Ex-Wife Allegedly Using Copyright To Take Down Husband's Suicide Note

from the copyfraud dept

Via Silverscarcat we learn of an absolutely bizarre situation in which it appears that the ex-wife of a man who committed suicide late last year, is claiming copyright on his lengthy suicide letter in an attempt to get it taken offline entirely. It should be noted that all of the public information at this point is coming from websites that advocate for men’s rights in family courts (i.e., not quite a neutral third party), but it is true that original version of the letter has been removed from Scribd, and the reason stated is a copyright claim. The site A Voice for Men has refused to take the letter down, but provides the following explanation:

Does a wife who may have driven a husband to suicide with the assistance of our corrupt family court system, then have a legal right to claim copyright — of his suicide note?

According to attorney Rachelle E. Hill, of Bean, Kinney and Korman, and a judge, that is precisely the claim. Their lawyer has written the offices of A Voice for Men to demand that we remove a post from the forums containing the note.

It would be great to see both the takedown demand, and the judge’s claim, but it is undeniable that the letter itself has been taken down in some places due to a copyright claim — and the claim appears to have come from that same law firm. Some others are claiming they’ve personally been pressured into removing the letter. Others are also pointing out that the blog that that Chris Mackney maintained, detailing his custody battle, which was listed in his obituary from just a few months ago, called Good Men Did Nothing, is now gone as well. However, that might be due to a failure to continue to pay hosting bills.

Either way, the idea that a woman would be abusing copyright law to stifle her ex-husband’s suicide note, seems like a clear case of censorship-via-copyright. The various sites reporting on this would appear to have a very strong fair use claim as well — and at least a few (including the one linked above) are refusing to take down the letter. Furthermore, as this is getting more attention, more people appear to be posting variations on the letter getting it much more attention. In fact, a bunch are now reading the letter aloud on YouTube (making it even more transformative in any fair use analysis).

I have emailed Dina Mackney’s lawyer to ask for any comment on the situation, but as of this posting, there has been no response. There are some claims in the letter which, if untrue, might possibly be defamatory (though they might also be considered normal hyperbole and opinion). However, even if some statements are defamatory, that has no bearing on the copyright question — and, again, from all appearances, it is a copyright claim that has been made.

Other details may be relevant. While there are references to “ex-wife” it’s not entirely clear when or if the divorce was finalized. It is possible that without a finalized divorce, the copyright in his letter (which obviously belongs to him) could possibly pass on to his heir, who could potentially be his wife (though, you’d imagine given the situation that he would have taken steps to avoid anything passing on to her).

While it still seems unlikely that she has a legitimate copyright claim on the letter, even if we give her and her lawyer the benefit of the doubt, the takedowns are almost certainly copyright misuse to censor speech. There is a strong fair use claim for the various sites publishing the letter. On most of the sites I’ve seen with it, the use was for reporting and criticism (classic fair use). If you even go on to do a four factor fair use test, it’s almost certainly going to be fair use as well. The use is for reporting (transformative), in many (though not all) cases, only a portion of the letter was posted, there is no impact on the market because there is no market for the letter. And, of course, just the fact that it’s a suicide note, would almost overwhelmingly point to fair use.

Furthermore, even if we assume through some convoluted legal process that Dina Mackney actually has some legitimate copyright claim over her ex-husband’s suicide letter (much of which he spends angrily denouncing her, her family and her lawyers), it highlights the sheer ridiculousness of the way we now automatically grant a copyright on everything written. Chris Mackney probably never considered the consequences of a copyright on his suicide note, because, who the hell would? Given Mackney’s previous efforts to discuss his situation, it’s pretty clear that he intended the note to be shared widely, but it’s fairly ridiculous to argue that someone writing a suicide note should also have the forethought to dump a Creative Commons license or dedicate it to the public domain before taking their own life.

In the end, from all of the evidence, this certainly appears to be a serious case of copyright abuse to silence speech in a rather disgusting manner. Though, as a result of that abuse, it certainly appears that the original content is getting a lot more attention. I think there’s a name for that sort of thing.

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Comments on “Ex-Wife Allegedly Using Copyright To Take Down Husband's Suicide Note”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

should be way down on your list of newsworthy matters.

As per usual, I find it curious that you still seem to believe that you have sort of editorial control over my publishing decisions. Odd. You do this frequently.

But, as for the point, I actually think that this is VERY MUCH a priority given the seriousness of the situation. This person was clearly trying to spread a message — one that many consider quite important — and that message is being censored.

You don’t think that’s serious?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

As moderate defender of copyright (I believe copyright has its place and uses), I support your decision to publish this story. It seems to me that the suicide letter is news, and the information surrounding it is news.

I also do not understand how the ex-wife ended up taking control of her husband’s estate, which is claimed in the letter. I would think that the husband’s family would object to her control as an ex-wife, and they should prevail.

This situation is completely whacky, and I think you have done a service by bringing it to the attention of a larger audience. On the face of it, the situation seems to be copyright abuse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

She got to be administrator of the estate because he owed her 16,000 dollars, I am going to assume this was back child support. Talk about craziness.

The judge in the case with his order to remove the document from the Internet is pretty much on par with idiocy of Judge Kozinski ordering Google to take “Innocence of Muslims”.

Honestly I don’t think alot of judges live in this reality. Things posted to the Internet don’t disappear. There is no memory hole for them to fall into. The saying of “Once on the net, always on the net” is so very true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Your snide remark aside, you doubtless noted that a custody dispute transpired, so there are minors involved.

Yes, we should all be proud that a letter of this type is circulating on the net.

For a site that demands respect for privacy, I would think this is one situation where privacy interests would be taken into consideration…and especially those of the minors.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, we should all be proud that a letter of this type is circulating on the net.

For a site that demands respect for privacy, I would think this is one situation where privacy interests would be taken into consideration…and especially those of the minors.

Can you elaborate on the privacy violation here?

1. The father released this letter to the public. There is no privacy issue.

2. Even if there was a privacy issue, do you believe that privacy issues allow one to abuse copyright law for the sake of censorship?

3. You seem (as per usual) very confused about what we advocate here in terms of privacy rights. But, seeing as you’re known to make false statements repeatedly in your ongoing attempt to mock us, this does not surprise me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Privacy has many facets, but in one general sense it is the right to be left alone from the prying eyes of others.

I know nothing about the specific people in this sad matter, but it does strike me as within the realm of possibility that the well being of minors may be lessened should they or their friends find that letter. It is an extraordinarily sensitive familial matter, and respect for the family should be extended.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

It strikes me as being within the realm of possibility that this man’s children would be better off knowing all they can about both of their parents, even years from now when they are old enough to understand.

If the publication of this letter brings attention to these issues, and that results in an increase in the well being of other children, would you deny them that? Do you think that children should be used as tools, without regard for their best interests? Do you think that it would have been wrong for the court to appoint a guardian ad litem to advocate for the children’s well being?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You do realize that nowhere in any of the mishmash of links is there any discussion about the relationship between the husband and wife, as well as what led to the breakup of their marriage and subsequent divorce? Nothing is said, so to say this woman seeks to torture (rendered moot) her former husband has no basis in any facts that can be gleaned from the links individually or collectively.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

well, actually, YES, we CAN glean that from the following KNOWN FACTOID: it was HIS WISH to have the note circulated in public, SHE TOOK IT DOWN…
REGARDLESS, of HER ‘reasons’, the simple fact is, SHE SCREWED WITH HIS LAST WISHES, which does not seem to bode well…
could it be the husband was a total loon who was writing lies ? could be, COULD also be she is a total bitch who was rightfully excoriated in his parting shot…
SINCE SHE DID -in fact- take it down, the implication is, she is a bitch reaching into his grave to fuck with him after he’s dead, against his wishes…
so, yes, THE FACT in evidence does not redound well to her… the implications, even more so…

mcinsand (profile) says:

well, it could have been a copyright issue if...

When I first read about Mr. Mackney’s focus on Ms. Mackney in the note, my reaction was that he should have gotten help. However, on reflection, her choice of how to (ab)use copyright to remove unflattering text about her leads me to think that she may well have been the sort to have pushed him over the edge. He dies, and this is her focus. It is sad that he couldn’t have gotten help in getting over what must have been a hell-on-earth marriage.

On a lighter note, the more I thought about it, the more the Southpark ‘Kyle’s Mom’ song started playing through my head. Good thing he didn’t use that, though, since someone does hold a legitimate copyright over that work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sad as it is...

He committed suicide. He is a coward.

If he thought his fight was so noble then standing in the public square and telling all how shit went down would have been better than taking is own life.

One of the only ways I could be brought to end life would be in the defense of my children. If they really were going to be in such a bad situation caused by ex & judge… I could think of other lives to end instead of my own.

What a waste.

silverscarcat (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sad as it is...

Because there are people who live in this world, with nothing, no money, no family, no friends, no home, nothing, or live with extreme pain or suffering and they fight tooth and nail for every breath of life and keep on fighting until their bodies give out.

That being said, yeah, I’m terrified of committing suicide, but that’s because I’m afraid to die, not because of me being brave.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sad as it is...

Well, let’s see, off the top of my head. . .

Incurable pain
Clinical insanity due to chemical imbalance
Traumatic childhood imprinting from the suicide or even other death of an intimate

Sometimes courage simply isn’t relevant. People who aren’t in their right minds can’t be described as brave or cowardly because their agency is too diminished for the terms to apply.

And put that way, the sudden deprival of virtually all meaningful intimate human interaction after years of developing interdependence with a specific group, compounded by a kafkaesque nightmare of injustice to the point of effectively open slavery doesn’t seem quite so normal an environment as you appear to be assuming.

Finally, if you look at the demographics, it seems impossible to tease out “cowardice” from the likely causes. I have a hard time believing, for example, that 20-24 year old usa women are approximately 6 times braver than their 20-24 year old male peers. Nevertheless, that’s the suicide gap.

If “cowardice” is supposed to be a relevant input, I’d like to see some replicable science to back that up, please. In the meantime, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re primarily motivated to call it cowardice because you and/or someone on whom you rely are more economically dependent on the self-sacrifice of men and boys than most other people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Sad as it is...

Wow, thank you for articulating that so well! Better than I could have. Just wanted to add that it doesn’t seem logically possible to me to suggest that one has a right to live but not a right to die. To my mind, forcing people to stay alive against their wishes, especially in cases of terminal illness, severe psychological trauma, insufferable pain, etc. is akin to murder. A right to live without a right to die reduces people to slaves.

Banquo says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Sad as it is...

That was very well put. To put the mindset of a suicidal individual in such simplistic moral terms is lazy at best.

As far as the copyright aspect of this, I would think that if that man published the letter with the intent that everyone see it, that would have some baring. Common sense would dictate anyway…. Then again I’m not versed in the language of copyright law.

silverscarcat (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sad as it is...

As I replied to Gracey, it’s because there are people who fight tooth and nail, who have no reason to keep on trying, to get one more moment in this world, even though they have absolutely nothing going for them and the world seems to try and kill them. Yet they fight on and try to survive.

That’s why suicide is cowardly.

In a broad, general sense, of course. It needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Sad as it is...

silver, generally am right with you on most of your comments, but i think you are way off base on this, and it is reflected in nearly every post you made on the subject:
suicide is cowardly,
yet YOU would never contemplate it because it is so scary ? ? ?
say what ? ? ?
that statement is in direct contradiction to itself:
like saying the terrorists who flew the planes into the twin towers were ‘cowards’, yet you could not imagine doing so yourself for any reason, ’cause you’re scared…
huh ? HOW do people square that circle in their brains ? ? ?

Within Reason says:

Re: Re: Re: Sad as it is...

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you were in a tunnel and there was only one way out?

It’s not easy to take your own life at all. You have to plan the act and make reasonably sure it’ll definitely happen, i.e. you’re not likely to survive. You then have to choose the means. You then have to take that rope in your hand and calculate the best thing to tie it to (or equivalent thereof) so the anchor point won’t break, putting you in the E.R. trying to explain that it was an accident…

You try to find as many alternatives as you can – surely there’s another way… eventually, you decide that, given a choice between accepting a situation you have no control over and which is getting worse by the moment, it’s better to put an end to it. It’s the only control you’ve got left.

I was lucky. As I contemplated my end, and took a last stroll around the block, it occurred to me that I had another place to go. I could simply leave and set up home elsewhere. There were friends I could stay with till I found work got back on my feet. My reputation wasn’t utterly trashed there (long story).

I don’t feel ready to return to the town I used to live in. The memories are too painful. But trust me, it’s not an easy thing to end your own life at all. I know, because I nearly ended mine. It’s why I get annoyed when people declare that suicide is voluntary, cowardly, or anything like that.

It’s a hell of a lot more complex, and always a last resort.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Sad as it is...

It’s a shaming mechanism to keep the suicidal living and therefore still exploitable.

Please keep in mind that this guy was essentially exploited to death simply because he was a father. That’s why we shame men with accusations like that — it makes it easier to exploit them. The less they think of themselves, the less they’re willing to take in exchange for their well-being, safety, health, and lives.

“Suicide is cowardice” is fundamentally about shaming men and boys so that they put a lower price on their own lives in the marketplace.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Sad as it is...

I generally find suicide to have nothing to do with bravery or cowardice. It’s just a terminal outcome of mental illness. Sure there are cases where a criminal commits suicide to avoid punishment where you’d have a decent argument that they did it out of fear of facing the justice system.

But by and large, it’s a function of mentally broken people seeing no better alternative.

Calling someone a coward for doing it is just dismissing the underlying issues that broke them, rather than acknowledging and addressing the issues.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sad as it is...

i don’t disagree with your point, but i think you are wrong that it is ‘mentally broken’ people: PERFECTLY sane people commit suicide for perfectly rational reasons, at times…

further, you may want to wonder why military -you know, the bravest of the brave, blah blah blah- has a suicide rate 10 times the rest of us… i would contend there is a lot more going on than simple ‘brave/coward’ description…

is it surprising that in these debased times, suicide rates are spiking ? ? ? farmers are killing themselves instead of fighting a losing battle with gummint/societal policies which are destroying their livelihood (AND OUR HEALTH along with it)…

really kind of disconcerting the number of people who jump on a suicide victim with both feet like that… walk a mile in their shoes, kamper, and maybe suicide seems like the better answer at that time, too…
judge not lest ye be judged…

Anonymous Coward says:

The idea of having copyright on a suicide note seems patently absurd to me.
On the other hand, copyright currently lasts for many decades after the death of the author, so I suppose the law as it stands is specifically designed to persist after the author’s death. (Which also seems patently absurd to me, but I’m not a Disney employee.)

I almost hope that nobody in power notices this debacle. If they did, they’d almost certainly do the typical blundering “We MUST do SOMETHING!” bit, rushing through some poorly-worded bill that’d probably end up somehow making Project Gutenberg illegal while doing absolutely nothing to keep suicide notes (or anything else) from being arbitrarily censored.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

As noted in the article, the “father’s rights” site is hardly an unbiased source.

When my mom, after living through seven years of hell-on-earth, finally had an opportunity to take the kids and run, (the fact that it took that long to find the first opportunity should tell you something!) our experience was the exact opposite of what this guy is describing.

She had multiple years worth of documented proof of physical and emotional abuse, plus evidence that he had been cheating on her with another man. But ever since then he has used the legal system to hound her and obstruct every attempt to find some sort of justice and security for her kids: weaseling out of paying child support, disregarding both visitation plans and restraining orders, getting a visitation plan in the first place, and then later an unsupervised one, and so on. Even when we found evidence that he and the man he was living with were engaged in what psychologists refer to as “classical grooming behavior,” trying to prepare my (underage) little brother as a future sexual partner, neither police nor the courts would do a thing, because no actual crime had been committed yet. A restraining order was issued against his partner, preventing him from being present at any visits, (which was, of course, entirely on the honor system because the visits are unsupervised,) but no modifications were made to the visitation plan.

Any attempt to seek legal relief from his monstrous behavior, or to even attempt to enforce any decision that’s already been handed down, (such as child support obligations,) gets stonewalled with a bunch of shystering about how my mom is “persecuting him” because she disapproves of his present homosexual lifestyle and attempting to interfere with his rights as a father. And the courts eat the whole thing up!

And all that money that he doesn’t pay out in child support, he spends it directly on the younger kids, lavishly. Buying them clothes, toys, even cars as they get old enough. Taking them to Disneyland, and so on, while our family could barely afford to raise them, and all the while whispering poison in their ears, to the point where he’s got the two youngest convinced that he’s the good parent, the one who loves them. When I try to tell them about how, when they were just babies, he would beat me and psychologically torture me on a regular basis, they think I am lying to them.

So no. As long as a man who belongs six feet under, or at the very least in a jail cell, is running around free to corrupt my family, with the courts and justice system fully complicit in his acts, I will never believe that “fathers’ rights” are somehow unfairly under-represented, any more than I will believe someone telling me that the sun is blue, and for the same reason: I have seen that this is not true with my own eyes.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So no. As long as a man who belongs six feet under, or at the very least in a jail cell, is running around free to corrupt my family, with the courts and justice system fully complicit in his acts, I will never believe that “fathers’ rights” are somehow unfairly under-represented, any more than I will believe someone telling me that the sun is blue, and for the same reason: I have seen that this is not true with my own eyes.

I can’t say I totally buy into the “father’s rights” crowd, but when it comes to the problems with the family court system, they are absolutely correct. The only thing is, as you have seen happen first-hand, it’s not always the father that gets shafted. The family court system basically picks a winner, and then refuses to back down from that position no matter what evidence is shown to the contrary. It is a serious problem that needs to be fixed, as it’s destroying both adults’ and children’s lives.

Going by any individual experience and deciding that’s the way the system works for everyone is not going to help fix the problem. Both sides need to admit that the problems exists and demand it be fixed.

Frankly from your story it sounds like her ex-husband was wealthy, powerful and connected. All recipes for making sure he’ll come out the winner in the courts. That’s not right either, but we see it in everything, even up to murder and child abuse. (Remember that story recently about a rich guy getting probation for child abuse because the judge decided jail wouldn’t be “kind” to him? Same damn thing.) We really need to start demanding that shit stop too.

FWIW, I have a cousin that escaped an abusive marriage and the courts took her side totally. But then her ex vanished and they wouldn’t do anything to try to hunt him down, leaving her without any child support for two kids. The system failed her too, just not as badly as it did your mom. I still think this guy got the same shaft though, and it’s not right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

the “men’s rights” or “father’s rights” crowd tends to be full of extremists who border on crazy

Cites or it didn’t happen, because “tends to be full of” smells exactly like the crap I used to pad papers with in high school.

>It’s just too bad that their extremism makes it impossible to support these groups.

Examples being? Because I don’t think you can actually back that statement up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, they’re full of perfectly decent normal people and a few very vocal crazies. Just like the other side of the same coin, feminists, are mostly perfectly good people drowned out by some very vocal sjw crazies.

If you think either group consists mostly of crazy people, you’ve been drinking the kool-aid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’ve got to disagree with you there, Mr. Fenderson.

“Yes, although the “men’s rights” or “father’s rights” crowd tends to be full of extremists who border on crazy,…”

That’s a pretty extreme statement to make, don’t you agree? I don’t think that the concept of rights for men or fathers is crazy, at all. If misogyny is wrong, then so must be misandry.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It is an extreme statement, yes, but in my experience it’s not that far off. Notice what I didn’t say — I didn’t say that all such organizations are extremist, nor did I say that all members of such organizations are extremists. However, there is a high level of extremism in this general part of society. It’s much like guns rights groups in this respect.

I didn’t start with this opinion. I arrived at it after I started writing about men’s issues for various such groups and became more exposed to them.

The concept of rights for men and fathers is not crazy at all. Misandry does certainly exist and is as objectionable as misogyny and any other form of bigotry. However, that’s tangential to what I’m talking about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Thanks for your response, Mr. Fenderson. I can certainly relate to not starting with an opinion.

Yes, I did notice how you chose your words.

“…there is a high level of extremism in this general part of society. It’s much like guns rights groups in this respect.”

That’s subjective, and I subjectively disagree. Let me just ask you, do you think that the high level of extremism you mention is related to the ideologies behind men’s rights and gun owner’s rights?

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Frankly from your story it sounds like her ex-husband was wealthy, powerful and connected. All recipes for making sure he’ll come out the winner in the courts.

Nope, he’s a guy with a horrible work ethic and an even worse temper which makes it very difficult to hold down a job long enough to become wealthy. I lost count of how many times, during those seven years, we had to move to another state entirely because he managed to screw things up so badly with his current employer that he not only lost his job but would never be able to work for anyone who would be able to contact that employer.

As for “powerful,” not in the way you’re thinking of. His social power comes from physical violence, bullying and intimidation. He’s quite good at that. We did get a guardian ad litem appointed at one point. He came by a grand total of once and then vanished. There’s more than one person and/or entire family who could greatly help our case if they weren’t absolutely petrified at the thought of actually testifying against him.

Connected: no. It’s hard to form a network of contacts when you’re constantly alienating people.

His power comes from having no morality to restrain him from doing things we are not willing to do, and from keeping his expenses extremely low by mooching off of others and refusing to pay child support, so that he can afford to fight things out in court and still have enough left over to fund lavish gifts to corrupt the children.

Robert Sund (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Safe policing

I really hope I have it wrong, but there seam to be ample evidence of refocusing of law enforcement, from keeping citizens safe to doing “safe policing”.

“Safe policing” as in:
Chatting up a lone woman, and tackling her when she gets scared and try to run away.
Attacking youngsters for sexting.
Pointing guns directly at scared children heads during drug searches at schools.
IP enforcement, sometimes with hole departments as in London.
Wrecking apartments instead of doing investigations. And often the wrong apartment. And with massive force, teargas, guns and terror gear.
Beating up homeless people.
*Several cars with armed police to assassinate a single animal in an animal shelter.

And the list goes on. They share a common trait: they provide no security for the population; they provide ample opportunity to display disproportional force; and they are safe, for the police.

Safety for the police is just as important as for other human beings. But the very low number of police killed at work do show that a significant number prefer to do such things instead of doing actual policing.

It is less popular to do things that can “provoke” such people as your father. It might get “unpleasant”. It won’t get an award. Nor a pension cushion from an monopolist. And it means working alone with scant backup. It might be dangerous. The same goes for city officials; there is so many needs that can be fulfilled which don’t piss off potentially unpleasant people.

Easier to pretend your family is safe, than to “pretend” it is safe enough that a single armed police officer can stay in your neighborhood, and others, alone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As long as a man who belongs six feet under, or at the very least in a jail cell, is running around free to corrupt my family, with the courts and justice system fully complicit in his acts, I will never believe that “fathers’ rights” are somehow unfairly under-represented

Wait, that doesn’t make sense. What are the two things are supposed to have to do with each other? They’re not really related. Every justice system is fallible.

I don’t understand why your personal anecdotal experience with an abusive parent and court system trumps reality when my own inverse experience of an abusive mother and trapped victimized father doesn’t.

And since I chose to come back home and take care of her as well as my father after his stroke, despite the fact that she once tried to gut me with a carving knife, among other things, I think I know better than you, because I’m harder enough that I can think more clearly.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“When my mom, after living through seven years of hell-on-earth, finally had an opportunity to take the kids and run…”

You say you think suicide is cowardly. Some would say that sticky around that long is cowardly too. Perhaps we should not make blanket statements about situations we don’t or can’t fully understand.

Vel the Enigmatic says:

Want to point something out.

Getting off the article’s topic. Something my own parents don’t seem to understand: The idea of releasing a work that’s run it’s course commercially to the public domain.

Perfect example being old cartoons that are no longer being shown anywhere by anyone on TV. Who’s making money off these copyrighted properties? Nobody, cause they aren’t doing anything with it. So what good is the copyright if what it’s protecting technically no longer needs it since it’s not being used at all?

Tim Shepard says:

Elkins Task Force

I’m wondering where did Chris Mackay’s divorce proceedings take place? In California? Did the recent unconstitutional legal gambits by the Elkins Task Force take a big part in his downfall? I am personally interested in airing the abuses by our superior courts in light of this group of profit seeking attorneys in defeating our legal system. I would like to see much more light shed on the Elkins Task Force cabal.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Wouldn’t the suicide note be actually a public document since its is Evidence of a crime (suicide is a criminal offense) and therefore is an evidence object under the courts systems; is written in the vein of talking to ALL (public at large); was posted on a world viewable site; Since it is denigrating (in the extreme) the actual person who is taking the copyright legal action and the legal representatives who are representing that action this means they are absolutely conflicted in the matter and either need someone else to take out the matter or suffer those consequences.

Personally having read the note I can see the Guy thought he had nothing left to loose but wanted EVERYONE to know why he took the ‘out’ that he did and to make sure his kids knew about everything.

That absolutely then transforms the suicide note into a lasting legal declaration (Will) of what he wants to occur both specifically and implied. The implied is that his ‘ex’ gets nothing and that the document as read is FOR ALL. It also could be classified as an Ethical Will with all that implies.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ah thought I’d read somewhere a while ago about Suicide notes & their legality, copyright, etc.

J. DeVoy an associate of Marc Randazza’s over at the Legal Satyricon wrote about all this way back in 2010 and brought up a lot of the points that I mentioned above.

Eugene Volock also wrote about them (and how to maybe do an end run around the copyright problem) that is linked to by DeVoy and is quite relevant to this thread too. especially about how maybe no one owns the actual copyright anymore.

alternatives() says:

Re: Re:

Wouldn’t the suicide note be actually a public document since its is Evidence of a crime (suicide is a criminal offense)

But crime evidence is only public once it is part of a court case.

If it was a civil case it is public up until the day the record gets sealed.

But actual case law would be amusing to see.

Anonymous Coward says:

It is sad, and quite telling about many who frequent Techdirt, that they appear to be unwilling or unable to entertain even the mere possibility that what is said here may be hurtful in the extreme to others who may be acting in what they believe is in the interests of their grieving family. Is it so hard to contemplate that a mother may wish to do what she can to try and mitigate the negative effects on her children of the public disclosure of something so personal as the suicide note? I’m sure it advances their coming to terms with what has happened th learn that their father was a cowherd, their mother a torturing b****/c***.

What is reflected here is a pathetic example of how the Internet enables the widespread dissemination of inconsiderate and hurtful comments at the very time they are most vulnerable.

Masnick, I have refrained my best from making personal my comments to you, but what you have done here and it’s all too predictable outcome leads me to conclude that your vitriol to anything even remotely touching copyright law in a manner that does not reflect your worldview blinds you to the possible consequences of your actions. A little empathy goes a long way. You and those who follow your lead should try it sometime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No defense of the former wife was made, so the premise of your comment lacks absolutely no basis in fact. That you seem to believe such support was given exhibits a lack of reading discrimination and comprehension. Your assumption of facts not in evidence, and then drawing conclusions in the absece of verified facts is the personification of intellectual laziness. Based on these characteristics my inclination, which I admit is a guess, is that you hold political office.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

For the sake of reading comprehension, please check yourself first:

“…so the premise of your comment lacks absolutely no basis in fact.”

What that says is that the comment lacks the absence of basis in fact, or put another way:

…so the premise of your comment (has) absolute(ly) basis in fact.

If a little empathy goes a long way, why should it not be extended to the deceased, as well?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Is it so hard to contemplate that a mother may wish to do what she can to try and mitigate the negative effects on her children of the public disclosure of something so personal as the suicide note?

It was far too late for that. She is either scummy for doing this for other reasons, or stupid for thinking it could work. Either way, no further harm is likely to be done by discussing the matter here.

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