Playboy Decides Not To Appeal Silly Boing Boing Lawsuit In The Most Petulant Manner Possible

from the nice-one-guys dept

Well that all happened remarkably quickly. In November, we wrote about Playboy filing a particularly ridiculous lawsuit against the blog Boing Boing for linking to (but not hosting) an Imgur collection and YouTube video highlighting basically all Playboy centerfold images. Boing Boing explained to the court in January that linking is not infringement and the judge dismissed the case in February. And while the court left it open for Playboy to file an amended complaint, it also made it clear that Playboy had basically no chance of winning the case.

So it should be of little surprise that the case is now officially over, with Playboy releasing an impressively silly statement to Cyrus Farivar over at Ars Technica:

Playboy's dispute with Boing Boing is about one party (Boing Boing) willfully profiting from infringement upon the intellectual property of another party (Playboy). This is not David vs. Goliath, it is not about the first amendment and it is not an attack about linking. It is about preventing a party from driving its profits off of piracy.

Despite being informed that it was promoting infringement, Boing Boing has left up its post to try to make even more money. It is unfortunate that a site that has at times created original content is fighting so hard for a right to profit from infringing content.

Boing Boing has argued to the court that it should not be legally responsible for making money off of content it knows to be infringing as long as Boing Boing is not the original infringer. That is not editorial integrity. It is not ethical journalism. It is supporting and contributing to piracy and content creators should not tolerate it.

Although we are not refiling an amended complaint at this time, we will continue to vigorously enforce our intellectual property rights against infringement.

John Vlautin / Corporate Communications
Playboy Enterprises

Okay, so notice there's a whole bunch of pure nonsense before admitting the company won't make things worse (and certainly throw away money) on filing an amended complaint. What's quite incredible is just how... wrong nearly everything is that Playboy says. It's fairly obvious that John Vlautin is not a lawyer and basically knows fuck all about copyright or free speech. Indeed, he's basically been an entertainment industry flack for his career, doing PR/communications for record labels and Live Nation, as well as his own firm, which apparently now represents Playboy.

Anyway, let's be clear: having an old blog post linking offsite is hardly "willfully profiting from infringement." Indeed, the court ruled that what Boing Boing was doing was not infringement. That Vlautin ignores all that just makes him look like a petulant sore loser. And, yes, sorry John, but suing a website for what it legally posted is very much a First Amendment issue. And, remember, John, you work for a company, Playboy, which has historically been a strong First Amendment supporter. Hell, the Hugh Hefner Foundation still gives out First Amendment Awards each year. And, in the past, those awards have included people like copyright scholar Pam Samuelson and EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow (who was a vocal critic of copyright laws and how they are used to censor speech).

Also, it's amusing that Vlautin is mocking Boing Boing's arguments in court (which he totally misrepresents) when Boing Boing won. If the argument was so absurd, why did the court rule against Playboy and why is Playboy not filing an amended complaint? Playboy lost, and the company should know better than to employ a PR flack who doesn't know what he's talking about in sending out petulant statements that reflect exceptionally poorly on the company.

Filed Under: copyright, first amendment, free speech, john vlautin, linking
Companies: boing boing, playboy

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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Mar 2018 @ 7:39pm

    Impressive, for all the wrong reasons

    I thought children were good at throwing tantrums, but this guy has certainly got them beat.

    Between filing a lawsuit that was dismissed at the outset, and now this individual acting like a petulant child claiming that he didn't really want the thing he was told he couldn't have(and despite what the judge said he was totally right, honest), Playboy really needs to start sacking people and hiring individuals that don't just waste money and make them look even worse.

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