Newt Gingrich's Lawyer Displays Ignorance Of Both Twitter And The Law In Sending C&D
from the wow dept
It really was just a few weeks ago that we were told that lawyers knew better than to send a clueless cease-and-desist letter… and then we get this story. Apparently a group that is in favor of a certain law that Newt Gingrich opposes sent out a Twitter message that included the @newtgingrich username to stir up some interest in a petition they were working on. This is part of how you use Twitter to communicate with others and get attention from certain people. But apparently Gingrich’s lawyer was upset that Gingrich’s name was being “used” in a message in favor of a law Gingrich opposes, and sent a ridiculously bad cease-and-desist letter that the folks at the Citizen Media Law Project dubbed: “How to Make Your Client Look Bad, in Three Easy Steps.”
First, the lawyer clearly didn’t understand Twitter and how it works since using @newtgingrich is the equivalent of sending a public letter “Dear Newt Gingrich” — which certainly wouldn’t be an abuse of his name. Second, the lawyer not only didn’t understand Section 230, but insisted that Tucows, the registrar behind the site that hosted the petition (and also republished the tweet) was somehow responsible for the content of the Twitter message: “continued display of the offending tweet ‘can expose any and all involved parties (including Twitter, ContactPrivacy.com and/or TuCows) to substantial ongoing, and even personal liability.'” Of course, that’s not even close to true. Then, on top of that, the lawyer basically tried to throw in claims on every law he could think up:
trademark infringement, violation of Gingrich’s and Anuzis’ publicity rights, false advertising, false designation of origin, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and contractual relations, common law and computer trespass (could Twitter trespass upon its own computer?), conversion, traditional fraud and wire fraud, breach of contract (i.e., Twitter’s terms of service), violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and even RICO violations.
All for a Twitter message. Seriously. So, what was that about lawyers knowing better than to send bogus cease-and-desist letters?