Thursday, March 11, 2010

Copyright Infringement My Ass

So this morning, I check my e-mail, and I find the following from Twitter aficionado and fledgling blogger Lynn ************ ******, the mind behind Bloggapalooza. It seems that a friend of hers stumbled across my recent NBC Olympic coverage rant, and decided that I had stolen copyrighted material from her. That led to my receiving this:


It has come to my attention that you have taken one of my blog postings from Bloggapalooza (re: NBC Olympic coverage) and used it word for word in your blog, without attribution or out links. As my blog is copywrited and has clear rules about reposts, you are in violation. Please attribute my post and link to mine, or take it down. And an apology would be nice.

************ ******

"And an apology would be nice?"

She obviously doesn't know who she's dealing with, does she? One of the first things that any legitimate journalist learns is that sometimes you get your best ideas from other sources. Did I incorporate some of her ideas into my summary? Absolutely! The main difference is that I'm a better writer than she is, and while I used some of her ideas, I sure as hell re-wrote them and made them more comprehensible.

I responded to her e-mail:

Considering the number of copyrighted photographs you use on your blog, all I have to say is: "Those who live in glass houses..."

No apology will be forthcoming from me.

I will consider a flame war between our blogs if you'd like, especially since it will only drive up my traffic.

That, and the next time you deliver anything interesting, I'll throw you a link if I use any of it, because I do like your attitude. The fact that you came at me like you have some worthwhile legal recourse tells me that there is a toughness I can respect under your righteous indignation. (You don't by the way. I was the General Manager of a large law firm in New York that specializes in Copyright Law before I decided to go to work for myself.)

If you really want to push the issue, do whatever you'd like. I'm covered from all legal angles, and it would certainly give me "bloggable" material, as my readers live for me doing battle and putting it out there for them to see.


Jonathan K. Lee

P.S. Or, we could be completely non-confrontational, and trade links from time to time. I leave it completely up to you.

On "Bloggapalooza", she describes herself as follows:

"My name is Lynn ************ ******. I’m an agency born-and-bred marketing consultant, crackerjack writer, social media dynamo, political junkie and opinionated mom. I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area."

She followed up my e-mail with this:

That's a highly defensive and warlike attitude from you, considering you are trying to pass off my work as your own. All I am asking is that you remove the portions that are by me, or simply credit me and link to my blog. It is not an unreasonable thing to expect, especially as you claim to be knowledgeable of intellectual property and copyright infringement (which, by the way, carries a $150,000 penalty, as I'm sure you're aware).

I will ask again that you comply with my request. If the rest of your content is not likewise stolen, it is interesting and well-written, and I would not mind a link-trading relationship. I am, after all, not interested in this war you seem to want, only that I am credited when others use my work. After all, if you are really that intelligent, you can probably write good copy without stealing it.

Otherwise, I will go to the next level... and that level will not be a "flame war" but a legal one.

Oooooo... She's threatening me with lawyers!!! Whatever shall I do???

I'll tell her she can take a drink of this:
My reply was a masterpiece of simplicity:

Do whatever you wish.

I'm covered.

Which was followed by this "Cease and Desist" letter:

Dear Mr. Jonathan Lee,

You are using a work for which I own the copyright. The name of the work involved is “10 Reasons Why NBC Should Lose Its Olympic Broadcast Rights; Or ‘How I Learned To Hate The Coolest Sporting Event In The World’”. It appears on a site operated by you at Misplaced in The Midwest/”NBC’s Olympic Failure”. I have reserved all rights to this work, which was first published on on Feb. 18, 2010.

Your copying and or use of my work, which appear at the link above, is unauthorized. You neither asked for nor received permission to use the piece nor to make or distribute copies of them in the manner you have. Furthermore, you have taken credit for my work and caused confusion as to whom the original author of the work is. Therefore, I believe you have willfully infringed my rights under 17 USC §101, et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages as high as $150,000. Further, such copyright infringement is a direct violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and International Copyright Law.

I demand that you immediately cease the use and distribution of the work and all copies of it, that you remove any further works you may have stolen and that you desist from this or any other infringement of my rights in the future. Furthermore, I demand that you post an apology on the site clarifying who the real author is and that you inform others that might have been misled by your misuse of the works’ origins.

If I have not received proof of compliance from you within 72 hours, I shall consider taking the full legal remedies available to rectify this situation including contacting my lawyer and/or your site’s administrators.



Apparently, my new best friend Lynn has forgotten about this little tidbit that she has placed on her own blog:

"This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a “fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and educational purposes."

Hmmm... methinks she's attempting to apply a double standard here...

Tell you what Lynn... I'll run with this as far as you want to take it. You're almost hot enough to make this bantering worth my while.

In the meantime Lynn, this is the mental image I have of you:
Nothing but love for you Bloggapalooza.

I swear.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
See you tomorrow.


  1. She needs to grow a set and grow up. FAIR USE.

  2. Seriously? I looked at her blog and re-read yours. There is no copyright infringement here Jonathan.

    She sure as hell uses a lot of photos that don't belong to her though.

    *grabs popcorn and pulls up a chair*

    This is going to be entertaining as hell... she obviously has no idea who she's spouting copyright law to.

  3. I know, right? All she's going to do is increase my traffic when her buddies start commenting and flaming.

    I welcome the additional traffic, and suggest that MY readers feel free to visit HER blog to see what she's got her panties in a bunch about.

  4. I'm pulling up a chair too! How long do you think it will take for this Blogapalooza chick to realize that she's going up against a combination of Shaft, King Kong, and the old chinese guy from every kung-fu movie ever made?

  5. This, please, with a side of awesomesauce.

    It's certainly going to be entertaining to watch. :)

  6. Oh man, this is gonna be GOOD.

  7. ARENA!!! Two bloggers enter, one blogger leaves!

    Jonathan is gonna hand this chick her ass on a platter!

  8. I have read your posts in the past and they are pretty good. I have never commented on any of your blogs, but felt the need to do so now.

    This post had prompted me to go and read her blogs. In going through the corresponsdence that you have posted here, I am wondering why it was and is so hard for you to give her credit. In reading the blog where you have obviosly borrowed her content, it is in black and white that the top 10 did not come from you. I am not an expert in copywrite law, not in journalism, but a fan of good writing. However, she does bring up a good question in her complaint. If you are free to borrow content as you have done here. How much of what you post is original, and how much is "cut and pasted". IMO, that is what I will be asking myself, if I continue to read your blog posts.

  9. @ The reader that posted above:

    The issue is not about giving credit where credit is due.

    The issue is the fact that she is claiming that I "stole" her work WORD FOR WORD.

    While I freely admit that I got the core idea for my article from her, by no means does my finished product resemble her "original" content enough for her to have any claim of copyright infringement.

    I most certainly am not going to give credit and reciprocal links to every person that gives me an IDEA for a blog entry, that would be absolutely ridiculous.

    In a nutshell:

    1. She claims I exactly copied her work word-for-word. It should be quite clear to anyone who reads her work, and mine that they are certainly not identical.

    2. My work is significantly longer than hers, and covers a wider view of the general topic being discussed.

    3. She has served me with a Cease and Desist letter, and threatened me with what amounts to a frivolous $150,000 lawsuit.

    4. I'll put my knowledge of United States Copyright Law up against ANY attorney. I know it inside and out. She has absolutely no case whatsoever, and a two-minute telephone discussion with whoever her copyright attorney is will end with said attorney apologizing for wasting my time.

    If you wish to stop reading, that's your deal, and it's too bad for you, because you're gonna miss out on some informative, entertaining, and sometimes downright funny shit.

    Which is why you read this blog to begin with.

  10. I think if there was no wrong done here initially, then they would not have taken your original post off. I see that you do give her credit now, but, really do you have to be that disrespectful towards the other blogger. I think her reaction is justified, since you seem to be the one being the attacker.

    I am not you, but really, what are you going to gain here. Leave well enough alone and go about your business. You can attribute a stupid you tube posting of the Muppetts doing Bohemian Rhapsody to a friend of yours, but you could not attribute her content that you used to her on your NBC blog???

    In the end all she wanted was to be credited. I would think that anybody who writes for a living would want to be credited for their work.

    As another individual had commented on this string, your attitude is a turn off, and for me, your overall attitude with this other blogger is uncalled for. You seem to be the agressor in all this. In reading the emails that you posted, I see no agressive attacks on you, however, you feel compelled to go after her.

    Would not be a bad idea to change your attribute to her as well. No need to call her teh "C" word. In the end, you were in the wrong.

  11. @ The commenter above:

    I see that there is a concerted effort by "friends" of the Lynnster to spam EVERY comment section of EVERY one of my postings.

    I reiterate (hopefully for the LAST time) that Lynnarama "borrows" nearly all of the content she posts, and quite clearly states in her "disclaimer" that she WILL take copyrighted content from elsewhere, and NOT give credit or attributions.

    She, and YOU can bite me.

    She's screaming about someone using content, when that exactly what SHE does.

    'nuff said.