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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HuffPo Removes Impostor

The Huffington Post has removed the impostor who was using "Legal Insurrection" to post comments at HuffPo, as detailed in my prior post, Why Is Someone Impersonating Me?

People impersonating others is a real problem on the internet, and should give caution to anyone who relies on comments or other entries as "proof" that someone said something.

Some other person used my blog address without permission to post a derogatory comment directed at the author of a blog called Peking Duck ("“I hope you get AIDS from a loved one.”) . I never made that comment, and the blog author -- to his credit -- posted a correction on his own when he realized the hoax, even before I found out about it: "Twisted, the commenter wrote back and said he/she is not Bill Jacobson despite listing it as their blog, so let’s not retaliate." I'm not sure what "retaliation" was in store for me, but it proves my point about how easy it is for impostor to create problems.

As suggested by readers and other bloggers, I had reported the abusive conduct to the HuffPo web administrator. And HuffPo acted promptly. I've requested the imposter's contact information, so this may not be the end of the story.

Thanks HuffPo!

Related Posts:
Politico Sure Does Have Pull
Smearing Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Sarah Palin
Charles Johnson and Robert Stacy McCain

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  1. Congrats!

    I'm glad to see that HuffPo seems to be behaving responsibly in this situation.

    "Thanks HuffPo!"

    I bet you didn't plan on saying that too much before all this impostor nonsense.

  2. It is interesting that this person used the comment "I hope you get AIDS from a loved one".

    I have been reading Hillbuzz and that blog has become a bit of a favourite for me. It is run by gays from Boyztown, Chicago. These are Hillary Clinton supporters but when she lost and Sarah Palin became the VP running mate for McCain they hit the campaign trail for Sarah. More recently their blog gained some prominence because of what they wrote regarding GWB.

    The guys have in fact written about some of their hate mail and amongst the comments was "I hope you get AIDS", which is a really shocking thing to say to them. These particular guys come across as genuine and decent human beings, they have been moderate Democrats who are leaning towards becoming Independent. They know enough to teach Republicans how to do things better (using DNC methods). Their latest blog entries have been very revealing regarding the fraudulent methods used by Obots to swing the Iowa caucus. Yes I said FRAUD because that is exactly how what took place should be described.

    The methods used by the Obots were unbelievable but probably not unexpected. They actually managed to turn Hillary Clinton supporters away from those caucuses and then had their own people Chicago march in and vote in their place.... would you agree that what they described is fraudulent?

  3. Good on Huffpo.

    Though I will add... I don't know this would have been their response if you were not a lawyer with a high profile in the blogosphere. Surely they realized that they could be in a heap of trouble.

    I hope to see them respond in kind to other imposters in the future.

  4. If my name is John Doe, I can't stop somebody else named John Doe from posting under that name. Unless you have trademarked the phrase Legal Insurrection, isn't anybody free to use the phrase? While I agree HuffPo acted appropriately to remove the imposter, don't you find it odd they did so? I'm no attorney, so I may be completely off base.

    At any rate, you're a straight shooter and you run a great blog, so I'm happy for your win.

  5. @Maggot - It is a common misconception that one needs to have a federally registered trademark or tradename in order to have property rights in the name. One can have a common law right to a name, and there are laws prohibiting the use of names which are likely to lead to confusion as to the source. John Doe may not be sufficiently distinct to fall into that classification. But someone cannot go out and use your tradename to create the false impression it is you, regardless of whether you have a federal registration.

  6. Ah, yes. That may be the "law." But, as an attorney you must know that in a court room anything can (and does) happen. Having the brand trademarked makes a plaintiff’s case all the stronger in the event of a legal confrontation. There are easy counterclaims in the event of a common law claim including the "who thought of this first" argument - which could easily lead to an unfortunate outcome. But, congratulations on the result this time!

  7. More importantly, if an imposter simply used the screen name "Legal Insurrection" (or a derivation thereof) Prof. Jacobson might not have much of a case (in the real world), if, as seems implied, they actually claimed his blog as their own, that would be another matter.

    As I understand it, anyway.

  8. Well I have a suspicious mind and I think that the person who used the name and placed the comment there knew exactly what he or she was doing and it was an attempt at a smear.

  9. Property rights and/or a cause of action for defamation don't mean much when the defendant doesn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.

    Trolls are like the demon in Luke 8:30

    "We are legion, for we are many."

  10. Here is a long standing imposter situation:



    Scroll down on the first link to see the picture