We get to see ridiculous legal threats all the time. Sometimes we get such legal threats directly (my favorite was the big name analyst firm that once threatened to sue us because we linked to their own press release), but more often we hear about the ridiculous legal threats made to others. However, in all the bizarre and ridiculous legal threats, it would appear that Mike Arrington over at TechCrunch may have just won the award for both the most ridiculous and the most persistently wrong threatener. Arrington shares on his site how he received an email demanding $150,000 for a photo of the actor Ashton Kutcher
that TechCrunch was using "to generate traffic and revenue." The guy sending the email claimed to represent the interests of the photographer of the photograph -- and said that if Arrington didn't pay up quickly (and quietly), he would file a suit for $1.5 million. It's hard to start on what's wrong with the lawsuit, but the obvious place is the simple fact that TechCrunch never
hosted the picture in question. Instead, someone in the comments once linked
to a website that hosted the picture, and if you did a search in Google for Kutcher's name, the photo showed up connected to TechCrunch because of that link.
Even ignoring the ridiculous amount being asked for and the clear confusion over how Google and the web work, what's even more bizarre about this is that when this was pointed out to the guy, rather than understanding what happened, he just became even more defensive. He somehow thought that it was TechCrunch's responsibility to get the photo taken off Google. He then started calling
TechCrunch's advertisers and threatening them
saying that they would be a part of the lawsuit that he was intending to file. Arrington wrote up a detailed explanation of this... and then the guy started posting a series of poorly spelled comments
trying to defend his position -- insisting that the photographer was "robed" and that it was clear TechCrunch had something to do with it. Congratulations, Mike, you've won the award for the most bizarre and persistently ridiculous legal threat we've seen. And that's saying a lot.