Submitted to a Candid World points out that Conservapaedia editor Andy Schafly is threatening to start a civil law suit knowing that it is completely without merit: Andy Schafly and dirty lawyering.
Conservapedia’s mortal enemy, RationalWiki, posted a side-by-side, point-by-point refutation of one of Conservapedia’s articles. The RationalWiki refutation article obviously included Conservapedia content, and employed it towards the end of comparison and criticism, which is clearly fair use within United States copyright law. When Andy saw RationalWiki’s article, though, and its appropriation and critique, he threatened to sue, asserting that his “copyright” on the Conservapedia material was infringed by its reproduction and critique. To say that Andy was wrong is to understate the point: it’s unclear whether Conservapedia, an open-source encyclopedia, even has a copyright, and even if it did, copying to critique is clearly fair use. Andy’s position was so wrong that he could not have even entertained the possibility that he was right. He threatened civil litigation knowing the law wasn’t on his side, hoping his legally unsophisticated opponent didn’t know enough to fight him. Threatening civil litigation in bad faith is bad enough; using a bad faith threat to exploit a legally unsophisticated party is even worse.
This is interesting, because I’ve known of lawyers who will send a letter on behalf of a landlord telling renters that the property has been sold and telling them to move out. In fact, the Landlord & Tenant act in Ontario explicitly states that sale of the property is not grounds for evicting a tenant: the property must be sold with a sitting tenant. But many renters don’t know that and feel forced to move out. Should I report them to the Law Society?