WordPress Bosses Looking For Tougher Measures To Enforce DMCA
General counsel for the bosses behind the hit blogging platform WordPress, Automattic, have called for “clear legal consequences” to apply to those who abuse the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Speaking during a hearing by the House Judiciary Subcommittee the WordPress lawyer outlined how they believe that the DMCA is being used to manipulate freedom of expression and that anyone breaking the DMCA should face clear consequences for their actions.
Automattic are behind WordPress and although the company itself is small it has a huge influence with literally millions of people everyday coming into contact and using sites and blogs running on WordPress.
In total there are around 400 million visitors coming to WordPress every month and accessing a massive 13.1 billion pages which makes it easy to see why the company has a large interest in the DMCA and how it can work to provide security to its users and to protect the content of their sites effectively.
According to a report by Torrent Freak, the House Judiciary Subcommittee heard from Paul Sieminski, acting as general counsel for Automattic. He spoke about the experience of the company in regard to DMCA take down notices and concluded that on the whole this process worked well but in the cases where this does not work well these instances are actually leading to a negative effect on freedom of speech.
He added that to deal with all the DMCA notices being handed out to sites being run by WordPress was taking up a huge amount of time and valuable resources within the company and that it was essential that a balance could be found in the industry.
Paul Sieminski added: “At Automattic, we’ve seen an increasing amount of abuse of the DMCA’s takedown process. The DMCA’s takedown process provides what can be an easy avenue for censorship: simply send in a DMCA notice claiming copyrights in a piece of content that you don’t agree with. Regardless of whether you own the copyright, the service provider that hosts the content must take it down or risk being out of compliance with the DMCA.”
He went on to outline a number of cases that proved that the DMCA was being used at times as a means to be able to stop the freedom of expression and that when such cases do arise it is taking too long for the DMCA to get the case sorted and to have original material put back on line.
For the WordPress bosses it is essential that the situation with the DMCA is resolved to allow for freedom of expression and to protect original content at the same time.
The lawyer for Automattic concluded: “The DMCA system gives copyright holders a powerful and easy-to-use weapon: the unilateral right to issue a take down notice that a website operator (like Automattic) must honor or risk legal liability.
“The system works so long as copyright owners use this power in good faith. But too often they don’t, and there should be clear legal consequences for those who choose to abuse the system. I’d urge the Committee to add such penalties to the DMCA to deter and punish these types of abuses”