Blogs

Target Corp. v. Doe

Date: 

09/05/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe, Charles Emmerson William Harris

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division

Case Number: 

1:06-cv-02116-CC

Publication Medium: 

Forum
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

Target Corporation, a chain retailer, filed a lawsuit against an initially unknown Internet user with the handle “Target Sucks” for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets for allegedly posting information on various retail-employee forums and blogs. Target identified the user as Charles Emmerson William Harris based on the information it received after subpoening Internet providers. Harris allegedly posted Target’s "Asset Protection Directives," an in-house theft prevention manual, on several websites critical of Target.

Target asserted in its two-count complaint that the user “acquired a copy of Target’s AP Directives from a recently terminated Target employee, Scott Hundt.” Target alleges that Hundt emailed a copy of the AP Directives to the user, as well as posting that information on the website www.targetunion.org. After learning of the post, Target threatened legal action against Hundt, who admitted wrongdoing and cooperated with Target's subsequent efforts to block the further dissemination of the AP Directives. Target and Hundt emailed cease-and-desist orders to the user and received no reply. Target alleges that instead of complying with its demands, the user posted the AP directives to “various retail-employee forums on the Internet.” Target sent cease-and-desist letters to those forums, and the AP Directives were removed. Target asserted that the user’s “dissemination of the Target AP Directives is deliberate, willful, malicious, oppressive, and without regard to Target’s proprietary rights.” Compl. ¶ 33. Further, the complaint asserted that user had disclosed “such information without the express or implied consent of Target, for the benefit of himself.” Compl. ¶ 42.

In an effort to discover the identity of the then-anonymous user, Target subpoenaed AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Qwest, Comcast, and UPS.  Compl. Ex. B. The court granted these subpoenas. Based on the information it obtained through investigation, Target identified the user as Charles Harris. Target claimed that it confirmed this identification based on the documents relating to IP address and P.O. Box information it received in response to its subpoenas to website, email, mail, and internet providers. Req. for Service.

On 04/10/2007, a civil summons was issued for  Charles Emerson William Harris. However, attempts to locate Harris for service failed. On 12/21/2007, the court granted a motion for service by publication to the Fulton County Daily Report. This notice was posted on 01/15/2008.  On 07/16/2008 the case was dismissed for want of prosecution pursuant to Local Rule 41.3(A)(3) because the case had been pending for more than 6 months without a substantial proceeding of record.  

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1-High

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Source: TechDirt

AVM 6/02

 

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Dull: Ockham's Razor in the age of Twitter

The raging villagers of the twitterverse were busy in April. The cruelest month gave witness to #savejon and #amazonfail, campaigns against corporate bullying and intolerance, respectively.  However, both movements likely put the black hat on the wrong party.  These cybermaulings should frighten us all and spur us to let a little Ockham into our hearts.

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NY Legislature Proactively Considering Whether Shield Law Applies to Bloggers? How Novel!

As anyone who's been faithfully reading the CMLP blog knows, the law hasn't been particularly good at dealing with the intersection of media shield laws and bloggers.  Although there seems to be a modest trend towards application of shield laws to anonymous commenters on news stories, the judiciary's application of shield laws to bloggers has been pretty

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Huffington Post: Web Pirate or Prophet?

I write a blog at my home newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, and when I get 10 or 20 comments on a post, I am feeling pretty good about myself. Arianna Huffington? Her site, Huffington Post, draws around a million comments a month.

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Anonymous Blogging Guide

Thinking about launching an anonymous blog?  There are lots of reasons you might want to publish your blog or website anonymously. For example, publishing anonymously may protect you from retaliation by those who don't like what you write. We've seen plenty of bloggers harassed or fired from their jobs for what they've written.  In some places, what you write could even threaten your safety or lead to your arrest or detention.  

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Live-blogging journalism? You betcha. It's just not always good journalism.

As a young journalist, I remember listening with interest to colleagues recounting long-ago fights for the right to bring cameras into the court room. And while that battle hasn't been won everywhere, it appears nevertheless to be giving way to a new wave of concerns.

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Live Blogging in the Courtroom, Is It Journalism?

One of the recurring themes I've discovered in my reading assignments for law school is that judges are, by and large, not technologically savvy.  Far from it, in fact.  Thus, it was of great interest to me to find an ABA Journal article about U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett, who recently allowed a journalist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette to blog live during the a tax fraud trial in his Sioux City, Iowa, court.

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More Online Journalists Jailed Than Any Other Media Group

Online speakers are attracting more attention than ever from governments across the world, for good or for ill. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), more online journalists are currently imprisoned for their speech than journalists in print, broadcast, or other media.  The CPJ identified 125 journalists currently serving prison sentences, 45 percent of whom are bloggers, Web-based reporters, or online editors.

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Unpublished

Blogger Ethics?

At almost every journalism conference I've spoken at or attended the subject of "ethics for bloggers" invariably comes up. 

As he did with old Bloggers vs. Journalists canard (which, unfortunately, does live on), Jay Rosen has cut this strawman down at the knees.

Here is how Rosen framed the issue:

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CMLP Teams Up With NewsU to Launch Online Media Law Course

We're pleased to announce that News University launched its Online Media Law course today.  The course is specifically designed for individuals and journalists engaged in online publishing, and it covers three important areas of media law -- defamation, privacy, and copyright. The course is free.

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Lilly v. Rocky Mountain Right

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

07/01/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Anthony Surace, Rocky Mountain Right

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

George Lilly, a Republican candidate for Colorado's First Congressional District, threatened legal action against Anthony Surace's blog, Rocky Mountain Right, unless Surace removed a post where Surace endorsed Lilly's primary opponent and criticized Lilly for being a possible detriment to the Republican ticket in Colorado.

In the offending post, Surace wrote that Lilly was "no Republican" and that Lilly's supporters "made clear they would not support [presumptive Republican presidential nominee] John McCain or [Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate] Bob Schaffer" in the coming elections.  Surace added that Lilly's presence on the ticket "could be disruptive enough to harm other Republican candidates running statewide."

Lilly emailed Surace to demand the post be removed and an apology issued, writing that Surace "libeled" him. In particular, Lilly argued against Surace's assertion that Lilly did not support Schaffer. Lilly added that he had sent copies of the email to his supporters. Ironically, Surace had deleted the post a few hours before receiving Lilly's email for reasons unrelated to Lilly's complaints.

Surace posted Lilly's email on the blog and wrote that he would "take George Lilly at his word that he supports Bob Schaffer and donated to his campaign," and that he apologized "for any confusion over the issue."  But Surace also criticized Lilly for threatening a frivolous lawsuit and noted several factual bases, including a video posted to YouTube by Lilly's campaign, that allegedly supported Surace's assertions. Surace also expressed concern that by sending copies of the email, which apparently contained his home address, to Lilly's supporters, Lilly was making a "veiled threat."

Later the same day, Surace reissued the offending post with new criticism of Lilly, writing that Lilly didn't have a legal basis for his threat and that he "should be ashamed of himself for thinking he could intimidate a political blogger with threats of legal action."

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Google News

Candidate for U.S. Congress Threatens Legal Action Against Blogger

George Lilly, the Republican candidate for Colorado's First Congressional District, says on his website that he considers defense of the U.S. Constitution a "sacred oath."  But after he threatened a libel lawsuit against the Rocky Mountain Right ("RMR") blog, one wonders about his views on the First Amendment.

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Bronx D.A. Withdraws Subpoena Seeking Identity of Anonymous Room Eight Posters

Earlier this month, the District Attorney for Bronx County, New York, withdrew a subpoena seeking the identities of anonymous posters on political blog Room Eight. The posters had criticized local politicians and Bronx Republican Party officials in blog posts and comments. District Attorney Robert T.

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Iran Moves One Step Closer to Ratifying Death Penalty for Blogging

Online free speech has never been well received by the Iranian government, but now Tehran is just one step away from making blogging on certain topics into a capital crime. 

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Global Voices Summit 2008

Last week, Global Voices held a summit in Budapest, Hungary for its members and the wider community of bloggers, activists, technologists, journalists and others from around the world. Called the

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WIA Releases Report on Arrests of Bloggers, Does It Overcount?

According to a new report by the World Information Access (“WIA”) Project, 64 independent bloggers have been arrested since 2003, suggesting governments around the world are growing more aware of blogs and more likely to act to silence bloggers.

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Saudi Blogger Fouad Ahmad Al-Farhan Released

After four months, the Saudi Arabian government has released popular Saudi blogger Fouad Ahmad Al-Farhan without charge. Authorities arrested Fouad in December after warning him about posts supporting an activist group on his blog at فؤاد أحمد الفرحان. From the time of his arrest, Interior Ministry officials were evasive about the reason for his detention, explaining only that it was not related to state security.

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Heading to L.A. for Media Re:public Forum

I'll be quiet for a few days because I'm off to Los Angeles for a forum organized by Media Re:public, a Berkman Center project that examines the current and potential impact of participatory news media.

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