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?