Remember back in December when a person accused me of heinous behavior, including cyberstalking? (http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2011/12/a-note-about-accusations-that-i-have-been-cyberstalking-bullying-harassing-.html).
Todd W. at Harpocrates Speaks used the experience to write a Public Service Announcement (PSA): http://silencedbyageofautism.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-not-to-make-fool-of-yourself-on.html
The same person (who is an attorney) shot Todd a letter demanding that he remove the PSA post. After some thought, Todd has responded:
Frankly, the whole December episode was pretty upsetting. I was then, and remain grateful now, to Todd for his support. Todd's post today will be helpful in the future.
Her primary claims as to why I should pull the post were: copyright violations, trademark violations, cyberstalking, violation of her right of publicity, and defamation. Some of these claims we've heard before, most recently in the uproar over the Burzynski Clinic and the actions of one Marc Stephens in attempting to bully bloggers like Rhys Morgan and Andy Lewis into silence with similar legal threats. In fact, on the internet, one of the quickest response to any substantive criticism seems to be threatening the critic with a defamation suit.
At any rate, what finally convinced me to write up this post is that my experience could serve as a good educational example for would-be plaintiffs (i.e., another "what not to do" list) and defendants. So let's take a look at the specific claims made in the e-mail I received, whether there is validity to the claims and how to respond. Before we proceed, however, I want to make clear a few things. 1) I am not a lawyer. I do not present myself as a lawyer, and nothing I write here should be construed as legal advice. If you want legal advice, find a lawyer. 2) I emphatically do not condone anyone addressing this individual directly through e-mails, phone calls or any other means for the purposes of harassment. Public comments are welcome, but I ask my readers not to post any threatening comments toward this person. The point of this post is to discuss the legal issues raised in the e-mail.