Post Semi-Nude Photos Of Celebs Doing Drugs... Get Hit With C&D That You Can't Show Anyone
from the that's-not-how-it-works... dept
Of course, these days you half assume that such stories are planted on purpose to build up the reputations of various desperate b- or c-list celebs. And, of course, claiming that the cease-and-desist is covered by copyright almost guarantees that it will get more attention. This is somewhat standard language on many cease-and-desist letters, but it's unlikely that there is any legal basis for it. There is little creative effort in the cease and desist, which is mostly boilerplate. It's difficult to see much copyright being allowed. Even if there was (and anyone want to bet on whether or not the letter was registered?) it would appear that fair use would allow the publication of the letter, despite the claims that:
This letter is a confidential legal communication and is not for publication. Any publication, dissemination or broadcast of any portion of this letter will construe a breach of confidence and a violation of the U.S. Copyright Act.Good luck testing that one in court. First of all, even if the letter really was covered by copyright, fair use would almost certainly protect the publication of the whole thing (for the sake of reporting), if not "portions" of it. And the claim of "breach of confidence" is a huge stretch as well. That's usually applied to things like doctor-patient relationships. Arguing that the lawyers for Tess Taylor and the site TheDirty.com have any sort of "confidential" relationship established is beyond ridiculous.
As for the reasoning behind the C&D... that seems to come from similarly questionable legal theory. The lawyers rely on California's "rights of privacy and publicity," but the law in question there was written to protect celebrities from having their images used in advertisements for endorsement purposes. It's a stretch to suggest those same rights apply simply to "photos you don't like... because they're published on a for-profit site." Again, it seems just as likely that the whole ordeal was cooked up for publicity anyway, but it's still annoying to see various laws abused in this manner -- whether the letter represents a real legal threat or is just part of a publicity campaign.