9.06.2014

Automattic Rejects Series Of Bogus Janet Jackson Takedown Attempts By Using Janet Jackson Song Titles

Via Parker Higgins we learn that Automattic (better known as the Wordpress people) have added singer Janet Jackson to their "Hall of Shame" for sending totally bogus takedowns. Apparently, her people made the wacky claim that this post on "what would your WWE smackdown name be?" represented trademark infringement. It doesn't. The only place it even mentions Jackson is in showing a picture of Sacha Baron Cohen with the following explanation:
Costume and entrance: Picture Sacha Baron Cohen in, what else? his movie The Dictator. Elaborate General’s outfit, hat, etc. He walks in flanked by half a dozen sexy female soldiers inspired by the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation video.

Uh, yeah. That's not trademark infringement. It's not copyright infringement. It's not anything but someone writing.



The other takedown is equally problematic. It claims the following image is copyright infringement:

As you can clearly see that's using a photo of Jackson's famous "wardrobe malfunction" from the Superbowl many years ago, and applying the Things Tim Howard Could Save meme to it. Marginally funny. But not copyright infringement. Not only does Jackson not hold the copyright on that image, it's obvious fair use for whoever does hold the copyright.



Still, Automattic's lawyers had some fun with their response, noting that they "tried to use as many Janet Jackson song titles as possible" in the response (while also noting they hope that doesn't lead to another takedown demand):

It seems like you believe the use of the trademark “Janet Jackson” is reserved all for you, but we were hoping you’d be open to some feedback because your attempt to control every use of the mark is pretty nasty. If you read up on nominative use, you’ll discover that it doesn’t really matter that “Janet Jackson” is used on this site. If you believe there are any other alleged infringements, would you mind submitting a notice again via our trademark form?


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So excited to work with you going forward



Nicely done.



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