Bizarre 'Attribution' Troll Bullies Twitter Users Into Compliance With Baseless Legal Threats

from the tongue-not-made-of-glass dept

My apologies ahead of time for the length of this piece, but anything shorter wouldn’t do the subject justice. I will, however, provide plenty of pictures and blockquotes. This post deals with a strange copyright troll, which bullies people into properly attributing a quoted poem. The troll runs across multiple social media platforms but does a bulk of its “work” at Twitter, where it can receive instantaneous feedback. Along the way, we’ll deal with the poet himself, a company called On Press Inc. and some other connections which seem to indicate the poet himself is behind the trolling, along with a threatened lawsuit against me for copyright infringement, defamation and false claims.

It starts out simply enough. As a contributor to this site, I was doing the sort of thing we do in our downtime — running a Twitter search for the term “infringement.” The search results were dominated by tweets from an account that looked exactly like this one.

Only it wasn’t this one. The account I saw had this name: @xsaonpress.

When I returned the next day, I was greeted with the message that the above account had been suspended. Odd. So, I searched again, only this time using the keywords “tongues” and “glass,” — two words in the title of the poem in question — and found that On Press was still in business.

On Press Inc., supposedly a division of Knopf Publishing (according to its Twitter profiles), was running a search of its own and issuing tweet after threatening tweet to anyone who dared publish a short (really short — under 140 characters) poem by reclusive poet, Shaun Shane, without attribution. The entire poem reads as follows:

“If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.”

This poem’s claim to fame is its use in the Invisible Children/Kony 2012 campaign. The link presented by On Press during these Twitter blowups is an Invisible Children-branded photo that quotes the poem and gives proper attribution, albeit a possibly belated one. On Press’ blood was first stirred up by a Huffington Post story about Invisible Children back in April of 2012, which led to this angry comment from On Press:

The Organization Invisible Children has plagiarized and thus committed copyright infringement ( which is illegal) on their website and on their Twitter account, a work by Shaun Shane. Exemplifying the criticism against them that they do not research their facts and have sloppy journalist methods. (Here is a link: and to the Twitter post (!/Invisible/status/196433854851055618/photo/1)

After sending out an ignored invitation (via direct message) to discuss these “tactics,” I decided to throw out some bait.

Soon, I was receiving the same set of tweets I’d seen filling up my search results the night before. On Press, utilizing one of its many, many Twitter accounts, gave me its usual combination of Shaun Shane info and legal threats. On Press has a very shaky grasp on IP law, but it doesn’t let its ignorance stop it from trotting out nearly every term (plagiarism, theft) imaginable in hopes of quick compliance.

The first false claim it makes is that Twitter will shut down an account for a single infringement violation. Not true. Twitter may shut down an account for multiple cases of infringement, but a single report won’t result in the removal of an account, as is clearly stated in the Twitter terms of service. (On Press has also made claim that this process will shut down an account in 4 hours. You may laugh at this one.)

Twitter will also terminate a user’s account if the user is determined to be a repeat infringer.

If the proper steps are followed (via the DMCA form), the offending Tweet will simply be “withheld,” with a notice replacing the original Tweet. Finally, On Press delivers this bizarre phrase:

For an entity so concerned with copyright infringement, it certainly doesn’t seem to understand the terminology it’s throwing around. “Libel” and “liable” are nowhere close to each other in definition, and you’d think an entity this concerned with infringement would know the difference (or at least be able to spell the one it actually means).

Then there’s On Press Inc itself, which has its own issues. As you can see from its profile photo, On Press claims to be a division of Knopf Publishing. However, we contacted Knopf Publishing for comment and they said that there is no division of Knopf called On Press Inc. On Press has apparently decided an appearance of Shane’s poem in a Poem-A-Day-Celebration hosted by Tumblr and Knopf allows it to add Knopf’s name to its profile… and the large publisher’s weight to its fight against unattributed use, despite no official connection to the company.

On Press also utilizes multiple simultaneous Twitter accounts, in violation of the Twitter Rules.

Serial Accounts: You may not create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes, or with overlapping use cases. Mass account creation may result in suspension of all related accounts. Please note that any violation of the Twitter Rules is cause for permanent suspension of all accounts.

In one night, my interactions with On Press Inc. included input from the following accounts: @copyrightdept, @vesoaonpress, @vseawonpress, @wasweonpress, @xaswonpress and @xseionpress. All accounts sported the same On Press logo and spouted the same tweets. One could try to make a claim that these accounts are not “disruptive” or “abusive” (and I’d love to watch them make that claim), but there’s little doubt On Press Inc’s multiple accounts are “overlapping.” (@vseawonpress is the only account not suspended at the time of this writing.)

Now, although I was receiving the same stream of misspellings and misinformation from On Press as the other users posting Shaun Shane’s (unattributed) poem, I wasn’t seeing any signs of life. I was pretty much convinced it was a bot running multiple accounts. To test that theory, I called out On Press on the false claims directed my way, specifically the assertion that Twitter would delete my account for a single violation. To my surprise, it provoked a very human reaction.

So, there was a human behind the account, one who handily provided a link to the terms of service that directly contradicted what he had just said. (I’ve shifted pronouns, but an explanation is on the way.)

Once I had his/its attention, I pointed out On Press’ suspicious behavior — namely, the multiple suspended accounts linked to its name.

On Press responded with this blast of angry tweets, stating that Twitter itself generated these accounts for it.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but this claim is completely false. Mike contacted Twitter to ask about whether or not, as On Press claims, it creates thousands of automatically generated accounts for companies with which to harass infringers, and (no surprise) Twitter said there is no truth to this claim.

I attempted to gather more information, but my overtures were rejected. At one point, an On Press account mentioned it performed this “service” for “other authors” but refused to name any. It also failed to cough up a usable URL that might indicate On Press Inc exists outside of multiple Twitter accounts.

Shortly thereafter, the accounts went ballistic, showering me with a long list of legal threats.

This was prompted by its discovery of a tongue-in-cheek review of the only book On Press has for sale, one I had posted earlier that night. (You may notice a second review has suddenly appeared — from the same person who showed up to criticize my review.)

Again, On Press made several dubious claims, including the ridiculous suggestion that Twitter would surrender my IP address to the police on the strength of a fake review posted on an entirely different site. It also seemed to feel that the Feds would be interested simply because I was using a computer.

However, he/it wasn’t kidding about one thing: “legal prosecution.” The morning following this bizarre conversation with On Press (Feb. 8th), Techdirt received a phone call seeking to confirm that I “worked for Techdirt,” with the “lawyer” on the phone saying that he wished to serve me with a lawsuit (at Techdirt’s headquarters) for “copyright infringement, defamation of character and making false claims.”

To date, nothing has been filed, despite the voicemail implying the lawsuit was already filed. But here’s the great thing about legal threats: nothing being served to this point doesn’t mean nothing ever will. The possibility still exists and the potential plaintiff is free to file anytime before the statute of limitations expires. This is likely a bluff, but it carries enough weight to make any future direct interaction with On Press ill advised, to say the least. This leaves him/it free to aggressively pursue those posting the poem without attribution, without worrying that I might ruin the fun by pointing out its false claims.

With the threat of a lawsuit still hanging overhead, I’m simply going to present my findings, all backed up with screenshots and/or links, with a minimum of speculative commentary.

The On Press Inc. “Network”

First off, let’s address the “him/it” issue. On Press Inc. seems to exist solely as multiple accounts spanning several social media platforms. Running a search will serve up a few hits on existing businesses with the same name, but I have confirmed that these are unrelated to this bizarre attribution trolling.

A Poem Is Nothing

Shane’s book is print-on-demand. Amazon doesn’t list it this way, but other booksellers do. So, there’s no pile of unsold paperbacks sitting in an On Press warehouse. This may explain why there’s so little effort made to provide infringers with a “buy” link during the barrage of tweets and comments.

The On Press Twitter horde usually presents two links. One of them leads to this video displaying “proof” that someone (d/b/a On Press, Inc., with no address displayed) holds the copyright to “Tongues Made of Glass.” (The other links to the Invisible Children photo.)

Now, a video like this could be made by literally anyone (with hands) and hardly presents a solid case for On Press’ claim to Shaun Shane’s poem. None of his work has been registered at the US Copyright office, either by himself or by On Press (or by anyone, actually). This limits any legal liability for infringement to actual proven damages, making the threat of a lawsuit slightly more tolerable. Also, the claims made at the end of the video, which appear to be a bastardization of the typical “copyright policies” found on sporting events, saying no copies can be made “without written consent of the publisher,” overstates the powers given under copyright law in ignoring the possibility of fair use or other exceptions to copyright law.

Interestingly, the voice on the “copyright” video sounds nearly identical to Shaun Shane himself. Shane has a very distinctive cadence and tone to his voice, as evidenced by this live performance.

[Shane’s voice also bears heavy, heavy resemblance to that of James Roth (“representing On Press Incorporated”), the caller who contacted Techdirt about serving me with the lawsuit.]

So, is On Press simply Shaun Shane, reclusive poet and attribution seeker? He’d certainly be the person most interested in enforcing this. His impossibly glowing bio at PoemHunter puts Shane in Schrodinger’s Box, theorizing that he’s dead (“…had become terminally ill and his re-emergence was to reinforce the ethic of Pure Poetry or Truly Modernist Poetry before his death…”), before theorizing in the opposite direction a few sentences later (“though it is believed, if he is still alive, he lives on the West Coast…“) One of the On Press Twitter accounts I dealt with claimed Shane was dead and had willed that his work be used to raise money for various children’s charities. (Too bad no one’s trying to sell that book…) This claim is echoed at Pinterest, where the same sort of attribution-badgering occurs.

Mike Miche

Whether Mr. Miche is real or simply Shaun using another name remains to be proven. (It does share a Shaun Shane-like bit of alliteration.) Miche patrols Pinterest, sending users who re-pin this photo the same sort of messages as the Twitter accounts do, only without the character limit.

Miche also sports the same shaky legal grasp and penchant for baseless threats.

Here Miche chases down a user (who deleted her tweet) and continues harassing her at her Pinterest account, claiming that people like her using an unattributed quote can “cause untold billions of dollars of lost [sic] for companies who support and publisher [sic] Authors [sic… again] works.” Miche also seems to make the claim that she’s legally responsible for any retweets (a claim echoed in return by the On Press Twitter accounts).

Also of note: the single DMCA notice attributed to On Press was issued by Mike Miche. The notice has the sender’s name redacted, but a duckduckgo search reveals Miche’s name in the search results. If this is really Shaun Shane, he’s either using false information to file DMCA notices, or Mike Miche is his real name (Shaun Shane is a pseudonym, according to his bio).

Alexandria Hopewell

Hopewell has sent out similar messages to Facebook users, again seeking attribution and using identical wording.

There are a few differences that might indicate she was just “pitching in” with the attribution push (“This Poem is our copyrighted property your use of it uncredited to him constitutes thief.”), but by and large, it resembles missives issued at other platforms.

A followup on one post switches from “informative” to “pissed off” instantly when challenged, much like my earlier interactions with Shaun/On Press did when I refused to play ball:

We send and deal with 1000’s of take down notices every day. Hardly do we need your amateurish insight into what constitutes legal and effective enforcement of our Copyright .

Hopewell is a real human being, however, and is very definitely not Shaun Shane. She has an account at Google+, and her writing there doesn’t bear much resemblance to what’s posted on Facebook. There is a very interesting interaction on her timeline that indicates “Shaun Shane” is probably alive.

A user named “Sean Seans” refers to himself as “Shaun” and tells her he loves and misses her. And that Sean Seans/Shaun is also busy chasing down wrongdoers posting unattributed poems.

Anne Murphy

Anne Murphy has also made posts on Facebook concerning Shane’s poem and seems to be located in Texas (at least judging from the locations of most of her Friends). The wording is almost identical to the Facebook posts by Alexandria Hopewell, suggesting the same author wrote them. She has also uploaded a few videos of Shaun Shane performances to YouTube. (Interestingly, the phone number on the caller ID from the call by “James Roth” to contact Techdirt is registered to Anne Murphy and also to a vegetable farm, the O.P. Murphy Produce Company — both in Texas. Also worth noting: there does not appear to be a “James Roth” listed on the Texas state bar. If whoever called is not, in fact, a lawyer, they might want to familiarize themselves with Texas law 38.122 which makes it a felony to impersonate a lawyer.)

But that’s not all. Shane/On Press also stalks Tumblr with multiple accounts (some of which are filled with work-from-home scam posts), issuing the now-familiar statements demanding attribution. A search for the terms “Shaun Shane” and “On Press” also brings up hits on several other platforms. On Press/Shane is very busy, though (as far as I can see) never seems to direct anyone towards buying the actual book.

He has also ramped up the aggression, perhaps as a result of his “successful” legal threat. The On Press Twitter interactions were never pleasant, but the latest ones have a decidedly malevolent tone that’s undercut slightly by the sheer number of false claims they contain. It doesn’t help that the poem is most frequently tweeted by teens — a demographic On Press/Shane seems to enjoy hurling threats towards.

On Press now threatens to contact the police, sue parents and hold teens responsible for any retweets their followers send out. Here’s a few choice quotes:

“know that you can be track by your ip address and that your parents will be the one’s who are sued since you are a minor…”

“know that the average cost is $4000.00 per instance but that is times the number of follwers you have, or the number people who are exposed to your illegal post…”

“…but if you were bright you wouldn’t have been stupid enought to tweet the poem in the first place…”

“WE don’t care if you care. Your account will be terminated that is all that matters to us. We are indifferent to your feelings about it. your just some dumb kid.”

There are some interesting legal theories mixed up in there that we have not seen before. I particularly like the idea that infringement is multiplied by the number of followers you have. This would appear to be an entirely novel interpretation (by which I mean “wrong”) of 17 USC 504, which has always been clear that the amount of statutory damages paid is per work infringed, not by the number of people who saw the work.

So, what’s the point? Why should we care? On Press/Shane is just seeking attribution. It’s not like he’s sending out settlement letters. Well, for starters, this is not how the system is supposed to work. Those concerned about infringement are directed to Twitter’s DMCA form, which to date, On Press has used only once. Apparently, this method is much less satisfying than the instant feedback one gets while hounding Twitter users (even going so far as to follow them to other platforms, as Mike Miche [above] did).

I’m not pissed off that On Press circumvents a system many rights holders find inefficient. I’m pissed off that On Press deceives people about its relationship with a major publisher, using that as leverage to harass users with a variety of baseless threats. It doesn’t help that the users receiving the most abuse are teenagers who did nothing more than post a quote they liked, who are then threatened with arrest and lawsuits against their parents in return.

I’m pissed off that On Press is fighting a battle it can’t win utilizing bullying tactics. It seems to want respect, but keeps forgetting respect is something you earn — not something you beat into people. People may start to respect the stick, but they’ll never respect the entity wielding it.

Furthermore, if I was a rights holder hoping to protect my creations, I’d be pissed off that someone out there is doing serious damage to copyright itself with a scorched earth policy of baseless threats and vindictive bullying. It makes it that much harder to fight infringement when any existing level of respect has been torn down by another’s overly aggressive tactics.

Finally, if I’m Shaun Shane, and I’m not behind this? I’m fucking furious. Any potential legacy or possibility of expanding my audience has been absolutely destroyed by someone who has used my name to harangue internet users across multiple platforms, utilizing angry missives filled with misspellings, deception, baseless legal threats and a very dangerous misunderstanding of IP law in general.

And Shaun, if this is actually you? You’re only hurting yourself and your reputation by hammering unwitting Twitter users (among others) for this act of omission. There’s nothing wrong with seeking proper attribution. But there are so many methods that work better than this. You can’t stop unattributed quotes from flying around the internet. You can’t even slow it down.

Do you seriously think anyone’s going to Google a tweet to make sure it doesn’t belong to someone else before retweeting it? Do you really think people are going to Google “Shaun Shane” unless you bring it up first? Pinterest users, right or wrong, aren’t going to do a reverse image search before repinning. Sure, it sucks that stuff strays so far from the original creators, but that’s the price you pay for unprecedented access to millions of creative works.

But the benefits outweigh the negatives. Unprecedented access works both ways. You can connect with potential fans and customers in ways that simply weren’t possible 10 years ago. If you’re only going to see the worst aspects, you’ll never be anything more than a set of empty words and threats, spat endlessly into a void, covered in vitriol and self-righteousness. You’ve crafted a poem with viral possibilities but you’re only interested in slamming every door shut as soon as it opens. This final perspective doesn’t make me angry. It just makes me sad. There’s so much potential but you’re too angry to see it. You, and only you, can turn this around.

Additional/supportive links and info.

My Storify account, where I will continue to collect interactions between On Press Inc. and Twitter users.

Album of On Press-related screenshots. (Just in case stuff starts disappearing…)

Google Doc containing more links and various notes. (Collected evidence, likely a work-in-progress.)

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Companies: knopf publishing, on press inc., twitter

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Comments on “Bizarre 'Attribution' Troll Bullies Twitter Users Into Compliance With Baseless Legal Threats”

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GMacGuffin says:

Oh, were it so
that Shaun Shane’s
tongue be
made of glass.

– a poem by GMacGuffin
(You may not quote the above sans attribution without subjecting yourself to a maelstrom of obtuse bullshit.)

(And Shaun/OnPress/Roth: Minors can be sued, and parents are generally not liable for their children’s acts. Go off the Lithium for a few days and you should be able to talk to your lawyer directly about that.)

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Anonymous Coward (c)2013 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DO NOT STEAL!!!!111111

The correct order is:
1. Either the word “copyright” and/or the Circle-C symbol ?
2. The year of first publication.
3. The name of the copyright owner

The use of “All rights reserved” may afford some additional protection in some countries.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh, I didn’t say anything about the DO NOT STEAL!!!!111111 part.

I don’t remember them saying anything about the DO NOT STEAL notice when, as a software developer, I (we, my group) got a mini crash course on copyright in about 1989. Maybe it was 1990? From the company lawyers. Long before the web and mp3s.

But as for “all rights reserved”, I prefer it be spelled “all rights reversed”.

ShellMG says:

If this insanity is happening at the hands of this “poet,” he’s got far too much time on his hands and his complex needs serious medication.

From the looks of the first Twitter screencap, I’d say the account was blocked and reported enough times for their software to suspend it. I *hate* using the process but have seen many Twitters banned because of report abuse. To be silenced in less than 70 is quite a fete.

Let’s just hope bill collectors and telemarketers don’t discover this method.

John Nevill says:

Declaratory Relief

You have a threat of a libel suit from a frivolous troll!!! That’s great! You can file for Declaratory Relief and drag this punk into court. Given that this is obviously a First Amendment issue, perhaps you could get Ken @ popehat or Marc Randazza to send up the bat signal and find you some free counsel.

Take em down!

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Declaratory Relief

Could Shaun/Mike get Bret Gibbs as his defense counsel?

Could Gibbs practice law, even while incarcerated?

Could Gibbs use incarceration of counsel as the basis of a motion to delay the case? (I would love to see how that would fly with a judge.)

Even if disbarred, should not being a member of the bar stop Gibbs from practicing law? It didn’t appear to stop Steel.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Declaratory Relief

No for an idiot this big you need a Dream Team…

John Steele – not “working” on the case but in the gallery whispering to the plaintiff’s table.
Charles Carreon – because this will be a suit that will add the entire interwebs as defendants.
Teri Buhl – to cover the proceedings for Court TV.
Brett Gibbs as wonder boy, barely able to string together full sentences in a single filing.
Evan Stone – To sit at plaintiff’s table wearing those stupid horns and trying to look mean.
And leading the attack…
J_____ R_______
(because we still don’t say his name lest he begin again right?)
I miss anyone else for the dream team?

bob (profile) says:

Ah, okay, so now you're for plagiarism too

The anti-artist tilt of this blog is amazing. So many paragraphs about something so simple. In the past, this blog said we should all learn to love piracy because it would bring the artist more publicity. The artist would then be able to trade this for more book sales or concert ticket sales or something else.

But now, when faced with the potential to say something on behalf of the artist to defend this pro-publicity gambit, you don’t hesitate to go negative on the artists. Whammo. Even asking for attribution is being greedy and selfish.

And yet there you were grousing and complaining when Slashdot was grabbing your stories without attribution. Sheesh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ah, okay, so now you're for plagiarism too

“If only Bob’s tongue were made of glass….crap, I guess they’d still be able to post inane comments that completely miss the point. I guess we should hope for Bob to get hands of glass instead.”

-Anonymous Coward, Copyright [Circle-C symbol] 2013 ALL RIGHTS REVERSED if you STEAL THIS POEM you are a BAD PERSON and I’ll call the INTERNET POLICE on you!!!!!

Mark says:

Re: Ah, okay, so now you're for plagiarism too

Ann again, you can read the words on the screen but cannot process the meaning.

From the article – “There’s nothing wrong with seeking proper attribution. But there are so many methods that work better than this”

the issue the article raises is the tact and method used to get the attribution. Stating blatant lies about copyright law, Twitters TOS, who they are associated and many other methods harm the reputation of the author, and possibly kill any future associations other authors or publishers would be willing to have with him.

Had he gone around sending a message to the twitter users who posted the quote, thanking them for spreading there work but asking to be attributed, they probably would have gotten a much more favorable result. For example, the story from yesterday where the developer reached out those who posted their game on TPB.,

Colin (user link) says:

Re: Ah, okay, so now you're for plagiarism too

You’re right, because this story isn’t about the approach that On Press is taking at all. Oh wait…

There’s nothing wrong with seeking proper attribution. But there are so many methods that work better than this.

It’s a lot of reading to get to that part, so I understand that you needed a little rest before you got that far.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

Re: Ah, okay, so now you're for plagiarism too

But now, when faced with the potential to say something on behalf of the artist to defend this pro-publicity gambit, you don’t hesitate to go negative on the artists. Whammo. Even asking for attribution is being greedy and selfish.

But the artist didn’t merely ask. If he’d just asked for attribution, I doubt that Tim would have cared. Instead, he:

1) Started out with a threat of lawsuit.

2) Threatened to get their Twitter account yanked (which meant he was either lying, or hadn’t bothered to read Twitter’s ToS).

3) Lied about being a part of Knopf Publishing.

4) Lied about Twitter setting up multiple accounts for him.

And yet there you were grousing and complaining when Slashdot was grabbing your stories without attribution. Sheesh.

Did he threaten to sue Slashdot, or threaten to get their ISP to yank their connection? If not, I don’t see how they’re comparable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ah, okay, so now you're for plagiarism too

“The anti-artist tilt of this blog is amazing.”

This isn’t an anti-artists article, not even remotely. This is about someone going apeshit on Twitter (and various other websites) and resorting to making legal threats that have no basis in any current laws, all while committing what is essentially fraud. (Lest you overlook the Knopf Publishing factor, which they’re claiming to be a part of.)

“So many paragraphs about something so simple.”

Well when you boil it down completely… sure. But it is anything but simple, which the article (had you bothered to read it, but which you likely didn’t) goes into depth pointing out and discussing further. Ranging from how it began, to where it went and likely will go.

“In the past, this blog said we should all learn to love piracy because it would bring the artist more publicity.”

Never has that been said on this blog. What has been said is that wasting time fighting piracy is a never ending endeavor in futility, which is time that could be better spent doing something more fruitful. Like connecting with fans, creating and/or offering products that can’t be pirated, etc.

“The artist would then be able to trade this for more book sales or concert ticket sales or something else.”

Uh, no. The artists COULD potentially ignore the futility of fighting piracy and do something like I posted above, which would THEN POTENTIALLY transform into further sales of their product. But it’s not at all the way you stated it to be. My way more accurately reflects what is advocated for on this site.

“But now, when faced with the potential to say something on behalf of the artist to defend this pro-publicity gambit, you don’t hesitate to go negative on the artists.”

No one is getting negative on the artist. You really need to practice reading comprehension.

A situation has come to light, one in which an artist himself may be engaging in not only legal bully but potentially fraud (because I am a Texan and it is relatively common knowledge that presenting yourself as an attorney when you are not is a serious offense here).

What is relevant to this website, which you obviously have no clue about, is that if it is the artist who is creating these abusive and fraudulent (lest we ignore the Knopf bit again, which you obviously did), is that should Shane be the one doing this legal as well as general bullying (in the form of insulting people online) he is going about things in a most harmful manner to himself as an artist.

If it is him doing all this, which we aren’t sure it is, he could have merely created a Twitter account of his own (as himself) and politely asked people to attribute the specific quoted poem to him, as he’s the one who wrote it. Most gladly would. Many people love poetry and stories, but sometimes it’s hard to find out who wrote them. So they don’t attribute them to anyone or put “Unknown”. Shane could easily have corrected this innocent oversight and potentially made a few fans, firstly by letting people know who he was to begin with and secondly by being cool about it. As in, “Hey, see you quoted that bit up there. Just so you know, I wrote that. I’ve got some other stuff you might be interested in if you liked that, feel free to check it out. Thanks! Have an awesome day!” Simple as that. (Maybe not so simple, since Twitter has a 160 character limit, but you get my point.


Ah yes, the infamous I don’t have a point so I’ll make a one word declarative (and irrelevant) statement giving the false impression of any point up to this point having not been actually made.

“Even asking for attribution is being greedy and selfish.”

I guess you missed the entire article where the artist himself has not actually asked for attribution, but instead resorted to legal bullying to have people take down the content. Keep in mind, he could have simply asked for attribution, assuming he is the one doing this, but instead he’s making demands that people remove the content and spreading lies and misinformation about Twitter, copyright law, etc.

So no, he didn’t ask for attribution. As such he can’t be considered greedy and selfish for doing so. And in point of fact, he wouldn’t be even if he did ask for that, as no one would think it greedy or selfish to be acknowledged.

“And yet there you were grousing and complaining when Slashdot was grabbing your stories without attribution.”

Techdirt has routinely stated people can do what they want with the articles here. Copy/paste them entirely elsewhere. At the end of the day, it’ll drive traffic up here when people find them (through Big Search/Google… GASP!!!) and end up back here.

Mike himself has stated this on more than one occasion, but of course you’d have to actually pay attention to what is being said to get that. As opposed to skimming things and then misinterpreting the few key words you look for and responding to that.


That’s exactly the word that pops into my head every time you post and every time I personally shred your comments to pieces line by line.

It’s like you don’t learn that you’re beyond retarded and some of us are more intelligent and going to debunk everything you say from the moment we see it.

Sheesh. Go to a library. Make use of Google. But seriously, get a fucking clue. You’ve been around long enough and I’ve said it enough times to you that you’d think by now you’d use that thing between your ears (your brain) and try and learn something before posting pendejadas. (“Pendejadas” for those who don’t speak Spanish is basically, “stupid, retarded nonsense/bullshit”. It’s a way of saying that someone is saying or writing such stupidity that it’s hard to believe and doesn’t need more than one word, in Spanish, to describe what’s being said/written.)

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I didn’t get one when I tweeted it! Not even the trolls want to play with me. I’m so lonely…

Actually… I think you did, but it seems that Twitter has suspended a bunch of his accounts. I did a quick Twitter search a little while ago and was pretty sure I saw responses from one of the On Press accounts to your account

apauld says:

Dear Sean,

Instead of being polite and nicely introducing yourself to those that quoted you, and thus potentially gaining fans, you chose to attack an threaten. You have pretty much guaranteed that those people, and now many others will never think to purchase anything you are involved with. You should look into the quote “if only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak,” and try to figure out what the author meant by it.
The World

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I have to be thinking that this is what this is – some sort of cyber performance art. And quite possibly the message is to make a point of making a mockery of the legal threats of copyright trolls by taking those tactics to an extreme over silly little tweets and other social media posts. Don’t you find it odd that there don’t appear to be any requests for money in any sort of way? He doesn’t even appear to request that it be reposted with the attribution. He just wants to threaten. And the sillier and more outrageous the threats the bigger it becomes. At least that’s my theory.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

So, what you're saying is...

If you’re only going to see the worst aspects, you’ll never be anything more than a set of empty words and threats, spat endlessly into a void, covered in vitriol and self-righteousness.

So, what you’re saying is that On Press’s tweets are a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? 😉

Joe Pullen says:

Re: Re: Who's really behind it

Company: On Press, Inc.
Hoovers has an old or bad address as follows:
806 Sylvandale Ave San Jose, CA 95111-1415 (address goes to a house) old phone # (408) 365-1040
Industry: Miscellaneous publishing, nsk
Key people: Scott Schutzer 49 years old
Duns number 094082695
Location Type: Single Location
Facility Size (sq. ft.) (modeled): 2,095
Owns/Rents: Rents
Employees (All Sites): 2
Key Financials: Annual Sales (Estimated) $110.00K
DUNS Prescreen Score: Medium Risk
From the current website:
Above phone on his website goes to a small building office address of 1420 Stafford St Redwood City, CA 94063
although the address on his website of 460 Lakeview Way Redwood City CA 94062 appears to go to a house not an office building

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Shaun Shane

“But, thank you for confirming that you can be reached at the Techdirt.”

Given that you’re getting your Twitter accounts banned left and right, given that you cannot spell let alone understand the legal issues in question, given that you’re a complete bully throwing around a law you know nothing about….I can assure you that none of us here are remotely afraid of your baseless legal claims.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Shaun Shane

Hahahahaha. Wow. This sounds almost as dumb/bad/not scary as when the trolls say, “Thank you for writing this. I’m going to forward it to my congressman and show them what you all think.”

Poor On Press Inc. I wonder if Knopf Publishing’s legal counsel would be interested in knowing that you are misrepresenting yourself as a part of their company. Especially since while misrepresenting yourself as a branch of their company your douchebaggery (and lack glaring lack of knowledge of the law) you are doing harm to their company name.

I love the internet and technology. Not the least reason for which is because when idiots get a hold of it/make use of it their stupidity is readily there for the world to see (and some who try and abuse the law get slapped down by it and those who actually know about it).

On Press Inc sued by Knopf Publishing, which is owned by Random House, for misrepresentation/fraud. News at 11.

Also, your grammar usage is poor and borders on illiterate. )

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Shaun Shane

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

If only our tongues were made of glass, how much more careful we would be when we speak.

BeeGee says:

If only our tongues were made of glass,
how much more careful we would be when we speak.

Obvious troll, that’s how I roll,
I’ve been kicked around since I was born.

But now it’s all right, it’s okay
I will troll you every day.
I will try, I will cry.
Cause I’m a douche in every way.

Whether you’re a EDiot or whether you’re a lurker
Shane’s still alive, still alive
Feel the facade breakin’ and everybody baitin’
Shane’s still alive, still alive.
Ah, ah, ah, ah, Shane’s alive, Shane’s alive
Ah, ah, ah, ah, Shane’s ali-i-i-i-ive

Anthony Jeffries (profile) says:

response I got

So I tweeted the poem. I got this:

“InmHeu: @ajeffri we appreciate your posting Tongues Made of Glass by Shaun Shane

That’s a link to the already mentioned Youtube video, in which he/she/it sounds like an utter douchebag.

And then this:

“InmHeu: @ajeffri your tweet gives it even more exposure. thanks”

My response:

“ajeffri: @InmHeu I think the Internet shitstorm from @techdirt is doing so much more”

I guess he/she/it is learning a little? Streisand Protocol indeed.

TAKUMI says:

If You use another’s work uncredited in a reproduction ( Your Blog) you are, under copyright law required to credit the Author

Hang on. When you use another’s work uncredited, you have to credit the author?

That is literally not possible. If you’re using a quote uncredited, by definition, you can’t credit the author at the same time. If you do credit the author while using the quote, it’s no longer uncredited. Does On Press think that copyright law is supposed to be some kind of confusing Catch-22-type situation where it’s impossible to follow the law because the law is inherently contradictory, therefore you are a violator? That… okay, that just makes my head hurt.

Also, even if you overlook that part by reasonably interpreting it as “you have to credit the author afterward”, they almost make it sound like if you falsely attributed the quote, it would be way more okay than using it without any credit at all, since you only really have to credit the author if you previously used the work uncredited.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Another illiterate AKA found for him... Michael Bradshaw

I bought a copy on AMZ. I wrote a review. Here is the response:

Feb 14, 2013 6:50:07 PM PST
Micheal Bradshaw says:

This guy has never read Shane’s book notice he doesn’t have the certified Purchase from Amazon underneath his review. He just saw some immature idiots on the internet making a fuss about some other idiot who when he was told to credit Shane’s work decided to throw a infantile temper tantrum. this guy just an idiot. Who writes a review about a book he hasn’t read. Someone is emotionally disturbed like this guy

kenichi tanaka says:

This is hilarious. Shane’s poem book on Amazon is starting to generate some interesting 1-star reviews as well as some equally hilarious comments by someone trying to defend Shane.

Your guys have got to check these out:

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Elcor Poetry

The funny part of all this is the assertion that Shane is dead and the guys in the videos and calling around with their legal threats aren’t all the same people.

Newsflash, genius, it’s a lot easier to claim you’re not the same people when all of your voices, tones, and inflections don’t sound like Elcor from Mass Effect….

Anonymous Coward says:

Consider this...

When I first read this article, my first reaction was “WTF? This guy is just batshit crazy!” But the more I thought about it, the more I got a clearer picture of what I think is going on. With IP issues, there are generally 3 types of people. There are the maximalists on one side that want to use it to squeeze every ounce of income they can out of the public. There are those outraged by these attempts and fight against them. And then there are the vast majority of people who don’t know or seem to care about these issues at all because they don’t think these issues affect them. It is this last group that is key. A substantial portion of the people who post and repost content in social media falls into this group and I think this is the group he may be trying to reach. By making baseless threats against these people he is making these issues affect them. I see this as leveraging the Streisand Effect to move them to care. By making the threats ridiculous he is showing how ridiculous the people who use these tactics are. It has been said that there is a fine line between genius and crazy and people who don’t get it, will assume the latter.

Tommy C. says:

Sock accounts everywhere!

Even on Michael Geist’s blog (

“Tammy said: To Tommy C.
To Tommy C. the quote you posted is not really a quote but a poem by the Poet Shaun Shane entitled “Tongues Made of Glass” It’s structured like this:
if only
our tongues
were made
of glass

how much
more careful
we would be
when we
speak – Shaun Shane”

Stephen S. Power says:

Shane Has Changed His Tune--In a Good Way

Check this out:

I tweeted: Excellent TechDirt piece on troll threatening those who tweet short poem: “If only our tongues were made of glass…”

And moments later I got this response: @Stephenspower Thanks again.Your tweeting of Shane’s work brings it to a larger audience and so increases his book sales. Thanks!

Goodbye Saul. Hello Paul.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

So I was bored… when I get bored comedy happens…

On Press Inc. has nothing registered with the copyright office.
A Poem Is Nothing – No hits in the database.
Shaun Shane – No hits in the database.
Tongues Made of Glass – No hits.

I wonder if anyone has informed Amazon they are offering a print on demand book that has no clear copyright, they could be assisting someone in ripping off an artist or assisting in commercial copyright infringement.

As the people maintaining the artists online information have claimed the artist is dead, there is no registered copyright, no tangible leads to the alleged company, oh and misrepresenting themselves as part of a major publisher who has never heard of them… I think Amazon should consider the poor artist and stop the sales until such time as they produce the proper documentation to shore up their ownership claims.

On Press Inc. says:

We'd like to thank you

This is On Press. We actually have to thank you Mr.Cushing. While at first we dimissed your post as simpleminded reactionism, you have brought quite abit of attention to Shane’s work. So much so, that we have sold 3219 (as to this hour)of Shane’s book in the last two days( more than we do in a month) and have recieved thousands of emails stating how much people like his work. So, by all means keep going. Your the best advertisment we have. Most people seem to not accept your position that using someone’s work without credit is acceptable. With much thanks, On Press Inc.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: We'd like to thank you

I’m glad your happy Steve.
By the way you pretending the material is covered by copyright does raise some questions.
Its never been filed, so how do you keep from being sued for copy-fraud?
I mean how can you hold the rights to anothers work when the rights were never assigned to your tiny little crap factory. Or is that your secret, is you take the work of self important poets who died and claim the work as your own and profit. No one is left to raise a fuss as you profit from the work of a deadman…
Your willing to lie about the position of your company so its not a stretch to see you stealing an artists work to enrich yourself.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Illiteracy of the Shaun-personalities

Dear Multi-Personalities-Of-Shaun:

Your means “owned by you.”
You’re means “you are”.

Sentences need verbs to not be fragments>

Now here we go:
> I’m glad your happy Steve
There’s that your/you’re thing I was mentioning.

> By the way you pretending the material is covered by copyright does raise some questions.
There’s that lacking a verb thing I was mentioning.

Kindly take your multi-personality-disorder self and go all the way back to the third grade. That way you can learn that words that sound the same (your, you’re, it’s, its, there, their, they’re) don’t mean the same thing. You’ll also learn sentence diagramming, which will help your illiteracy as you’ll see verbs really ARE required in a sentence.

Need more meds. The Shaun multi-personality-beast appears stupid and illiterate. This will not sell more bs books of hokey poems.

If only our tongues were made from glass would ass-kissers cause bleeding rectums?


Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Something for Twitter...

A hilarious descripton of how a multiple-personality syndrome schizophrenic feels during his daily therapy session. Please repost on twitter as appropriate. This is merely a snippet from a book, which I’m using to demonstrate schizophrenia. (fair use.)

he bounced
he bounced
he pinned

the mouse
the cat
bit in

then chewed
from limb
to limb

now the
mouse now
so sad

but the

what a

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

What do you mean “blocked my Facbook account”? What does that mean?

“over a souvenir”? Also what does this mean?

“that has a fraction of a song”? Also what does this mean.

Seriously looks like another delusional Shaun persona.


More antipsychotic drugs please.


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