EFF Defends Critics from Copyright TrollsThe Electronic Frontier Foundation is currently trying to protect a couple of blogs that got caught up in a lawsuit launched by a copyright troll law firm. Paul Duffy and Prenda Law have filed a lawsuit against two watchdog blogs run by anonymous authors: FightCopyrightTrolls and DieTrollDie. The law firm insists that the blogs were defamed.
The company complained that the bloggers and their commenters defamed Duffy and his company, regardless of the free speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. Nevertheless, the EFF believes that the real intent of the legal moves was to silence the blogs and therefore represented an abuse of the legal process to punish critics.
According to EFF staff attorney Mitch Stoltz, the law firm served a subpoena on Automattic, the company which owns the WordPress blogging platform, and called for the IP addresses of all visitors to both websites.
Already Automattic has refused to the law firm, explaining that the move was “legally deficient and objectionable” and represented a violation of the First Amendment right to speak anonymously. According to the EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo, the subpoena was improper under the First Amendment and therefore failed to comply with the simple rules for pre-trial discovery.
In the meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out that the subpoenas create a chilling effect among people who have spoken out against the law firm. In fact, this isn’t the first time that copyright trolls have made attempts to bring down such blogs using legal threats. However, thus far they haven’t succeeded and the lawsuits have been dropped.