512(f) Preempts Tortious Interference Claim–Copy Me That v. This Old Gal

“Copy Me That” (I’m pretty sure no IP lawyer recommended that name–it’s like a confession for copyright defendants) makes an app to help users manage recipes. “This Old Gal” (again, who comes up with these names?) publishes recipes. This Old Gal complained to Copy Me That that its users were copying its recipes. This implicates some tough issues about the copyrightability of recipes, but the opinion sidesteps all that. In response to This Old Gal’s complaint, Copy Me That removed This Old Gal’s recipes from the service and blocked future sharing. You’d think this fixed the problem, but apparently not. Instead, This Old Gal filed complaints with Apple to get Copy Me That kicked out of Apple’s App Store. Apple did indeed kick it out and said it would reinstate Copy Me That only after it resolved the matter with This Old Gal. Copy Me That thus filed a declaratory judgment action in court, and it added a tortious interference cause of action.

The court dismisses the tortious interference claim out because Section 512(f) preempts it. This is one of the cruel ironies of 512(f): courts treat it as the exclusive remedy for wrongful 512 takedown notices, but 512(f) cases never win either, so victims of wrongful takedowns have no redress in practice. If Congress gets serious about 512 reform, the 512(f) conundrum needs fixing.

The court says This Old Gal’s complaint to Apple was an allegedly false infringement notification. The fact that This Old Gal’s notice to Apple didn’t comply with 512(c)(3) just highlights its 512(f) deficiency. Having established that, the “DMCA preempts state law because of its comprehensive scheme addressing the submission of false infringement notices.”

The case subsequently settled, so we don’t know if Copy Me That could get around this block. Either way, chalk this up as another failure of 512(f).

Case citation: Tine Bak LLC v. Selkatz Inc., 2020 WL 9074806 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 30, 2020). This just showed up in my alerts this week. Not sure what caused the delay.

Prior Posts on Section 512(f):

* 512(f) Claim Against Robo-Notice Sender Can Proceed–Enttech v. Okularity
Copyright Plaintiffs Can’t Figure Out What Copyrights They Own, Court Says ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A 512(f) Case Leads to a Rare Damages Award (on a Default Judgment)–California Beach v. Du
512(f) Claim Survives Motion to Dismiss–Brandyn Love v. Nuclear Blast America
512(f) Claim Fails in the 11th Circuit–Johnson v. New Destiny Christian Center
Court Orders Rightsowner to Withdraw DMCA Takedown Notices Sent to Amazon–Beyond Blond v. Heldman
Another 512(f) Claim Fails–Ningbo Mizhihe v Doe
Video Excerpts Qualify as Fair Use (and Another 512(f) Claim Fails)–Hughes v. Benjamin
How Have Section 512(f) Cases Fared Since 2017? (Spoiler: Not Well)
Another Section 512(f) Case Fails–ISE v. Longarzo
Another 512(f) Case Fails–Handshoe v. Perret
* A DMCA Section 512(f) Case Survives Dismissal–ISE v. Longarzo
DMCA’s Unhelpful 512(f) Preempts Helpful State Law Claims–Stevens v. Vodka and Milk
Section 512(f) Complaint Survives Motion to Dismiss–Johnson v. New Destiny Church
‘Reaction’ Video Protected By Fair Use–Hosseinzadeh v. Klein
9th Circuit Sides With Fair Use in Dancing Baby Takedown Case–Lenz v. Universal
Two 512(f) Rulings Where The Litigants Dispute Copyright Ownership
It Takes a Default Judgment to Win a 17 USC 512(f) Case–Automattic v. Steiner
Vague Takedown Notice Targeting Facebook Page Results in Possible Liability–CrossFit v. Alvies
Another 512(f) Claim Fails–Tuteur v. Crosley-Corcoran
17 USC 512(f) Is Dead–Lenz v. Universal Music
512(f) Plaintiff Can’t Get Discovery to Back Up His Allegations of Bogus Takedowns–Ouellette v. Viacom
Updates on Transborder Copyright Enforcement Over “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”–Shropshire v. Canning
17 USC 512(f) Preempts State Law Claims Over Bogus Copyright Takedown Notices–Amaretto v. Ozimals
17 USC 512(f) Claim Against “Twilight” Studio Survives Motion to Dismiss–Smith v. Summit Entertainment
Cease & Desist Letter to iTunes Isn’t Covered by 17 USC 512(f)–Red Rock v. UMG
Copyright Takedown Notice Isn’t Actionable Unless There’s an Actual Takedown–Amaretto v. Ozimals
Second Life Ordered to Stop Honoring a Copyright Owner’s Takedown Notices–Amaretto Ranch Breedables v. Ozimals
Another Copyright Owner Sent a Defective Takedown Notice and Faced 512(f) Liability–Rosen v. HSI
Furniture Retailer Enjoined from Sending eBay VeRO Notices–Design Furnishings v. Zen Path
Disclosure of the Substance of Privileged Communications via Email, Blog, and Chat Results in Waiver — Lenz v. Universal
YouTube Uploader Can’t Sue Sender of Mistaken Takedown Notice–Cabell v. Zimmerman
Rare Ruling on Damages for Sending Bogus Copyright Takedown Notice–Lenz v. Universal
512(f) Claim Dismissed on Jurisdictional Grounds–Project DoD v. Federici
Biosafe-One v. Hawks Dismissed
Michael Savage Takedown Letter Might Violate 512(f)–Brave New Media v. Weiner
Fair Use – It’s the Law (for what it’s worth)–Lenz v. Universal
Copyright Owner Enjoined from Sending DMCA Takedown Notices–Biosafe-One v. Hawks
New(ish) Report on 512 Takedown Notices
Can 512(f) Support an Injunction? Novotny v. Chapman
Allegedly Wrong VeRO Notice of Claimed Infringement Not Actionable–Dudnikov v. MGA Entertainment