This page is my own quiet little rant, just for Mr. Paul Andrew
Mitchell, BA, MS, blah blah.
This web page is an exercise of my right of freedom of speech,
and one wherein I can say anything I wish. I can even say that I
think that the entity that I understand to be Paul Andrew Mitchell
is a dork, because I really do.
So I was surfing the net a few years ago and I came across a couple of
links to something called "The Federal Zone" (purportedly copyrighted
name used within the limitations of fair use as a reference, and such
purported copyright allowed, without waiver of rights, without refute
for simplicity in this document), and I stuck 'em in my bookmarks
file. The links have since gone dead, but that still didn't keep this
guy from apparently including me in his huge lawsuit, or something
that looks like one, wherein I understand that he purports that
over two million copies of a document that he states he wrote and
copyrighted were distributed, perhaps with modifications, without
payment to him, and wherein it appears that he wants to collect
damages to the tune of almost a cool US $60 million. Meanwhile,
I've never seen a copy of this purported lawsuit or his supposed
written complaint against some 500 parties. Now, correct me if
I'm wrong, but I don't think that I can be sued and not notified;
if I can, then maybe I'll dream up a little suit against Mr.
Mitchell and even award myself damages and then pop up one day to
Oh, but he's promised everyone
if -- get this -- we go out and buy a copy of his book as well as
remove this link. Hmmm... Let's see, here... So, if I go and link
to a book, I suddenly have to buy it? In fact, if I've ever seen
the book, I have to buy it? I don't think it quite works that way...
Now, it seems to me that I have not actually done anything to
infringe on his copyright; after all, I simply had a couple of
links that pointed to another location that may or may not have
infringed on his copyright. It is not a copyright violation for
me to have on my site *any* link pointer, whether it be to a
at a place like Amazon or to
a picture of
(yes, anyone is welcome to link to this picture and I promise to never
come after you and complain about copyright; it's taking a copy of
the picture and using it for yourself which might raise an eyebrow)
or even a pointer to a bootleg copy of my picture (sure, go ahead
and link to it; *you* didn't do anything wrong by hanging up a big
sign in the web pointing to someone else's crime).
So you'll notice that, in his letters, he points out a few pages
at the Software Publishers Association, including
In that page, the SPA appears to reference the US Code (and even
provides a link, though the text noted is not found anywhere in
their page) regarding "Contributory Infringement",
stating that anyone who knows or should know that s/he is
contributing to the infringement of the author's copyright can
also be held liable. They then go on to provide examples,
including "linking to FTP sites where software may be unlawfully
Let's take this apart for a moment. So someone (let's say, for
example, "me") who knows or should have known about infringement
and links to an FTP site is a bad guy. But Mr. Mitchell makes
the specific statement that "many Internet users throughout
the world were completely unaware that all copies of "The Federal
Zone" extant on the Internet were stolen and then modified",
so it seems that he certainly understands that there could be a
time when one couldn't "have known or should have known".
And as soon as this example person, in this case, heard about the
copyright problem with The Federal Zone, he checked the two links
that he had and found them to be dead -- and so they weren't links
"to FTP sites where software may be unlawfully obtained".
So I still don't see why this whole mess applies to "me".
Hey, wait a minute... I think I see an opportunity here... I'll
contact all criminals whose prosecution included eyewitness
testimony of their actions, get them to copyright their actions,
and then force the courts to remove such testimony from the record
or face copyright infringement penalties. Yeah, that's it!
Is this making any sense yet? I am asserting my right to use the
words "federal" and "zone" and "fed" and even "Federal", "Zone",
and "Fed" any way I wish, as long as I don't claim that some work
which might be called "The Federal Zone" is mine. So, therefore, I
officially and completely disavow any claim to "The Federal Zone"
or, for that matter, anything else that Mr. Paul Andrew Mitchell
has said that he has written -- including his lawsuit (oops --
can I mention that on my own private web page?).
Check back here some other day for more; I'll have links (gasp!)
to copies of his email or any other documents I can find -- and
maybe even to a copy of the Zone itself, if I can find one!
First, we have the
minus a couple of pages; then we have a
as if the first weren't funny enough. (Both were copies sent to
me, since Mr. Mitchell didn't bother to send to me at all, via my
callwave fax number and
then processed with my
way cool script
for web viewing.)
This just in! Right
we have a list of all of the domains which he's apparently suing.
Gee, I wonder how many acquaintances I can find in there :-)
Meanwhile, who thinks that he'll have any luck suing such
much less all of the little guys? What a riot!