Court Blocks Furniture Seller From Sending More DMCA Takedowns To eBay Over Competitor's Furniture
from the dmca-that-wicker dept
Design Furnishings sued to get a restraining order against Zen Path's DMCA takedowns, and the court issued a temporary restraining order, noting that even Zen Path, by its own arguments, appeared to realize that it had no copyright interest in its wicker furniture:
Here, defendant's applications for copyright protection claimed the works were sculptures or 3-D artwork or ornamental designs, indicating that defendant knew the limits of copyright protection. The pictures of the furniture, though, suggest that defendant impermissibly sought protection of the "industrial design" of the furniture. Moreover, the internal contradiction in the applications raises a strong inference that defendant subjectively knew it did not have a copyright infringement claim when it notified eBay. Accordingly, the court finds that plaintiff has a likelihood of success on the merits.Furniture, as a useful item, is not copyrightable. You might be able to copyright a specific non-useful design element, but the overall furniture is simply not copyrightable. The court here is basically saying the fact that Zen Path clearly wanted to pretend that the chair was a sculpture was an indication that it knew the chairs themselves were not copyrightable, and thus filing the DMCA notices was an abuse of the DMCA.
It's pretty rare to see a court actually recognize an abuse of the DMCA, and even if this is a slightly odd case, it's certainly nice to see. You can read the full ruling after the jump.