At long last, I faxed Timothy B. McCormack my formal response (on behalf of ELI) regarding his outlandish infringement/defamation/harassment letter.
The text of my letter is provided below:
March 2, 2014
c/o McCormack Intellectual Property Law PS
617 Lee St.
Seattle, WA 98109
FAX: (206) 381-1988
Via FAX & First-Class Mail
This letter is my “formal response” to the frivolous and baseless form letter you sent me in January 2014 regarding the supposed infringement of your copyrighted headshot photo. Honestly, this letter is an exercise of repetition because you have shown that you are an avid reader and follower of the ELI website and the ELI Forums. The majority of the content and points of this letter has already been publicly posted and discussed on ELI. But I don’t want it said that I am incapable of being professional as challenging as it may be for me in this case.
Understandably, you have a high level of interest in any posts that may reference your name or business. I surmise you follow ELI daily to the degree you have shown an extensive screen-capture inventory of ELI posts in this and other communiques. Given this, I find your letter to be entirely frivolous, reckless, irresponsible, and unbecoming of a lawyer of your supposed stature and qualifications.
Your form letter included screenshots from July 26, 2012. However, we are now in 2014! It literally takes less than 30 seconds to verify that ALL your screenshots to those posts are outdated and obsolete. In fact, no user-posted images are currently displayed in the ELI Forums. This has been the case since March 2013. You should know this from your self-serving involvement in the Ellis case and the subsequent appeal. The ability to automatically display images (and other media) in the ELI Forums was deactivated to help prevent exactly the frivolous accusations such as the ones you are now making of me and ELI.
While it may not have been immediately apparent prior to March 2013, all ELI Forum user-posted images, memes, and videos were only “hot-links”. As you appear to be technically-unsavvy based on your baseless claims, I want to inform you that you can easily “right-click” any image or hyperlink from any contemporary web browser and you can easily determine where an object is actually hosted. Just because an image is displayed on a website does not automatically mean that website actually hosts it. To the best of my knowledge and my research, ELI has never hosted any image containing your headshot.
Considering that you insist on a formal reply from me when you could have done the necessary research yourself, I make the following additional points:
1. None of the posts you complain about was caused or posted by me. Hence, I cannot be harassing or defaming you. In fact, one of the posts you complain about doesn’t even exist anymore and was voluntarily deleted by the original poster in March 2013. I recommend you consult Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. ELI hosts discussions and posts of other users. And while I certainly do participate and post on ELI, I am only responsible for those posts I make, not other users’ posts.
2. None of the alleged copyright infringed images have been displayed on ELI since March 2013. Even if they were displayed, that does not automatically constitute copyright infringement on any ELI users’ part. They were hot-linked images and memes hosted elsewhere from ELI. I recommend consulting the case of “Perfect 10 vs. Amazon”.
3. In two of your screenshots, your headshot photo is clearly part of screenshots of Google searches. I suggest that if you don’t want your image showing up on a Google search, then maybe you should consider removing your image from your own websites so it won’t show up on anyone’s screenshot of a Google search. FYI, screenshots for commentary purposes are perfectly allowed under “fair use” and that is exactly what it was used for in that post.
4. None of the messaging on the complained about memes are even remotely close to meeting the standard of defamation or harassment. Most reasonable people know by its simple appearance and messaging they are meant as parody, satire, or negative commentary. The fact that people are making negative commentary about you doesn’t automatically make it defamation or harassment.
I highly object to the ongoing abuse of your privilege as a licensed attorney to try to lie, mislead, and intimidate laypeople such as myself. I may not be a lawyer but, fortunately, I am aware of my rights and responsibilities as a discussion forum host and website host. You and your office have a track record of writing misleading extortion letters designed to trip up and mislead the legally ignorant and the legally spineless. I am not one of those people.
With regard to the other information you are asking for, I outright refuse to provide them to you as you have no legitimate basis or authority to do so. Regarding information on ELI’s traffic, consider visiting Alexa.com, for example.
Regarding how much income ELI generates for me, I will gladly provide you that information in exchange for how much the Getty Images copyright enforcement business generates for you. I consider that a fair trade. Absent that, you have no legitimate basis or authority to get that information from me.
As I have now acknowledged the relevant issues of your complaints, I am going to take the opportunity to make a few points of my own. You have demonstrated this past year your hatred of me, Oscar Michelen, and ELI, in general. Your ongoing attack campaign against everything ELI is self-evident. You have done everything within your power to attack, threaten, discredit, disparage, and damage me, in particular. You somehow continue to blame me for the ills of your so-called copyright enforcement business. Perhaps if alleged infringers weren’t treated as criminals trying to squeeze disproportionate amounts of money for what amounts to be a “speeding ticket” on the Internet, your professional life would be easier. Perhaps if you weren’t so sloppy professionally and didn’t behave like a hack lawyer, you would get a bit more respect.
You continue to blame me for everything other ELI community members have posted about you when, in fact, they are intelligent, independent thinkers and passionate, self-motivated contributors of the ELI Forums. Any perceived influence I might have over them is due to the intense disdain and hatred for Getty Images and your role and behavior as their collections lawyer. It is because of you and Getty Images’ ongoing “copyright enforcement” efforts in particular, that ELI, the ELI Forums, and the ELI community came into existence.
You and Getty Images’ relentless, merciless, and duplicitous pursuit of revenues-at-all-costs (under the guise of copyright enforcement activities) continues to generate more disdain and hatred towards yourself and Getty Images with every passing day. Can you not plainly see this? Can you not plainly see that Getty Images is using you as a pawn while your corporate counter-parts within Getty Images Corporate Counsel department remain comfortably in hiding while you take all the arrows and bullets? Have you never wondered why no one within Getty Images Corporate Counsel has ever publicly spoken out on your behalf? They are cowards hiding within the womb of their corporate mommy.
In closing, the next time you decide to send a complaint letter to me, do your research and get your facts straight. Just because you want to write to me making frivolous and baseless claims does not automatically mean I am legally obligated to respond to you.
Onward and upward,
On behalf of ExtortionLetterInfo.com
Timothy B. McCormack’s original complaint letter which I responded to is here: