Christo de Klerk WordPress.com parent company Automattic and two WordPress users have sued two defendants who attempted to use American copyright law to remove online speech critical of their actions. In a pair of lawsuits filed Thursday in the Northern District of California, Automattic cites a provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that requires copyright owners to pay damages when overreaching on copyright claims. However, as we’ve reported before, it’s pretty tough to get damages paid under Section 512(f). Many have noted (including Ars founder Ken Fisher a decade ago) that the DMCA’s notice-and-takedown provision practically encourages an overzealous response from those who claim copyright ownership. Still, in these new cases involving Automattic, the plaintiffs argue that the defendants are not the actual copyright owners.

And under the DMCA, the recipient of the notice is required to quickly take down the alleged offending content before it can investigate whether the claim is legitimate. 9     

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