Sports Card Girl Strikes Back

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 ?
http://tinyurl.com/255bep8 #collect

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

From: Brandy Ruth
Date: August 25, 2010 at 11:39 PM
Subject: your blogI just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I am kind of shocked you never even tried to talk to me in person before trying to slam me online. You are WAYYYYYY not even close to the truth with this post.Either way, you are entitled to your opinion and I won’t bother trying to justify anything I do to you. I am just a simple girl collector who has my own viewpoint on things and don’t expect you to feel the same way about things as I do.

I wanted to contact you and ask politely to remove that post since it is dangerously close to Defamation.

You are also in violation of Copyright Infringement law. I will give you 24 hours to remove the infringing images/properties. If you do not comply then I will have my lawyers proceed with the appropriate legal course.

I feel that bloggers should have the right to their thoughts, however trying to hurt someone is not cool. I am not trying to push you around, but you if we can’t just be civil then I will be forced to take the legal route.

B

(Bold added by me for emphasis)

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:

From: Brandy Ruth
Date: August 30, 2010 at 9:10 AM
Subject: 72 hour noticeThis is to advise you that you are using copyrighted and protected material on your website/blog. Your illegal use of My Logo, Images and Likeness at http://puckjunk.blogspot.com/2010/08/sports-card-girl-is-scam.html is originally from my website/blog called SportsCardGirl.com at http://blog.sportscardgirl.com. This is original content and I am the author and copyright holder. Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under copyright laws.Please take the following actions immediately:

* Remove the copyrighted material immediately.

I expect a response within 72 days to this issue. Thank you for your immediate action on this matter. If no action has been done within 72 hours, this matter will be forwarded to my copyright lawyer who will then take the needed action.

SportsCardGirl.com

(Bold added by me for emphasis)

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:

From: Brandy Ruth
Date: August 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM
Subject: Copyright InfringementThe site hosted by your company: puckjunk.com is infringing on my copyrighted materials and needs to be removed.The post is on blogger, however his main domain is promoting this copyright infringements.

Puckjunk.com points to:
http://puckjunk.blogspot.com/2010/08/sports-card-girl-is-scam.html

The owner is the same and he will not release his data for us to send him a cease order.

The articles he is infringing on are:

SportsCardGirl.com Custom Logo (not stock)
My photos, and graphics
My video stills
My site screen-shot with graphics.

All of these are the offenders and need to be dealt with by the owner. Let us know if you need me to have my legal team contact you.

SportsCardGirl

“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.

 

mm

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

8 thoughts on “Sports Card Girl Strikes Back”

  1. I've been through, her site and not one of her images has a copyrighted tag on it, therefore even if she is the copyright owner they cannot prevent people from using them unless it's liable, however you're not saying she killed a man in Reno, you're telling your opinion which to me is right.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Unbelievable. She must actually be bring in some income if she can afford lawyers. Maybe she has a stage name she earns a living under.

  3. I found this blog post on Google and I 100% agree with your opinion on SportsCardGirl being a fake/scam. One look at her videos and I thought the same thing.

    I believe someone is trying to push box sales/single card sales by using a halfway attractive female to pretend like she's a collector.

    She's horrible at acting and should stick with her day job which I hope is not acting.

    SportsCardGirl, everything I said is legal because I am stating an opinion so you can threaten me too if you want too.

  4. My lwayers will come at you leik a spider MONKEY!!! Spider monkies that do lawyery things leik ware ties and use briefcaseies!11!1

    Plz buy my cheep "wax" boxes at sprotscardgril.com. kthxbye! *mwah*

  5. @ Martyn

    An image does not have to have a copyright mark on it in order for it to be copyrighted. But you are still allowed to use images under fair use–say, a scan of the cover of a book for a review of that book.

    Also, "libel" and "liable" are two separate things.

    Not trying to be Mr. Know-It-All here…just trying to clarify things for my fellow bloggers.

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