Greenpeace protests an oil company with a parody site. The oil company files a lawsuit against the ISP of Greenpeace, claiming copyright monopoly violation of the company’s look and feel. The ISP shuts down the Greenpeace protest site immediately, complying with the threat from the oil company, without fighting the lawsuit or waiting for the court. Yup: the abuse-friendly copyright monopoly is now abused by oil companies to suppress Greenpeace, too.
Greenpeace had launched nestespoil.com, a protest site against Finnish oil company Neste Oil, highlighting how their practices lead to deforestation and increased carbon emissions. Neste Oil were not amused, and launched a lawsuit. Not a lawsuit against Greenpeace, mind you, but against their Internet Service Provider, Loopia.
Neste Oil filed the lawsuit in the district court of Västmanland in Sweden, where Loopia is based. According to Greenpeace, the oil company has also filed a complaint with WIPO, demanding the transfer of the domain nestespoil.com from Greenpeace to the oil company Neste Oil.
Greenpeace’s original protest site, NesteSpoil.com, still leads to the blocked-site placeholder closed.loopia.se. In the meantime, Loopia competitor Binero has approached Greenpeace and offered to put the site back up, asking Neste Oil in public to take a hike. Greenpeace has also put the site back online under nestespoilreturns.com, with a big banner telling the story of Neste Oil’s bullying of the protest site.
This is the exact result of intermediary liability for copyright monopoly violations. We’ve been talking about this all the time – it leads to extrajudicial suppression of speech that somebody doesn’t like. It’s more than time to declare the copyright monopoly inapplicable to nonprofits, like Greenpeace, and to private individuals.
UPDATE: WIPO denied the complaint from Neste Oil (although not in a unanimous decision).