Conservapedia:Andy's Copyright Threats

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wigocp.svg This Conservapedia-related article is of largely historical interest and is no longer the focus of RationalWiki today.
Conservapedia (and religious fundamentalism to an extent) was a major focal point in the early history of RationalWiki, but long ago ceased coming up with new ways to appall and amuse.
Our energies are now spent debunking other, fresher examples of pseudoscientific claims, authoritarianism, and deceit.
For RationalWiki's less ancient content, try the Best of RationalWiki.
Trus me
Conservlogo late april.png
In-depth analysis

We do not hide threats against ourselves for our work from the mobocracy. It may be helpful to read an analysis of Conservapedia's Copyright policies to better understand the context in which a legal request from Andy Schlafly, owner of Conservapedia, led to an email discussion between Ames, Trent, and Andy.

The following transcript covers Andy's initial request on the essay Social Effects of the Theory of Evolution and the ensuing discussion that took place. At the risk of introducing a spoiler, it does not end well for Andy.

Andy, #1[edit]


I have received notice that you copied and posted an entire article of User:Conservative at RationalWiki here:

This is a copyright infringement. Please remove that posting in its entirety.

Thank you.

Andy Schlafly

Ames, #1[edit]

Are you /sure/ this is a copyright violation? Do two things first. (1) Look at your copyright policy, and (2) look up fair use doctrine. Are you still sure? Get back to me so we can talk this over.

Ames, #2[edit]


I replied to you already, but I feel that, now that I have the time, you deserve a longer reply.

I am, if nothing else, a fair man. So if you can prove to me that you have a case, and that we actually are somehow in violation of some law, I will remove the material without second thought. However, I do not believe we are violating any law. The burden of proof rests with you at a trial; the burden of proof should also rest with you to convince me to remove the documents.

Please present to me the following, as soon as reasonably possible, 1. Statute or authority dealing with protection of copyrighted material provided freely online on a Wiki-based project, 2. Authority construing said statute, and; 3. Statute or authority dealing with fair use doctrine, and describing how our situation does not fall within a fair use-protected case, and; 4. Supporting authority, as closely matched with our facts as possible.

If you can provide this material I will examine it, and see if RationalWiki members, myself included, have violated any law. If we have, I will voluntarily prove the material, no questions asked. If, however, you (1) cannot provide the material or (2) willfully misconstrue the material in your favor, then the material will stay up, and you can do whatever else you think is necessary.

For your information, my theory of the case suggests that (if nothing else) fair use protects us. The alleged reproduction constitutes protected productive re-use for satire, parody, and the fostering of debate. 4-13 Nimmer on Copyright § 13.05(A)(1)(b). I know it's a secondary source, but it is authoritative in copyright law, and discusses the reasonable approximation of the facts of our case. I will pull primary authority when I'm not about to interview for summer jobs.

I'm giving you a chance to get what you want without any hassle. Take advantage of my good faith, and you will be met with good faith in return. Please take no other action without first consulting with us, and trying to reach amicable resolution.



Andy, #2[edit]


This is my final request of you and your site administrator to remove the material that you copied directly from Conservapedia. If you do not do so promptly, then other lawful action will be taken.

Andy Schlafly

Trent, #1[edit]

Dear Andy,




Ames, #3[edit]


Is this a legal demand letter? If so, certain obligations attach to your conduct. You at first have a solemn right not to make unfair or bad-faith demands in civil litigation; severe sanctions result from abuse of a lawyers power. These protections exist for the benefit of society, to ensure that lawyers with vendettas do not use fancy titles to suppress others' free and fair rights. Also, if this is a legal demand letter, I have a statutory period of time in which to formulate my response to you, during which you may take no action. In Texas, that period of time is 60 days, and if violated, the penalty is dismissal with prejudice. I know a similar law exists across the Hudson; what is that period of time?

If this is not a legal demand letter, stop pretending it is. I'm trying to be cooperative, but you're not helping.

In the meantime, read through 17 USC s 107. Tell me where, and if, you see the word "criticism."