Canon Has No Sense of Humor, Tries to Shut Down Fake Chuck Westfall Blog — Update: And Fails

Canon's Chuck WestfallHoly parody Batman! I just saw over at the Fake Chuck Westfall blog (read *fake* Chuck Westfall blog folks, sorta like that *fake* Steve Jobs blog from a while back) that Canon Inc. and some lawyerish type named Douglas E. Mirell from Loeb & Loeb are trying to shut poor fake Chuck down.

Apparently Canon and/or the real Chuck (pictured to the left) are a wee bit pissed off at fake Chuck for running around poking fun at their expense and sent our good man Matt Mullenweg over at Automattic a take down request.

From the lawyer’s letter:

“Canon U.S.A., Inc. currently employs Mr. Chuck Westfall as the Technical Information Advisor for its Camera Marketing Group. Mr. Westfall’s job responsibilities at Canon include providing market feedback to Canon in terms of constructive comments on current equipment and software, as well as feature suggestions for future products. Accordingly, Mr. Westfall is a well-known figure in the photography community; he is frequently interviewed in many prominent publications concerning photography and photographic equipment, including magazines, online publications, special interest forums and blogs.

It has come to our clients’ attention that one of the blogs hosted on the wordpress.com site — http://fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com (the “Blog”) — is using our client’s trademark and Mr. Westfall’s name and likeness without authorization, and is violating several covenants contained in your own Terms Of Service, as well as many federal and state laws including the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.. 1125.”

blah, blah, blah, etc.

The main objections that Canon seems to have as cited in their takedown notice are.

1. The fact that Fake Chuck is using “the Canon stylized” logo.

2. Threats of physical violence against their client and employees.

3. An invasion of privacy.

4. That the “overall look, feel and tone of the Blog” is calculated to mislead recipients.

For Pete’s sake! It’s the *fake* Chuck Westfall Blog Canon! Fake, in the title, Fake in the url. And the whole thing is written in such an absurd over the top manner that there is no way anyone would believe that it were a real Canon blog from the real Chuck Westfall.

Interestingly, Canon’s agents of censorship over at Loeb and Loeb, cite a comment in the post “Thank you Maeda,” (check out the dude’s hair) as the threat of physical violence:

“Micahel, you don’t give me a lot of hope with your comment, but I’m sure you know that. Do you think they’ll listen to me if I come in one day at the office and start bashing their heads with a two by four? Or perhaps I could also come in with a shotgun and lots of ammo and start shooting in the wild. I’m not going to kill anyone, just scare the ever loving crap out of them and show them I mean business now. Do you think that would make a difference?

But your comment about Nikon making tools for photographers is right on, even though, I must admit, I hate to admit that. I guess I’m a bit jealous, but I really hoped we could have gone more in that direction with our latest products. I guess it’ll have to wait for a while.”

I’m sorry, but the whole “look, tone and feel” to use Loeb & Loeb’s words, of the Fake Chuck Westfall blog are anything *but* designed to mislead people. While the blog takes some serious jabs at Canon and mocks both Canon and the real Chuck to no end, it ought not confuse anyone any more than someone might misconstrue Weird Al Yankovich’s “Eat it,” as Michael Jackson’s similarly sounding tune, “Beat It.”

This takedown notice is simply an attempt by Canon, Chuck Westfall and their lawyers to silence a blogger and silence a critic. I hope someone from the EFF or some other type can step up here and help the good Fake Chuck Westfall out. With blog titles like “5D Mark II Fix Coming, 50D is Fucked” and “5D Mark II Banding Problem – Why has the lord forsaken us?, Fake Chuck has provided a humorous look at the fake inside working of the fake Canon.

Maybe Canon should spend a little less time harassing bloggers and a little more time working on getting their new cameras out on time.

If you want to read the take down request yourself you can do so here.

Update: Automattic CEO Toni Schneider has responded to Canon over this take down request and it’s good to see that he and Automattic are standing by Fake Chuck on this one. The Fake Chuck Westfall has removed the Canon logo from his blog and below is Toni’s email (reprinted with permission) back to Canon’s lawyers:

“Hi Douglas,

We have received your complaint about fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com.

The owner of the blog has removed the Canon logo.

We consider the privacy complaint about the names of Chuck Westfall’s wife and child void since Mr. Westfall mentions them in his own bio at http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0604/westfall.html.

We also reject your other complaints regarding the blog being confused with an official Canon site given that the blog name and URL contain “Fake”, the about page starts with “Hi, I’m not actually Chuck Westfall.”, and the tone and content of the whole blog are clearly satirical.

Regards,
Toni”

Update #2, More comments from our good friends over at Slashdot. Seems like by trying to shut Fake Chuck down, Canon might have only just, well, drawn more attention to his blog than he was getting in the first place.

Update #3, on ars technica here. Digg ars technica’s story here.

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37 comments on “Canon Has No Sense of Humor, Tries to Shut Down Fake Chuck Westfall Blog — Update: And Fails
  1. Anonymous Poster says:

    Congratulations to Automattic for having a spine and standing up to Canon’s blatant, piss-poor attempt to kill a satirical blog just because it’s directed at them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just mailed my good [fake] mate chuck now:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Sam Johnston
    Date: Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 9:31 PM
    Subject: Thanks for the heads up about your blog!
    To: Chuck Westfall
    Cc: Toni Scheinder , “Douglas E. Mirell”

    G’day Chuck,

    It’s not every day that something truly entertaining comes to my
    attention but thanks to my mates at Slashdot[1] and your mates at Loeb
    & Loeb with their (surely fake?) letter[2] I was drawn attention to
    your refreshingly entertaining fake blog[3]. Anyway I’m sure I’m one
    of many who have immediately added your blog to my reader – it’s truly
    amazing what a bit of viral marketing can do for you!

    Kodos to the guys at Automattic too for identifying the letter for
    what it was so quickly and taking appropriate action – those guys
    rock!

    Eagerly awaiting your next post,

    Your [virtual] friend,

    Sam

    1. http://fakechuckwestfall.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/982873542.pdf [wordpress.com]
    2. http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/15/1830217 [slashdot.org]
    3. http://fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

  3. steveballmer says:

    We at MS have a sense of humor! We allow Fake Steve Ballmer to do anything he wants, and he does!

  4. Thomas Hawk says:

    Fake Steve, good to see you here. Maybe someone from Microsoft ought to point Canon to some better PR people. You all at Microsoft certainly have more sense than to pull crap like this.

  5. Robert says:

    Thanx Canon, I did not even know about this blog.
    It’s very funny. I will keep reading it !

    By the way canon, please get yourselves a sense of humour.

  6. Otto says:

    Will companies ever learn about the Streisand effect?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

  7. Indeed says:

    I wonder how Mr. Hawk would think if someone made a “satirical blog” about you?

    Perhaps if I were to launch a satirical blog giving out your personal information in addition to linking you to child pornography and other illegal material? Naturally, all this would be acceptable because it’s a “satire”.

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Dr. Indeed,

    Regardless of how I felt about a fake Thomas Hawk blog, I think the last thing I’d do would be to send a cease and desist letter which would only likely draw more attention to something that I found personally distasteful.

    Any first year PR hack ought to have been able to give Canon better advice than this. I’m surprised that a real attorney at Loeb & Loeb would even have agreed to write a letter like this one.

    Satire actually is given a wide berth by our courts, for good reason in my opinion.

    There was a “fake Thomas Hawk” trolling around the TechCrunch comment boards for a bit a while back, but alas the poor sap didn’t seem to stick around.

  9. steveballmer says:

    I consider having a FPB (fake persona blog) about me to be a complement! Even if I have to do it myself.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well done, Canon. You’ve just boosted awareness and traffic to Fake Chuck by an enormous amount. Well done. Now stop trying to silence the folks who are critical of your poor R&D, manufacturing, and testing and fix your #$^!ing cameras.

  11. TT says:

    Thomas, I’m truly saddened that you support Fake’s idiotic, unfunny blog site. It’s one thing to be a critic of Canon and it’s another thing to create a site that abuses and harasses one of Canon’s employees. Fake’s site is utterly tasteless in that Fake has made his attack so damned PERSONAL. Chuck has been helping photographers for years and has been an exemplary representative of his company. Other camera manufacturers should be so lucky and wise as to have such a person responding to their customers. Chuck doesn’t deserve this abuse and harassment. Photographers should stand up for him now, and WordPress should shut down this idiot Fake for abuse and harassment. The whole point and effect of the site is to VICTIMIZE an individual. That is just despicable mean-spirited crap. I wonder whether Fake would be receptive to having his own real name and image used in this way?

  12. TT says:

    So, Eccles Hotel, you won’t mind if someone starts a fake blog using your real name and photo, Donncha O Caoimh, and using your boss Toni Schneider’s real name and writing what you really think about him, and mentioning your lovely wife Jacinta and other family members, and putting words in your mouth, including threats of violence. You support FakeChuckWestfall so you support his behavior, and you wouldn’t mind being on the receiving end of it, would you? It would just be a satire in which the fake you allegedly writes things that the real you would be too embarrassed to say, but which the real you would allegedly truly like to say if you could. And then we can invite everyone in the scenic town of Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland as well as the whole world to come have a laugh at your expense. You’re OK with that, right, because that’s exactly what the Fake Chuck blog site does and you support that?

    Or, maybe on second thought you don’t think that’s such a good idea and you’ll ask Thomas to delete this comment. But what’s fair for you isn’t fair for the real Chuck? Think about it.

    Remember that Chuck doesn’t run Canon. He’s not the head of Canon. He’s been the guy listening to and responding to photographers’ questions, concerns and complaints for years. It’s incredibly sad that some anonymous blogger personally dumps on one Canon employee, and then Thomas Hawk and others come to the defense of the anonymous dumper. Shameful.

  13. TT – he should have just ignored it. That blog had hardly any visitors before Canon brought the world’s attention to it. It will more than likely sink back into obscurity afterwards.

  14. TT says:

    Donncha, I hear that Fake Toni Schneider is starting a new blog. ;-) As of this moment, http://faketonischneider.wordpress.com is available! As Toni is supporting Fake Chuck Westfall, I have no doubt that he will treat Fake Toni Schneider in exactly the same way. Just wait until Fake Toni writes all of the things that real Toni would like to write but can’t because he would be too embarrassed. So exciting! You will support Fake Toni too, won’t you?

  15. RaiulBaztepo says:

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  16. sikiş says:

    canon eos 500d and 5dmark 2 mp beatiful.. Good cality

  17. I think this is Canon’s little way of paying the fake one back for all the good it has done to them. By ‘good’ I mean, publicity.

    Thing is, they should look at it as a complement. Look, Microsoft has one like that. See, only the ones who are worth it have these.

  18. Chat says:

    thankssssss veryy goooodd

  19. promosyon says:

    hi,
    thanks
    promosyon.

  20. As one grows bigger, there are bound to be ‘envy’ boiling up at some point. One should take it as a huge compliment instead of as a threat. Nothing like this happens for all small fry.

  21. Lori says:

    Hi Thomas, Canon is being petty and ridiculous in trying to shut Fake Chuck down. I came across another site that you and your readers might find interesting. Here it is:

    dpreviewsucks.blogspot.com

  22. jack says:

    i find a company review web: http://www.139001.net ,there are all the us companies in that

  23. jeremy says:

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  24. Nice info. Good read. Thanks!

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