It’s so long ago now. I was working late in an otherwise quiet building, all alone in my little workspace, gardening in the commercial archive as the parties raged at the nighclubs in Amsterdam just a block away from me, and the SAG strike raged in California a day away from me. That’s when the emails began dropping in, one angrier than the other; “You shouldn’t be making money off those actors hard work, you have no right!” argued some, to which I laughed knowing my hobby cost me a fortune in server-fees and didn’t make a dime. “You better watch out, you’re angering a lot of people and we know where you live!“ stated another and for a brief second I was worried. Judging by the amount of peeved SAG-actor fans, I was ticking a lot of people off, and now they said that they knew where I lived. Here I was alone, in a basement that was so easy to break into, in a rather bad part of town. “Where do I live?” I asked, and got an instant reply. “Helgagatan 33, 11858 Stockholm”.
Lets google map that, to really let it sink in how funny that was. My own personal reference to Blues Brothers movie, back when you actually had to have a legit snailmail address when registering domain names was being thrown back at me as a threat. Allahelgonakyrkan in Stockholm was my 1060 West Addison. Yeah dude, I’m scared now. You’re so far off, you’re not even in the right country.
Lawyers have called me up early in the mornings and late at night, all things have been sorted out without much of a fight (as it turns out, I’m right), and if I ever removed anything it’s out of my own sense of fair play, like when a game-ad leaked early, before said game was ready for release and the game company sent sugar dripping pretty pleases. “I’ll do it but the nano-second it can go live, you let me know right?” Right! Of course they never do, these people I’m doing favors forget it fast. When the ad is ready to air, everyone gets it at the same time and I put another notch in my “It doesn’t pay to be nice” stick. Those who break embargos win the traffic crowds and those who publish their misdirected C&D’s are perceived as heroes.
The C&D’s bore me by now, the threats of “I will call my lawyer” bore me twice as much. Don’t say you will, go all Nike and just do it. And have your lawyer call mine. Seriously. Right fucking now. Put your money where your mouth is, as I don’t respond well to threats.
But of course, I’ll treat every case different, as each one is as individual as the individuals who email.
Like the person who had made animatronics for an ad I have in the commercial archive wrote his own not-lawyer vetted C&D to try and have me remove it, I gave him a short class in a) what C&D’s actually read like, b) how he should write his contracts in the future to get paid better for his work. I haven’t posted any of the C&D’s we’ve received in public, as I consider them private correspondence (and some people really should thank me for not making a permanent sad internet mark on their shiny legal careers). Or that guy who was rather upset about a piece of negative news (a huge bellyflop in his professional life) kept showing up on top of google when looking for his name, I helped him out by posting new news of non-bellyflopping career moves, since it was so easy to read his frustration wasn’t with me but with that failure haunting him. Today however, I find I’m having a real hard time doing the classy thing of keeping my mouth shut.
See, today a man emailed telling me to “correct information” in a post from last year, or he’ll “be forced to take legal action”. The emails subject line was “defamation article on your website”. The post in question is mocking the tradepress for writing everything but this persons name in a news article regarding his arrest for suspicion of murder, making figuring out who it is easier than making a cup of instant coffee. (Notice I didn’t say tasty instant coffeee, as that’s impossible)
My response was as curt as his email, explaining that Adland isn’t in the habit of revising history, unless he could point to a factual error in the article – was he not arrested in this case? – but I’d by happy to post a new article about the current state of affairs in this case (the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence: ie they never found a body) which is by far more effective in drowning bad news out. The police aren’t foolproof, just ask the Creative Director who was arrested based on a flimsy facebook connection. I added that being arrested must take a great psycological and physical toll on anyone, so I didn’t take the legal threat personally. Nice, but crisp.
“It’s not a threat” his response came back“It’s reality”.
Well then, get your damn lawyer on the phone honey, and quit wasting my time. I just offered you a big-ass microphone to clear your name and asked you a straight question regarding the factual error which you didn’t answer, which tells me what I already knew, there was no error. Kaboom! You’ve been lawyered! Interestingly he claimed that other “publications” have all “corrected their error or removed their articles”. Either he’s fibbing or publications scare really easily around here.
Look, I’ve had some really fanatical removed-from-reality folks harass me all hours of the day with proper death threats on every contact channel, (the misdirected SAG related anger ones don’t count), I’ve had my phonenumber put on UK Porn dating sites, I have a rather impressive collection of sexually harassing messages left on my phone with matching police report piles, my server DDOS:ed proper more times than I care to count, and the first C&D I ever received came from Universal Studios lawyers who know a thing or two about the law & IP, but they never even replied after I had pointed out all their wrong assumptions and their bad case. If you can’t answer my fucking straight question, I have no reserves of “nice” to spare, no matter how innocent or emotionally distraught you might be after your ordeal. I gave it a shot. You wasted it.
So to end on a high note, if you never find my body, the suspects name is in the database. 😉