Switzerland

International Olympic Committee v. Giles

Date: 

10/06/2009

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Richard Giles

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Legal Counsel: 

Pro Se

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Description: 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent an email to a Flickr user Richard Giles  asking him to cease and desist from distributing and/or licensing photographs of the 2008 Beijing Olympic events that he had photographed while at the games and posted on Flickr.

Giles originally put the photographs online under a CC Attribution-Share Alike License (CC BY-SA), but then relicensed them under a CC Attribution-No-Derivatives License (CC BY-ND) upon the request of a Wikipedia user, so that they could be used in a Wikimedia project. Later on, a British bookstore used one of Giles' pictures for promoting a book. When this came to IOC's attention, they sent the cease and desist letter to Giles. 

IOC invoked contractual limitations found on the back of tickets:

As you know, when entering any Olympic venue, you are subject to the terms and conditions mentioned on the back of entry tickets, under which images of the Games taken by you may not be used for any purpose other than private, which does not include licensing of the pictures to third parties.

The letter also suggested a trademark-oriented claim:

Olympic identifications such as the Olympic rings, the emblems and mascots of the Olympic games, the word 'Olympic' and images of the Olympic games belong to the IOC and cannot be used without its prior written consent.

Giles reports that it was not clear to him what exactly the IOC wanted him to do, so a chain of mutual emails followed, in which IOC clarified its position that the only acceptable copyright notice for pictures from Olympic events would be "all rights reserved." In an effort to keep the CC licensing regime, Giles counter-suggested licensing the pictures under a noncommercial CC license, but IOC declined:

IOC's current policy is to restrict the use of pictures taken at the venues to private, domestic and non-commercial use and does not allow licensing of pictures to third parties, even for free non-commercial use, for the reasons I explained in my previous email.

Therefore, for the time being the IOC considers full copyright as the only suitable credit and asks that you change the license of the photos taken inside of the Olympic venues to 'all rights reserved'.

Throughout the course of these events Giles was in touch with the Electronic Frontiers Australia, a nonprofit organisation supporting online freedoms and rights,  and Creative Commons Australia, both of which advised him that as a first step he should comply with the IOC's demand. Eventually Giles reverted all pictures to full copyright protection, adding a note under every picture: "The license on this photo has been changed from Creative Commons to Copyright [sic] due to a request from the IOC."

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Beck v. Eiland-Hall

Date: 

09/04/2009

Threat Type: 

Other

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Isaac Eiland-Hall

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Administrative

Court Name: 

World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center

Legal Counsel: 

Marc J. Randazza

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

In September 2009, conservative talk show host and self-described "rodeo clown" Glenn Beck filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against the privacy service for glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com.  (The UDRP is a policy that website operators automatically agree to when they register a domain name; the policy enables trademark owners to initiate an administrative proceeding challenging the registration of a domain name in "bad faith.")  In response to the compaint, the privacy service revealed the identity of the website operator, whose name is Isaac Eiland-Hall.

The origin of the website is an Internet meme that came into being on Fark.com. The premise of the rape and murder charge comes from a Gilbert Gottfried routine performed during a Comedy Central roast of comedian Bob Saget. During Gottfried's act, he keeps repeating that there are rumors that Bob Saget raped and killed a girl in 1990 and pretends to admonish the audience to stop spreading the until-now-non-existent rumor.  

Picking up on a perceived similarity between Beck's rhetorical style and the Gottfried routine, a Fark user posted this comment in late August: "Why haven't we had an official response to the rumor that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990?"  The joke caught on immediately, and, according to Mediaite, the Farkers took the meme and plastered it all over the web

The next day, Eiland-Hall registered the domain name and posted satirical commentary and links on the site. Picking up on Beck's comments in his famous interview with Congressman Keith Ellison, where he asked the Congressman — a Muslim — to "prove to me that you are not working with our enemies," the website says:

This site exists to try and help examine the vicious rumour that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. We don't claim to know the truth -- only that the rumour floating around saying that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990 should be discussed. So we're going to do our part to try and help get to the bottom of this.

Why won't Glenn Beck deny these allegations? We're not accusing Glenn Beck of raping and murdering a young girl in 1990 - in fact, we think he didn't! But we can't help but wonder, since he has failed to deny these horrible allegations. Why won't he deny that he raped and killed a young girl in 1990?

Under the caption "A Plea for Help" and title "Don't Leave Glenn Beck Alone!!!!!," an embedded video clip features a mock-crying woman saying, among other things, "everytime people stop teasing him [Glenn Beck], and ridiculing him, and making fun of him, and laughing and pointing and staring at him, a baby ghost gets turned into a human being. Do you want that to happen?" 

The site contains a disclaimer at the top of the page: "Notice: This website is 100% parody" with a link to a full disclaimer at the bottom of the page:

Notice: This site is parody/satire. We assume Glenn Beck did not rape and murder a young girl in 1990, although we haven't yet seen proof that he didn't. But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation.

Read the last sentence again. That's the point. Read it a third time and ignore the name of the site itself, because anyone who believes that we're trying to actually get people to believe Glenn Beck raped and/or murdered is *whoosh* missing the entire point. So don't be dumb like a lot of people are. I greatly expanded this text because so many people *read* it, and *still* didn't understand.

Beck claims in his UDRP complaint that the domain name is confusingly similar to his trademark "Glenn Beck" and that Eiland-Hall has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name and registered it in bad faith. 

On September 28, 2009, Eiland-Hall filed a response brief arguing that the domain name is not confusingly similar to "Glenn Beck" (except perhaps to a "moron in a hurry"), that Eiland Hall has legitimate rights in the domain name because he uses it to criticize Beck and to participate in an Internet meme, and that Beck has failed to establish that he has trademark rights in his name. 

Update:

10/13/2009 - Beck filed a supplemental brief in response to Eiland-Hall's brief.

10/20/2009 - Eiland-Hall filed a surreply brief

10/29/09 - The WIPO panel denied Beck's UDRP complaint.

11/6/09 - Eiland-Hall voluntarily transferred the domain name to Beck.

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Anthropomorphizing Intrusion: Google Street View and the Armies of Cute

A basic lesson of history: a spoonful of cute helps the social medicine go down.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Union Square Partnership v. Durkee

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/30/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Savitri Durkee

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Administrative
Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York; WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

Case Number: 

08-3101 (federal court); D2008-1234 (WIPO)

Legal Counsel: 

Corynne McSherry, Michael Kwan (Electronic Frontier Foundation); Terry Gross, Adam C. Belsky, Monique Alonso (Gross Belsky Alonso LLP); A. John P. Mancini, Gregory A. Frantz, Tiffany H. Scott (Mayer Brown LLP)

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

In July 2008, Union Square Partnership (USP), the nonprofit business improvement district for New York's Union Square neighborhood, sued Savitri Durkee for copyright infringement in New York federal court after she created a website that parodied the official USP website.  (Durkee is an activist who wants to preserve Union Square as a public gathering place and prevent it from being commercialized.)  In August 2008, USP also filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), seeking to have the parody site's domain names (www.unionsquarepartnership.com and www.unionsquarepartnership.org) transferred to it.

Durkee failed to respond to the WIPO proceeding in a timely manner, and on October 22, 2008, the WIPO arbitration panel ordered that her site's domain names be transferred to USP.  On November 18, Durkee filed an answer and counterclaims in the federal court action, seeking a declaration that her domain names did not infringe USP's trademark or constitute cybersquatting.  Durkee also claimed that fair use excused any copyright infringement and that USP's lawsuit violated New York's anti-SLAPP laws.

The parties settled in January 2009.  Durkee agreed to transfer the domain names www.unionsquarepartnership.org and www.unionsquarepartnership.com to USP and to include a disclaimer on her site stating that the site is not affiliated with USP.   The parties also set out certain domain names that Durkee could not attempt to register or use.  Durkee now operates her new website at www.unionsquarepartnershipsucks.org.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Threat Source: 

Google News

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Chicago 2016 v. Frayne

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/15/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Stephen Frayne, Jr.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Administrative
Federal

Court Name: 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center; United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-05290 (federal court)

Legal Counsel: 

Robert S. Grabemann, Timothy M. Schaum - Daspin & Aument LLP

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In July 2008, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Chicago 2016, a non-profit corporation responsible for the preparation, submission, and negotiation of a bid application to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago, filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center against Stephen Frayne under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). They alleged that Frayne had violated the UDRP by registering and using the domain name chicago2016.com in "bad faith."

Frayne, a grad student at North­western’s Kellogg School of Management, registered the chicago2016.com domain name in 2004, two years before Chicago made a bid for the 2016 Olympic Games and two years before Chicago 2016 filed to register "CHICAGO 2016" as a trademark (the mark was registered on April 22, 2008). He uses the domain name in connection with a website forum designed to provide a "comprehensive, balanced discussion about the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid." The site hosts economic analysis and articles by local residents on the "economic and safety issues associated with the Olympics and their impact on Chicago and surrounding areas." Chicago 2016 and USOC initiated the WIPO action after unsuccessfully attempting to persuade Frayne to sell the domain name to them.

After the WIPO action commenced, Frayne filed a lawsuit in federal court in Illinois, seeking a declaration that his use of chicago2016.com did not infringe Chicago 2016 and USOC's trademark, that he had not violated the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act (which protects certain trademarks associated with the Olympics), and that his use did not constitute cybersquatting under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). He also claimed that Chicago 2016 had violated his constitutional rights, and that Chicago 2016 and USOC had engaged in reverse domain name hijacking and attempted reverse domain name hijacking.

USOC and Chicago 2016 filed counterclaims, alleging trademark infringement, violations of the Ted Stevens Act, and cybersquatting. They successfully moved to dismiss Frayne's reverse domain name hijacking claims, but the district court denied their motion to dismiss Frayne's other claims.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

CMLP Notes: 

Updated 2/19/2009 -VAF

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Westlaw Alert

Susan Scheff v. Psyborgue

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/31/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Michael Crawford (aka Psyborgue)

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Administrative

Court Name: 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

Case Number: 

D2008-1177

Legal Counsel: 

Pro se

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

Susan Scheff, a self-described “parent advocate” who “assists parents of troubled teens research and identify programs and schools that can assist their troubled teens in getting back on track to a healthy, productive lifestyle” and the publisher of www.suescheff.com, filed an administrative complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center against "Psyborgue" pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). (The UDRP is a policy that website operators automatically agree to when they register a domain name; the policy enables trademark owners to initiate an administrative proceeding challenging the registration of a domain name in "bad faith.") 

"Psyborgue" is the name Michael Crawford used to register the domain name "sueschefftruth.com."  Mr. Crawford, who represented himself in the WIPO action, stated in a declaration that he registered the domain name primarily to "provide information to the public regarding Sue Scheff, her company PURE, and the quality of services offered under the name free of charge to parents."  According to the WIPO administrative panel:

The website associated with the Domain Name posts Mr. Crawford’s blog comments, media articles, court documents, and postings by readers concerning [Sue Scheff]. Typical postings question [her] objectivity, assert that she or her daughter have financial ties to some of the institutions and programs that [she] recommends to parents, and allege that some of these programs have been implicated in charges of child abuse or neglect.  A disclaimer at the head of the website advises, “This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Sue Scheff™.

The WIPO panel denied Scheff's complaint, finding that Mr. Crawford was making a legitimate, nomcommercial fair use of the domain name for purposes of criticism.  The panel indicated that "[t]o the extent the Complaint may be read as suggesting that the Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith because his purpose was to defame the Complainant, such a claim is essentially outside the scope of the Policy."

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

User Submission Form

Julius Baer Bank and Trust v. Wikileaks

Date: 

02/06/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Wikileaks; Dynadot LLC, Does 1-10

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Case Number: 

3:08-cv-00824-JSW

Legal Counsel: 

Garret D. Murai (for Dynadot); Thomas R. Burke, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (for media amici); Karl Olson, Levy, Ram & Olson LLP (for intervenor Public Citizen and California First Amendment Coalition); Ann Brick, American Civil Liberties Union (for i

Publication Medium: 

Wiki

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Injunction Denied
Injunction Issued
Withdrawn

Description: 

On February 6, 2008, Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company, a Cayman Islands banking entity, filed suit in federal court in California against Wikileaks, which is developing an "uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis." Two days later, the bank and its Swiss parent company filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order seeking to enjoin Wikileaks from publishing or distributing copies of documents the plaintiffs claim contain "stolen or otherwise wrongfully obtained confidential and protected bank files and records."

On February 15, 2008, the court issued what it captioned as an "Order Granting Permanent Injunction." This order, which appears to be the result of a stipulation between the plaintiffs and Dynadot, Wikileaks' domain name registrar and web host, required that Dynadot immediately disable the entire wikileaks.org domain name and account and remove all DNS hosting records.

Later that same day, the court issued an Amended Temporary Restraining Order that enjoins Wikileaks and and "all others who receive notice of this order" from "displaying, posting, publishing, distributing, or linking to . . . all documents and information originating from [the plaintiffs' banks] which are internal non-public company documents and/or which contains private client or customer bank records."

As of February 28, 2008, the Wikileaks.org domain is still down, but the organization issued a press release through one of its mirror sites:

Transparency group Wikileaks forcibly censored at ex-parte Californian hearing -- ordered to print blank pages -- 'wikileaks.org' name forcibly deleted from Californian domain registrar -- the best justice Cayman Islands money launderers can buy?

When the transparency group Wikileaks was censored in China last year, no-one was too surprised. After all, the Chinese government also censors the Paris based Reporters Sans Frontiers and New York Based Human Rights Watch. And when Wikileaks published the secret censorship lists of Thailand's military Junta, no-one was too surprised when people in that country had to go to extra lengths to read the site. But on Friday the 15th, February 2008, in the home of the free and the land of the brave, and a constitution which states "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press", the Wikileaks.org press was shutdown.

On February 28, Julius Baer issued a press release stating:

It is not and has never been Julius Baer's intention to stifle anyone's right to free speech. Indeed, Julius Baer has specifically made no attempt to remove material on the website which refers to the organization but which does not include information personal to its customers. However, Julius Baer denies the authenticity of this material and wholly rejects the serious and defamatory allegations which it contains.

Updates:

The court has scheduled a hearing on the injunction for February 29, 2008 at 9:00AM.

2/26/08 - Coalition of media companies filed an Amici Curiae brief primarily addressing the issue of prior restraints

2/26/08 - ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a motion to intervene

2/26/08 - Public Citizen and the California First Amendment Coalition filed a motion to intervene that argues that the court did not have jurisdiction in the case, and therefore had no power to issue the injunctions

2/28/08 - Plaintiffs filed opposition to the motions by Amici and potential intervenors

2/28/08 - John Shipton, the owner of the wikileaks.org domain, filed a Notice of Intent to Appear and Joinder in Motions & Oppositions of Amici/Intervenors

2/28/08 - Daniel Mathews, a user of the site who was served with the TRO by the plaintiffs, filed a Memorandum in Opposition to TRO, Preliminary Injunction, and Permanent Injunction

2/29/08 - Court held hearing on the TRO; judge vacated the Permanent Injunction against Dynadot and tentatively denied the motion for a preliminary injunction.

2/29/08 - Court issued Order Denying Motion For Preliminary Injunction; Dissolving Permanent Injunction; and Setting Briefing and Hearing Schedule

3/5/08 - Plaintiff banks filed a notice of dismissal, without prejudice, as to all parties

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Jankovic v. International Crisis Group

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/15/2004

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Milan Jankovic (aka Philip Zepter); Fieldpoint B.V.; United Business Activities Holding

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

International Crisis Group; James Lyon

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Columbia; United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Case Number: 

1:04 CV 01198 (RBW); No. 06-7095

Legal Counsel: 

Amy L. Neuhardt , Jonathan L. Greenblatt, Cynthia P. Abelow

Publication Medium: 

Email
Print

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)

Description: 

Milan Jankovic, aka Philip Zepter, along with two of his businesses, Fieldpoint B.V. and United Business Activities Holding, filed suit against International Crisis Group (ICG), claiming defamation, false light invasion of privacy, and tortious interference with business expectancy. Non-profit ICG publishes newsletters, reports, and other documents aimed at influencing policymakers worldwide, apparently focusing on the prevention of armed conflict. Zepter's claims arose from ICG documents -- two reports and an e-mail -- that accused Zepter and his business ventures of improper ties to deceased Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

On May 1, 2006, the district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims as to the e-mail and one of the reports (“Report 141”) because the statute of limitations had run. It dismissed the claims involving the other document (“Report 145”) as to Zepter's businesses because the report did not concern them and as to Zepter himself because the disputed statements were not defamatory as a matter of law. Plaintiffs amended their complaint to remove ICG employee James Lyon, who had sent the disputed e-mail, after the District Court found that Lyon's presence in the case destroyed diversity for the purposes of jurisdiction.

On July 24, 2007, the United States Court of Appeals upheld the district court's finding that the case in its original form failed due to lack of jurisdiction over Lyons. It also upheld the dismissal of all claims relating to the e-mail and Report 141 due to the statute of limitations, as well as Zepter's businesses' claims arising from Report 145.

However, the Court of Appeals held that Zepter had established a prima facie defamation case regarding certain statements in Report 145. The opinion discussed three disputed portions of Report 145 separately. It affirmed the dismissal of the claims as to the first portion, which had implicated another Zepter venture -- Zepta Banka -- but not Zepter himself. Due to the size and scope of Zepter's business enterprises, spanning more than 50 countries on five continents, the court found that statements regarding Zepta Banka did not concern Zepter.

According to the court, the second statement in Report 145 could give the impression that Zepter was a “crony” of Milosevic and thus was sufficient to establish a prima facie case of defamation. Though the Court of Appeals did not discuss them, it revived plaintiffs' false light and tortious interference claims as to the second statement in Report 145.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the claims regarding the third statement in Report 145 because the statement referred to a former Zepter employee rather than Zepter himself.

The net result was that all claims against ICG were dismissed except for those involving the second statement from Report 145, which were remanded to the district court. ICG raised a number of defenses not reached by the district court or on appeal -- Opinion and Fair Comment Protection, the Fair Report Privilege, the Neutral-Reportage Doctrine -- which will be considered in the lower court.

Update:

7/24/2007 - Case remanded to district court.

5/13/2008 - ICG filed memorandum supporting its motion to dismiss first amended complaint.

5/23/2008 - Jankovic filed memorandum in opposition to ICG's motion to dismiss.

Content Type: 

CMLP Notes: 

Status updated on 6/5/2008 (AAB)

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

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