Facebook takedown notice, swearing, and copyright

I get back from my 10 day family trip to find I have had upwards of 700 hits *a day* because of a post I wrote last December in response to a facebook takedown notice scam. I have been cited on Answers.com, numerous wall posts, and most disturbingly, I have had a group created for which my blog is the website.

Disturbing, because the title of that group is “ATTENTION ALL FACEBOOK MEMBERS: YOU ARE FUCKING RETARDED.” Now, I think dropping the f-bomb is appropriate in some circumstances. As a friend once told me, you have to have words saved up for when you drop an anvil on your foot. Some of my other friends tease me when I swear, saying I am using up my limited monthly quota of cuss-words. What bothers me here is the use of “retarded”, a slang usage I object to vociferously in private conversation. Here is my response to the wall of that group:

Hey all, this is Jessica, writer of the feelingelephants blog. I’m glad so many people are finding my post on this, but I have to agree with the first poster–the name is pretty stupid. As someone who works with autistic kids and has family members on the Autism Spectrum, I think using “retarded” when you mean “so far beyond stupid we’re not sure you’re human” is simply inaccurate. I haven’t decided if I am comfortable having my website attached to this title or what I can ask to be done about it if I decide I am not comfortable. Thanks for the link, I’ll write back after I think some more…

Other than cussing and the insulting use of “retarded”, I do believe this group’s creator is violating my copyright. Not the fiddly, costly, overused form of innovation-crushing copyright; that I still dislike. But I believe this group violates the essence of the Copy Right–my right to chose where my words appear and in what form. The creator of this group has copied my post verbatim to this group site–in a degraded form I might add, as he did not include my links–without my permission or notification. While he does cite my website, by copying my words in totality and pasting them under a group title, he is linking my very character to a group whose title I object to. As I said in my post, I am still not sure what to do about this, but I will put some thought into it.

I should get back to posting more regularly now I will be going off to school. Living with my core readership takes some of the impetus out of daily postings :-D.

Inspirational Quote:

“Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish.” — On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.


  1. I don’t see how your definition of copyright isn’t stifling innovation. The creator of the facebook has every free speech rights under fair use laws to parody and make his own opinion of your article known. You can’t be the thought police here.

  2. Hi “copyright”,

    My objection to their group was not its existence but the verbatim copying of my work. That is plagiarism in its purest essence. The creator of the group is perfectly able to create his own group named “ATTENTION ALL FACEBOOK MEMBERS: YOU ARE FUCKING RETARDED” as long as he does not copy my work verbatim to create his only content for that group. On your second comment, the creator of that group added no commentary, legally added no “value”, and so his copying of my work was in fact pure copyright violation with no innovation at all.

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. Block that user from accessing your material/wall: Not too hard. But I doubt seriously you have applied for a copyright for your words/work….and it is only plagiarism if he is passing it off as his own work. You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

  4. Luckily enough, since the Copyright Act of 1976, no one has had to register copyrights. They are automatically conferred, for better or worse. And as a sister of a kind man who was in special ed for all of his time in public school, of course I take having my name tied to cruel ablest pages seriously.

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