DMCA abuser ordered to pay $25K to WordPress

Straight Pride UK, a homophobic organization, used a fraudulent copyright complaint to censor an article about them, but WordPress fought back.

When Straight Pride UK didn't bother to show up in court, the judge listened to WordPress's arguments about its DMCA abuse, and awarded them $25k (mostly for legal fees). It's not clear whether the US court's judgment will be enforceable against a crackpot British group, but the judgment will put easier-to-reach DMCA abusers on notice that they could pay tens of thousands for their fraud.

“The court finds the report correct, well-reasoned and thorough, and adopts it in every respect,” Judge Hamilton writes (pdf).

“It is Ordered and Adjudged that defendant Nick Steiner pay damages in the amount of $960.00 for Hotham’s work and time, $1,860.00 for time spent by Automattic’s employees, and $22,264.00 for Automattic’s attorney’s fees, for a total award of $25,084.00.”

WordPress Wins $25,000 From DMCA Takedown Abuser [Ernesto/Torrentfreak]

Notable Replies

    1. It's good that the protections in the DCMA system worked, thus demonstrating that DCMA is a fine piece of worthwhile legislation blush
    2. The UK is absurdly craven towards US demands at the best of times; we'll gladly extradite these people to your juristriction and add the cost of that extradition to the bill
  1. This would be a nice precedent. Hold someone accountable for abuse of the DMCA.

  2. LDoBe says:

    I'm still caught up in the idea that a foreign entity can make a DMCA claim and a US entity would have to comply, but the idea of making that foreign entity accountable for its fraud is on shaky jurisdictional grounds.

    If that's true, couldn't all US companies making these ridiculous DMCA claims further indemnify themselves by setting up foreign shells, that are able to make DMCA C&D's that are respected, yet are beyond prosecution for fraud when their demands end up being bullshit?

  3. As usual, the lawyers' time is "worth" more than ten times as much as the one who was actually harmed.

  4. Yes? Because it probably went to multiple people working many hours to prepare for the case, people who are highly trained (and likely highly indebted), who have no source of income between cases and who may well often set up deals where they don't get paid (or not nearly as much) if their client loses? Who are in an extremely competitive job market and who took a serious risk that they would never make any money off their law debt at all?

    So yes, the lawyers' time was probably worth more than the harm of one censored article on the part of the victim. This is not terribly surprising.

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