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Debbie Schlussel Threatens Me with a Lawsuit

–updates below–


Good morning to you too, Ms. Schlussel.

It has come to my attention that you posted a copyrighted photo of mine on Huffington Post. Unfortunately for you, I am the exclusive copyright holder of that photo, and I don’t recall licensing it out to you for use. Therefore, you are in violation of my copyright, and I give you 24 hours to remove it before I have my lawyers prepare suit. As you may know, federal copyright law provides up to $150,000 in damages per incident for wanton violation of a copyright. As you are now–and should have been prior to this letter–aware, you are in violation of my copyright, and any use heretofore is wanton. Please take down the photo immediately, and cease and desist from using it in the future.

Additionally, you note on your site that I was critical of Barack Obama’s last name. Reading is fundamental. And if you bothered to read, I’ve never said a thing about the surname Obama. Perhaps you have a problem with it and are projecting it upon me. Please stop that too.

I await your response that you have taken down my copyrighted photo.

Debbie Schlussel

First, the point I made that Schlussel “was critical of Barack Obama’s last name” charge. Early this morning I posted on last night’s “24,” citing Ms. Schlussel’s “PC 24.” In that post I referred to Schlussel’s attack on Obama, which I first covered in this post entitled, “Barack Obama’s Middle Name.” I also covered Schussel’s middle name attack in \”That Uppity Democratic Muslim!” Well, last night I mistakenly wrote “last” name. If Ms. Schlussel had bothered to click on any of the links offered, she would have seen that I was indeed referring to her attack on Barack Obama’s middle name, but wrote “last” name by mistake. Big whoop. Obviously Ms. Schlussel’s fingers couldn’t make it to click on the links. No doubt it was fatigue from all her bloviating on “PC 24″ that kept her from investigating further. It must be tough being a lawyer who can’t at least make the effort to investigate whether someone has indeed made an ignorant glaring error in fact or just a simple late night mistake, which could be proven by visiting previous posts linked by the author, that is, me, your humble blogger. “Reading is fundamental” is true, but considering I got it right in all my previous posts, the ones to which I linked, only mistakenly typing “last” name once, I’d also say that checking your charges and the history refuting and surrounding those charges is fundamental as well.

Hey, but wingnuts will be wingnuts.

The “violation of my copyright,” to which Ms. Schlussel refers has been remedied, because I simply took the photo I got off a simple Google search down on the Huffington Post column. The irony is, and what’s absolutely hilarious about this whole lawsuit issue, is that, again, the title of the column that Ms. Schlussel found objectionable at Huffington Post, because it appears with her picture, is “Barack Obama’s Middle Name.” She obviously didn’t look at that title before her kindergarten comment about my “last” name charge. Even a five year old could figure out the “last” name reference in last night’s post was a mere error. Hardly worthy of an off with her head assault.

One also assumes, if she’s going to threaten to slap me with a lawsuit, she’s done the copyright registration, or is doing that as you read this post. However, as copyright law would have it, it’s interesting, but this registration is not required. The simple action of my using her photo is enough, regardless of where I got it or that I didn’t know it was copyrighted. It is interesting, though not important legally, that Ms. Schlussel didn’t use any technical means at her disposal to protect her picture. As you can see if you peruse my blog, all the pictures are protected. They are all copyrighted by myself or photographers, so I make sure no one can copy them, as far as I can protect them. Ms. Schlussel didn’t bother to do this, though, again, she certainly doesn’t have to, either. She can just let fly a lawsuit threat when someone uses her copyrighted picture. But just take a look at all the pictures of Ms. Schlussel across Google: here,
here,
here,
here,
here,
here.

She may have lawyers, but she’s one as well. But if this is what she spends her time on she must be a very busy wingnut.

I’ve spoken to my lawyer (my big brother) today, as well as a First Amendment attorney who’s familiar with these types of things, thanks to a referral from another progressive. In addition, my brother also spoke to a copyright lawyer. It remains to be seen if bloggers are protected for “fair use” with photos used in reporting stories, because much of what we’re seen to do is opinion, criticism and comment. However, as regular readers know, I actually do reporting and have broken stories before. Regardless, the minute I used Ms. Schlussel’s picture, well, I’ve said it all already.

Frankly, the publicity of a lawsuit would be great. As for what Schlussel will get, good luck. But talk about a frivolous lawsuit.

You’ve got to wonder if Ms. Schlussel is trying to intimidate me, or if she is trying to squelch my right to free speech. I can’t know for sure, but the inherent threat of a lawsuit seems to be focused on doing both, however unsuccessfully. Or maybe she thinks I’m stupid? Pity.

At any rate, Ms. Schlussel, you can quit waiting. Consider this my “response.”

Oh, and by the way, thanks for the chuckle. It’s a great way to start the week.

And just in case you’re wondering, I own the copyright of the stick figure at the top of this post. So don’t even think about using it.

UPDATE (10:35 a.m. – 1.17): …and the posts just keep on coming. A flat out hilarious tutorial from Chris of Creek Running North, which would have saved me a lot of trouble. But then again, then we wouldn\’t have had all this fun creaming Ms. Debbie. … oh, and now I see that \”the bastard,\” Heraclitus, over at Stickings’ blog has chimed in. It\’s now, officially, a party.

UPDATE (6:42 p.m. – 1.16): I’m linking to this post shamefully late, but I quite frankly just missed it. Wait until you see this picture! Eeew.

UPDATE (8:55 a.m. – 1.16): A blogger friend of Mash\’s came out of blog retirement to join in the art fun. Nice drawing, Robbie. …a late drawing entry from Wally, too.

UPDATE (11:33 p.m.): Reader Cujo359, who just launched a brand new blog, adds his own drawing. I\’d upload it, but then I\’d have to kill it.

UPDATE (6:35 p.m.): WHO THE HELL IS DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL? Many don\’t know, Roxanne.

UPDATE (5:00 p.m.): Bob Geiger\’s post, Little Debbie Schlussel – Just Another Candy-Ass Republican, sums it up perfectly.

UPDATE (4:03 p.m.): Joe Gandelman did a post entitled, \”Now Blogging is Getting Litigious Among bloggers,\” without even mentioning you know who. And you\’ve simply got to see Mash\’s post, complete with his own stick figure drawing! Priceless.

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