No, it doesn't. I mean, yes, it clearly is crammed to fit into a DMCA takedown template, but it's making a novel argument about the underlying infringement justifying the takedown being not direct or vicarious infringement of copyright under any usual theory by infringement by multiple-step-indirect sharing information about alleged circumvention technology (under a novel theory of what qualified as anti-circumvention technology) and providing vague inspiration for theft (which wouldn't be relevant to a DMCA takedown even if it was true and illegal to do; as the EFF notes, the basis of the charge here cited by Bird is false and, even if it wasn't, inspiring or even outright encouraging illegal conduct is Constitutionally protected outside of narrow circumstances that don't even arguably apply here.)
> so while Boing Boing isn't wrong to refuse to honor it, making a galactic big deal out of the shock-and-awe caliber of their legal response has a weird feeling to it
It's a technique to get attention for (1) the novel and legally indefensible way Bird is trying to suppress information they don't like, and (2) the fact that others who are targetted should be aware that it is indefensible so that similar intimidation directed at others will not succeed.
This sort of thing is toxic and destructive to a free society.
Boing Boing + EFF are 100% right to make this interaction very visible, so others can learn 1) how slimy Bird is, and 2) how to respond to it if they find themselves in a similar position but do not have the means to get a proper lawyer/organization like the EFF on their side in a timely manner.
The ESR thing is an internet tough guy interacting with a tech recruiter trying to fill his quota, a much different situation.
For however "high-profile" they are and however competent their lawyers are, this is a form letter, sent by someone who doesn't even know what Boing Boing is.
While perhaps some rando HN commenter can profess to not know what an "ESR" is (above, and sure ok fine, insert xkcd here), it doesn't seem likely that Bird doesn't know what a Boing Boing / Doctorow is. But even if they stamped out a boilerplate takedown with Linda Kwak's attestation that she has ".. a good faith belief, and do[es] solemnly and sincerely declare .." then it's on her, that's the rules of the DMCA takedown game, don't hate the players.
It seems far more likely that Bird knows full well what they were getting into here.
If you are reading this I urge you to go to eff.org and smash that donate button.
For others who haven't read it: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=208
FURTHER UPDATE: I had my serious, constructive converstation with Microsoft last year, when a midlevel exec named Steven Walli took me out to dinner at OSCON 2004 and asked, in so many words, “How can we not be evil?” And I told him — open up your file formats (including Word and multimedia), support open technical standards instead of sabotaging them, license your patents under royalty-free, paperwork-free terms.
I believe Steve Walli went back to his bosses and told them that truth. He is no longer with Microsoft, and what little he’ll say about it hints that they canned him for trying to change their culture.
It was a rather different time. Personally I wouldn't have been as rude or have named names but it wasn't unreasonable to have a bit of fun at Microsoft's expense. This was Microsoft's "Linux is a cancer" period when they even had a senior exec whose charter was basically going after Linux (among other things).
As for whether or not that redeems him for acting like a badass to a run-of-the-mill recruiter, the jury is still out on that one.
I am very very thankful that our industry has evolved beyond this type of character.
UPDATE: For those of you who missed the subtlety (which was a surprising lot of you) I was quite polite to this guy on the phone.
It seems to me that in the phone conversation, ESR made it pretty clear that he was not seriously considering it, and that he was going to reply in a strange manner.
I think he has a weird sense of humor, for sure, but I don't think he was particularly bullying that particular recruiter -- he was putting on a show of bullying Microsoft, because that was both his thing (as an early Open Source proponent) and fashionable at the time.
Currently, his hobby appears to be posting wingnut craziness on his website.
The Art of Unix Programming is a great read.
Just make sure you don't read his blog.
It needs to hurt when someone tries to pull something like this. With no public feedback loop in place, these types of people end up running things.
What ESR did was play with a clueless HR person.