Sunday, March 24, 2013

Now We Know Who Trolled Who

Back in August, Creators Against Pinterest published Will The Real Troll Please Stand Up, an account of what can happen to content creators that attempt to protect their intellectual property through the legal channels, with parallels to potential lawsuits against pinners. This particular story concerned poet Linda Ellis whose poem The Dash was infringed upon by one April Brown, who found oil for her fire on the website, operated by Matthew Chan. The website, and affiliate websites, posted derogatory, "photoshopped" pictures of Ellis and devoted an entire subforum to deride and mock her.

A Georgia Judge has decided that the real troll was Matthew Chan and imposed a restraining order as follows:
The Respondent has knowingly and willfully violated O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-90 et seq. and placed the Petitioner in reasonable fear for the Petitioner’s safety, because Respondent contacted the Petitioner (and urged others to contact Petitioner) and posted personal information of the Petitioner for the purpose of harassing and intimidating Petitioner (1.) As the owner and operator of the site, Respondent has the ability to remove posts in his capacity as the moderator. However, Respondent chose not to remove posts that were personally directed at Ms. Ellis and would cause a reasonable person to fear for her safety. Because the Respondent’s course of conduct was directed at Ms. Ellis through the posted messages and information relating to Ms. Ellis, and the conduct was intended (and in fact did) create fear and intimidation of the Petitioner, Respondent is hereby ORDERED to remove all posts relating to Ms. Ellis.
According to Linda Ellis' blog, Chan
boasted about driving around near my subdivision in a forum with a photo of my home and my address. He posted threats about he and others driving around my neighborhood with video cameras, threats that I was “dead,” threats that he was speaking with people who want to “put me in the ground.” He posted my personal information and records. He called my employee’s home. He posted videos in which he yelled obscenities directed toward me, loudly screaming: “Linda, you’re a piece of __it!” adding that I “won’t understand anything but BRUTE FORCE!”
Following the judgment, Chan has cleaned up the forum of everything Linda Ellis and seems to have reduced himself to mere veiled insider innuendos.

Perhaps, just like we have "innocent infringers," we have "innocent stalkers." In a spectacular example of not-knowing-when-to-let-go, April Brown responded to the judgment with a press release stauchly defending Chan's actions.

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