Letter From Huffington Post's Lawyers
I had intended to stop writing about the HuffPuff affair some time ago, but when new things come up I think it is only fair to bring them to your attention.
And, based on my concerns last week in my post Identity Theft of "Peter Rost" Image and Name, I think it is also fair and balanced if I present Huffington Post's opinion. I can do this because their lawyers just wrote to my lawyer.
Just to refresh your memory, after I found the website the "Rost Post," on Monday, July 3, with my name and image, and a familiar name in the site meter, I also informed the Huffington Post about this. Later that day I received an e-mail, which I wrote about in E-Mail From Andy Yaco-Mink.
And then, things started to happen. I wrote about them in Our Own Little Troll. Suddenly, on July 5, a troll appeared on my site and he used a lot of legal terminology, and was very angry, and a very famous law firm, FRIEDMAN KAPLAN & SEILER also spent the entire day on my blog. And I wondered in my post if perhaps the angry troll had received some legal advice from this law firm.
We still don't know . . .
What we do know, is that today my lawyer forwarded a letter to me from--guess who?
FRIEDMAN KAPLAN & SEILER.
They work for the Huffington Post.
Here's what they write:
We represent The Huffington Post, and write in response to the e-mail dated July 3, 2006, from your client, Peter Rost, to Michael Owen. In his e-mail, Dr. Rost complains of a parody website formerly located at http://rostpost.blogspot.com/ ("Rost Post").
Please be advised that, based on our review (including an interview of Andy Yaco-Mink, as Dr. Rost requested), Mr. Yaco-Mink had nothing to do with Rost Post, and that his July 3, 2006, statement to Dr. Rost-"I did not create this site and was not aware of its existence until earlier today"-is correct. Please be further advised that none of The Huffington Post's employees or management had anything to do with the creation of Rost Post.
As Dr. Rost's inquires have been answered, and as Rost Post no longer exists, we trust this matter is closed.
So here are my reflections. First, I do appreaciate that the grown-ups at Huffington Post are finally taking charge and have started to investigate. Second, I don't think they'd do so unless they, just like me, found it disturbing that someone had put one of their employees' name in an obscure site meter on a site that impersonated me. After all, this investigation probably cost HuffPo in the range of $10,000.
The letter from FRIEDMAN KAPLAN & SEILER was dated July 6, so the investigation itself appears to have taken place on July 5. (July 4 was a holiday and I reported this to HuffPo on July 3.)
That means the law firm didn't have time to issue subpoeanas to relevant organizations, collect IP addresses, and ensure no one at HuffPo was involved. They probably had to rely on the employees saying they were not involved. They probably also didn't use a lie detector, since they didn't mention using such a device in their letter. (Just kidding. But wouldn't the result have been interesting?)
I also note that we didn't hear anything more from our own little troll after July 5.
Almost as if someone had told him to back off. Like a law firm which kept reading my blog, making sure everyone was behaving. But we don't know that. That's just speculation.
All in all, an interesting development.