see Streisand effect.) Further, in making a false DMCA declaration, Perez may find himself sued by NOM, and although I’m not a lawyer, I’d bet their chances of winning would be pretty good. Perez as a champion of gay marriage could well be silenced by his own stupidity here.

Perez, you probably won’t read this, but if you are: withdraw the DMCA claim before it gets messy. There are many, many people who support your question to Miss California and your stance on gay marriage, but let the critics have their say in the same way you do. Trust me on one thing: they are their own worst enemies and you actually want this stuff out there, because it proves how stupid their argument is.