Does Ashley Madison have a legitimate copyright claim on their client’s leaked data?

“In the wake of a high-profile, ugly leak with devastating consequences for its users, Ashley Madison is sending DMCA notices left and right, playing copyright whack-a-mole with every new upload or posting of the hacked data,” writes Motherboard’s Sarah Jeong. “The information dump hasn’t been driven offline—just made a little more difficult to find—but are these DMCA requests valid? The answer is likely not, and Ashley Madison may even be perjuring itself with each request.”

The Ashley Madison leak is very scary. The use of this information is morally fraught, and it has the potential to ruin people’s lives. But copyright law is an inappropriate way to deal with ingrained social antipathy to perceived sexual deviance, or with Ashley Madison’s negligent security practices, or with the company’s failure to actually delete information after taking money to delete it.

Yesterday we wrote about how a DMCA request from Ashley Madison took down a tweet from Motherboard contributor Joseph Cox. The tweet had embedded a screenshot of two cells from a spreadsheet.

Today’s Question: Does Ashley Madison have a legitimate copyright claim on client’s leaked data?

  • Pearly


    • unkus

      Would ZZ agree until I saw
      MICHAEL OLSON (Minneapolis) within the leaked listing….now that’s an interesting twist…

      • Pearly

        Oh snap….

  • PaulJ

    Sure why not, if someone collected data and made a graph, it wouldn’t be “fair use” to reprint it for black mail.

    • lindblomeagles

      Paul’s right; just ask Cub Foods and Target who, like Ashley Madison, had a data breach. The only reason, ONLY REASON, why our society is trying to look the other way regarding Ashley Madison is we believe promoting adultery is morally wrong. As Paul suggests, if this was a person’s Church or if Victoria Secret’s kept women’s personal choices of bras and panties, or if this was our personal hospital’s files that were breached, we would not be asking this question. We would support our Pastor, Doctor, or Under Garment Sales Force because we believe those individuals are catering to our private, individual needs. We don’t know why men or women want to, or need to, commit adultery. But that is their personal choice deserving the same right to protection as the examples provided here.

  • John Dilligaf

    It depends what the meaning of “is” is.

    Seriously, having been through a legal battle or two, attorneys will try just about anything to further their client’s case and it becomes a matter for the court to decide whether yes means yes or no means no. It’s no longer a justice system, it’s a legal system.

    This incident shows how easily anything you put online, thinking it’s secure, is readily exposed by a determined hacker or group of hackers.

  • James

    Not really an opinion question. Legal precedent suggests they do not have legitimate copyright claim. But they are doing exactly what they need to do to minimize damage. Love them or hate them, their data was stolen. They would really like to keep the stolen data bottled up. So they are doing whatever they can do, to keep it bottled up. Good for them.

  • JJ

    Lets ask our Senators or Billy Clinton on the question since they have a personal stake in the game. If you don’t know who the Energizer is by now, yes, it’s Billy’s favorite escape and potential security risk should he become the First lady-gag, then your media choice is limited. The data breach doesn’t ruin people’s lives anymore than saying a robber who is caught on video tape and identified was ruined by the tape.

  • Sue de Nim

    This is far from the most interesting question that could have been asked about Ashley Madison.

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    • Hunter

      Yes,a better question would be_”who is on the list that serves as our leaders?”
      I wonder if Bill Clinton and his concumbine, the Energizer, will show up on Ashley’s list?

      • Sue de Nim

        That would be a question for an investigative reporter to dig into, not for a discussion forum such as this. But then, those distinctions seem to be lost on trolls like you.

  • Amud

    Considering our government is spending $33,000.00 every minute, and our national debt has grown nearly one trillion dollars every year since 2009, that we allow the Federal Reserve-a private group of elites, to buy their own debt, the government won’t allow Senators to physically view our USA gold reserves because it won’t look good, we borrow to pay our debt and given that stocks are on average showing a PE of 26 vs. the usual 12-15, our economy is on the verge of collapse and all thanks to spineless Republicans and an over spending Democrat president….Our country is less than a few years away from ending up as Greece but worse is that we end up ike the UK where traditional islamists have took over their culture. As so, the Ashley’s issues are a far cry from concern.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Readers may safely ignore the above off-topic rant.

  • Linda

    To Amud: Going off topic won’t persuade the MPR group to address those more serious issues facing all of us that you have brought up. The recent and rather inane topic questions are probably posted to keep listeners from paying attention to the more important controversal stories of the week.