Adrian Short's blog

Free speech victory as Wonga backs down on parody copyright claim

Payday lender Wonga has backed down on its attempt to remove a parody advert criticising them from Twitter after thousands of users (and the Pirate Party UK) defied the company by reposting the picture.

Wonga said:

"We accept that we were a little heavy-handed last week when we issued a Twitter Takedown notice for @BrandySnap's image, and having seen the full ‘Streisand Effect’ ourselves, we won’t be pursuing the notice"

The Streisand effect occurs when an attempt to remove or cover up information leads to it gaining significantly more attention than it would have done otherwise.

Wonga was on shaky legal ground by using a copyright claim under the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to ask Twitter to remove the image, although Twitter complied at first. Parody and criticism are protected as "fair use" under US copyright law.

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