A few months ago, we reported on the disabled blog of Oliver Hotham, a student in the UK whose reporting on an anti-gay rights group was censored by what appeared to be a politically-motivated takedown notice issued by that same group, “Straight Pride UK.” We suggested that WordPress, the host of Hotham’s blog, had not been legally obliged to take down the material, but instead had the option of “growing a backbone” and ignoring takedown notices that were clearly not within the ambit of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
It appears that WordPress has done just that, and more. Yesterday, WordPress announced that it was “infuriated” by this censorship and that its parent company, Automattic, Inc., had filed suit against Straight Pride UK in the Northern District of California, alleging knowing misrepresentations in a DMCA takedown notice pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 512(f). Hotham himself is listed as a co-plaintiff.
WordPress also announced a similar suit against an Indian national who had allegedly improperly used a DMCA takedown notice to censor scientific literature with which he disagreed.