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WordPress shames Janet Jackson for bullying bloggers and issues a new takedown report

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The blogging platform WordPress (see disclosure) is getting bolder in defense of its publishing partners. Last week, it introduced a “Hall of Shame” to highlight people and companies who abuse copyright law in an attempt to purge content from the internet. Inaugural inductees include singer Janet Jackson, who told WordPress to remove this image, inspired by a recent World Cup meme,  posted by a blogger:

Janet Jackson

As WordPress notes, the image is an obvious case of fair use and Jackson had no right to demand its removal. The company also published its tart response to Jackson’s lawyers, and to others, including a baking company that threatened copyright action against 32 [company]Wordpress[/company] bloggers who used the phrase “Derby Pie” as titles for their recipes. (WordPress refused to remove the recipe blogs, but did invite the bloggers to consider re-titling their recipes “Mean-Spirited Censorship Pie.”)

This type of pushback against overreaching intellectual property claims is significant because WordPress, owned by [company]Automattic[/company] (see disclosure), is the world’s most popular blogging platform. Its decision to flex its legal muscle against inappropriate copyright claims thus benefits everyone who uses its service. In November, the company also joined a rare legal challenge that seeks to punish two people behind two egregious instances of copyright abuse.

The WordPress launch of the “Hall of Shame” also coincides with the second edition of the company’s Transparency Report, which describes not only takedown demands by intellectual property owners, but requests for data and content from law enforcement.

The five inaugural members of Hall of Shame also include called Dorra Slimming, which issued a nonsense copyright claim after a user wrote a blog post panning its weight loss product, and a New York State agency that went after a cyclist for using a variation of the “I heart NY” logo.

Disclosure: Automattic is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom.

9 Responses to “WordPress shames Janet Jackson for bullying bloggers and issues a new takedown report”

  1. FreeSpeechAdvocate

    Janet Jackson has not right to censor others because she finds their content distasteful. And yes, while the photos are unflattering, they are in the public domain and historical record. Having the images removed is an affront to free speech, creativity, discourse and preservation of the cultural record.

  2. “WordPress shames Janet Jackson for bullying bloggers and issues a new takedown report” euhmm.. who is bullying who? It is not Janet making a joke at the expense of bloggers but the other way around…

  3. lucy anderson

    Certainly Ms. Jackson is not in a position to re-write the Constitution and revoke our right to Free Speech. If she didn’t want her private parts viewed by the entire world than, perhaps, she should have thought about the repercussions before inventing that wardrobe malfunction to further her ‘career’.

    • You should really do your research before making a comment like this. In all actuality, she was on a path to surpass her brother, her album coming at the time was greatly anticipated, she had 2 movie roles coming, and in talks with doing another record making deal with virgin for a third time. These are all facts, your words are opinion…again, research before you comment.

  4. WordPress and its “Hall of Shame” can suck a lemon. Janet Jackson has every right to demand that her image be removed from being made a joke of. Its not the nerve of Ms. Jackson, but the nerve of WordPress to whine about it. Get a life!!!!