Monday, 1 December 2003
FatWallet fights back — again
Last year it was Wal-Mart; this year it is Best Buy. Every holiday season, someone gets worked up over FatWallet, a company that aggregates information about retail sales on its web site. Working at its best, FatWallet publishes the information before the sale starts — the point being to help consumers plan their shopping. Retailers, however, jealously guard their sale information for fear that it could give their competitors an advantage — especially in the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season, which accounts for the bulk of retail profits for the year. Every year, in this season of giving, major retailers serve FatWallet with legal demands to take down the information under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
So far FatWallet has successfully fought back with § 512(f) of the DMCA, which prohibits abuse of the rest of the Act. Last year, FatWallet only sent letters to the bullying retailers, explaining that they were abusing the DMCA. Last week, FatWallet sued Best Buy under § 512(f), seeking money damages to cover the costs FatWallet incurred while responding to Best Buy's specious demand. See FatWallet's press release here and its complaint here (pdf).
Update: It was inexcusable neglect when I first posted this entry that I forgot to link to EFF's classic article, "Unsafe Harbors: Abusive DMCA Subpoenas and Takedown Demands."