Cartoonist Donna Barstow Reappears To Generate More Negative Press While Attempting To Stifle Year-Old Negative Press

from the apparently-she-was-off-acquiring-bigger-shovels dept

Everything old is new again, copyright troll-wise. Just recently, we witnessed the return of one of internet's stranger denizens, one hit wonder Shaun "Tongues of Glass" Shane and his army of Twitter accounts deployed to ensure his oft-tweeted banalist poem is properly attributed to the gruff man with unparalleled page-turning skills.

Ken White at Popehat notes that another copyright-wielding troll has emerged from hiding. Donna Barstow, the "cartoonist" whose unfunny drawings drew the (highly negative) attention of Something Awful goons (that's their chosen name, by the way, not a statement of judgment), has ended her self-imposed hiatus by issuing a backdoor-entrance takedown attempt aimed at delisting White's highly critical post from 2012.

I wrote about her in July 2012, which resulted in a truly surreal phone call from her. I also wrote about her odd follow-up rant in which she suggested that copyright is a federal crime. Apparently she actually meant that copyright violation is a federal crime. I think.

Anyway, this morning (that is, nearly 17 months after I wrote about her) I got an email from Google indicating that she had complained that my post contained private information:


We're writing from to bring the following page to your attention:

A Whois search indicated that you're the host for this page.

A concerned user contacted us to report that handwritten signature is published on this page. We hope that you'll assist this individual in restricting access to this private information by removing the page from the web. If it's changed to return a true 404 error via the http headers, please let us know and we'll also remove the listing from the Google index.

We appreciate your assistance. Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

The Google Team

On 11/18/13 15:54:25 wrote:

your_name: D. Barstow
webmaster_info_live: agree



webmaster_info_contacted: agree


hidden_subject_signature: Your personal information removal request for a handwritten signature
As you can see, Donna Barstow considers her signature -- the same signature she attaches to every cartoon she creates -- to be "personal information." Apparently, Barstow's idea of "personal" means "things anyone can access."
There's only one place Ms. Barstow's signature appears in my post about her — it's in her cartoon about Mexico, which I put in the post to comment upon it, criticize it, and report on ongoing allegations that some of her cartoons are racist or otherwise obnoxious. It's the signature that she displays to the world in all of the cartoons she publishes. It's "private" in the sense that you can't see it unless you look at one of her cartoons on her web site or published elsewhere by her.
White has written back to Google clarifying the situation. Presumably, Google won't follow through with this request, but stranger things have happened. It appears Barstow's earlier experience with the limitations of copyright law may have taught her at least one thing: the copyright angle probably won't work. Consequently, she has chosen to approach this from an entirely different (but still completely wrong) angle.

Speaking of stranger things, Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing points out that Charles Carreon may be behind Barstow's latest effort. His post dated November 24th details a conversation he had with the "poor woman" who contacted him about concerns that he might be posting about her at a site using Carreon's name. (The site is a "satirical diary" and is [quite obviously] not written by Charles Carreon, "Internet Lawyer".) In the long and winding post, Carreon eventually unloads plenty of hate in Ken White's direction and presumably did the same while calming Donna Barstow, victim of hundreds of self-inflicted wounds.

If this call was recent, Barstow's reaction time is horribly slow. The post she referenced in her conversation with Carreon appeared in July of 2012 (as did Popehat's). It looks as if Barstow's making a belated attempt to clean up her reputation and is apparently assuming it's so long after the fact that no one will care. Obviously, she's wrong. The takedown attempt aimed at Popehat most likely won't work and her effort has generated a minimum of three negative posts in response. Anyone else she targets will just contribute to the body of negative press she's accumulated since going nuclear last summer.

There are lessons to be learned here, but Barstow doesn't seem to have learned anything from her previous experience other than she's run the wheels off the copyright angle.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: censorship, donna barstow, ken white, popehat, signature, takedown
Companies: google

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    btrussell (profile), 3 Dec 2013 @ 7:16am


    We're writing from"

    Who the fuck are you? I don't care if you are writing from walmart, have a legal problem, call a cop.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.