YouTube link added 02.09.09
11:25 AM, Thursday, February 26th, 2004:
The first thing I saw today when I jumped onto my computer was Howard Stern being taken off 6 Clear Channel stations...the second thing I saw was my very own cease and desist order from Twentieth Century Fox for using screenshots of their show on my site.
Dennis L. Wilson, Esq.
Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP
Penthouse Suite
9720 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Tel: (310) 248-3830
Fax: (310) 860-0363
February 25, 2004
Catnaz Incorporated
6673 Canaan Circle
Dublin, OH 43017
To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing to you on behalf of our client, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and its affiliated companies (hereinafter "Fox"). Fox is the exclusive owner of all copyright, trademark and other intellectual property rights in and to the television series "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" (hereinafter the "Fox Copyrights and Trademarks"). No one is authorized to reproduce, transmit, copy or otherwise utilize the Fox Copyrights and Trademarks without the express written permission of Fox.
It has come to our attention that a web site located at, for which you are the service provider, contains screenshot images from the "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" television series.
Fox has a good faith belief that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by Fox, its agent or the law. Fox diligently enforces its rights in Fox Copyrights and Trademarks in all forms of media. The "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" television series entertains millions of people worldwide and our client rightfully takes its responsibility for the protection of the Fox Copyrights and Trademarks very seriously.
As you may be aware, Internet Service Providers can be held liable if they do not respond to claims of infringement pursuant to the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In accordance with the DMCA, we request your assistance in the removal of any computer viruses contained on this web site, as well as the removal of any infringement of Fox's rights. We further declare under penalty of perjury that we are authorized to act on behalf of Fox and that the information in this letter is accurate.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss this matter further.
Nothing in this letter shall be construed as a waiver or relinquishment of any right or remedy possessed by Fox or any other affected party, all of which are expressly reserved.
Very truly yours,
Dennis L. Wilson
Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP
cc: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
(sigh). That's about all I could do when I read this: sigh.
This is what you get when you bombard the Ryan Seacrest show with emails about that "4tvs" guy. They forward it to their legal department. So I immediately write back Catnaz:
Hey David,
Wow! Is this possible? I was able to get on the air, as well as my sign "" in the background on the Ryan Seacrest show and showed it in my journal.
!?!?! What should I do?! I have to just take every entry down? Is there a legal way to do this? Jesus It's just my personal journal!
Lemme know...don't want to get you guys into trouble at Catnaz.
I then just called him and he seemed pretty nonchalant about it. Just said to try and contact the lawyer to see if this is even legit. So I wrote the lawyer:
Mr. Wilson,
Got your letter from Catnaz today and I want to comply fully. I am however confused on the legalities here. My site is just a journal telling of all the struggles I go through to make it here in LA. I have about 50 hits a month, all friends and family. I was able to get into the audience at a Ryan Seacrest show and I put that in my journal and told the story of how I got that, and my sign on the air. Can't I just put "Property of Fox" on the pictures? I want to comply but I'd hate to take down the whole story.
Thanks for taking the time to read, let me know if there's anyway to keep the story up and make everyone happy.
I struggled with whether to be insanely professional in the letter or just up front. Guess what I chose. Heh. So then we took the dogs to their first Vet appointment (dear lord is that an entry in itself) and I let it all sink in. Here's really what I'm up against:
Catnaz is the "broadcaster" of sorts here. That's the company that hosts my site. As in the Janet Jackson case it CBS broadcast it, CBS is responsible. The difference here is this is copyright infringement, not some decency issue. Either way the ball is kind of in Catnaz's court.
They could unilaterally take my site down if I don't comply. Of course if push comes to shove I'd take them down, but the more I think about this the more I doubt the legality here. This is a personal website. You know? Not to get me into more heat but if THIS is illegal, every song I use in the videos is illegal...right? I don't pay royalties when I put the song "Popcorn" under the video of my pups eating popcorn - so that's illegal?
This is just so out of whack. It's the law not taking scale into account. If I were a TV show, yeah that makes sense. But this is a personal journal. I could just as easily lock the entries and just email them to people on the list...but would I get in trouble for EMAILING pages to people that have PICTURES of TV shows? LOL.
And what about the THOUSANDS of fansites? Type say, "Three's Company" into a search engine. You get hundreds of sites where people write and show pictures of their favorite episodes and what not. What's the difference? This is absolutely LUDICROUS. LOL. That's where you have to wonder what true legal backing they have. If this doesn't fall under "fair use", I don't know what does.
Which comes to what I'm going to do. The tiniest of spotlights has come on me. I can turn it off, or I can try and make it bigger. I of course don't want Catnaz to take me down, but they'd warn me before that would happen. I really think I need to make some press releases and go crazy. Because this has to be one of the craziest uses of copyright law enforcement I've ever seen. I realize the whole country is in this overwhelming "politcally correct" mode right now but this is just goofy.
The other part of me is a bit annoyed that this is what the show chose to do instead of contacting me. LOL. People write about seeing my site on their airwaves and they put their lawyers on me. ?!?! Doesn't anyone respect determination anymore?!? Didn't anyone at the show least smile at what I went through to get that sign on the air? Maybe they're pissed that it worked? I would say that's wishful thinking on my part, but this cease and desist letter certainly means they saw it. But how can THAT be the reaction? To sue?!! LOL.
Oh well. This journal is actually worth reading now. Giddy-up.