We recently wrote about a key legal fight
over DMCA abuse and whether or not you can expect punishment for bogus DMCA takedowns under 512(f). The fact that even the MPAA has weighed in to make sure that there are basically no remedies
for its faulty DMCA notices suggests how important this fight is -- even though at its core it appears to be a silly petty squabble
among two bloggers who clearly hate each other. You can read back over the previous posts to get the details, but a few details have come out since the last filing, which may be quite relevant.
Gina Crosley-Corcoran's (the blogger who filed the DMCA notices) filing against Amy Tuteur (the blogger who sued claiming a DMCA 512(f) violation) made a few claims that, if true, would likely weaken Tuteur's case dramatically. The key claims were that neither of the hosts that Tuteur said had removed her blog/account had actually done so. Without the actual removal or loss of account, Tuteur's overall claim is much weaker, since some cases have argued that you can only win a 512(f) case if the content was actually removed in reaction to the DMCA notices. Crosley-Corcoran's filing claimed that the first hosting company, BlueHost, never took down the content or the account, but that Tuteur chose to switch accounts, saying that BlueHost only warned that it could
take down the content or shut down her account, but that it did not. However, Tuteur has posted to her own blog a screenshot from Crosley-Corocran's own blog
that includes not just a screenshot of Tuteur's blog being shutdown on BlueHost, but also where Crosley-Corcoran brags about BlueHost taking down the entire blog. So... for Crosley-Corcoran to claim in her filing that BlueHost didn't take down the site, when Crosley-Corcoran's own statements show that it did... I can't imagine that will go over well in court.
Next up was the second host, Daring Host. Crosley-Corcoran's filing includes the claim that Daring Host told Tuteur it had to cancel her account due to being unable to handle the traffic, not because of the DMCA issue. It even provided a deposition from the owner of Daring Host claiming that he was clear to Tuteur that it was the traffic issue, not the DMCA notice, that resulted in the closing of the account. Except... Tuteur has now posted an original email from Daring Host to her
about the closing of the account, where it's quite clear that a key reason was the possible liability from the DMCA notice.
I spoke with the lawyer I’ve used with my businesses earlier today about the situation with your website and it being targeted. He informed me that hosting your website is a liability on a few different levels which is a risk to my business. While I support your cause and understand the situation you are in, I will no longer be able to host your website due to the risk and liability it poses to my business.
I do not want to leave you and your website out in the cold because I can understand that fighting against the people who are targeting you is not an easy task. I have done some research for you and found a couple of different businesses that should be able to host your website better in terms of dealing with it being targeted.
The first host I’ve found is called Alibabahost.com. On their website they state “AlibabaHost provides freedom of content and speech. Regarding the DMCA complains, we forward them to you and you decide how to proceed next.”
Considering the only legal liability that had come up had been the DMCA notice, combined with the fact that he directly highlights how the first host he suggests handles DMCA complaints, it seems pretty clear that the DMCA takedowns and further threats of more takedowns was a (if not "the") driving force behind telling her to look elsewhere. Given that the deposition from the same owner, Nick Esposito, appears to conflict with what he directly told Tuteur, he may face some interesting questions as well from the court.
For what it's worth, Crosley-Corcoran appears to have shown up in our comments on the last post claiming
I did not "brag" about my DMCA taking down her site. In fact, the court has the evidence (submitted by her side, ironically) showing me saying that I, quote, "wish I could take credit, but this was more than me." I knew then that the host did not take action to remove her site because of my DMCA, and she knew it too.
Given the screenshot above, this appears to be wholly untrue. She does appear to have very clearly bragged about the DMCA notice taking down her site. Also, there was a Facebook post from Crosley-Corcoran that talked excitedly about how she was spending the "legal fund" that she had solicited from her readers to help take down the site from Daring Host, and: "if she keeps on doing what she's doing, this will keep happening."
Also, while it's cut off at the end of that screenshot above, that original post from Crosley-Corcoran appears to clearly admit that she's using the DMCA notice not to stop copyright infringement, but to silence protected speech:
She could owe me statutory damages, but because I'm a fair and reasonable human being, my attorney and I felt it was best to discuss a non-monetary settlement with Amy and her lawyer. I'm not looking to be greedy — I simply wanted a resolution. In exchange for me not pursuing the damages, we wanted Amy to agree to stop personally attacking me. It was that simple.
Combine all of that, and it seems like a pretty strong argument that Crosley-Corcoran used the DMCA to silence criticism, rather than for stopping copyright infringement, and that she knew and celebrated that fact publicly, contrary to what she stated in her filing and in our comments.