A party who filed a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act seeking removal of a Web site in which he claimed copyright ownership did not act in bad faith where the resolution of the intellectual property rights underlying his claim involved complex and novel issues, a district court ruled. Following a bench trial, the court ruled adversely to the party's claim of copyright ownership in the disputed Web site, as well as his claim to other intellectual property assets of a business entity in which he was formerly a principal. But the court declined to find that the party's takedown notice was filed in bad faith under DMCA § 512(c)(3). The court noted that the good faith belief standard in the DMCA takedown provision is a subjective good faith standard and a party is not liable under the DMCA for making an unknowing mistake, even if the mistake was objectively unreasonable. There was no evidence to suggest, the court found, that the party filing the notice acted without subjective good faith in filing the takedown notice.
Third Education Group, Inc. v. Phelps, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116930 (E.D. Wisc. Nov. 25, 2009) Download PDF