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.
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Filed Under: cease and desist, copyright, streisand effect


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  1. identicon
    Beefcake, 8 Oct 2007 @ 9:20am

    Outrage is relative to image

    If a car mechanic was feeding their customers a load of crap, there would be no shortage of people arguing, threatening, and shouting at them despite having little or no knowledge of the workings of their car and frankly finding the mechanics involved to be mysterious and confusing.

    Yet when a lawyer sends a letter, many of those same people comply with the instructions because they have little or no knowledge of the workings of the law and frankly find the mechanics involved to be mysterious and confusing.

    It's amazing how easily impressed we are by the self-conjured image of a person in a suit, as opposed to when presented with the reality of a person in coveralls.

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