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Goblin topplers video removed after Utahn files copyright claim

Published October 24, 2013 9:47 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Goblin Valley topplers video, which sparked outrage across the Internet, is disappearing.

By Wednesday afternoon the video posted by The Salt Lake Tribune Oct. 17 had been removed from YouTube. In its place, the video hosting site displayed a short message: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Dave Hall."

Hall shot the video, which showed Glenn Taylor pushing over a "goblin" rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park, then uploaded it to Facebook. After the video attracted attention from media and officials on the social network, The Tribune broke the story about the incident and an ensuing criminal investigation.

Hall would not say Wednesday what he had to do to file the copyright claim. He said he was working with an attorney, but declined to provide the attorney's name.

YouTube sent The Salt Lake Tribune a message Wednesday about the copyright claim and offering tips on filing a counter claim. Both claims and counter claims go through the site's copyright page.

When Tribune staffers last checked, the video had about 4.5 million views on YouTube, not including views of copies of the video that were re-uploaded to other YouTube accounts or hosting sites. Final viewing stats on the video were not immediately available Wednesday.

According to Hall, "a whole lot of people have pirated" personal information. He removed the video because he hopes it will help the controversy surrounding the rock toppling subside.

"There's consequences for me doing something wrong, so there should be for everyone else, too," he added.

Hall and Taylor have repeatedly argued that they knocked over the rock formation because they hoped to protect families who could have been crushed. However, the National Safety Council said that the odds of dying by being struck by an object are extremely slim. Park officials have said the men should have contacted a ranger if they felt the rock posed a threat.

Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said he is not aware of anyone being killed or injured by rocks falling on them. Some visitors to parks have sustained injuries after falling off rocks, Swalberg added, but he has never heard of "reports of crushing."

Hall said Wednesday that he and his attorney have been "in communication" with law enforcement about the incident, though as of Wednesday no charges had been filed. He also reiterated that he and Taylor have received threats and other disruption from outraged viewers of the video.

"Our lives have been totally turned upside down and destroyed," Hall added.

The investigation into the incident is still in the hands of state parks' investigators. Swalberg said those investigators have met with the Emery County Attorney's Office but are still working on the case. He did not know when the investigation might conclude.

The men visited the state park as troop leaders for the Boy Scouts of America but have since been removed from their leadership roles.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii