Donald Trump And Copyright Issues? What?

Some consider Donald Trump to be bad in more ways than one. Including the ones that essentially have nothing to do with him.

A recent online parody work related to Donald Trump (now the President-elect of the United States of America) has resulted in a Clockwork Orange Copyright suit, it has been revealed.

Donald Trump is among a handful of personalities to regularly get ridiculed in the media for the way he talks, looks, walks, speaks or basically does just about anything else.

And if there is one place on earth where you would find a parody work of some sort on any given TV personality then that’s YouTube.

A recent YouTube parody portrayed the billionaire businessman from New York, now the President-elect of the United States of America, by providing a satirical take on the way Donald Trump and his close aids carried out Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Some might say that it was bound to go this way but that parody work was apparently sued a couple of days ago in the United States of America for different copyright violations.

The actor involved is named Hugh Atkin and he basically came up with a short skit that represented some elements of Donald Trump’s efforts in his bid to become the president of the United States along with some pictures from A ClockWork Orange.

As mentioned before, now that same Australian man is being sued in the United States of America for multiple counts of copyright violation.

Does all of this have something to do with the, now, fact that Donald Trump will become the 46th president of the United States of America?

Let’s dig in a little further to find our or may not find out.

Various media reports have now revealed that the Australian actor, in his case at least, Hugh Atkins received a copyright violation from YouTube about three weeks ago in which he was advised that one of his videos which he had created a little earlier in time had been subject to a copyright takedown request.

In an interview given to TorrentFreak at the time, Atkin told TorrentFreak that the video that was in question was titled “A Clockwork Trump vs A Trumpwork Orange” and it was only created and then upload on the popular video website YouTube, as a parody and nothing else.

Atkin also told TorrentFreak that the video contained a parody of the trailer for ‘A Clockwork Orange and that it had featured Donald Trump.

He further added that his video then compared the aforementioned video, side-by-side, with another video which was actually the original video trailer for another video titled ‘ A Clockwork Orange.”

While giving an interview to TorrentFreak, Atkin also revealed that the whole activity was meant to be a satirical take on the alternately funny/violent/scary/profane/authoritarian nature of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

However, some parties clearly did not get the joke and a claim was filed against Atkin’s account by a law firm by the name of Serendip LLC which is a United States based company.

Serendip LLC also represents Wendy Carlos.

Some of you might be wondering, what does representing Wending Carlos have anything to do with a case against an Australian actor who just happened to upload a video about Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?

Trump’s campaign, according to some, was filled with hate and racism.

Well, the reason what that is relevant is because Wending Carlos is actually the guy who has composed the music that was used in The Clockwork Orange. Of course, this was not Wending Carlo’s only musical work. Wending Carlos has also worked on some other classics such as The Shining but we’ll leave the details for those at some other time.

Atkin, not being accustomed to getting sued over a “harmless” YouTube parody video, pointed out to TorrentFreak that he sincerely believed that Serendip LLC had made some sort of a mistake on part of Wending Carlos.

He explained to TorrentFreak (some might say he would have done a better job in terms of seeing some sort of return on his efforts,  doing the same in the court of law rather than a news aggregating website) in the same interview that he had given a DMCA (The Digital Millennium Copyright Act) counter-notification through YouTube and was awaiting a response from the concerned parties but, in the interim, he had a copyright strike against his account.

Reporters also asked Atkin about the specifics regarding the section of the video or the parody content that was uploaded on YouTube which was given a copyright strike. Initially, Atkin didn’t seem to know if the YouTube strike was aimed at the music that was used in the parody video or was it targeting the actual footage of the parody video that Atkin uploaded to YouTube.

For all anyone knows, the target could have been the whole content package since that is usually the case in these type of copyright violations. As far as Atkins is concerned though, he doesn’t really know he told TorrentFreak.

He said that the claim he received did not actually specify what copyrighted work is alleged to be infringed by his video and that the first and only information he found out about Serendip’s claim was when he logged into his YouTube account one afternoon and saw the information in the screenshot below which indicated that a takedown notice had been received.

And just that the readers are all on the same page, this happened in October which makes is around a month old news. However, the news does get interesting in the following bits.

First, for those interesting in having a look at the video, should click below.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the video might work because of the copyright violation proceedings against the content of the uploaded video.

YouTube watchers who have observed the video, before it was taken down some time back, have told reporters that the video in question (which was uploaded by Atkin) did contain work from Wendy Carlos’s portrayal of the William Tell Overture which was featured in a movie.

Needless to say, at that moment in time, things started to take a rather expected turn.

Readers who have been following similar news might already be privy of the fact that Serendip was involved in another lawsuit back in the summer of this year when it initiated legal proceedings against another YouTube uploaded by the name of Lewis Bond after it was claimed that he too had made use of some of Wendy Carlos’s music in a movie analysis that involved a specific Stanley Kubrick movie.

Of course, as we already know, that case seems to have been settled rather quickly and in a much more agreeable fashion. Needless to say that, there too the whole situation seem to have caused Bond some appreciable amount of anxiety and tension before things got better.

Why is that relevant?

Donald Trump did win though and that has landed some people who made parody’s of him on YouTube, in hot water.

Well, because this is exactly what seems to be happening in the case with Atkin (the guy who uploaded the parody video content on YouTube that compared Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with another less flattering video of another artist) since some media reports believe that this case too would die down without causing too much trouble to either Atkin or Serendip LLC who is suing Atkin for the copyright violation.

As indicated before, the lawsuit against Atkin was filed by Serendip LLC in a New York district court. And not to bother readers with a whole lot of details about the whole case, Serendip LLC had sued Hugh Atkin, the guy who had made the original YouTube video, for the illegal application of Wendy Carlos’s music.

It might not be apparent enough already but the copyrighted video in question is about a minute in length if not less.

The lawsuit filed by Serendip LLC against Hugh Atkin read that unbeknownst to and without permission or license from Serendip, Defendant (that is Hugh Atkin) made derivative use of Wendy Carlos’s music arrangement and master sound recording works of the “William Tell Overture”, in the soundtrack of Defendant’s video, entitled “A Clockwork Trump vs A Trumpwork Orange.”

No matter which parties are involved, lawsuits rarely turn out to be smooth. Most of the times, both the sides engaging in the lawsuit have to come up with massive amounts of resources in order to make their case more viable in the eyes of the judges and the courts.

This doesn’t look like a case that might cost Mr.Atkin hundreds of thousands of dollars but there is little indication to suggest that Serendip LLC won’t actually try and take this case as far as necessary to ward off other future potential imitators from using copyrighted content without the prior consent of the producer of the content.

The lawsuit filed by Serendip in the New York district court also noted that Atkin uploaded the said video in October 23, 2016, and all things considered, it gave the impression that Atkin did it with the apparent purpose of monetizing the uploaded video for his own benefit and with his later stated purpose of ‘providing satirical political comment on the 2016 United States Presidential Election campaign of Donald Trump.’

Serendip LLC also made suggestions in case Atkin or anyone else wanted to use copyrighted content in the future without getting into trouble with the law. The law firm stated that in order for anyone to use the copyrighted content without breaking the law, and legally, one had to gain two individual and separate licenses.

In other words, the user of any copyrighted material would have to obtain two legal documents before even thinking about using the content for one of his/her own adaptations.

One of these licenses includes a synchronization license for the actual music deal and another license for the master use for the recording of the sound.

And since Mr.Atkin did not apply neither obtained either one of those, Serendip LLC claimed (about three days ago) that when taken as a whole, these type of licenses could cost as much as 60,000 USD.

The company also mentioned that in some special cases the costs of the said licenses could be brought down to about $5000, which could be considered as a minimum fine to the copyright violator.

The company stated that, despite all of that the Defendant (Mr.Atkin, the YouTuber) did not contact Serendip or Wendy Carlos, or anyone to inquire about obtaining the required copyright licenses for music use in his video.

For what it’s work, the company also said that the reason why it chose to file the lawsuit was because Mr.Atkin had chosen to do it in the first place himself when he filed his own DMCA counter-notice through his official YouTube channel.

There is no doubt that Trump has done a lot in his life that can be parodied. Whether one can do it legally, is another matter.

The lawsuit from Serendip LLC stated that on or about October 27, 2016, YouTube provided Serendip with a copy of the counter-notification and notified Serendip and the Defendant that, as a result of the counter-notification, Serendip must file a federal court action within 10 business days or YouTube may reinstate the video to

The file further added that Defendants’ (Mr.Atkin, the YouTuber) acts of infringement have been willful, intentional, and purposeful, in disregard of and indifferent to Serendip’s right.

But that wasn’t enough. As is usually the case with all law firms, they always try to go the distance when it comes to beating the defendant into submission.

The lawsuit from Serendip LLC also pointed out that as a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s infringement of exclusive rights under Serendip’s copyrights for the music arrangement and sound recording works of William Tell Overture, Serendip was entitled to statutory damages for each copyright.

And in a move that literally surprised no one involved with the copyright violation industry, Serendip LLC also demanded the court to give out a permanent injunction which would prohibit Mr.Arkin from doing anything else that would further cause copyright violation on content protected by Serendip LLC “including, without limitation, uploading a video containing any such work to or any other website.”

TorrentFreak was contacted by Mr.Atkin a couple of day’s ago and below is his full response.

“I did not know that Serendip had commenced proceedings against me. I only found out about the suit via your email, which was a rude shock to wake up to on a Monday morning in Sydney. The complaint has not yet been served on me,” he said.

“I received an email from lawyers for Serendip on October 29 in relation to the takedown notification which had been given by Serendip to YouTube under the DMCA and my counter-notification.

“I responded by letter on October 30 requesting further information about the alleged claim of infringement and otherwise denying any infringement. I never received a response to my letter, and my video was restored to YouTube last week. From their failure to respond, I assumed that Serendip was not pursuing its claim.”

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more about this story. In the meantime, subscribe to to keep abreast of all the latest happenings in the world of cyber security and anonymity.

Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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