Tag Archives: copyright

The origins of Dozier Internet Law’s "intellectual property" Part 1: Javascript Code

My thanks to Freesome to demonstrating how one can view Dozier Internet Law, PC’s source code without violating the terms of use. I had been relying on Slashdot‘s reporting, but I’ll use Freesome from now on.

Because Dozier has issues with intellectual honesty, I was curious how much of the javascript (the code that is executed on your computer) is original, and thus can rightfully be copyright by Dozier. In particular, there are four javascript functions defined on the page:

function CSClickReturn
function CSAction(array)
function CSAction2(fct, array)
function MPOpenPopupLite(action)

a quick trip to Google Code Search reveals numerous pages with the first three function. For instance, they are included in this “netscape bugfix code. Dozier does not acknowledge this lifting, however.

The law firm is a bit more honest with “MPOpenPopupLite,” where they provide this acknowledgement:

OpenPopUpLite 2.0.1 action by Nate Baldwin, www.mindpalette.com, copyright 2004

On a standard website, of course, this would be no big deal. But Dozier’s pecular terms of use (see a description over at Public Citizen) apperas to claim exclusive rights over other people’s work.

Turkewitz SLAPP’d? (Or is it a reasonable request?)

Eric Turkewitz’s post “More on Dozier v. Public Citizen” ranks #8 in the Dozier Internet Law Top 25 Poll – Week 2. His work exposing corrupt lawyers online speaks well of his public mindedness. Further, as Mr. Turkewitz is himself a lawyer, he is able to inject legal knowledge into the discussion like few others can.

On an unrelated post about car rental immunity, he posted the AVIS logo alongside the Hertz logo, as both companies are effected by the ruling. AVIS asked him to stop. Now Turkewitz is asking other bloggers what they know about trademark law.

Dozier Internet Law did it again.

In over three years of blogging, I have never been featured on Slashdot. But Dozier has, twice, in less than a month. On October 8th and October 18th.

Again the blogosphere’s reaction has been overwhelming. (Keeping track of this is the most exhausting part of reporting on Dozier’s adventures.) The latest Slashdot story has been picked up in English by astroaztec, Curtis Schweizter, deek, Geek Feeder, hackd, and Tech Blogger.

And in Spanish by Hirnbloggade, Sigt, Un Blog Mas

And in Portuguese by Joao Matos

I apologize for reporting the second Slashdot story so late. With so much news about the firm, it’s hard to keep up.

John C. Dvorak on Dozier Internet Law

John C. Dvorak is a big name in technology analysis. I remember reading his columns in PC Magazine (he had two every issue) and watching him on CNET (the television show, not the website) before I even had a computer. So it’s especially pleasing that Dvorak links to Techdirt and Public Citizen in a post about Dozier Internet law.

Read Dvorak’s article.

Web discussion about Dozier Internet Law is very broad: from the erudite, to the elementary, from the case study, to the threatened blogger, everyone is talking about Dozier.

Why aren’t you?

Dozier Internet Law: Click View | Page Source, Break Copyright Law

Dozier Internet Law, fresh from costing SecureComputer one million dollars, forcing Cuppy’s Coffee to get a P.R. firm, and making life miserable for DirectBuy, now takes on its latest enemy:

View Source

That’s right! Boing Boing, the biggest website to pay attention to Dozier yet (it’s the number three blog on the planet) enters the fray. Here’s the best part of the user agreement from John Dozier’s company website:

We also own all of the code, including the HTML code, and all content. As you may know, you can view the HTML code with a standard browser. We do not permit you to view such code since we consider it to be our intellectual property protected by the copyright laws. You are therefore not authorized to do so.

Their website downloads code to your computer, but you can’t even examine the functions that it runs. And of course, Dozier’s website doesn’t ask you for permission before executing its super-secret javascript.

In the comments, Keithirwin accuses Dozier Internet Law of stealing the code of others, and using the user agreement to try to keep this secret. What does the term Dozier Internet Law and plagiarism seem so familiar?

More information is available at Public Citizen‘s blog

Copyrighted Cease and Desist Letters

Has anyone heard of copyrighted cease and desist letters before Dozier Internet Law slapp’d Infomercial Scams with one (and Public Citizen stood up for speech)? The only google result for “copyrighted cease and desist” comes from Legal Research Blog‘s coverage of the Dozier letter, while the copy occurrence of “copyrighted C&D” comes to kd.to_tumblr‘s reporting on the DirectBuy case.

(Chilling Effects has a searchable cease-and-desist database, but I’m not familiar enough with it to find any copyrighted strategic lawsuits against public participation.)

DirectBuy and Dozier Internet Law SLAPPs InfomercialScams.com

Props to Public Citizen for publicizing DirectBuy‘s, and their thuggish lawyer‘s, cease-and desist legal intimidation (a hat-tip goes out to Slashdot).

The full text of the cease and desist letter, by Dozier Internet Law, P.C., is below. (I Hate Linux has also excerpted the text.)

Please be advised that our firm has been retained by DirectBuy, Inc. to investigate and take legal action against you for the series of unwarranted and defamatory attacks against it made by you and your visitors on your various websites. Specifically, these websites are www.infomercialblog.com, www.infomercialratings.com, and www.infomercialscams.com.

DirectBuy, Inc., has been in business for over 35 years and has provided consumers with the opportunity to save on products for their homes through its members only program. Our client provides its members with access to thousands of products and provides a high level of customer service. DirectBuy has established a well founded reputation for the quality of its services and customer satisfaction and your unwarranted actions and baselsss accusations have damaged that reputation and adversely affected our client’s business.

Your have personally posted many willfully false and misleading comments about our client. Examples of your defamatory statements include:

    “Direct Buy Nightmare” — www.informercialscams.com;

  • “all scams are posted uncensored!” — www.informercialscams.com
  • You are reporting the following SCAM” — www.informercialscams.com; and
  • “Recently, we noticed a sudden influx of 4 and 5 star ratings for the Direct Buy program… We don’t know if Direct Buy is behind this or not. But we do have our suspicions given the fact that the reviews came from the SAME LOCATION, say the same thing, and highlightpoints that most cusomters wouldn’t be concerned with.” — www.infomercialblog.com

The above statements made in reference to DirectBuy, Inc are utterly false and without merit, and they are defamatory per se in that they depict our client as engaging in fradulent activity that violates civil and criminal law.

Additionally, you actively encourage and solicit defamatory statements from customers on your www.infomercialratings.com and www.infomercialscams.com websites. According to a recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v. Roommates.com, LLC, 389 F. 3rd 921 (9th Cir. 2007)] you likely have serious financial exposure to DirectBuy.com for each and every one of the defamatory statements made by your visitors. Furthermore, your actions have also resulted in damages to our client and its franchisees in Canada, subjecting you to claims in that country as well.

Your attempts to spread libelous and defamatory material about our client have caused serious and irreparable injury to it, its reputation, and its business. Our client will not stand by and allow this misconduct to continue.

We hereby demand that you:

  1. Immediately remove from all of your websites all defamatory and disparaging remarks regarding our client made by you and your visitors, and
  2. Immediately cease and desist in publishing defamatory statements about our client, whether the statements are made by you or third parties, and
  3. Compensate our client for its attorney fees and costs

Please not that this law firm does not attempt to restrict legitimate free speech, and we believe that the Internet is an important medium for dissemination of accurate and truthful [emphasis Dozier's -- tdaxp] information and for fair comment on issues of interest. Your activities, however, unlawfully encroach upon our client’s rights.

This letter puts you on notice that should you refuse to comply with our demands by September 28, 2007, we will have no choice but to recommend that our client pursue all legal causes of action, including the filling of a lawsuit, to protect its interests. We will pursue both damages and attorneys’ fees and costs incurreed by our client as a result of your actions.

This is a very serious matter that requires your immediate attention. We therefore strongly recommend that you contact us immediately to address and resolve this situation. This letter is your one and only chance to resolve this matter amicably.

Please be aware that this letter is copyrighted by our law firm, and you are not authorized to republish this in any matter. Use of this letter in a posting, in full or in part, will subject you to further legal causes of action. [emphasis mine -- tdaxp]

Online: INFOMERCIAL SCAMS.COM – DIRECT BUY COMPLAINTS
Online: INFOMERCIAL RATINGS.COM – DIRECT BUY REVIEW
Online: INFOMERCIAL BLOG.COM >> Former Direct Buy Employee Reveals Truth About Company
Online (pdf): “How not to write a cease and desist letter.”
Online (pdf): “Re: Notice to Cease and Desist Internet Defamation

Additionally, a mixed-review of DirectBuy is available from ChrisWondra.com, while the theoretical implications are discussed over at Dreaming 5GW.

What the web has been saying about DirectBuy (before the Dozier Internet Law fiasco)

A google search for “DirectBuy” reveals spam. A lot of spam. It also reveals the three posts at Informercial Blog, Infomercial Ratings, Infomercial Scams which led Direct Buy and Dozier Internet Law to send a barbaric cease-and-desist order.

Before the Direct Buy / Dozier episode, however, negative and mixed reviews could be found at 419 Legal, Brads Blog, Chris Wondra, City-Data, Garden Web, Owner Builder Book, Ripoff Report (twice!), and even a bad experience with a DirectBuy pop-up at Caleval.

Consider that a web search for “JL Kirk” still brings up a horror story as the first result after half a year — and even my bad experience with NationMaster brings up two of the top ten google results — DirectBuy and Dozier Internet Law‘s hardball tactics are strange. But then, without groups like EFF and PublicCitizen, many more writers would be too scared to speak truth to power.