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From Ken at Popehat, a righteous response to a bumptious cease and desist letter [Regretsy]


Scam pretend-lawyers pose as real Hollywood lawyers firing off nastygrams to shake cash out of illicit downloaders. [Above the Law]

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A student organization at Penn Law created a poster for a fashion-law event playing off the well-known design of luggage-and-handbag purveyor Louis Vuitton. Lawyers for the luxury firm fired off a cease-and-desist letter, but the Penn law department declined to comply, a stance that Eugene Volokh finds persuasive: ” I think the use of the marks can’t qualify as dilution, is unlikely to confuse, and is likely to be a fair use in any event.” Another view: Ron Coleman (dilution a possibility).


Not very peaceful

by Walter Olson on March 5, 2012

North Carolina’s Peace College sends a nastygram to critics [Peter Bonilla, FIRE] More: Popehat.

January 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 16, 2012

  • Per Chevron, Kerry Kennedy getting undisclosed percentage of the take, potentially in millions, to side with plaintiffs in Ecuador suit [NY Post] Long New Yorker take-out on case [Patrick Radden Keefe]
  • Freetail Brewing fields a nastygram: “How to Comply With a Cease-and-Desist Letter But Still Win” [Lowering the Bar]
  • I.e. boycotts illegal? Odd Minnesota law bans economic “reprisals” based on “political activity.” [Volokh]
  • “Chris McGrath v. Vaughan Jones: An Unpleasant Peek Into U.K. Libel Law” [Popehat; suit over science-and-theology book review] Related: “You Can’t Read This Book: why libel tourists love London” [Nick Cohen, Guardian, on his new book]
  • Business experience isn’t be-all or end-all for presidential qualifications, but might avert some policy howlers [Kling]
  • “Arbitration Is Here to Stay and One Lawyer Says That Is Good for Consumers” [Alan Kaplinsky interview, Mickey Meese/Forbes, PoL]
  • Off-topic random thought: “Iranian nuclear scientist who moonlights in Broadway Spider-Man cast” must be world’s most uninsurable job description;
  • “D.C. Lawmakers Propose Requiring Students to Apply to College” [Fox]


At RedState, Leon Wolf has been parodying the work of Senatorial daughter and talk-show personality Meghan McCain. McCain’s lawyer, Albin Gess of Snell & Wilmer, wrote RedState editor Erich Erichson to threaten litigation over the posts, which prompted this magnificent letter in response (PDF) from Georgia attorney Christopher Scott Badeaux, representing Wolf. It also guaranteed more critical attention to McCain herself and her work, including this cruel entry by Ken at Popehat.

What Ken calls “the use of money and power to achieve censorship” — particularly in jurisdictions where judges are averse to awarding sanctions and anti-SLAPP protections are weak — is a continuing problem long overdue for open public discussion.


Attorney demand letters

by Walter Olson on September 4, 2011

Should they be nastygrams, or adopt a more measured tone? [Ron Miller]

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Help wanted

by Walter Olson on June 29, 2011

Attorney, for intimidation purposes only, no followup required [Elie Mystal, Above the Law]

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Patrick at Popehat has compiled “A Small Businessman’s Guide To Dealing With Obnoxious Letters From Lawyers.”

“When people like Rachel Kane stand up to bullies, it makes it a little bit easier for each and every one of us to stand up to bullies,” writes Ken at Popehat about the blogger who runs a site making fun of some of the wares of the fashion chain Forever 21, and who’s not knuckling under despite a cease-and-desist letter from the store’s lawyer. More coverage: Atlantic Wire; press roundup at WTForever 21.


The law firm in question had sent a nastygram over a blog post that wasn’t even about their client, but merely combined the phrase “academic advantage” with (in comments) the word “scam.” Academic Advantage now says it has “severed its relationship” with the L.A. law firm involved. [California Watch, BoingBoing, earlier]


Behind the menacing letter in question, apparently: a baffling failure to grasp the context in which the phrase “Academic Advantage” appeared on the popular blog.


This time it’s Patterico on the receiving end. Excerpt: “I have filed over a hundred lawsuits and another one will be no sweat for me. On the other hand, it will cost you a lot of time and money and for what.”

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July 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 30, 2010

  • Hilton Head dispute over pet turkeys leads to $4.25 million verdict [Island Packet via Lowering the Bar]
  • “Lucasfilm lightsaber legal threat letter sells for $3,850″ [BoingBoing, earlier]
  • Raw milk: “If The Government Says That It’s Not About Freedom, Then It’s Just NOT” [Ken at Popehat vs. L.A. Times]
  • Dell “failed to stress” accounting disclosure. SEC: that will be $100 million [TJIC]
  • Dodd-Frank dubbed “Lawyers’ and Consultants’ Full Employment Act of 2010″ [Mark Perry, WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Did liberal judges invent the standing doctrine? An Empirical Study of the Evolution of Standing, 1921-2006″ [Ho/Ross, Stanford Law Review]
  • Office of Connecticut AG Blumenthal doesn’t emerge with glory from fertility doctor case [Pesci]
  • Massachusetts high court tosses 125-year-old rule: owners now face wider liability for snow/ice hazards [Globe]


And yet Mr. Page’s demand letter seems only to have succeeded in getting his name, and that of his modeling agency, into wider circulation. [Ken at Popehat]

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Lawyers for the National Pork Board, which maintains the trademark “The Other White Meat,” sent a 12-page cease-and-desist letter to a website which had promoted cans of supposed “Unicorn Meat” as the “new white meat.” It is not clear whether Faegre & Benson realized that the cans were a fake product intended for April Fool’s Day. [ThinkGeek] More: Lowering the Bar.


Watch out, warns Eric Scheie: it can be a cover for legal efforts to silence online critics, as with a religious group leader’s nastygram aimed at blogger Joy McCann (Little Miss Attila).


The telecom giant apologizes for a staffer’s legal rumblings.