Thursday, October 8, 2009

Flaunting A Legal Claim As Genuine As This Photo

In one of the early posts on this blog, I expressed my frustration with bogus legal claims, which is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my exasperation with our country's legal system. A little background here: for most people, sitting down at a table full of lawyers is their idea of a nightmare, for me it is a typical Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, they are proud that I was one of the first in my family not to attend law school.

Back to the picture. A blog called PhotoShop Disasters posted the above image with the comment, "Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis". I learned from this article at the great blog Techdirt that Ralph Lauren's lawyers issued a legal notice called a "DMCA takedown" against the blog. DMCA is the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act", a hideous piece of legislation that, among other things, requires ISPs to remove any content that someone accuses of being infringing of their copyright.

Of course, this commentary is clearly Fair Use, which is exempt from copyright by both common law and the 1976 Copyright Act. Fair Use exemptions include reproductions for the purpose of criticism and commentary, as was the purpose of the original post, as well as the one you are reading now.

Here is the copy of the notice that Ralph Lauren's attorney sent to another site that reproduced the image as I am doing in the post.

The brilliant lawyer who signed this bogus threat, G. Roxanne Elings of the law firm Greenburg Traurig should probably be fired and/or disbarred.

This nonsense threat is an abuse of the legal system and is, of course, bringing tons of attention to this otherwise obscure blog, against the supposed interests of their client, Ralph Lauren. Note to Ms. Elings, this is known as the Streisand Effect.

On the other hand, I would think that their client would want people to see their advertisements, right? Isn't that the purpose of an ad? Maybe she is craze like a fox? Probably not, as the original blog post was taken down by the ISP, in unfortunate compliance with the bogus threat.

Here's hoping Steele Street also gets a takedown notice from Ralph Lauren.

I would be honored.

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