I noted in Friday’s free edition that I received a “take-down” demand from an attorney about an article. The letter was dated August 4, but I didn’t get it until Thursday, August 18.
It took the post office about a week to get it to Ridgway, and then it took several days (including over a weekend) for us to get to the post office while it was open, as it had to be signed for; it was “certified.” So by the time I had it in my hands, the specified 14-day demand window was up. I had to act fairly fast. But for them, I didn’t act fast enough.
I have a security camera on my driveway, since the driveway can’t be seen from our home office (nor can we even hear cars coming up the driveway). I leave it open on my computer all the time. On Friday I saw my wife arrive home — followed by another car. I thought it was a friend of hers, but it wasn’t. It spooked her enough for a strange car to be right behind her that my wife didn’t open the garage door. (Perhaps because the way the guy parked: he blocked the driveway so no one could exit!) She went to see what the guy wanted. It was a process server, but all he had was a copy of the same letter we had gotten the day before. It’s unclear whether the action was meant as a scare tactic, or just aggressive action on the attorney’s part to ensure I was given “proper” notice.
Most take-down demands relate to purportedly violated copyrights (or sometimes trademarks), and since I didn’t go into any detail in Friday’s issue, readers assumed that I was being accused of violating someone’s copyright — and were incredulous, since they know I’m very careful about that. But no: the veiled accusation is that I’m violating a court order in a criminal case!
I asked for “support” from the free readers in the form of upgrades to help me pay for a media attorney for counsel. (I specifically decided not to ask for “donations” or “contributions” for any sort of “legal defense fund” — certainly not at this stage!) There was a small but noticeable surge in upgrades as a result. If you’re one who responded, thank you! I’ve indeed now run this by two attorneys, but both of them said they couldn’t represent me because they were not licensed for either Nevada (where the case occurred) nor Colorado (where I’m located), nor do they specialize in criminal matters. (Neither was specifically a “media attorney”.) Both weighed in anyway: they are of the non-attributable opinion that I am in the right, but of course I could not “rely” on their opinions because of their license status and their specialties.
The article, by the way, didn’t appear in True: it was on my now-defunct Mug Shot Museum.
But I have taken down the article (and replaced it with the lawyer’s demand letter, and my reply). Thus, I consider it “case closed” — unless some large media organization wants to fight this to ensure other web sites don’t get victimized by overzealous legal teams squelching free speech — or freedom of the “press” — based on dubious state law interpretations. But I’m not going to hold my breath.