This week’s Bulletin bounces off of my good friend and IP legal genius, Ron Coleman’s blog, Likelihood of Confusion. Apparently, Flickr (a private company) took down the below mash up of President Obama as The (Heath Ledger) Joker with no legal inducement or requirement to do so. (It does not appear that any cease and desist letter, DMCA complaint or as Ron put it, even “a note tied to a brick” was issued to Flickr.) Ron thinks it’s a smart move on Flickr’s part to remove the Obama-Joker photo art and makes the point that Flickr should not take any potential unnecessary copyright hits from DC Comics, Time. or the photographer, Platon, who took the original photo. While I value Ron’s often prescient views, there is a part of me screaming, “At least wait ’til they hit you before you fold!”. Read the full article on Ron’s blog. I absolutely agree it’s not censorship (poor taste isn’t against the law, as far as I know) but it does make me wonder where we are going with online IP law. Fear is not a good sign.
Looking around for a similar legal issue, I instead found a unique (and somewhat related) lawsuit in my own backyard:
The Plaintiff: Jeffery Stambovsky
The Defendant: Helen V. Ackley
The Lawsuit: In 2007, Stambovsky purchased Ackley’s house in Nyack, New York, for $650,000. When he later discovered that the house was “haunted,” he sued Ackley for failing to disclose the presence of poltergeists.
The Verdict: Guilty. Unfortunately for her, Ackleyhad bragged to friends for years that the place was spooked. She was even interviewed by Readers Digest for an article (placed online) on haunted houses. The judge found that Ackley should have told Stambovsky everything about the house, noting that the existence of ghosts meant that she had actually broken the law by not leaving the house vacant. This one roused my curioisity to the point of further investigation. Check WestLaw’s article on the case and decision.)
Repeatedly cited was the seller’s blogging and Reader’s Digest article on what she referred to as her “haunted” house. (Tangentially related: did the judge really rule that, in effect, the presence of a “ghost” rendered the home inhabited???)
BNI Operatives: Street smart; Web savvy; Verdict confused.
We hope and trust you have all had the opportunity to take a break and vacation this summer. It’s shortly back to the heavy grind.
As always, be safe.
TIP OF THE WEEK FOR OUR SUBSCRIBED READERS: There may be times when you need to legitimately record a phone call. It may be a call than you can reasonably presume will go long and time out your cell or landline phone’s capability and even that of a separate recording device. Read your email Bulletin version for the solution.