Three weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled Sports Card Girl is a Scam. In it, I raised some questions about new card blogger SportsCardGirl–real name allegedly Brandy Ruth–and the legitimacy of “her” online business.
Some bloggers agreed with the points I raised, others disagreed, and most didn’t really care. But Sports Card Girl…well, “she” tried to bully me. Which is ironic given this August 25th exchange on Twitter:
captainbohica: wow. care to respond to this accusation @SportsCardGirl ?
SportsCardGirl: @captainbohica wow I appreciate someone taking the time to write about me!!! So much of that is wrong it’s not even funny.
SportsCardGirl: @captainbohica that guy can think what he wants. Shame on him for trying to make it even harder for a girl collector, no wonder there’s few
So, Sports Card Girl said that “she” appreciated the free publicity, that I was wrong and that I could think what I want.
But later that same day, “she” sent me this email, accusing me of defamation and threatening to take legal action…
This is all wrong for three reasons:
1. Viewpoint. I did not attack any of “her” viewpoints. I just raised questions about the legitimacy of her business and the security of her website.
2. Defamation–with a capital D, no less–is being libelous. Calling Joe Schmoe is a liar without proof is defamation. Saying that Joe Schmoe–or Brandy Ruth–writes grammatically poor English and has an unsecured website is not libel because they are proven facts.
3. Copyright Infringement: “Her” images that I used in my previous post are not Copyright Infringement (again, capitalized for some reason) because they fall under fair use, which means that you are allowed to use copyrighted works for purposes of review, criticism or news reporting…or even parody.
Since I had done nothing wrong–and she had done nothing to address any of the issues I raised in my article–I decided to ignore her email. But 5 days later, I was threatened again:
Again, I don’t know why words like My Logo are capitalized. And how much time do I have-72 hours or 72 days? I don’t think Sports Card Girl knows for sure, either. In “her” first email, “she” threatened to send “her” lawyers (plural) after me; now it’s just one copyright lawyer. If “she” really did have one or more lawyers, then they’d probably draft a better letter than this one.
It gets better. A few minutes later, “she” also emailed the company that hosts my website:
“All of these are the offenders…” Wow, I guess her lawyers / copyright lawyer / legal team didn’t proofread this message too well either.
Obviously, my web host took no action, because no law was transgressed. And the emails stopped after that. But like I said before, I have to call people on their bullshit. I am not vindictive, but I don’t take kindly to threats, either.
In closing, I would like to reiterate a few important points to my fellow legitimate bloggers:
1. Using an image for purpose of review, criticism, news reporting–and even parody–is not copyright infringement, as those are protected by fair use.
2. If you are going to threaten someone with legal action, make sure you know the law first.
3. Defamation is when you write/say hurtful or incorrect statements about someone–not when you write/say something factual that they disagree with or don’t like.
4. When someone gets mad at what you said or wrote, but does not address the issues you raise, then you are probably right.