In 2009 Kevin Coughlin had ambitions of running for Governor against Ted Strickland. Some blame Coughlin’s quick departure from the race on an article that revealed details about his supposed infidelity. Cleveland’s Scene magazine refused to print the piece after Coughlin threatened to sue the paper. And the author, James Renner, was fired from the paper in a dispute over the piece.
The article eventually appeared online in multiple locations, including the Cleveland Independent, BloggerInterrupted, BlackHeartCleveland and, in part, on our own blog, along with this photo of Coughlin surrounded by scantily clad cheerleaders.
Last year, Coughlin, who has been both a State Rep and a State Senator, again expressed interest in a statewide political race – this time running against Sherrod Brown for Senate. And again, the ORP drafted someone else – Josh Mandel – for that fight. We’re not sure how much the infidelity article played into the decision to run someone other than Coughlin, but it certainly didn’t help him.
Now, it seems, Coughlin has decided he’s going to clean up this whole mess by trying to have the above image and related content removed from multiple websites, including ours. And just in time for his latest campaign for Stow Municipal Court clerk. (We really thought he would try to challenge Arshinkoff to head up the Summit County Party, but that’s a story for another post)
Last July, Coughlin was able to get WordPress to temporarily remove the above image from James Renner’s website by filing a copyright claim stating that the image was from his personal Facebook page. Renner replied to the complaint stating that “Kevin Coughlin is and was a public figure in the state of Ohio, a former state representative and most recently a radio host. The picture was taken from his former campaign website where it was presented as open to the public.” The image was restored.
Later that same month we received a very strange email from someone named Zachary Palmer who implied he was representing the legal division of the domain registration and web hosting company dotster.com. We attempted to contact Zachary and the legal email address he included in his message but we received no response.
The letter threatened the “suspension or termination” of our “website” if certain posts about Coughlin were not removed.
Our posts are still up. So are the pictures. And we intend to keep it that way.
The letter and the complaint are included below.
From: Zachary P [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Date: August 1, 2012 4:44:50 PM EDT
Subject: DMCA Notice [ ref:_00D30S5t._50060KldJB:ref ]
Please be advised that we have received notice (copy attached) of alleged infringement on your website. Please remove or disable access to the alleged infringing material within 48 hours, and provide written notice to us to that effect when completed.
Failure to eliminate or disable access to such alleged infringing material within such time period could result in suspension or termination of your website.
Should you have further questions, please contact us.
NOTICE TO COMPLAINING PARTY: Please review the above web site after the expiration of the 48 hour notice period, and notify us in the event you determine that the alleged infringing material has not been eliminated or that access to it has not been disabled, and we will take further action.
DMCA Infringement Report
To Whom it May Concern:
The following information is presented for purposes of removing web
content that infringes on my copyright per the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act. I request immediate takedown of the offending URLs.
I appreciate your enforcement of copyright law and support of my
rights in this matter.
Identification of copyrighted material: The copyrighted work at
issue is the photo that appears on my personal Facebook page in a
“Friends Only” album: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid3D34230684155&set3Da.20096904155.32529.662824155&type3D3&theater
Description of copyrighted material: Personal photo of me at a
Christmas party with Cleveland Cavs cheerleaders.
Identification of infringement: The copyrighted photograph appears
in the following URL(s):
P.O. Box 821650
Vancouver, WA 98682
Domain Name: PLUNDERBUND.COM
Created on: 11-OCT-05
Expires on: 12-OCT-15
Last Updated on: 14-OCT-10
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted material
described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by me, its
agent, or the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the
information in the notification is accurate and that I am the
copyright owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Signed this date: July 27, 2012