Gringrich’s lawyer confused about Twitter.
Here’s a funny cease & desist letter that shows how many politicians still don’t understand modern technology. The cease & desist was targeted to a Twitter user as well as Tucows (AMEX: TCX).
Twitter user EFCANOW tweeted “Join @newtgingrich @sanuzis in signing the EFCA Freedom Not Fear petition at http://action.americanright… WSJ.” (Gingrich is opposed to EFCA.) Gingrich’s lawyer then fired off a cease & desist to the twitter user claiming trademark infringement by using @newtgingrich in his tweet. Twitter users know that @ is like addressing someone on the service.
To make matters more humorous, the lawyer sent the C&D to domain name registrar Tucows, at which the linked-to petition domain was registered.
Citizen Media Law Project opines:
In a move that was likely good for a few laughs around the Tucows legal department, the letter goes on to state that the continued display of the offending tweet “can expose any and all involved parties (including Twitter, ContactPrivacy.com and/or TuCows) to substantial ongoing, and even personal liability.” Later, the letter increases the stakes even further, threatening liability against “each of you and/or other responsible decision-makers within your organization.”
And like many times, the C&D letter included a bunch of nonsensical claims:
So what claims is the intrepid attorney asserting against EPCANOW, Twitter, Tucows, your aunt, your cousin. . .? The list is long: trademark infringement, violation of Gingrich’s and Anuzis’ publicity rights, false advertising, false designation of origin, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and contractual relations, common law and computer trespass (could Twitter trespass upon its own computer?), conversion, traditional fraud and wire fraud, breach of contract (i.e., Twitter’s terms of service), violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and even RICO violations. (Can we come up with a variation of Godwin’s Law that applies to allegations of RICO violations?) In short, every cause of action that Gingrich’s and Anuzis’ lawyer vaguely remembers from first year Contracts and Property, with all of the computer-related causes of action he’s ever heard about thrown in for good measure.
Have a laugh.