Automattic, the Californian tech company behind blogging platform WordPress, has dismissed a copyright complaint about this blog by conservative writer Michael Moates, citing fair use protections
In February, I published a story about frivolous attempts to suppress sexual harassment claims against conservative writer Michael Moates.
As I wrote in that story, since October someone has been filing copyright complaints in Moates’ name requesting that Google delist a bunch of news articles, including stories by Right Wing Watch and Raw Story, that reported on lewd and inappropriate messages he allegedly sent to three young women, including two underage girls (click here to read more about the allegations).
Late last month, Automattic received a brand new copyright complaint, sent from Moates’ personal e-mail address, targeting my story and requesting the removal of a number of photos and images (two of which were embedded from other sites), including a screenshot of a Facebook exchange in which he appeared to proposition sexual/domestic assault victims’ advocate Kylie Thomas to go on a date with him.
In an e-mail yesterday, Automattic, whose free speech bonafides include fighting copyright abuse by suing on behalf of its users and even tolerating a few less-than-flattering posts by this blog (see: Arif Trumps WordPress), said it has decided not to comply with the complaint, citing fair use protections.
Here’s Automattic’s e-mail, including Moates’ complaint, in full:
Sal P. (Automattic)
May 2, 23:10 UTC
We have received a DMCA notice for material published on your WordPress.com site.
Normally this would mean that we’d have to disable access to the material. However, because we believe that this instance falls under fair use protections, we will not be removing it at this time.
Section 107 of the US Copyright Act identifies various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. You can learn more about that here:
• Copyright and Fair Use
• Copyright Law of the United States
While we believe that your use of the material is protected (we have fought for our users in similar cases in the past – see “WordPress wins against ‘straight pride’ group in copyright censorship case”), please keep in mind that the complainant may choose to continue to pursue this matter, perhaps directly with you. If you would prefer, you are still able to delete the content from your site yourself.
The notice we received from the complainant follows.
— BEGIN NOTICE —
First name: Michael
Last name: Moates
Country: United States (US)
Phone number: [Redacted]
Email address: email@example.com
Copyright holder: Michael Moates
Location of unauthorized material:
Location of original materials:
Description of original materials:
See embeded copyright images on page:
Moates in front of White House
Moates and Sean Hannity
See photos in story
Photo of Moates attached to Facebook message
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
I acknowledge that a copy of this infringement notice and any correspondence related to it, including any contact information I provided above (address, telephone number, and email address), will be forwarded to the user who uploaded the content at issue. I also acknowledge that a note may be placed on the site in question detailing the name of the copyright owner who submitted the takedown notice.
Digital signature: Michael Moates
Signed on: 2019-04-27 09:21:23
— END NOTICE —
Sal P. | Community Guardian | WordPress.com