Harvard Law “journal of the legal left” attempts to silence anti-Holder protest website (Update: HLS Dean of Students circulates email denouncing website
I reported last night on plans to protest via posters on campus the appearance of Eric Holder tomorrow at Harvard Law School regarding the Fast and Furious controversy. At the end of my post last night I joked:
I wonder how long they will stay up. And how long before half of the Justice Department is tasked with unmasking the force behind Harvard Law Unbound.
Apparently “Unbound” previously had objected to this website using the name “Harvard Unbound” and the website was taken down. But using the current configuration, the website has operated since April 9. The website was no secret, as it was written up both in the Harvard Law Record (April 16) and Above the Law (April 17). [Correction: While the website has been up since April 9, the name referenced in these articles was a Tumblr account for Firmly Refuse. The posters distrubted on campus by the group call it an "Unbound campaign."]
But all of the sudden, with the website getting publicity regarding Holder’s visit, a person claiming to speak on behalf of Unbound has attempted to get the protest website shut down, and posted a comment asserting a violation of WordPress terms of service and copyright law:
This comment is to notify you that this blog is in violation of the WordPress terms of service and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, for its unauthorized and illegal impersonation of a Harvard Law School journal. WordPress, its licensed copyright agent, and the Harvard administration have all been contacted about this website. We advise you to permanently delete this site and its contents, and desist from any further impersonations and false representations.
How curious that the objection and attempt to shut down the website comes just as the Holder protest is starting, even though the website has been operating openly for over a month.
I have an e-mail into the person believed to be responsible for the notice. I will let you know the position of “Unbound - harvard journal of the legal left” if and when received.
Update: A Legal Insurrection reader who attends HLS forwarded me this e-mail in which HLS officially joins the case against the website:
From: Ellen Cosgrove [**********@law.harvard.edu]
Sent: 5/22/2012 3:32:01 PM
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: a note re: Class Day
We look forward to celebrating with you and your guests this Wednesday and Thursday.
Some of you have heard about a wordpress website that is protesting our Class Day speaker, Attorney General Eric Holder — a site that uses the word “Unbound ” in its name. I wish to make clear that this site has no connection to Unbound, one of our student law journals.
To be clear, Unbound’s website is http://www.legalleft.org/ and their leadership is upset by this anonymous attempt to use their name.
Whoever is responsible for the wordpress site is free to disseminate his/her/their content via any number of legitimate means or channels. But I wish to make sure that no one is confused about whose speech, and whose content, is being advanced on the wordpress site, which appears to be infringing on the use-of-name rights belonging to Unbound and to Harvard Law School.
Ellen M. Cosgrove I Associate Dean & Dean of Students I Harvard Law School I 1585 Massachusetts Ave. I Suite 3039 I Cambridge, MA 02138