Friday, January 13, 2006
Copyrighting threat letters: The Smoking Gun is largely famous on the Web for posting celebrity mug shots, but they also publish all sorts of legal documents and occasionally do some reporting. The latter is what prompted this letter from legal eagle Martin D. Singer.
The letter threatening a lawsuit should The Smoking Gun go ahead with its report includes this paragraph.
This letter is a confidential legal communication and is not for publication, and you are not authorized to publish this letter, or any information contained herein, authorization. [sic] Any publication disseminated or broadcast of any portion of this letter will constitute a breach of confidence and a violation of the Copyright Act. [emphasis in original]
Copyright? Really? Publishing a letter that someone sends to you is a violation of the Copyright Act? Talk about creative lawyering.