Charles Carreon Having Some Difficulties Trying To Represent His Wife In Court Over Copyright Infringement Claims

from the someone-pass-the-popcorn dept

Okay, let’s start this one with a full and fair disclosure: We’ve written about Charles Carreon plenty of times. However, in the past few months, his wife, Tara Carreon, has posted numerous graphical and textual attacks about this site on her own sites (multiple sites, multiple attacks!). We will not link to her various attacks, though we will note Ars Technica’s report from last year, concerning her calling us “nazi scumbags” and just note that only provides a slight inkling of the nature of some of the attacks on us to date. Furthermore, it appears that Charles and/or Tara have also set up an entire site — again, we will not link to it — in which they are profanely and viciously attacking myself personally, along with nearly every lawyer or reporter who has ever mentioned their ridiculous crusade against Matthew Inman. So, feel free to take whatever I say about the following with however many grains of salt you prefer, knowing that Charles and Tara have decided (ridiculously) that I am among a group of folks out to get them.

Okay, with that settled… a couple of years ago, before any of the Carreon/Oatmeal/Inman mess happened, we wrote about an internet jurisdiction case, called Penguin Group v. American Buddha, in which we were dismayed by a ruling in New York State, which said that the company American Buddha, from Oregon, but run out of Arizona, could be dragged to a New York court under its “long arm” statute, for a claim of copyright infringement by Penguin Group. We, along with many others, feared that this ruling might allow lots of copyright holders to drag individuals from around the country to New York to deal with copyright infringement claims. In a later ruling in that same case, the case went around again on the question of whether or not there was “substantial” revenue earned — which also was required to bring the case to New York. Thankfully, on that round, the court recognized that someone earning basically nothing was not substantial, and thus, the jurisdiction in NY was inappropriate.

What we did not realize back then, was that “American Buddha” is an operation set up by Tara Carreon and defended by Charles Carreon. I believe (irony alert) Charles is now seeking attorneys fees in NY over that case. However, Penguin Group did what you might expect, and filed the lawsuit again, but this time in Oregon, where American Buddha is registered. You can see the docket here. Tara Carreon argues that “American Buddha” is a library, which grants library cards (to a few dozen patrons) and this gives her an exception to copyright law to post full digital copies of books to her website. Now, there are some important legal questions concerning copyright, fair use and libraries that come out of this case. But would you trust Charles and Tara Carreon to make the best, most reasonable arguments on those issues? Personally, seeing how Carreon acted throughout the Inman/Oatmeal situation, followed by his actions against Public Citizen’s Paul Levy after Carreon’s incredible threat to sue Levy’s client resulted in Levy filing for declaratory judgment and eventually successfully getting sanctions awarded against Carreon, it leads me to feel less than comfortable that Team Carreon would be making these arguments.

You can laugh off whatever strategies they might take, but as with the NY case we wrote about, what I really fear is the possibility (perhaps likelihood) of a really bad precedent being set here, that might impact other cases where there are legitimate fair use issues or issues involving libraries, at play.

Not surprisingly, but unfortunately for any ultimate result, the case is not off to a good start. Penguin’s lawyer raised certain issues about Charles’ effort to represent American Buddha in Oregon, since his license to practice law in Oregon had lapsed years ago. Even worse, it noted that Carreon had told the NY court (where he’s still trying to get legal fees) that he was licensed in Oregon. As they point out, misrepresenting his status to the court in NY might cause trouble in renewing his status in Oregon. They also mention the attorneys fees he has to pay to Paul Levy over the disastrous case in California, noting that he was sanctioned for “malicious conduct during the course of this case.” There are also a number of procedural issues concerning liability insurance (in which it’s suggested that Carreon totally misread the rules), and with regards to his attempt to claim that he is “registered in-house counsel” to American Buddha, despite not qualifying as such under the rules of Arizona’s state bar.

Since then, it’s just been a continued struggle, with the Carreons seeking to move the case to Arizona, claiming that they can’t afford to go to Oregon, and that they want to call pretty much everyone Tara Carreon has given a library card to as a witness — but those people are all in Arizona. The lawyers for Penguin, not surprisingly, appear to be running rings around Carreon, and you can almost feel their exasperated sighs in their filings.

While Carreon had found some local counsel in Oregon, that lawyer withdrew over unidentified “conflicts.” Also, Carreon has tried to explain away his discipline record and expired license. This includes his attempt to explain why the court in California ordered him to pay attorneys fees and sanctioned his conduct. I’d suggest reading the whole thing, but I’ll just highlight the following sentence:

The District Court in Recouvreur awarded fees to a declaratory relief plaintiff, Christopher Recouvreur, who registered “” using domain-privacy, published my face on the front, displayed the phrase “Censorious Douchebag” above my head, and starting [sic] posting nonsense under my name, misrepresenting me as a trigger-happy nutcase type of lawyer, which I most certainly am not.

Well, we’ll let the record speak for itself on that one. I will also note the following.

I have filed an appeal of the Court’s decision, and when questioned by the press, responded in a respectful manner that expressed no criticism of the ruling.

Finally, with respect to any concerns this Court may have concerning my legal acumen and ethical disposition, I stand ready to respond to any inquiries the Court may have, and commit to uphold the best traditions of the Bar as an officer of the Court.

I am curious how setting up an entire site dedicated to attacking those who commented on the case, including Paul Levy, the opposing lawyer in the case, fits with his claims of handling this “in a respectful manner” — or in upholding the “best traditions of the Bar as an officer of the Court.” Is it really in the “best traditions” to post a picture on his website representing the lawyers who won the case against him, Paul Levy and Cathy Gellis, along with their client, Chris Recouvreur and Ken “Popehat” White as KKK members burning a cross? Because that’s what Carreon has done. On that same website are ridiculous allegations of conspiracy theories by various folks who have written about Carreon and (believe it or not) an entire spreadsheet in which Carreon lists everyone who he claims has lied about him, checking off what “lies” they’ve told. For example, I am listed on there for telling the “lie” that “it’s outrageous and immoral to sue charities.” Of course, I don’t believe I’ve ever said that. I do think I’ve argued that it was ridiculous for Carreon to sue two particular charities because Matthew Inman was planning to donate some money to them. But that’s fairly different.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the court is still somewhat concerned about Carreon:

Mr. Carreon shall file a renewed declaration in support of his Resubmitted Application for Special Admission Pro Hac Vice [49] which addresses the specific issues and concerns identified by the court regarding the scope of practice permitted to him in both California and Arizona, and which identifies new local counsel in light of Mr. Johnson’s intent to move to withdraw from the case.

I fear that this is only going to get worse and worse — and by the end, Penguin is going to have an easy win… and a dreadful precedent.

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Companies: american buddha, penguin

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Comments on “Charles Carreon Having Some Difficulties Trying To Represent His Wife In Court Over Copyright Infringement Claims”

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S. T. Stone says:

Re: Re:

The sad thing is that Steele?s doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason and looking incompetent besides.

Carreon actually has a good reason to fight Penguin Group; he just chose the most incompetent way to do it (lying to courts, insulting opposing counsel online, and generally acting no better than a right-wing conspiracy nut who thinks a full Illuminati takeover is another ?false flag? terrorist attack away).

Anonymous Coward says:

Calm down and breath...


While the writing is definitely legible, this article reads more like an SLA (Service Level Agreement) or legal document then a news article. Charles Carreon’s an ass or at least has asinine ideas, but his wife is trying to fight a case that will stop the copyright cartel from dragging people across the country to fight complaints? Sounds like a reasonable reason to back him up on this specific issue. The fact that he’s fumbling the case, is a discredit to the principles that you want upheld. This whole article seemed like you were trying to not say an ad hominem, but couldn’t convince yourself one way or another.

S. T. Stone says:

Re: Calm down and breath...

Considering how the Carreons have attacked Mike since the whole Oatmeal debacle, he showed a remarkable amount of restraint in not callling Mr. Carreon all kinds of (deserved) names while talking about an important legal case that (from all evidence shown) Mr. Carreon has handled in a less-than-competent manner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Calm down and breath...

Let me give you an example, I have worked for Joe Biden. He’s totally against my principles on copyright and the telecom industry practices, but I have always done my best to support him when it comes down to doing my job. I might not agree with him on issues, but if he’s hiring me to do a job I will fulfill that job to the best that I can do. Mike’s job is to report important events on copyright/trademark, and lately but sadly, basic human rights we expect to be upheld. Even if Putin, in the case of Edward Snowden, is doing a good thing, it needs to be respected in that specific instance. You have to separate that from the fact that for example, Pussy Riot was put in prison for simply protesting against the government.

Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Calm down and breath...

And if Carreon decides to hire Mike as his publicity agent I’m sure Mike would do a FANTASTIC job. Unfortunately, noting that the subject would give an asshat a wonderful reputation by comparison i think Mike is doing just fine. Stated the case, stated he hates that it will be a bad decision and stated that Carreon is continuing in his own, personal time-honored tradition of digging. Someday he’ll find the bottom of that hole.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Calm down and breathe..

RE: Comment title, there, I fixed it for you.

RE: Comment, uh, don’t you realise that Mike posted a full disclaimer explaining why he’s not carrying Carreon shoulder high through TD’s hallowed halls or whatever?

He’s being quite restrained over Carreon’s douchebaggery while stating that he hopes he doesn’t lose in case we end up with a bad precedent (last paragraph) due to Carreon’s incompetence and general nuttiness.

It doesn’t mater whether Carreon ever behaved like a little boy having a tantrum or not, it matters that he’s doing it now, the possible result being that the rest of us get screwed over as a result. What would you like us to cheer for in all that mess?

punklawyer (user link) says:

Re: Re: Calm down and breathe..

Pragmatic — I hope that American Buddha’s win on the motion to transfer makes you feel better. I’m doing the best I can to protect your rights. By the way — what’s all this about douchebags? You got a problem with proper feminine hygiene?

That One Guy (profile) says:

What would be helpful and oh so hilarious...

Would be if the Popehat signal was called for in the case, to get an actually competent lawyer to defend the two of them.

Not only would it help avoid a dangerous precedent, but the fact that one of the people Carreon went on a tirade about came to ‘his’ rescue would probably drive him absolutely insane, so win-win all around.

jeh says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve been reading over it. It’s weird. The best way I can describe it is poorly written fan fiction.

“I cannot hear my superego wailing like a lost soul left behind by the fast-departing troop train of my id, with my ego in the engineer?s cabin, calling for every bit of steam he can get.” (Mike, I’m sorry. I hope no precedent get set that cause you to be liable for my quoting of him, or what I’m about to say next about him.)

Whoa, intense dude.

I’m not sure if it’s just me (hint, it isn’t), but he comes across pretty nutty and doesn’t put his case together very well. In the hands of someone that knows how to actually write, they could probably portray him as an actual victim. He only portrays himself as a dult though. He only exemplifies why everyone thinks he’s a few nuts short of a full bag. It’s like a first person perspective of someone that thinks they’re in the right, but through their actions you can see how wrong they are. What’s silly is that he’s doing this to himself!

Ahh, good times. With any luck I’ll get on Carreon’s list of evil-doers too.

Ninja (profile) says:

I should really call attention to the fact that Mike is actually saying that Ms Carreon is in the right and the collective stupidity/incompetence of the Carreon family and the continued blunders may actually make them lose and set a bad precedent. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

If this is the right interpretation for this article and considering the vicious attacks they direct at Mike it makes them look even sillier.

The starting disclosure, the ethics and the classy tone just endorse my admiration of this site as a whole and makes me feel my money directed at it was well spent.

jeh says:

Re: Re:

I think that’s the right interpretation.

Even if the case is sided in Pengiun’s favor, what I’m curious about is if that’ll be able to be upheld in the long run. If this case was cited in another, couldn’t the defense bring to light Carreon’s inability to actually… you know… lawyer. I would think Carreon’s incompetence could be used as an argument as to why this case couldn’t be used as a precedent in other cases.

I wonder if Carreon’s reading this and thinking “I’m so right, even my enemies think I’m right”. I think that’s a more troubling precedent.

Max Zadow says:

Please help Carreon

This is vital. There needs to be a way libraries can continue to lend books to people in a digital age. Lose this and a generation of under-privileged kids are deprived of the chance to at least educate themselves.

Put aside the past squabbles and help ‘the censorious douchebag’ win this one, then go back to trying to debate him on the issues.

It was the point of the whole Oatmeal affair: what was right and necessary. In this case it is defending the right of libraries to lend books.

M. Alan Thomas II (profile) says:

I somehow doubt that American Buddha was operating in a manner consistent with the normal practices and ethics of the library profession regarding ebooks.* Thus it would be my presumption, should they fail to present evidence to the contrary, that they were doing this in a manner which went beyond the bounds of Fair Use or ?108 protections (e.g., posting full ebooks online without any access restrictions). If that’s the case, this can be decided without any implications for the wider library and archive community for the simple reason that the facts are so wildly different as to be easily distinguishable.

That being said, the complaint by Penguin does not give us a lot of details as to why they believe the relevant limitations and defenses do not apply. They will have to stop being so vague at some point, but for now, there’s this:

27. The exemption from liability for copyright infringement under Section 108 of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. ? 108, does not apply to “virtual-only” libraries and archives, i.e., those that do not conduct their operations through physical premises.

Say what?!? I just re-read 108 to check, and a physical presence is nowhere to be found in the requirements. If this is an established aspect of statutory or case law, it is not one with which I am familiar, and I’m a librarian specializing in these sorts of legal issues. More suspiciously, if American Buddha has truly screwed up, Penguin shouldn’t need to throw out a legal theory like this to expose them; I find it entirely likely that they weren’t in compliance with the requirements of ?108 to begin with, not that they were but were magically exempted from its protections due to lack of physical premises. In my mind, this is the part that bears watching.

*If they had been, they probably wouldn’t have gotten sued. Also, I generally don’t credit a Carreon with brains. Or ethics.

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