Owners of WordPress to sue Straight Pride UK for abuse of copyright laws

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The company which owns blogging platform WordPress.org has filed a lawsuit against anti-gay group Straight Pride UK, which alleges that the group abused copyright laws.

Anti-gay campaign group Straight Pride UK in August used US copyright law to remove an article showing it supports homophobic laws on a British student blogger’s website.

The Guardian reported student Oliver Hotham published an interview with the group in which they stated that they “admire President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his stance and support of his country’s traditional values”.

In relation to the implementation of anti-gay laws, the document titled “press release” from Nick Steiner said: ”Straight Pride support what Russia and Africa is doing, these country [sic] have morals and are listening to their majorities.”

Now, Automattic, has filed the lawsuit against Straight Pride UK for “knowingly materially misrepresent[ing]” a case of copyright infringement.

General counsel for the group Paul Sieminski,told the Guardian that the actions of Straight Pride UK was “a case of abuse of the DMCA [digital millennium copyright act]”, and that the removal of the blog post was not “the right result”.

In a blog post, Sieminski wrote: “These cases are both infuriating and increasingly common… While there are no legal consequences (like fines) under the DMCA for copyright abusers, there is a provision that allows victims of censorship (and their web hosts) to bring legal action against those who submit fraudulent DMCA notices. So today, we’ve joined with Oliver … to take a small strike back at DMCA abuse.

“We’ll also be actively involved, on behalf of our users, in trying to change the law – both through court cases and in Congress – to make sure that everyone has the right to share their voice on the internet without threat of censorship.”

Hotham has said he is “extremely happy” with the decision to sue Straight Pride UK.

“They had this problem with the way the website functioned, in that they weren’t adequately protected against these fraudulent notices. So it’s great that they’re making these moves, even if they’re mostly symbolic right now, and are pushing for legislation in congress to stop people abusing the DMCA to silence young journalists like myself,” he said.

Straight Pride UK has deleted its website and Twitter accounts since the original incident took place.