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How Not to Write a Cease-and-Desist Letter

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the love-seeing-bullies-get-bullied dept.

The Courts 235

In our overly litigious society it seems that many companies are all too happy to fire off a cease-and-desist letter if they see something they don't like. Many times these letters end up online just causing further embarrassment for the company. One such company has decided to try scaring their targets out of this response by including a copyright notice for their cease-and-desist letter. Public Citizen has fielded one of these dumb letters and has invited them to try to assert their cease-and-desist copyright (which isn't even registered).

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235 comments

HOW NOT TO WRITE A SLASHDOT TROLL. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900325)


     

Re:HOW NOT TO WRITE A SLASHDOT TROLL. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900461)

FIST PROUST!

All aboard the Short Bus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900629)

We're taking a trip to the Infomercial Complaint Blog.

Ssh! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900339)

Don't tell Darl about this.

*READ BEFORE POSTING PLEASE* (5, Insightful)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901167)

1. You do not need to register a copyright in the US to enforce it.
2. You DO need to register it before pursuing legal action in the US AND damages are limited to actual damages, not statutory damages. Legal fees expended in defending the copyright are also ineligible to be claimed in this case.

There are about 50 posts in this thread already going back and forth on this point and it's really clouding up what is a good discussion.

Good idea / bad idea (5, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900359)

How to get bad press: http://farmersreallysucks.com/editorialtakedown1.shtml [farmersreallysucks.com]
How to get *good* press: http://farmersreallysucks.com/editorialgetafirstlife.shtml [farmersreallysucks.com]
-nB

Re:Good idea / bad idea (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900483)

The Linden Labs non-C&D is hysterical.

Re:Good idea / bad idea (4, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900645)

The Linden Labs non-C&D is hysterical.
I don't think it can get much better than this:

In conclusion, your invitation to submit a cease-and-desist letter is hereby rejected.
Point is, LL got just as much (or more) publicity from this letter as they would have gotten from a normal C&D, but instead it's all positive. By responding they secured their position of ownership, while not looking like asshats. IMHO most C&Ds are written from the perspective that if the company does not respond they risk trademark dilution issues. The problem is they respond wrongly, not that they respond. In the case of my C&D from Farmers, they quote all the commercial portions of US code and none of the sections that deal with comment or criticism. Once you read through Title 15 and 17 you will find that it explicitly negates its self when dealing with the personal side of publication. Specifically:

(4) The following shall not be actionable under this section:
                (A) Fair use of a famous mark by another person in comparative
        commercial advertising or promotion to identify the competing goods
        or services of the owner of the famous mark.
                (B) Noncommercial use of a mark.
                (C) All forms of news reporting and news commentary.
So all a lawyer has to do is send a letter stating that they are asserting trademark ownership and such, while recognizing this particular application of their trademark is protected. They could then go on to request alterations as they see fit, and likely get a much more positive response.
-nB

Re:Good idea / bad idea (5, Insightful)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900897)

Yes. It's amazing how good a response you can get by asking nicely and not being a dick about something.

Copyright registration (5, Informative)

bnisonger (857781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900369)

There is no registration or notice requirement anymore to assert copyright.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

imasu (1008081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900395)

Was about to post this myself.

MOD PARENT down (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901323)

TFA never stated that there was no copyright, only that it wasn't registered,
If they thought there was no copyright at all, they wouldn't have needed to mention that their publshing of it was fair use.
Winning a suit for an un-registered copyright can only get you actual damages, which would be approximately $0.00 in this case.

Re:Copyright registration (1)

monkeySauce (562927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900485)

Yeah, IANAL but I have seen stuff like this mentioned numerous places: "Thus, a natural copyright exists from the time a work is invented or created, regardless of whether it has been registered with a particular Copyright Office." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright [wikipedia.org]

I have no idea about the fair use question, but it seems a copyright would apply to the letter either way. Perhaps an IAAL could clear this up?

Re:Copyright registration (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900491)

There is no registration or notice requirement anymore to assert copyright.

But isnt such a letter being sent to the complain about the forum's users useless unless all the potential "users" of the forum that are being ceased and desisted can read it (ie: everyone on the intertubes)? By posting it, the "defendant's" law firm is just notifying everyone that might be involved of whats going on, and that someone is complaining about their opinions, so they better stop complaining about the scammy infomertial company.

tm

Re:Copyright registration (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900493)

True, however it is considered good for to register copyright before claiming damages for violating said copyright.
Also, IIRC an unregistered copyright, while still protected, is not as enforceable. That is to say, damages awarded against violation of the copyright are negligible, and often limited to the infringer being barred from continued infringement only, and no monetary damages awarded.
-nB

Re:Copyright registration (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901009)

Also, IIRC an unregistered copyright, while still protected, is not as enforceable. That is to say, damages awarded against violation of the copyright are negligible, and often limited to the infringer being barred from continued infringement only, and no monetary damages awarded.

Copyright is copyright. One copyright is not stronger than another copyright.

The only difference between a registered and unregistered copyright is the burden of proof. It is just slightly harder to prove that you own the copyright when it's unregistered. Registration is the process whereby the government implicitly grants acceptance of your proof in advance of any legal action. Without registration, you just have to be able to prove you own the copyrights at the time you take any legal action. But it's not that hard - the old trick of mailing a copy of something to yourself as soon as you've created it still works just like it always did. (Dated postmark.) But there are plenty of other ways of documenting copyright.

This is, of course, assuming what you're copyrighting is copyrightable.

Re:Copyright registration (5, Informative)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901285)

From the US Copyright office FAQ on registration http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#register [copyright.gov]:

When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section "Copyright Registration."

Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section "Copyright Registration" and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works.

I've heard about a "poor man's copyright." What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a "poor man's copyright." There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration [ephasis added by me].

so the mailing it to yourself adds no special protection.

Re:Copyright registration (3, Informative)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901741)

---The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a "poor man's copyright." There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration

Thats just false. If you do NOT register a valid work, you must prove it is yours. By providing a federal datestamp, it does provide some basic claim that it was created by X date.

You still cannot sue for violating copyright if you didnt register it. The mail trick only works in preventing others from suing YOU.

Re:Copyright registration (5, Informative)

belmolis (702863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901317)

Copyright is copyright. One copyright is not stronger than another copyright.

The only difference between a registered and unregistered copyright is the burden of proof.

Sorry, this is wrong. Registration of the copyright provides a number of advantages, which are summarized here [copyright.gov] by the Copyright Office. Among them is that, if the copyright is registered within three months of publication or prior to infringement, statutory damages and attorney's fees may be obtained. If not, only actual damages may be recovered by the copyright owner. In the case of a letter such as this, which has no commercial value, actual damages would be zero, so the failure to register the letter effectively eliminates any financial recovery. (Of course, the author of the letter is unlikely to succeed in the threatened suit since this is an absolutely classic case of Fair use.)

Re:Copyright registration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901349)

The dated postmark trick is a Hollywood invention. The post office will deliver any envelope with a stamp on it, sealed or not.

Re:Copyright registration (1)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900547)

There is no registration or notice requirement anymore to assert copyright.

I was wondering quite where the assertion that there is no copyright in the letter comes from. Certainly its not a slam dunk, obviously abusive claim.

I think you could plausibly argue that publishing the letter is fair use in the circumstances, but that is fair use of a copyright material, not a demonstration that there is no copyright. The difference being that you would need to littigate rather a lot to establish a precedent.

Its still a very bad idea to bring up the claim since it reinforces the appearance that the intention is to suppress negative comment. That is not a clever thing to do in a defamation case, particularly in a US court. A particularly vindictive judge might well strike out the defamation case but not the copyright claims.

Now the threat to sue in Canada on the other hand is not such a great idea since there is more to Canada than strict defamation laws, they also have laws against abusive copyright claims.

Re:Copyright registration (4, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900813)

A legal notice, prepared so as to be admissible in a court proceeding, becomes a document of the court. As such, its broader publication is from then on to be determined by a judge, who could, for example seal the record, theoretically including the document. Unless a judge actually did this, the document is part of the public record, subject to various 'sunshine laws' and basic rules for federal proceedings, that override any assertion of copyright.
        The proper method to deal with publication is to go ahead and press the case, and ask the judge to issue an order prohibiting both sides from discussing the case in public forums as a pre-trial motion. There is no real venue to stop publication of the legal notice short of actually taking the case to court, and there are some powerful SCOTUS decisions on the first amendment issues involved that say any such method would be prior restraint.

(please note my Sig. Any actual lawyers please feel free to correct me if I have got anything wrong here.)

Re:Copyright registration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900615)

Parent is correct - copyright is never "registered" in USA. Trademarks can be registered, but even this is not required to be protected. Know thy rights:

http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/index.html [stanford.edu]

Re:Copyright registration (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900687)

'Never' is misleading. Not required, but helpful. Especially if you intend to make money off your work.

I don't plan to register any of my school essays, but if I ever get around to writing the great American novel, I'd probably consider registering it.

Re:Copyright registration (5, Informative)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900727)

Well... You are quite right that you do not need to register a work in order to have a copyright on it (at least in the U.S.). But, you can't sue somebody for infringement unless you've registered the original work. You can register after the infringement and then sue, but you still have to register.

Re:Copyright registration (1)

shashi (56458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900887)

Thank you... I'm glad someone around here actually knows how copyright registration and infringement suits work. :p

Re:Copyright registration (2, Insightful)

melanarchy (109486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901197)

That is a distinction that doesn't make any sense, since you can register and sue at the same time, registration becomes a part of a lawsuit, not something you have to wait around for before filing your suit.

Re:Copyright registration (2, Insightful)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901685)

You can register and sue to have have the unlicensed distribution ceased. You can't sue for damages you think already incurred. Copyright and patents last for a finite amount of time and you are only afforded protection from the date it starts (when you register) to the date it expires. Any infringement before and after are not liable for cost of damages.

Also, I believe there is a time limit. In the case of patents, I think this is two years. If you do not patent an invention within two years of its conception, you no longer qualify for the patent. The law has been extended lately to automatically provide a small set of protection to anything published (including stuff on the internet, which isn't considered public domain).

Re:Copyright registration (4, Informative)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901489)

But, you can't sue somebody for infringement unless you've registered the original work. You can register after the infringement and then sue, but you still have to register.

I was about to correct you, but I went to the US Code to find a relevant quote, and holy crap, it looks like you're right! Title 17, Chapter 4, 411:

"Except for an action brought for a violation of the rights of the author under section 106A (a), and subject to the provisions of subsection (b), no action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title."

The exceptions in 106A appear to be about plagiarism/misrepresentation cases, not about simple "making unlicensed copies".

I thought you registered your copyrights so you'd be eligible for statutory damages and attorneys' fees in a lawsuit. That's in the law, but it's just a reason to register copyright before any infringement begins rather than right before you sue. You learn something new every day. This must be why lawyers charge the big bucks.

Re:Copyright registration (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900917)

The thing I find interesting about their Copyright claim is, the copyright "owners" sent them the copyrighted material with out their consent, but requires their interaction. So if a musician sends me a copy of their music for my review and I don't agree with the terms of their copyright I don't have to review it, but if your mortgage company sends you a letter involving your account and there was nothing in the original contract stipulating copyrighted correspondence then are you forced to agree with their terms?

Basically can you force someone into agreeing to a contract using these terms? I could send a C&D letter to anyone I want for any reason and having the copyright terms worded in a way that would force stipulations upon you, which of course would co-relate with my C&D terms. Ending up with a request that is mandatory to fulfill with out your decision or by any other obligation.

I could take great advantage of this by sending urgent legal action notices saying the copyright terms of the letter are for you to deposit money into an account:)

Re:Copyright registration (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901455)

You reading the document does not invoke any copyright issues. You should even be able to hand the orginal to someone else (not copying it) without copyright ever coming up.

The only way anything like that could have any effect is if you then copied the document, in whole or in part. Until then you haven't done anything but read what you were given.

Re:Copyright registration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901691)

No, if I send you a letter, you don't have to agree to any terms in it. But, the letter is copyrighted by me and you are not free to post the text within it willy-nilly.

This is already established law: If I send you a letter, I retain the copyright on the text. You, however, retain possession of the physical letter, itself, and can show that letter to anybody you wish. There was a lawsuit regarding the personal letters written by an author to someone else where the letters were being published in a book (and I want to say it had to do with J.D. Salinger or perhaps Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, but I can't recall.) The estate of the author was claiming copyright and the publisher was claiming ownership.

The courts concluded that there is a difference between the physical letter and the words used within. Both sides are correct in their claims so if the book publishers want to publish the letter, they have to do it as one would reference a letter.

I can't take the text from Harry Potter, retypeset it, rebind it, and sell it on the street corner. That would be a violation of copyright held by the publisher of the text. But, I can certainly sell my copy of the text or sell my book that comments upon the text (including quotes from the text) etc.

Re:Copyright registration (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901765)

Correct, not since 1976. But you still need to register if you wish to file a lawsuit.

I already have a copyright... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900387)

On cease-and-desist-cease-and-desisting letters and any related business processes.

I'm going to be a rich man.

Re:I already have a copyright... (2, Funny)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901733)

You can't have a copyright on something generic, however you could have a patent on it -- at least in those countries that allow such stupidities.

Oy vey.... (3, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900413)

Oh noes! Someone wrote something mean about my company on the internet! I gots to sue them!

Please, God (or other available deity), strike these litigious dumbasses with your holy fire/hammer/lightning from the sky (as appropriate).

Re:Oy vey.... (5, Funny)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901135)

Please, God (or other available deity), strike these litigious dumbasses with your holy fire/hammer/lightning from the sky (as appropriate).

You forgot "noodle".

Copyright (4, Informative)

aitikin (909209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900421)

Correct me if I'm wrong (cause I know you will), but I was always taught that copyright exists the moment you put pen to paper. You will have a harder time proving it if you haven't registered it, but legally speaking you own the right to allow copies to made and or distributed it the moment it's written.

Re:Copyright (5, Informative)

Baricom (763970) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900513)

That's true, but in the U.S., if you don't register, you cannot bring suit, and if you register late, you can only claim actual damages (as in, how much money you lost because somebody copied your work), not statutory damages (where the $100,000+ liability figures come from), and you cannot claim attorney's fees.

Note: I am not an attorney. I used http://www.publaw.com/advantage.html [publaw.com] as my source.

Re:Copyright (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900689)

Thanks for the note about difference in registration post- and pre-accrual-of-action. I'm in an intellectual property law class right now, but we haven't arrived at the "real world" of how copyright is done with respect to lawsuits yet. So you've taught a law student something new about IP law today. :)

Re:Copyright (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901745)

Well put. Thanks for the full explanation and the posting of your source. Probably going to be rather useful for me.

Re:Copyright (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900519)

Everything I will say is USA specific. Other countries have different laws, so it does not apply to other countries. You are correct. The act of registering the work makes it legally more dificult to claim that you do not know the object is copyrighted. But as the letter itself mentions the fact that it is copyrighted, it could be interpreted as being proven already.

But that is besides the point, as being copyrighted does not in any way prevent someone from posting the full work and commenting on it, as long as it is not being done in the same envirnonment.

I.E. You you post their letter on the internet for laughs, but not copy it word for word and use it as your own cease and desist letter against people that are doing something you do not like.

Re:Copyright (1)

snwcrash (520762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900685)

Couldn't you just claim their letter was a derivative work of your slanderous forum posting, and therefore your copyright claims supercedes theirs?

Re:..right exists the moment you put pen to paper. (1)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900775)

From http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#protect [copyright.gov]

Copyright .. protects original works of authorship

A cease and desist letter usually isn't original, it is a half-standard text.
That is why attaching a copyright notice to it might not work in many circumstances.

You also would probably anyway be allowed to make copies for the use in your defense against such a letter.

Last I checked... (0, Redundant)

Neitokun (882224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900423)

You don't need to "Register" a copyright. The very act of creating something copyrights it.

True but (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901381)

In the US, you cant get statutory damages for infringement of a non-registered work. YOu can only get actual damages from the infringement.

IANAL, of course.

On other words, if a letter like this is not registered as copyrighted, they can sue you for the money they lost due to sales of the copyrighted work, but not statutory damages. Since they arent selling this in bookstores, I seriously doubt they could sue for any damages.

Funny Stuff (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900425)

You can find the first letter to start all this here [citizen.org]. I recommend you read that letter and then the one linked in the text.

They attempt to use Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC decision as a reason that Leonard is legally liable for hosting defamatory statements about an infomercial company! This is Charles Montgomery Burns quality humor.

Also, for further comedic value, I heavily recommend The DirectBuy website [directbuy.com] done entirely in flash. Which doesn't offer much except a registration form (click the upper right hand ticket). I can't find a damned thing on how their business model works unless I sign up for it. Seems to be a way to get home furnishings as discount prices. But for some reason you have to go to a show room for that. Sounds like something where the value isn't really there but they're certain they can sell you on the idea if they get a half hour of your time. Probably not a scam but pretty damned close--time share style!

Also what's interesting is how they respond to negative feedback questions [directbuycares.com]:

We're happy to hear that you are considering a DirectBuy membership. We understand that negative information can make it hard for you to make an informed decision about how membership can meet your current and future buying needs, and we'd like to respond.

DirectBuy's unique business model is very different than mainstream retail operation. Our concept, combined with our continued growth over 36 years, has made DirectBuy, just like any other sizeable corporation, a target for controversy.

That being said, most of the information online is posted by individuals who have not attended an Open House, or have chosen not to become members.

We realize that DirectBuy is not for everyone, and that's why we encourage individuals who are interested in taking a calculated approach to undeniable savings to attend an Open House to learn about our unmatched selection, savings, and service. The complaints you see online from those who have actually visited DirectBuy represent a very small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of individuals each year who attend an Open House. (And to set the record straight, DirectBuy has never been involved in a class-action lawsuit.)

We're very proud of our long track record of satisfied members who have enjoyed the undeniable savings and wide array of merchandise that we offer. Our members invest upfront to avoid paying traditional retail markup and save significantly on virtually everything for in and around their homes. Members' satisfaction is our number-one priority.

But the only way to make an informed decision about whether DirectBuy membership is right for you is to attend an Open House event at a showroom near you. There, you'll learn more about the benefits of DirectBuy membership by gaining exclusive access to our showroom and getting a firsthand look at the savings, selection and services available to members from our team of knowledgeable professionals.

DirectBuy members, tell McBain about your membership experience here, too. We'd love to hear from you!
I've bolded the sentence that worries me. It both sounds too good to be true and sounds like they take my money and promise me something later that's ill defined. What do you think?

I'll bet any amount of money that wasn't written by a person with a soul. Shady legal threats from an even shadier company. What do you expect?

Re:Funny Stuff (4, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900577)

The really funny part is that their service is pretty much a scam... I've read up on them and apparently some of their policies are a little suspects, such as clause that do not allow you to return merchandise, cancel an order, or even (get this), terminate your membership! And where did this information come from? Try Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org]. DirectBuy is just another company with its head in the sand. Personally, I can't wait to see if this will end up in court.

Re:Funny Stuff (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900983)

Isn't their pitch like a K-Mart blue-light special? Ie, buy our $4k membership now, as this is your only chance. Can't sleep on it and purchase tomorrow, non-refundable after 3 days...

Weasel worlds (2, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900591)

The two in question here are "significantly" and "vitually". Watch the best tv series ever, Yes Minister, episode The Right to Know, for an excellent explenation of how these words can be used.

Sometimes I think all people should be forced to watch that series at least once in their lives, and if possible before election time.

Re:Funny Stuff (1)

EricWright (16803) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900929)

... a calculated approach to undeniable savings ...
... enjoyed the undeniable savings and wide array of merchandise that we offer.
...firsthand look at the savings, selection and services

I'm confused... are they savings, or undeniable savings? Why won't these clearly honest, above-board merchants keep their message consistent? Otherwise, how do they expect to sucker the gullible?

Re:Funny Stuff (4, Insightful)

Luke Dawson (956412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900933)

What do you think?

I find this bit the most amusing:

We understand that negative information can make it hard for you to make an informed decision about how membership can meet your current and future buying needs, and we'd like to respond.

As if, somehow, only looking for positive information about something is the best way to come to an "informed" decision. If anything, I'm looking specifically for negative information when I am trying to make an informed decision before buying something.

Re:Funny Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901115)

What do you think?

Hm. One has to read no further than "invest upfront"....now I wouldn't want to say anything negative, lest I be sued, but personally, I think something that rhymes with "Fear-a-bid steam" comes to mind.

Re:Funny Stuff (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901155)

I've bolded the sentence that worries me. It both sounds too good to be true and sounds like they take my money and promise me something later that's ill defined. What do you think?

I think it sounds a bit like how Costco works.

However, Costco are honest enough to admit that they're a cash & carry, allow you to sign in guests, you can return products and the registration fee isn't that high.

Re:Funny Stuff (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901543)

But Costco doesnt hide what they carry behind curtains either.

One can go look around before buying a membership. They're happy to do so.

That DirectBuy place is a ripoff. We requested to look around BEFORE buying. They literally laughed at us. So we took our 8 grand for furniture elsewhere (just got a new house and budgeted for furniture)

Open house (3, Interesting)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901355)

That being said, most of the information online is posted by individuals who have not attended an Open House, or have chosen not to become members.

I once was "invited" to be a broker at a certain mutual fund that I can't even remember the name of anymore and they spent over an hour showing us overheads (yeah, it was back in '84) of broker's checks showing $1500.00 a week in passive commissions. In other words, you get someone to buy this mutual fund and every time they put more money in, you'd get a commission - that includes dividend reinvestment. Towards the end of the sessions, they told us how we'd get the sales - pester family and friends. I left and never came back. One, if I did that, I wouldn't have any friends or family. Two, their business model was to "recruit" as many people as possible (you had to pay for your own series 7), and keep the very rare one who didn't fail. They were looking for fresh meat. I went to a real estate agents open house for a large national firm and they were just looking for fresh meat for their grinder.

There's a huge turnover for these types of retail sales jobs and they're always looking for fresh meat. It looks like this firm is the same thing - another Amway or what ever it's called.

Now, don't get me wrong, some, ok very few, of these sales things aren't the rip-off they seem. Mary Kay has been pretty good to the women I know who do it and their customers seem to be satisfied. I almost went for it - but how is a guy to sell Mary Kay? Sell to transvestites?

hmm, not copyrighted? (1, Redundant)

Skadet (528657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900427)

FTFPDF

Moreover [. . . ] the copyright in the letter has not been registered.
IIRC, copyright doesn't need to be registered. Demonstrable evidence that that person who claims ownership/copyright is sufficient (see: poor man's copyright [wikipedia.org] -- not the best example, but the line of thinking I'm going with)

Aside from that, save the arguments for the judge, imo. Corporate attorneys don't care about your "logic" and "laws", they're slaves to the suits above them just like any other corporate worker (*gasp* there are suits ABOVE lawyers?!?!?!)

MOD DOWN! NSFW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900883)

NSFW, Parent has my balls in his mouth.

Re:hmm, not copyrighted? (1)

Luke Dawson (956412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900985)

That's true, I believe. Technically, anything you create is covered under copyright, at least, that is the impression I get. This post I am writing right now is copyrighted. As such, I will be sending DMCA takedown notices to anyone who reproduces all or part of this comment.

Re:hmm, not copyrighted? (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901659)

As such, I will be sending DMCA takedown notices to anyone who reproduces all or part of this comment.
When should I be expecting my DMCA notice I have always wanted to ignore one and never received the chance before.

Editors (-1, Redundant)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900435)

You don't have to register copyrights in the United States. Editors, you need to fix the blurb.

Re:Editors (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900533)

The editors don't need to fix the blurb, given that Public Citizen points out the same thing.

Re:Editors (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900561)

They're actually quoting directly from the PDF. 2nd to last paragraph.

While you don't have to register for a copyright, it gives you much better legal footing if you decide to pursue claims against infringement on that copyright. Plus, registration is required to get any statuatory damages, so if Direct Buy sues, they couldn't get any cash from the infringment.

Re:Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900807)

Perhaps you should RTFA first.

One Possible Reply.. (5, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900469)

A Good comment posted from the original article:
7. No License... No Reading by Todd on Oct 8th, 2007 @ 8:41am

Dear Lawfirm,

Regarding your recent letter containing copyrighted content, I seem to not have an appropriate license to read your letter. I sure wish I could respond to whatever allegations you claim, but that would require that I read your letter, of which I do not have a proper license to do.

Sincerely,
Your Victim

Another kdawson screw up!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900489)

Oh wait...

Oh well, my post still bitched about kdawson. Gimme mod points!

Re:Another kdawson screw up!!! (1)

Rakarra (112805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901123)

I'm not sure whether this should be Funny or Insightful, but that second line is damned true.

Submission License (3, Funny)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900507)

All submissions sent to my email become my property, and reciept of your email shall consitute your acceptance of this agreement. Expect a couter-suit detailing your violation of my copyright, as I do not permit my letters to be sent via email. Thank you.

Re:Submission License (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900643)

So if someone sends you a copy of a book you think you own the rights to it?

Re:Submission License (2, Insightful)

Seedy2 (126078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900767)

No, but if someone writes a letter to me personally, I expect I own it.
At the very least communications between parties are owned jointly by both parties, and one should not be able to force [or even ask] the other to hold it in confidence unless first agreed to by both parties.

From the response letter... (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900589)

From the response letter:

Instead of suing in Canada, why not bring suit in Tashkent? At least you'd get an exotic trip out of it and litigation in a totalitarian state would be more consistent with the view that the Internet makes it to easy for consumer criticisms to be heard . But Leonard won't bother to defend a lawsuit in either location.
Ladies (as if) and gentlemen, we have found the lawyer hero that the US was so desperately craving for, his name is Paul Alan Levy.

*Goes of to register paulalanlevy-fanclub.org*

Oh boy lawsuits! (1)

dufachi (973647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900621)

Wow! Does this mean I can sue everyone who ever makes a disparaging remark about me on the internet?

Cool! I should be a trillionaire by February!

Serious answer (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900839)

Wow! Does this mean I can sue everyone who ever makes a disparaging remark about me on the internet?

You can sue anybody you want, at any time, for pretty much anything. Winning is another matter, but the courts do little to prevent you from being a nuisance.

Another techdirt article...ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20900671)

Please stop posting stories from techdirt when there are perfectly good alternatives who actually claim to be OBJECTIVE in their reporting (as opposed to the techdirt editorial staff).

Registering copyrights (1)

kingramon0 (411815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900749)

I keep seeing the same falsehood repeated by many - that copyrights don't need to be registered.

It is true that the copyright exists the moment you create a work. However, you cannot defend your copyright in court until it is registered.

Think back to the SCO trial, and how Novell registered their Unix copyrights just before entering an action against SCO to defend them.

Bullies (1)

mulhollandj (807571) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900765)

Bullies don't just threaten little children for their lunch money. The irony of the whole thing is that they often get unwanted press about their tactics. A great example of this is the RIAA.

copyrights don't need to be registered... (0, Redundant)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20900885)

jeesh! how can a bunch of OSS GPL people not know that copyrights do not need to be registered under the Berne Convention.... RMS is laughing at us!

Re:copyrights don't need to be registered... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901017)

There's a mountain of difference between...

"Doesn't need to be registered"

and

"Needs to be registered to get full legal protection"

Just ask the RIAA if they are willing to leave their songs unregistered.

Re:copyrights don't need to be registered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901057)

Read the comments above that provide an important caveat to this.

Re:copyrights don't need to be registered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901127)

I'm laughing at you. :D

'Dozy', or what? (2, Interesting)

Dr_Ish (639005) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901071)

A close look at the silly lawyer letter reveals that is comes from the "Dozier Law Firm". The name seems apt. Their web site at http://www.cybertriallawyer.com [cybertriallawyer.com] include a YouTube [youtube.com] video on the front page. Let us hope that they have the correct release for that. Of course, I would encourage eveyone to take a look at their web site, for informational purposes only of course! It is also worth noting that one of their people has the nickname 'Bull'. I guess I will continue my profound dislike of BestBuy. Their loss is Circuit City's [circuitcity.com] gain.

Re:'Dozy', or what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901563)

Just so you know, it's Direct Buy, not Best Buy. Completely different.

Re:'Dozy', or what? (1)

rk (6314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901805)

Since there appears to be trademark confusion, maybe Best Buy can sue Direct Buy.

Can both sides lose somehow?

Should I or Should I not Sue??? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901207)

Mobbing at its finest... [google.com]

Or do I just wait for others to change [slashdot.org]

and for more supportive information to come along such as Non-Patentable findings [wsj.com] that in essence supports Abstraction Physics and the Virtual Interaction Configuration [abstractionphysics.net]

So should I sue or just wait for the slanderers and libeler to realize they steped in their own B.S...?

Copyright enforcement on a cease and desist order to prevent the receiver from ...... doing what? Defending themselves? Standing up for consumer rights? ..... ... or just applying copyright Fair Use?

I think what needs to happen so to not allow the receive from publishing the cease and desist order is to have it signed by a judge as a court order.

Encryption is the key (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901247)

Maybe these dumb companies can encrypt the cease and desist letter and then if anyone tries to fool with it they can go after them with the DMCA.

Stupid People Amaze Me (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901339)

I didn't realize people who were stupid enough to buy something from an infomercial actually know how to get online and post to forums. Ok, sorry, off topic, but still...Who buys anything they see in an infomercial anyway?

mod Down (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20901479)

sufferi)ng *BSD who sell another contact to see if Assholes, as they TCP/IP stack has There are about 700 inshisted that or mislead the would mar BSD's

Copyrights don't have to be registered (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901529)

The only time you have to register a copyright is if you want to be able to collect money from copyright infringements. Otherwise the copyright holder can seek a court order that would result in a cease and desist. Of course, if the copyright was registered, it would help out in terms of proving that there is copyright infringement; but like I said, it's not necessary.

http://mofo.com/ (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 6 years ago | (#20901879)

Now THERE'S a law firm with attitude!

(and yes, they knew full well exactly what they were doing when they registered that domain name.)
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