WordPress Wins Case Against DMCA Abuser… Who Ignored The Proceedings
from the it's-a-start dept
Back in the summer of 2013, we wrote about yet another case of someone abusing the DMCA to censor content, rather than for any legitimate copyright purpose. The story was quite ridiculous, involving a group in the UK, called “Straight Pride UK.” The group did an interview with a student named Oliver Hotham, who had emailed the group, noting he was a journalist with a list of questions. The guy behind “Straight Pride UK,” Nick Steiner, responded to the questions with a document, which the group labeled as a “press release.” Hotham posted his article, which, quite reasonably, made Straight Pride UK look ridiculous. In response, the group issued a DMCA takedown notice to Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, and the host of the article.
A couple months later, the legal team at Automattic decided it had had enough of these kinds of bogus takedowns and filed two lawsuits concerning bogus takedowns, including Nick Steiner’s. As we’ve noted for years, the DMCA does have section 512(f) which allows for some punishment for bogus DMCA takedowns, but in practice, 512(f) has been almost entirely neutered by the courts. Yet here were cases of clear abuse.
So it’s good to see that the court in the Hotham/Automattic/Steiner case has now ruled for WordPress and awarded $25,084.00. Unfortunately, Steiner has more or less ignored the entire case, so it is really a default judgment. And, assuming Steiner never comes to the US, it may not ever truly impact him, and it’s doubtful that he’ll pay up. Still, at the very least, it’s nice to see some sort of victory against bogus DMCA takedowns, given that it is so rare.