The Electronic Frontier Foundation is reporting that Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com has joined two lawsuits in federal court under Section 512(f) of the DMCA. Section 512(f) is the provision that allows users to hold people accountable when they make false infringement accusations.
Earlier this year, Automattic took some heat for their role in taking down Oliver Hotham’s website after the Straight Pride UK group filed a DMCA take down notice with WordPress.com. In the Guardian article, WordPress.com admitted that the take down notice was an abuse of the law.
We think this was a case of abuse of the DMCA and we don’t think that taking it down was the right result. It’s censorship using the DMCA. We can’t verify that the complainant actually owns the copyrighted information – we rely on the fact they sign their complaint and verify, under penalty of perjury, that they own the copyright
While the DMCA law has its place and has been effective in removing copyrighted material, it’s also been heavily abused. In this case, and many others I’ve read over the years, it’s an easy way to silence a voice. I applaud Automattic for finally stepping up and standing strong with their users that have been abused by the law. I hope that the outcome from these lawsuits sends a message to anyone thinking about using the DMCA as a way to censor people.