Don't Post This Cease-and-Desist Letter, Or Else

from the let's-test-that-theory dept

Greg Beck writes "In an apparent attempt to avoid the Streisand Effect, lawyers sending threat letters sometimes claim that the recipient would violate the firm's copyright by posting it online. This post is about Public Citizen's response to one dumb threat letter and its decision to post the letter online despite the copyright claim." It's funny how popular it has become for lawyers to claim it's illegal to post or even show anyone their cease-and-desist letters. Remember: just because a lawyer says so, it doesn't mean it's true. You can see Public Citizen's response to the letter (pdf), which lays out a variety of reasons why the cease and desist is ridiculous (it's yet another attempt to force criticism offline) and ends with a fantastic response to the claim that the original C&D is covered by copyright and cannot be posted online without additional charges: "By this letter, we are inviting you to test the validity of your theory that the writer of a cease and desist letter can avoid public scrutiny by threatening to file a copyright law suit if his letter is disclosed publicly on the internet." Somehow, I doubt the opposing lawyer will test out this theory.

Filed Under: cease and desist, copyright, streisand effect


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  1. identicon
    Craig Combs, 8 Oct 2007 @ 8:10pm

    Solution: anti-SLAPP motion to strike

    If some lawyer attempted to go after my client with this BS they would get an anti-SLAPP special motion to strike on their desk. My client would get his/her/its attorney's fees paid.

    Such a motion is available in California and in other states as well.

    Essentially, it is a way for the small guy to fight Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (big companies trying to shut the little guy up by suing him) by giving other lawyers incentive to take the cases on contingency. If this shit happens to you, contact the EFF; they send out emails to lawyers across the country who may take your defense on contingency.


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