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Industry Group Harasses Activists

A lawyer representing the Marcellus Shale Coalition (the industry coalition whose Philadelphia trade show and convention we’ve protested each of the past two years) recently sent the following bogus and frivolous complaint to our webhost:

Bluehost, Inc.
Attn: Shari Dixon
1215 N. Research Way, Suite Q-3500
Orem, UT 84097
Sent via e-mail: abuse@bluehost.com

Re: Notice of Intellectual Property Infringement

Dear Ms. Dixon:

This firm represents The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the exclusive holder of the copyright described below. The following information is presented for the purpose of removing web content that infringes on MSC’s copyright pursuant to Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), as well as on MSC’s trademark rights. We appreciate your enforcement of intellectual property law and support of MSC’s rights in this matter.

MSC is the owner of an original work of the visual arts, as shown in the attached file labeled “MSC copyright.jpg.”

The web page shalegasoutrage.org, which is hosted by Bluehost, contains content that infringes upon MSC’s intellectual property rights as a derivative work. The infringing derivative work includes the graphic shown in the attached file labeled “SGO graphic.jpg,” as well as variations of it that appear on the web page.

The derivative work appears on at least the following page: http://shalegasoutrage.org. The use has not been authorized by MSC, and the purpose and character of the use on that page includes the solicitation of funds, which is not considered to be a fair use.

The derivative work and web page also incorporate a logo that adapts MSC’s trademark (U.S. trademark application no. 85/615,740, see attached file) for fundraising purposes without a license from MSC.

You are requested to:

1) reply, within 24 hours, that this notification has been received;

2) send your customer written notification, along with a copy of this notification, requesting removal of the infringing material and requiring that confirmation of the removal be sent to you within 24 hours;

3) disable access to the infringing material or the customer’s account if the customer fails to remove the infringing material and/or fails to inform you of the removal within 24 hours of notification;

4) send notice to us of the customer’s counter notification and your intent to re-enable access to the material or the account within 14 days of your receipt of any customer counter notification, assuming that the counter notification meets the requirements of the DMCA.

I have a good faith belief that this use is not authorized by MSC, by MSC’s agent, or the law. Under penalty of perjury, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate. I further state that we are authorized to act on behalf our client, the exclusive rights holder for the material in question.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, should the need arise. I thank you for your cooperation and prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

/James M. Singer/

James M. Singer
Fox Rothschild LLP
625 Liberty Avenue
29th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-3115
jsinger@foxrothschild.com

 

Although we believe our use of the alleged infringing material was legitimate and protected speech under the law, we have decided to provisionally take it off our website. Our webhost sent us notice that:

Failure to eliminate or disable access to such alleged infringing material within such time period [24-48 hours] could result in suspension or termination of your website.

We’d rather keep our website (and the valuable information on it) online, than risk having it immediately shut down an account of a parody graphic.

This is a dirty trick by the gas industry and a naked attempt to silence our voice and waste our time. We are consulting with intellectual property and free speech lawyers to determine whether we will re-instate the allegedly infringing graphics and then be prepared to deal with any legal wranglings the use of the graphic may provoke.

Go here for more information on this story and to see what you can do to fight back against the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

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