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FatWallet.com fights back in WalMart DMCA action

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FatWallet, the bargain hunters' site that was forced to take down sale prices after several retailers claimed their publication was an infringement of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), has struck back, contesting the retailers' "frivolous copyright assertion" and demanding damages.

According to Megan Gray, acting for FatWallet, the retailers are well aware that "simple sales prices are not protected by copyright. Copyright only covers the expression of ideas, not facts." Deirdre Mulligan of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic of Boalt Hall School of Law commented: "This is an example of corporations using allegations of copyright infringement to silence speech."

WalMart, according to a statement released by FatWallet, was the retailer that took the most extreme action, filing "under penalty of perjury" a declaration with the federal court in Illinois and obtaining a subpoena under the DMCA ordering FatWallet to name the poster of the WalMart sales information. FatWallet has demanded the withdrawal of the subpoena, and says a decision by WalMart is expected today.

According to FatWallet president and founder Tim Storm "WalMart's subpoena gave us no choice but to fight back. Unless a court rules otherwise, we're not going to give up personal information about our users when the underlying copyright claim is baseless." ®

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