WordPress Takes On Copyright Abusers
WordPress are taking on those who abuse their copyrights and censor legitimate content with DMCA take downs and are heading to court to try to make their point.
Automattic, the company behind WordPress, are filing a lawsuit for $10,000 to pay compensation to a user who they believe was the victim of a false DMCA take down notice.
In recent years there has been a massive increase in the number of DMCA take down notices being issued to sites and while many are justified there are also many who are filed to either act maliciously or are simply over zealous in their claim.
The DMCA notices take up a considerable amount of time and resources for the company and now WordPress are looking to make it clear to anyone who is considering abusing the DMCA take down notice by filing the lawsuit.
In November last year WordPress began the process of highlighting this issue when they joined forces with Oliver Hotham. Oliver, a student journalist, had one of his articles taken down through what they believe was a fraudulent take down notice.
The article in question was about “Straight Pride UK” and in it he published a quote that had been part of a press release issued by Straight Pride UK.
Once the article was published using the quote a take down notice was issued by the press officer Nick Steiner who said that the article was infringing on his copyrights by using his quote in the piece.
According to a report by Torrent Freak, the lawyer for WordPress said about the case: “The information in the press release that Hotham published on his blog did not infringe any copyright because Hotham had permission to publish it. It was a press release, which by its very nature conveys the intent to “release” information to the “press”.”
WordPress argue that they have a duty to take down all content that is reported because as a provider they are at risk of huge copyright problems and that people are taking advantage of this.
A statement from WordPress said: “Steiner’s fraudulent take down notice forced WordPress to take down Hotham’s post under threat of losing the protection of the DMCA safe harbor.
“Steiner did not do this to protect any legitimate intellectual property interests, but in an attempt to censor Hotham’s lawful expression critical of Straight Pride UK. He forced WordPress to delete perfectly lawful content from its website. As a result, WordPress has suffered damage to its reputation.”
WordPress are asking for $10,000 in damages and a further $14,520 in legal fees but this case is far more than being about the money, if WordPress win the case then it will send a clear sign to anyone considering abusing the DMCA take down notices that this is a practice that will not be tolerated by WordPress and could potentially lead to legal action.