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Investigative Journalist Claims Her Public Tweets Aren’t ‘Publishable;’ Threatens To Sue Blogger Who Does Exactly That

Posted on February 5th, 2013 at 10:27 by Paul Jay in category: News -- Write a comment

[Quote]:

from the hubristupidity! dept

Choose your battles carefully. This warning/advice is more relevant than ever in an era of instant feedback, social media and thousands of pages of “relevant results” microseconds away. Here’s a small story of how not to deal with a problem caused by your own actions.

Mark Bennett, a Houston criminal defense lawyer, was recently pointed in the direction of a rather inexplicable statement attached to a Twitter profile.

This prompted Bennett to do a little digging. For someone who’s so concerned with retaining strict control of her information, Buhl certainly doesn’t seem to mind throwing around other people’s information – even the contents of a teenage girl’s personal journal.

A New Canaan woman police say posted personal and sexually explicit information on Facebook about her boyfriend’s 17-year-old daughter was arraigned Tuesday in state Superior Court on charges of second-degree harassment, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with an officer.

Teri Buhl, 38, of 81 Locust Ave., appeared briefly before Judge Maureen D. Dennis with her lawyer, Christopher W. Caldwell of Norwalk…

Buhl surrendered on Oct. 27 at New Canaan police headquarters after learning that a warrant had been obtained for her arrest. She was released after posting a $5,000 bond.

Here’s how Buhl allegedly set about “publishing” someone else’s much more private “statements:”

A look at the documents that led to the warrant and arrest tells a disturbing story of Web-based strong-arming and privacy invasion from a woman who knew her victim and attempted to disguise her own identity.

New Canaan police Youth Bureau Commander Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said in an affidavit that the girl and her father, Paul Brody, came to police June 24 to report that someone using the name ‘Tasha Moore’ had posted personal notes from the girl’s journal on Facebook.

The girl said she kept the journal in her dresser drawer in her bedroom, and that she wrote the notes shown on Facebook last April. The girl said she had replied to the e-mail address provided by Moore on her Facebook page, and had told Moore to stop posting personal information about her or she would contact police.

Moore reportedly answered that she welcomed the legal action and knew the girl’s father was a corporate lawyer. Moore said she didn’t think the girl would contact police because then her father would find out about the embarrassing information from the journal, according to Ogrinc’s statement.

As Bennett points out, it’s apparently OK to publicly post information from a minor’s personal journal, but not OK to post a public Teri Buhl tweet anywhere else on the internet.

  1. I could sell tickets for a cage match between a hack writer-for-hire and an indignant advocate-for-hire. Thrills, gore, and unintended collateral damage guaranteed.

  2. So setting aside this woman for a moment and looking at the general idea…

    The fact that something is already publicly published does not mean it can be republished by others without breach of copyright. Who holds the copyright to a tweet? Presumably the author, yes? (With some kind of automatic license to Twitter created in the site ToS to allow display of the tweet in direct connection with the Twitter service.) So what stops me from asserting “© All rights reserved” on my Twitter page to control publication of my tweets beyond Twitter.com and twitter client apps?

  3. @Desiato: Hmm…nothing stops you, I suppose, but to be safe I’d put it in each of your tweets as well if I were you :-)

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