I am happy to announce that I am "virally" free once again. In appreciation of friends and others who have made countless inquiries regarding my status, I would just like to take a second to share that yes, I am safe. My freedom of speech was threatened, and it scared the skittles out of me. Allow me to elaborate a little bit.
An attorney group known as Righthaven LLC had filed 57 lawsuits against writers and bloggers - and I was amongst this group. These suits alleged websites, message board posters and bloggers had used a Post TSA pat-down photo without permission -- even though the photo had gone viral on the Internet, was distributed to news outlets by The Associated Press and many defendants said they had no idea it came from Denver or the Denver Post and was subject to copyright protection. The article that I wrote - which resulted in this action taken against me can be read here.
In short, I was asked to pay a small sum, to the tune of almost $1 million dollars to make this problem go away, or show up in court to contest this alleged frivolous offense of copyright enfringement. I was subsequently fielded with interview requests (The Denver Post, ironically was amongst one of the requestees), and as one of the first handful of bloggers being summoned, fellow bloggers and writers reached out to me to find out my intentions. My name was viral on many internet portals, on dockets, legal papers and general publications. At this point, I began to feel uneasy and concerned about this - but the reputation of my name was equally concerning. I did not know what to do at this point.
The lawsuit was filed in January 2011. The Righthaven lawsuit grew to include over 200 withing a five month period. Over several months during this time I was transitioning between jobs. While I did not feel comfortable sharing this matter with a prospective employee, I knew this would not be a good look at all if a simple google search was performed on my name.
A full list of lawsuits filed under Righthaven can be seen here. (I am #217)
As several bloggers began the process of contesting the charges filed in Las Vegas, NV, it was not clear how much money and time was spent, but I did learn that no one was found liable at this point. My optimism rested on the hope that this would continue, but something better happened.
A stay of execution was issued by the judge presiding over the case in May 2011, pending resolution of a motion to dismiss. This afforded me time to either reach out to Righthaven to reach some form of settlement, or wait for my day in court to arrive.
I decided to give this some more time, stay low, and defer from blogging for awhile. I also spoke with an attorney that suggested that I countersue.
In October 2011, the judge made a sweeping decision. Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas lacked standing to file copyright infringement lawsuits in Colorado under its lawsuit contract with the Denver Post and it was determined that they abused the Copyright Act in doing so. Not only was my case dismissed, but over 200 similar cases against other writers and bloggers (David Duke was also a plaintiff) were also dismissed. The judge also ordered monies to be returned to reimburse plaintiff costs, and I am sure that others will be countersuing.
Me? I want the Denver Post to simply give me a few tickets to the Denver Bronco playoff game this weekend, but I'm sure this request would be declined. I'll happily accept divine intervention.
Or maybe it was Tebow.
So let's chalk one up for the little guy. I prevailed in one of my greatest blog battles to date, and I just want to take time to thank God, plus the 200+ fellow writers and bloggers that battled with me to take down these guys and stand up for their rights. I really did nothing, it was those that appeared in court to contest the charges, and it was their efforts in standing up for their sovereign rights that helped us all to win in the end.
“It's exciting, a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. It's an awesome experience. I just try to work hard and run the offense as good as possible. I had a lot of guys around me who made a lot of good plays to help me out.”
- Tim Tebow
Thanks friends. I'm back.