Has anyone been punished for filing a false DMCA takedown notice?

In US Law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides a streamlined procedure by which a copyright holder can force a web host remove allegedly copyright-infringing material. The complainant sends the web host a letter (a so-called “DMCA takedown notice”) stating under penalty of perjury that they are or are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder, giving their contact details, and identifying the allegedly infringing material and demanding that it be removed. The web host is then obliged to take down the material, and it will stay down unless whoever uploaded it sends the host a properly formatted counter-notice stating that the takedown was in error.

However, it’s been widely reported (on Slashdot, Chilling Effects, Usenet, etc.) that many DMCA takedown notices are flawed or fraudulent. Examples include someone using a takedown notice to remove information they don’t hold the copyright to but find objectionable for some reason, someone using a takedown notice to remove information to which they do hold the copyright but where the uploader’s use of it was obviously covered under Fair Use, or submitting a notice with false contact details (a bogus name, address, and/or telephone number). Apparently such abuses are rampant, and may outnumber the legitimate takedown notices.

In light of this, I’m wondering if there is any record of anyone having been punished by the courts for sending a takedown notice which was false, fraudulent, frivolous, flawed, vexatious, or otherwise improper. For example, part of a properly-formatted takedown notice includes a statement made “under penalty of perjury” that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holders. So has anyone ever been convicted of perjury for lying about this on a DMCA takedown notice?

There’s OPG v. Diebold

And of course Lenz v. Universal… still in the process, but looking good-ish.


Added a period at end of Wikipedia link to match article title.

Whenever you see one of those, remember that Wikipedia’s policy on redirects is that, if it would be useful, add a redirect. As most bulletinboard software removes the final punctuation unless you somehow explicitly tell it o, the redirect is useful.

So I made one.