Hall of Shame

We build WordPress.com with creators in mind, and fully support creators’ enforcement of legitimate intellectual property rights. Too often, though, we see copyright and trademark holders abuse their rights by issuing improper takedown notices. Notices that target criticism of an artist’s work, or the mere mention of an artist’s name, for example, serve to stifle creativity and freedom of expression that we try so hard to promote and protect on WordPress.com.

We work hard to carefully review the infringement complaints we receive and push back against those that are improper. We’ve compiled a small list of examples of improper takedown demands that we’ve received, to illustrate threats to freedom of speech and expression that we review and resist every day.

Leave No Trace!

Earlier this year, we talked about the dangers of relying on third-party bots to chase down potential copyright infringement, and the ironic circumstances that ensue when the rights holder’s own content becomes a target. It’s a frustrating situation for everyone, but this kind of oversight is no surprise when automation is let off the leash. […]

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Sorry Ms. Jackson…

Janet Jackson is a fine recording artist, but seems to have employed some overly aggressive lawyers, bent on removing or controlling all references to her name on WordPress.com. Here are a couple of examples of the improper takedown demands we’ve received: Trademark infringement: The mention of Janet Jackson in a post about dinner conversation topic “What would your WWE […]

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Kern’s Kitchen’s Mean-Spirited Censorship Pie

Kern’s Kitchen, the company exclusively behind “the one and only Derby-Pie® chocolate nut pie,” asserted its trademark against 32 bloggers on WordPress.com who had the nerve to title their recipes “Derby Pie.” Between the link to trademark information displayed prominently on their site and the many lawsuits they’ve filed, it’s clear that they take this pie business seriously. They’ve rightfully earned their place […]

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Bikram: (Not So) Hot Yoga

Over the years, founder of Bikram Yoga, Bikram Choudhury, has been under considerable public scrutiny for alleged sexual harassment. In what we believe was an attempt to censor critical speech, several different individuals (supposedly) submitted five DMCA notices against a single blog post that touched on these accusations. After we rejected the first four DMCA notices because we had good […]

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Dorra Slimming’s Slim Pickings

After a less than ideal experience with Dorra Slimming, our user took to her blog to post about it. The company sent us a complaint alleging that her post was infringing on the copyright protected Dorra Slimming logo. After looking at the post, the only instance of the logo we could spot was in this photo that our user took: Because the […]

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