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Automattic Rejects Series Of Bogus Janet Jackson Takedown Attempts By Using Janet Jackson Song Titles

from the automattic-wins-the-internet dept

Via Parker Higgins we learn that Automattic (better known as the WordPress people) have added singer Janet Jackson to their “Hall of Shame” for sending totally bogus takedowns. Apparently, her people made the wacky claim that this post on “what would your WWE smackdown name be?” represented trademark infringement. It doesn’t. The only place it even mentions Jackson is in showing a picture of Sacha Baron Cohen with the following explanation:

Costume and entrance: Picture Sacha Baron Cohen in, what else? his movie The Dictator. Elaborate General?s outfit, hat, etc. He walks in flanked by half a dozen sexy female soldiers inspired by the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation video.

Uh, yeah. That’s not trademark infringement. It’s not copyright infringement. It’s not anything but someone writing.

The other takedown is equally problematic. It claims the following image is copyright infringement:

As you can clearly see that’s using a photo of Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” from the Superbowl many years ago, and applying the Things Tim Howard Could Save meme to it. Marginally funny. But not copyright infringement. Not only does Jackson not hold the copyright on that image, it’s obvious fair use for whoever does hold the copyright.

Still, Automattic’s lawyers had some fun with their response, noting that they “tried to use as many Janet Jackson song titles as possible” in the response (while also noting they hope that doesn’t lead to another takedown demand):

It seems like you believe the use of the trademark ?Janet Jackson? is reserved all for you, but we were hoping you?d be open to some feedback because your attempt to control every use of the mark is pretty nasty. If you read up on nominative use, you?ll discover that it doesn?t really matter that ?Janet Jackson? is used on this site. If you believe there are any other alleged infringements, would you mind submitting a notice again via our trademark form?


So excited to work with you going forward

Nicely done.

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Comments on “Automattic Rejects Series Of Bogus Janet Jackson Takedown Attempts By Using Janet Jackson Song Titles”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They could be trying to base the claim on the copyright in her pastie, on the same logic as allows an architect or sculptor to call a photo of his work a derivative work (compared to the original point of restricting derivatives, which was to stop people making trivial changes and claiming it wasn’t an infringing copy).

Anonymous Coward says:

this whole copyright, trademark, patent crap has gotten totally out of hand. it wants throwing away and starting again, but with no input from anyone involved. it has to be done by those ‘looking in’. it wont be popular, to say the least, but something needs to be done before someone tries to patent or copyright the country and some thick friggin’ judge rules in their favor! what the hell would happen then? the government has allowed this to happen and go on and on. now it needs to put foot down, get a grip and sort it out. i hate to think of the things that we dont have and cant do simply because someone doesn’t like it and wants the present thing to carry on being used (or not, as the case may be) or whatever. it’s bloody ridiculous!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Pardon me for saying so but that image of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction was posted all over the media, most likely censored for the public of her revealed nip-slip. So, my question is why they didn’t send takedown requests to every media organization out there and why they didn’t send a takedown notice to the FCC as well. lols

RD says:

Re: Re:

Sigh. I DO wish people would get the context of Janet’s “reveal” right. It was NOT a nipple slip or a bare breast (not entirely anyway.) The nipple was covered by a big borg-implant looking pastie:


And yes, you are right (as shown above) pics of the “malfunction” are (still) all over the internet. To target this one site for just MENTIONING it in text only is absurd.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Re:

The wordplay is the rejection of their ridiculous claim. The takedowns are on a fair use image of that Super Bowl incident, and mentioning her name.
Clearly, you don’t understand how copyright works. Copyright is a tool for taking down anything you don’t like that remotely references you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t believe they could go after the use if they had no legal footing to do so.

Welcome to the Legal side of the Internet, where lawyers go after pretty much anything they could conceive of going after on an hourly basis (they bill by the hour).

Now, actually getting a court ruling in their favour on such a thing, that’s another issue. But with DMCA takedowns, it rarely gets that far; most people just take down the material when threatened by a lawyer.

JimJamTLewis says:

Few more legal points

When I Think of You, the response should be addressed to Miss Jackson, (If) You Want This New Agenda.

It was an honest legal error, done Because Of Love, but also with The Knowledge, that Love Will Never Do. That’s The Way Love Goes.

Techdirt may cause lawyers to Runaway after these details, but hey, that’s The State Of The World and they may need an Escapade.

All Right.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

the only thing i didn't like about it...

was that they tried to play it off as the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ and apologized for it…
1. a SEX-obsessed ‘culture’ hyperventilates about a fine looking woman showing a portion of a fine looking boobie during THE high-testosterone event of the year ? ? ?
hypocrisy abounds…
2. could have done without the pastie thing, ruined a good boobie…
3. it is certain there were MANY commercials during the broadcast far more ‘disgusting’ and ‘obscene’ than a jj nip slip…
4. as a general rule, most any woman who wants to show me her boobies is welcome; i can confidently speak to this for 99.99% of the male population, and about 5-10% of the female population…
(yes, even gay males will want to see her boobs, *that’s* how fine she is…)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: the only thing i didn't like about it...

I agree pretty much entirely. The only thing that truly shocked me about the thing was how much people totally freaked about it, even to the point have talking such nonsense as “how do I explain this to my kids?” Seems easy enough to me: “Women have breasts. There’s one.” What’s harder to explain to kids is why everyone freaked out about the whole thing.

Tangentially related to your ode to boobies: a couple of days ago, I was talking to a friend who was bemoaning the fact that she had small breasts. I told her the ill-kept “secret” of men: men think breasts are awesome. Doesn’t matter if they’re big, small, or what their shape is. They’re all fantastic.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: the only thing i didn't like about it...

damn, are you going to blab all the sekrets of man klub ? ? ?

IF ONLY women knew that it is one thing for us piggies to admire, desire, or fantasize about a ‘perfect body/woman’ (which we NEVER expect to come to fruition, EVER); but they can’t know that 90%+ of us are ABSOLUTELY THRILLED with her (supposed) less-than-perfect body… she is perfectly fine to us ! ! !

oh, crap, me and my big mouth…

Kennae Crew says:

Leave Janet alone Now!!!!

Leave Janet alone oh my gosh this happened all because of Justin timberlake… if anything he should be receiving hell…Not her… he grabbed too much fabric and her breast fell out… his fault… not her’s… damn leave her alone you low lives not having nothing better to do than ruin someone else’s because you already done ruined yours!

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