Posts Tagged ‘parody’

Threatening blogger over satirical posts

Not a good idea for anyone, really, but an especially bad idea for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [Ken at Popehat; Paul Alan Levy (reminding that “the government itself cannot be defamed”)]

Down the same alley: when the mayor of Peoria seized on a misdemeanor law banning “impersonating a public official” as grounds for sending police after a clearly satirical Twitter account, he bit off more than he might be able to chew [Ars Technica, earlier]

“Totally Meghan McCain” parody columns

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.

California’s new online-impersonation ban

Liability is predicated on “intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person – not necessarily the person you are impersonating.” [Michael Arrington, TechCrunch] Despite talk of using the statute against stalkers, Choire Sicha predicts a somewhat different application: “harm as in ‘brand dilution’ — that is what will be prosecuted. Of course there is no carve-out for playful, political or non-murderous uses of online impersonation.” The bill’s text, notes Arrington, doesn’t address such free speech issues as satire and parody, though it does restrict itself to impersonations that are “credible.” Compare: much-demonized Koch Industries goes to court to identify originators (apparently political critics) of website imitating its own [Web Host Industry Review]

Judge orders website to yank “giraffe attack” story

A judge has ordered a satirical website to remove an article about a fictional attack by a giraffe at a Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana wildlife center. The center had argued that the article was not clearly labeled as satire and had been taken for real by some readers. A lawyer for the center says his client is asking “to have the story permanently removed from the site and to prevent Hammond Action News from ever distributing it.” Having handed down a temporary restraining order, the judge will consider the permanent removal request March 15. [The Advocate; Hammond Action News]

P.S. Commentary on the story from Ken at Popehat, who links another local story reporting that president of wildlife park threatened college-student satirist with “criminal charges, FCC charges, fraud charges, an IRS complaint, a governor’s office complaint, and a federal lawsuit” (h/t commenter Doug).