Intrusion

Massachusetts v. Portnoy

Date: 

08/12/2011

Threat Type: 

Police Activity

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

David Portnoy, BarstoolSports.com

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

David Portnoy runs a sports and humor blog entitled Barstool Sports, which the Boston Globe calls a "popular and controversial" website. Late in the week of August 8, 2011, Portnoy posted a picture of toddler child Benjamin Brady, son of New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen. The picture was taken by a paparazzi photographer while the family were vacationing at a beach. The toddler was naked in the picture, with genitals exposed.

According to Boston's Weekly Dig and Deadspin, Portnoy, among other things, referred to the child's genitals as a "howitzer." This prompted widespread condemnation and outcry. Portnoy also created a series of t-shirt designs depicting the nude toddler with an actual howitzer in sexually suggestive positions.

Portnoy initially received a cease and desist letter from a modeling agency that represents Gisele Bundchen, which Portnoy claims he ignored. Following this, according to the Globe and The Smoking Gun, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley dispatched police officers to visit Portnoy's home in Milton, Massachusetts on Friday, August 12, 2011. Portnoy describes the encounter on his website, saying that the police were "friendly, non threatening and basically just said they were getting lots of complaints . . . and it would be in the best interest of everybody involved if I’d just take [the photographs] down." Attorney General Coakley told the Globe that her office had  received several complaints about the photographs and that the photographs were "troubling, to say the least."

Portnoy complied with the request to remove material, and AG Coakley has indicated that she views the matter as closed.

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

RSS

Subject Area: 

Lee v. Young, Black, and Fabulous

Date: 

03/05/2010

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Natasha Eubanks; Young, Black, and Fabulous, LLC

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of Fulton County, State of Georgia

Case Number: 

2010cv182439

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In March 2010, Latosha Lee sued celebrity gossip blog Young, Black, and Fabulous and its author in Georgia state court.  The complaint alleges that blogger Natasha Eubanks defamed Lee by calling her "Shaq's stripper mistress," when in fact she has never worked as a stripper.  The complaint also alleges that the blog invaded her privacy by publishing copies of personal emails and photographs "obtained illegally and as a result of unauthorized access to the personal email account of the recipient."  In addition, the complaint includes a copyright infringement claim for unauthorized distribution of three photographs taken by Lee. 

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Subject Area: 

Does This Look Infected to You? Government Virus as Counter-Proposal to FBI's URL Demands

So here is a nice and scary development. It appears that the FBI wants Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to keep a log of the url's visited by consumers. Wait it gets better.

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I Can Clearly See You’re Nuts: ACORN’s Insane Civil Suit

I'm pretty sure I can struggle my way out. First I'll just reach in and pull my legs out, now I'll pull my arms out with my face. – Homer J. Simpson, The Simpsons, Bart Gets An Elephant, 1F15

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Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Gillespie v. Marlowe

Date: 

09/16/2005

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Mike Marlowe; American Online; Bob Charpentier

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Medina County Court of Common Pleas (Ohio)

Case Number: 

05CIV1255

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$221.80

Legal Counsel: 

Bob Charpentier (Pro Se); Michael S. Gordon (for AOL)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Default Judgment
Dismissed (partial)

Description: 

George Gillespie of Ohio filed suit on September 16, 2005 against two chat room users who allegedly humiliated him in AOL chat discussions.  The defendants, Bob Charpentier and Mike Marlowe, lived in Oregon and Alabama respectively at the time the suit was filed. Gillespie also sued AOL for allowing the alleged harassment to occur.

According to Law.com, Gillespie alleged that the chat room participants "acted in an outrageous manner, which they knew or should have known would cause serious emotional distress to the plaintiff . . .  The Defendants' conduct was so extreme and contemptible as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency."  Gillespie also alleged that Charpentier and Marlowe intruded into his "private affairs" and claimed that Marlowe  drove from Alabama to Ohio to photograph his home (for posting on the web) and/or to file a change of address form with the local post office in order to disrupt his mail.  Marlowe denied traveling to Ohio.

On January 30, 2006, AOL moved to dismiss the suit or stay it for improper venue. Judge Christopher J. Collier dismissed the suit against AOL on February 14, 2006, but the grounds for dismissal are unclear. Charpentier, acting pro se, filed a response and sought to reserve the right to file a $125,000 countersuit against Gillespie.  Following an oral hearing, the court dismissed Charpentier from the suit.  The case docket indicates that the court entered a default judgment against Mike Marlowe on April 28, 2006 in the amount of $221.80.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Docket information for this case (and possibly other related cases?) is available at: http://www.co.medina.oh.us/medct_epublicnodr/pages/search.aspx.  Search for George Gillespie's name.

Source: Law.com

 

Jurisdiction: 

Internet "Troll" Sued for Craigslist Sex Prank

A great New York Times article last weekend drew our attention to this rather colorful legal threat and its target, Jason Fortuny, a freelance web designer, programmer, and noted (or notorious) Internet troll. In 2006, Mr.

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Content Type: 

Doe v. Fortuny

Date: 

02/20/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jason Fortuny

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court Northern District of Illinois

Case Number: 

1:08-CV-01050

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$74,252.60

Legal Counsel: 

Pro se

Publication Medium: 

Blog
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Verdict (plaintiff)

Description: 

On February 20, 2008, an anonymous plaintiff sued Jason Fortuny in Illinois federal court for copyright infringement, invasion of privacy through the publication of private facts, and intrusion, after Mr. Fortuny allegedly posted his photograph and personal information on the Internet.

Mr. Fortuny, a now-famous Internet "troll" who was featured in an August 2008 New York Times article, performed a notorious "Craigslist Experiment" in 2006, in which he posted a fake ad on Craigslist pretending to be a woman seeking a “str8 brutal dom muscular male” for sex. According to the New York Times, over one-hundred men responded, providing photographs and contact information. Mr. Fortuny allegedly posted this material to his blog, RFJason, and Encyclopedia Dramatica (described by the New York Times as "an online compendium of troll humor and troll lore"). Mr. Fortuny disputes posting the photographs and contact information to Encyclopaedia Dramatica.

One of the men who responded to Mr. Fortuny's prank filed the Illinois lawsuit, claiming that Fortuny violated his copyrights and invaded his privacy by posting his photograph and personal information. The complaint seeks $75,000 in damages and requests an injunction requiring Mr. Fortuny to remove the photograph and contact information from his website.

Mr. Fortuny is representing himself in the lawsuit. On July 11th, 2008, he filed a letter that the court treated as a motion to dismiss. The motion, in which Mr. Fortuny challenged the court's jurisdiction over him and the substance of the plaintiff's claims, is pending.

Before filing suit, the anonymous plaintiff sent Mr. Fortuny and his web host a DMCA takedown notice. Mr. Fortuny sent a counter-notification, and his host restored the material. Please see our related database entry, Doe v. Fortuny (Correspondence).

Update:

4/9/09 - The court entered a default judgment against Fortuny, requiring him to pay $74,252.56 in damages, attorneys fees, and costs. 

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Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Blog Post

Max Mosley's S&M Party Not A Matter of Legitimate Public Concern, Says English Court

Admittedly, Max Mosley's lawsuit against an English tabloid is not the heartland of citizen media, but who can resist posting about a story that involves "sadomasochistic orgies, car racing, and Nazis," as Bill McGeveran puts it.  Mosley, the head of the governing body for Formula One racing, sued the News of the World for reporting in March 2008 that he organized a “sick Nazi orgy” with five prostitute

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Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Paparazzi Need Better Manners, Not More Laws

In Malibu City, an ocean-side enclave of Los Angeles, local government officials are considering regulations that aim to protect the privacy and safety interests of both celebrities hounded by the paparazzi and local residents, after local surfers went to fisticuffs with photographers trying to capture Matthew McConaughey surfing at Malibu's Little Dume Beach.

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Perez Hilton v. Jonathan Jaxson

Date: 

04/09/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jonathan Wayne Lewandowski, aka Jonathan Jaxson, aka Jonathan Taylor; and Does 1 through 25

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles; United States District Court, Central District of California

Case Number: 

BC388760 (state); 2:08-cv-03074 (federal)

Legal Counsel: 

Brian Spitz (The Spitz Law Firm)

Publication Medium: 

Blog
Print
Verbal

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

On April 8, 2008, Perez Hilton sued fellow gossip-blogger Jonathan Jaxson for libel, slander, invasion of privacy, harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jaxson, the former publicist for the Backstreet Boys whose real name is Jonathan Wayne Lewandowski, operates a blog called JJ's Dirt that feeds the public's apparently unlimited hunger for celebrity gossip.

The complaint, which Hilton filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Jaxson slandered him by stating that Hilton had solicited sexual favors from Jaxson in exchange for help promoting Jaxson’s website. The complaint specifically refers to a February 28 article in the New York Post in which Jaxson stated that Hilton encouraged him to send sex tapes of himself. "He would tell me he would give me stories for my blog," Jaxson told the Post. "He used me."

Hilton also claims that statements Jaxson made to ABC News, Popcrunch.com, and HollywoodCrap.com, were defamatory. According to ABC News.com and allegations in Hilton's complaint:

Jaxson sent ABCNEWS.com copies of several instant message conversations he claims he had online with Lavandeira. The conversations appear to show Lavandeira requesting sex videos from Jaxson, apparently coaching him on who to send the tapes to and also contains several nude shots of Jaxson. ABCNEWS.com has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the instant message conversations. . . .

"[Lavandeira] was using me as his personal porn service," said Jaxson, who admitted to sending several sex tapes and photographs featuring himself to Lavandeira on the condition that he would alert him to breaking celebrity news. "I felt manipulated."

Hilton states in his complaint that there was no agreement to exchange sex for his helping publicize Jaxson's blog.

Adding to the emotional nature of the dispute, Jaxson published Hilton's personal phone number on his blog earlier this week and told his readers that Perez "has hurt me and millions of others, because of this I think you should call him and let him know how you feel."

Under California's court rules, Jaxson has 30 days to answer the complaint.

Update:

5/9/2008 - Jaxson gave notice of the case's removal to the United States District Court, Central District of California.

6/2/2008 - Jaxson answered Hilton's complaint.

9/18/2008 - The parties entered into a written settlement agreement. (See exhibit A).

7/15/2009 - Jaxson filed a lawsuit against Hilton, alleged that he violated the 9/18/2008 settlement agreement. 

Subject Area: 

CMLP Notes: 

Status updated on 6/6/2008 (AAB)

Updated 1/23/09 - VAF

Update 7/15/2009 - AVM added info on settlement and new suit. 

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Perez Hilton Sues Fellow Gossip-Blogger For Defamation Over Alleged Sex Tapes

Earlier this week, Perez Hilton sued fellow gossip-blogger Jonathan Jaxson for libel, slander, invasion of privacy, harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jaxson, the former publicist for the Backstreet Boys whose real name is Jonathan Wayne Lewandowski, operates a blog called JJ's Dirt that feeds the public's apparently unlimited hunger for celebrity gossip.

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Jurisdiction: 

Highlights from the Legal Guide: Liability for the Use of Recording Devices

This is the seventh in a series of posts calling attention to topics we cover in the Citizen Media Legal Guide. In this post, we highlight the section on Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings, which discusses federal and state laws relating to the use of recording equipment in specific private and semi-public settings.

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Highlights from the Legal Guide: Gathering Private Information

This is the fifth in a series of posts calling attention to some of the topics covered in the Citizen Media Legal Guide we began publishing in January. This past month we rolled out the sections on Newsgathering and Privacy, which address the legal and practical issues you may encounter as you gather documents, take photographs or video, and collect other information.

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