Charles Carreon Tries To Intimidate Parodist With Bizarre List Of Demands Plus DMCA Takedown Threat

from the declaratory-judgment dept

Another day, another story about Charles Carreon digging himself a deeper and deeper hole. This time, it starts with him threatening to sue both the person who set up the parody site charles-carreon.com and Register.com, where the domain was registered. Register.com failed to live up to its own "privacy" promises regarding registration info, and exposed the name and personal info of the person who registered the site after receiving a letter from Carreon, despite direct promises to the person's lawyer. After another phone call in which the lawyer, Paul Levy, warned Register.com that it faced breach of contract charges, it made the info private again.

However, Carreon continued to threaten the blogger, leading to a rather bizarre exchange between Carreon and Levy, which relates to some history that Carreon has had with Levy's organization, Public Citizen, and a case we wrote about last year, involving a website run by Carreon and his wife. In the end, the owner of charles-carreon.com felt sufficiently threatened by Carreon's claims that s/he has decided to file for declaratory judgment to stop Carreon from suing. Part of the reason for seeking declaratory judgment was Carreon's direct threat to go after the blogger at a later date in various jurisdictions. He also threatened to use the DMCA takedown process to try to censor the site, because it uses a photo he claims copyright over. There's significant irony in the fact that Carreon is now threatening to abuse the DMCA process to stifle speech -- when what kicked this whole thing off was his DMCA-based defense of Funnyjunk and its failure to remove copyright-covered images.

Carreon's threat-letter response to Levy is something to behold, and can be viewed towards the bottom of the filing (pdf and embedded below). Here's a key part:
As far as when and where I will sue your client, be certain that it will occur if your client does not cede the domain, and advise her of ten things:
  1. There there is essentially no statute of limitations on this claim, and the prima facie laches defense would not kick in for at least three years.
  2. That venue in this action can be validly laid in at least three places, maybe four, if she doesn't live in Arizona, Florida, or California.
  3. That I am capable of employing counsel to handle my claim against her, who will incur attorneys fees and seek recovery of the same. I filed pro se against Inman simply for sake of convenience and the need for speed, and not from a lack of resources.
  4. That the law in this area cannot be predicted with certainty, will evolve substantially over the next three years, during which I will be using digital forensics to establish actual trademark damages in addition to seeking the maximum cybersquatting penalty of $100,000.
  5. That a judgment that recites that the domain was obtained by fraud upon the registrar, in the form of a misrepresentation that she did not know of my trademark on the name, might well be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.
  6. That a judgment can be renewed indefinitely until collected, and that California judgments accrue 10% interest, which can compound once ever ten years by capitalizing the accumulated interest.
  7. That you cannot guarantee that Public Citizen will provide her with free legal services on June 1, 2015, when I may very well send the process server 'round to her door.
  8. That I have the known capacity to litigate appeals for years (check my Westlaw profile, and of course, the drawn out history of Penguin v. American Buddha, now in its third year, having passed through the Second Circuit and the NYCA, and still hung up in personal jurisdiction in the SDNY).
  9. That the litigation, being of first impression in virtually every Circuit, grounded in a federal question, involving a registered trademark, and dispositive of many open issues in the field of Internet commerce and speech, might very well continue for a decade.
  10. That Public Citizen might well be unable and/or unwilling to provide her with representation until the resolution of such an extended course of litigation.
He goes on to chide Levy and Public Citizen for "leaping to the defense of someone who is in league with a person who has harnessed the lowest impulses of puerile, vituperative Internet youth to generate a Charitable Fund that has been used to bribe two major charities into tacitly endorsing a campaign that is utterly devoid of charitable purpose, and is a mere cover for a hate campaign."

Uh, yeah. At best, this demonstrates that Carreon still has no clue about what's happening. He still thinks that there's some big campaign against him, and he's still lashing out without realizing that every time he does so he just draws more negative attention to himself. Most people tend to learn that when doing something makes the situation worse, they shouldn't keep doing it. Carreon seems unable to make that basic connection. The rather blatant threats against the blog owner -- to go after her in multiples jurisdictions and at a later date when Public Citizen might not be able to take her case -- are examples of the exact wrong way to handle something like this. It's an old-fashioned lawyer attitude: take an extreme position that you can back down from later. But in this case, it just seems to display -- quite vividly for the judge -- Carreon's true intentions: to be such a nuisance that people stop mocking him. One of these days, he may discover that each time he does that, he's only encouraging more and more ridicule.

Oh, and in the meantime, as for his attempt at getting a temporary restraining order to stop the money raised from being distributed, the judge has asked for proof that the charities have received the money -- as has been stated by IndieGoGo and Matthew Inman. If that is shown to be true, it seems likely that the judge will find no reason to consider the TRO request any more, since it's meaningless.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jul 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re:

    ... all of the points are correct. You may not LIKE them, but they are factual and correct


    Mr Carreon writes in point 9:
    That the litigation, being of first impression in virtually every Circuit, grounded in a federal question, involving a registered trademark, and dispositive of many open issues in the field of Internet commerce and speech, might very well continue for a decade.


    We can all read: Mr Carreon asserts, as fact, that his purported cause of action against Doe is a question “of first impression in virtually every Circuit.”

    I'd call your attention to Mr Levy's letter of June 22, 2012, reproduced in “Attachment A” of the Doe v Carreon complaint :
    I have explained to you that Bosley Medical Center, 403 F.3d 672 (9th Cir. 2005), and Nissan Motor Co. v. Nissan Computer Co., 378 F.3d 1002 (9th 2004), both preclude the use of trademark law to stop my client's use of a web site posted at a domain name that uses your trademark as a site for nonp-commercial [sic] criticism directed at you. There are, indeed, numerous cases in other circuits that protect the right to use a domain name in the form www.trademark.com for a web site about the trademark holder against a variety of trademark claims. Utah Lighthouse Ministry v. Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, 527 F.3d 1045 (10th Cir. 2008);; Lamparello v. Falwell, 430 F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 2005);TMI v. Maxwell, 368 F.3d 433, 436-438 (5th Cir 2004); Taubmain v. Webfeats, 319 F3d 770 (6th Cir. 2003).


    From Bosley Medical v Kremer (9th Cir. 2005):
    SILVERMAN, Circuit Judge.

    Defendant Michael Kremer was dissatisfied with the hair restoration services provided to him by the Bosley Medical Institute, Inc. In a bald-faced effort to get even, Kremer started a website at www.BosleyMedical.com, which, to put it mildly, was uncomplimentary of the Bosley Medical Institute. The problem is that "Bosley Medical" is the registered trademark of the Bosley Medical Institute, Inc., which brought suit against Kremer for trademark infringement and like claims. Kremer argues that noncommercial use of the mark is not actionable as infringement under the Lanham Act. Bosley responds that Kremer is splitting hairs.

    Like the district court, we agree with Kremer. We hold today that the noncommercial use of a trademark as the domain name of a website — the subject of which is consumer commentary about the products and services represented by the mark — does not constitute infringement under the Lanham Act. . . .

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