Holy 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:
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.
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.