Please Remove Your
Copyrighted Work From
Your Own Web Site
[name removed]

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: [name removed]
Subject: Re: usage of my name
Date: August 09, 2004 23:02

Please read the sections in our Guidelines for Submission: the preliminary overview and the main section. These apply to submitted material, such as a Letter to the Editor, more than to news coverage, but please read them anyway.

The only place where the string
    [name removed]
occurs on our entire web site (150 megabytes, text intensive) in a news story by Cliff Walker, [title removed]. This story was written in-house as derived from various sources, all of which were either published news stories from legitimate mainstream journals or broadcasts -- or -- were leads provided to us by professional journalists who are in the business of selling leads to commercial journals (and, in this case, donating them to nonprofit journals such as ours). The leads we received for this story came, ultimately, from mainstream news sources: we can still document this fact if the need arises, which we trust it will not, since we have done no wrong in this matter.

A very tiny amount of research shows that you have not asked those "Big Guys" (the mainstream media outlets whose stories and data were consulted in the creation of our story) to remove this information from their databases and archived stories! You continue to allow them to sell this story and the various leads involved and to hold the copyright to the work that they created (which includes the use of these names).

Why are you going after a "Mom & Pop," but not the "Big Guys"?

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Nevertheless, I will not remove my own copyrighted work from my own repository without a court order against which I have exhausted all avenues of appeal.

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I do this not for my own sake or that of my journal, but for the sake of journalism itself and in the interest of maintaining the spirit of the First Amendment. Granted, the Constitution applies only to a government censor; however, we do not have Liberty of the Press if we allow individuals or organizations to intimidate us into censoring our own material without just cause.

I'm sorry, [name removed], this is also what happens when we break the law, when we do things that attract the attention of the press, and (unfortunately) when we become victims of lawbreakers, unscrupulous attention-getters, etc. Bottom line: this is what happens when we open up and talk with journalists without speaking on condition of anonymity. Like an insult or an embarrassing lie, once the information gets out, it's impossible to pull it back. That's just how it is, okay?

Ultimately, my going through the inconvenience, expense, and indignity of altering or removing my copyrighted work from my repository of written works will not help you one whit: my doing this will not remove the work from the Internet, it will only change which web site gets to benefit from the work that I did.

First, you must understand that numerous groups archive the Internet, and there are at least 20 and as many as 50 copies of that page alone sitting in various archival sites.

Secondly, there are any number of stolen copies of that very page living on other web sites. My page shows up in the search because it's been around for ten years. It gets such a high ranking because it is one of the ten busiest documents on my entire domain (because of another story on the same page: almost nobody reads the story that you claim you're in).

The moment I remove my page, one of the stolen pages will immediately move in and take its place in the search engines.

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added: September 20, 2004

Here's a tip for you:

If you're worried about this thing showing up on the search engines, then might I suggest posting to as many different online forums as you can find, making sure to sign your real name to each of them. Cat got your tongue? Simply scroll up three (3) posts, quote a sentence from it, and then say, "I fully agree with that!" Then sign your full name and click the "Post" button. It's that simple.

Posting to numerous online forums will get your name all over the web, but not in any context that would matter to anybody. With your name showing up several dozen times in the search engine, this one story will cease to stand out as anything significant.

(Any type of forum will do, but computer repair forums are the best for this purpose because the computer repair guys do this for advertising and they always make sure to get their forums listed on all the search engines.)

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Entering our 10th year of service
    to people with no reason to believe

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This, the second e-mail, was added: September 20, 2004

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"[quote removed]," said [name removed], who said her [detail removed]-year-old son, [name removed], has been [detail removed].

 

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