Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wordpress service company "Automattic" announces transparency policy (with Github) for DMCA takedowns, posts frivolous complaints on "Hall of Shame.

I noticed on my Wordpress panel today a link to a story, that “Automattic” (the company that runs Wordpress) is not placing its DMCA complaint processing on Github so that all can see any frivolous claims.  It also reports claims to Chilling Effects.

The “Wptavern” story link is here.  The specific story concerned a complaint by Janet Jackson (famous for the 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” with Justin Timberlake) of both copyright and trademark infringement.  The trademark complaint seemed to occur because of a mere mention of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” video, as in this posting on “Blue Stocking Red Carpet” here  (in a “Dinner Party Conversation” called “What Would Your WWE Smackdown Name Be?”)  Is a “dinner party” here like one of my “pot luck suppers” in NYC back in the 1970s when I was “coming out” a second time?  Well, there’s no way merely mention of a celebrity or company name, even if unfavorably, infringes on a trademark.  (On the other hand, sending spam pretending to be from the company or celebrity definitely does.)  The copyright infringement was claimed for an image of Jackson that appears to be with Timberlake in 2004.  The copyright for an image usually belongs to the party that took the image, not the people in the photo.  (There are emerging other issues, though, with photography, normally legal in public places, but nevertheless provoking legal and ethical controversy when they circulate in social media – say, like dirty dancing disco photos, for openers.)  “Automattic” placed this complaint in a “Hall of Shame”, like a pillory in Williamsburg (“Sorry, Ms. Jackson”, here).  The "Tavern" story has a nice picture of Automattic HQ, presumably in San Francisco.  EFF may not be far away.  (By the way, the Jackson-Timberlake incident found its way into honorable mention in Dov Seidman's "How" book. It was all over AOL the Sunday night that it happened.) 
I’d love to have the celebrity status to attract this kind of gossip on dinner party sites.  The last Commandment is “thou shalt not covet”. 

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