Benny Hinn doesn't know what he just got himself into. Actually, neither do I. But I'm ready and willing to bring this battle to his doorstep.
This morning I received this e-mail from Youtube. You can click the link if you want to see the original, or you can just keep reading.
The e-mail informed me that Benny Hinn Ministries had demanded that YouTube pull the first video in our "Office Outcast" series off the internet on grounds of it committing copyright infringement against Mr. Hinn and the World Healing Church. Subsequent infringements would force YouTube to take action against me.
For those of you unfamiliar with copyright law (fine, I'm one of those people too, but stick with me for a moment), you aren't allowed to upload copyrighted material of any kind onto the web without the express permission of the copyright owner. This is a good law - it protects the interests of the creative parties so that people can't just go around with your creation and sell it for profit.
Since YouTube arrived, it's been tougher to enforce that law, and it's been a tricky legal situation for them. A lot of companies turn a blind eye to it, figuring that free publicity beats copyright infringement any day, and there's nothing really to lose by letting people post old video clips. On the flip side, some companies rigorously enforce these laws, hunting across the internet for people abusing the law, writing cease-and-desist letters or having the website pull the videos. People get angry at this, but this is fine, too. The web is too large to be policed effectively by an outside party or the FCC, and so personal responsibility is necessary in order for the internet to run smoothly. But that's not what this is about.
You see, I didn't violate any copyright laws when I mentioned Benny Hinn's name in the video. I didn't violate any copyright laws when I mentioned that the video was about Andy and Luis trying to get Benny Hinn on the phone. I simply didn't violate any copyright law that Mr. Hinn or the World Healing Church own. I didn't.
So, I didn't violate his copyright laws, I didn't commit libel against him, and if Mr. Hinn feels that my language was scurrilous or abusive, he should also be aware that the Sedition Act was overturned in 1921, and wouldn't have applied to him anyway. But now he and YouTube have pulled the video and blocked me from importing the same file, or similar files that might also mention mention Mr. Hinn's name.
In fact, the only rights that seemed to have been violated were mine - my First Amendment rights. And I'm no constitutional warrior and I'm not a fan of people who beat people over the head with it, but I object to the gesture and I don't feel like taking this lying down.
So, get ready, Benny. I'm bringing the battle to you.