Retraction Watch readers may recall that earlier this year, ten of our posts disappeared for two weeks after someone at an alleged news service in India falsely claimed that we had violated their copyright. The situation was the opposite of those claims; in fact our copyright had been violated, and the posts, all about Anil Potti, were restored.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act serves many purposes, some of which are good, but certain parts of it are ripe for abuse. The infamous DMCA takedown notice is at the top of anyone’s list of most-abused parts of the act. These notices are meant to make it easy for content owners to have violations removed, and they do. But the notices also make it easy for anyone to try and silence criticism or stifle angles they simply don’t like, even if the party in question is working perfectly within the confines of fair use.
So we are pleased to join Automattic, the parent company of our blog’s host WordPress, in a lawsuit against the person who filed the fraudulent DMCA takedown notice. You can read our entire complaint here.
These cases are both infuriating and increasingly common. While there are no legal consequences (like fines) under the DMCA for copyright abusers, there is a provision that allows victims of censorship (and their web hosts) to bring legal action against those who submit fraudulent DMCA notices. So today, we’ve joined with Oliver, Ivan and Adam to take a small strike back at DMCA abuse. We’ve filed two lawsuits for damages under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, which allows for suits against those who “knowingly materially misrepresent” a case of copyright infringement.
Until there are some teeth to the copyright laws, it’s up to us – websites and users, together – to stand up to DMCA fraud and protect freedom of expression. If nothing else, we’d like to remind our users that we’re doing all we can to combat DMCA abuse on WordPress.com….and most importantly, remind copyright abusers to think twice before submitting fraudulent takedown notices. We’ll be watching, and are ready to fight back.
We’ll also be actively involved, on behalf of our users, in trying to change the law – both through court cases and in Congress – to make sure that everyone has the right to share their voice on the Internet without threat of censorship.
We will, too, and we hope Retraction Watch readers will add their voices to efforts to combat these abuses.