In November 2016, the WordPress community was hit with a massive takedown notice from a copyright holder claiming that its content infringed on several patents owned by Warner Music Group.
While WordPress users have had to defend their sites from takedowns in the past, it was the first time a large number of users were targeted for such an action.
“This was an unprecedented event that threatened our community’s livelihoods and it had a direct impact on our ability to make a living,” wrote Matthew Bowers, one of the lead attorneys for the owners of the copyright.
The lawsuit also claimed that WordPress was in violation of several trademark laws, and that the company was “actively encouraging infringement” on the Internet.
“WordPress is a technology that is being exploited for infringement, and the copyright holders have every right to take action to stop this from happening,” said Aaron Bloch, founder and CEO of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that helps the WordPress and related communities protect intellectual property.
“They should be held accountable for that.”
The lawsuit was filed by The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is one of four organizations suing WordPress.
The RIAA says that the site infringed upon dozens of patents owned and controlled by Warner.
“These patents are well-known, and in particular, the invention which relates to the digital sound compression system, ‘Microphone-Instrument,’ which is patented by Warner,” the lawsuit said.
“It is important to note that this is a patent infringement lawsuit, and we have already brought forward evidence that proves that the claims made in this lawsuit are false.”
The suit also said that the defendants “have deliberately made use of the domain name ‘wordpress.com’ as a cover for its fraudulent conduct and malicious conduct, which is prohibited by copyright law.”
WordPress has been around since 2006, and has had a few bumps along the way.
In the summer of 2017, WordPress was taken offline after users complained that the WordPress site was being used to share stolen images.
The site was then taken offline again in August, when the company said it would be closed for maintenance for maintenance and maintenance.
The following month, it took a further step back, with the domain going dark again.
A month later, a lawsuit was launched in a U.S. District Court by a group of lawyers representing the WordPress developers against Warner.
The case is still being heard, and there’s no word on when it could be settled.