Over at The Agitator, Patrick shows me how a TSA post is done.
Over at The Agitator, Patrick shows me how a TSA post is done.
Write a blog that's well-trafficked enough, and you'll draw scrapers lie flies to roadkill. Every time we get a link from a big site — a BoingBoing or TechCrunch or something — I'm amazed how multiple identical pingbacks from scraper blogs pop up within a few hours, automatically generated as the scraper sites copy and republish the entire original posts with their links to us. Following the backlink leads to some junk site — designed to carry ads, or in a misguided effort to improve somebody's search engine position by link farming. Usually there's no easy remedy — the scraper's site has an anonymously registered domain, and may be hosted offshore.
This is not such a case.
Recently I noticed a series of very familiar pingbacks — very familiar because they appeared identical to pingbacks I'd already gotten from Kevin Underhill at the top-notch you-got-your-humor-in-my-law site Lowering the Bar.
I decided to investigate. Here's what I found.
1. The scraper site is calltothebar.com.
3. The scraper site copies the entire posts, links and all, and runs them with the (false and misleading) byline "by kszafarsk," with a link to the actual author site at the bottom. The scraper site has a header at top with what appears to be category or subject area links ("Attorney Humor | Politics | Professors Point of View | Law Practice Resources | Legal Careers") but are actually not hyperlinked.
4. The scraper site has tags that appear randomly generated from the text of the scraped posts. For instance, for both bot-weirdness and extra douchebag points, when the scraper site lifted Bitter Lawyer's entire very personal post "I Had To Put My Dog Down," it printed it with the tag "Down."
5. The scraper site does not allow comments and adds no commentary whatsoever to the posts it copies.
7. A WHOIS search reveals that calltothebar.com was registered by — wait for it — KM Sciences, Inc..
I wrote to KM Sciences last Thursday, sending the email to their sales and tech support addresses as well as the administrative and technical contact they listed when they registered calltothebar.com. I followed up when I didn't hear from them. Still no response.
So: it appears that software company KM Science is promoting itself — albeit extremely ineffectually (the calltothebar.com site had 22 hits today) — by stealing other people's work and slapping it on a shitty little site running one of their ads. Whoever is doing it lacks the slightest freaking clue of how to cover their tracks. Now, if I were representing them, I'd say the abject failure to exercise discretion about this shows lack of mental capacity to form bad intent, but here the scraping is just too painfully obvious to be defensible. Or maybe KM Sciences hired some marketeer who is doing all that, and utterly failed to supervise them — remember, when you outsource your marketing, you outsource your ethics and your reputation.
Either way, ask yourself this: would you install software these people coded on your computer?
I wish I knew the lawyer who turned these headlines:
RACY PHOTO FOUND IN LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK
RACY YEARBOOK PHOTO BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION, OTHER PARENTS SAY
$100 HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK TAINTED WITH 'PORN' PHOTO, PARENTS SAY
DISTRICT SAYS STUDENT BARING GENITALS IN YEARBOOK WAS 'ACCIDENTAL' OR 'ILLUSION'
SCHOOL SYSTEM ISSUES SECOND RESPONSE TO YEARBOOK PHOTO CONTROVERSY
into the most abject and humiliating retraction I've ever read. I'd shake his hand. I'd buy him a beer.
Perhaps the ex-reporter at Charlotte, North Carolina's WSOC who is responsible for the stories and retraction could use a beer too.
We write a lot about abusive defamation suits, so it's worth remembering that They Also Serve who file these claims.
MIDDLEBOROUGH, MA – The residents of Middleborough have had enough of uncouth language such as the "f-word", "s-h-word", and "c-word". On Monday night, they took ACTION.
"I'm sick of all these fucking teenagers fucking swearing all the god damn fucking time," shouted Mitchell "Mitchie" Winthrop, spilling Bud Light all over his faded Patriots Jersey, "These fucking asshole kids need to learn some fucking RESPECT for their betters!"
And now they will, $20 at a time.
"I'm fucking telling you," shouted James "Jimmy Putnam, spilling Budweiser all over his Boston Red Sox Jersey, "Too many of these fucking little douche-fucks have mouths on them like fuckin' Jimmy fucking Rock or whoever that fucking black dude was. You know who I'm talking about. All eff-this and eff-that. WELL FUCK HIM RIGHT IN HIS BLACK ASS. Fucking idiot. You know what'll happen if he shows up here in Middleborough…"
At this point Mr. Putnam waved his beer in the reporter's face, "HE'S GOING TO FUCKING PAY TWENTY FUCKING DOLLARS, THAT'S WHAT."
Mr Putnam, still drinking his beer, then went into his 1996 faded blue Toyota Corolla and peeled out of the Stop n' Shop parking lot, nearly hitting a Hispanic family and cutting off several cars.
"Why the fuck are you talking to me, asshole?" queried Rebecca "Becky" Coolidge, as she was coming out of a Package Store, "Can't I fucking buy some god damn fucking Tequila at 1 in the afternoon from the Packie in some fucking peace? Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ, you fucking media types. THIS IS A NICE TOWN GOD FUCKING DAMN IT. You want to quote me? FUCK THE YANKEES."
Most citizens were supportive.
"When I was in middle school, our school counselor wanted to fucking stop all the fucking swearing," said Robert "Bobby" Cabot, spilling beer all over his Drew Bledsoe Patriots Jersey, "He replaced 'fuck' with… get this… fucking 'FUDGE'. That year, everyone said Fudge. Fudge This. Fudge You. Shove it up your Fudging Ass. How about we go behind those dumpsters and Fudge like we hate each other? MotherFudger. Get a load of those Fudging MILKERS on that Fudging hottie. I'd like to go back to that innocent time. It's certainly better than the fucking bullshit we have fucking going on now."
William "Billy" Kennedy was less supportive. "This used to be a great fucking town," he slurred, spilling Colt .45 all over his bare chest and the Bruins Tattoo covering it, "Used to be, you could fucking walk down the street and not worry about being fucking… ACCOSTED… by all the fucking swearing and that shitty fucking music blaring out of the fucking speakers. What is that shit anyway? It's all fucking bass and some idiot with no pants is talking about shoes? But I don't know if a fucking law is going to fucking fix it anyway. The Mayor probably needs to find a new fucking way to cover his fucking mistress's clothing bills or else she'll reveal his weird fetish or some shit. Which is bullshit of course, we all know Mickey likes feet. It's no big fucking deal, that's a totally fucking vanilla fetish at this fucking point. That fucking fat fuck Rex Ryan loves him some god damn feet. Fucking Ryan. FUCK THE JETS."
On a point of clarification, the "gangsta" use of the "n-word" was disallowed under this ordinance. The racial slur however, was still okay to use.
The world was so much easier for crazy people before the internet.
Let's face it — in the bucolic neighborhoods of pre-internet America, you could pretty much phone the crazy in. Spend a few minutes shouting at the geese on the town commons and make the occasional pronouncement about aliens at the school board meeting and you could call it a day. But now, with floor-to-ceiling media and all of the world's crazy people at your fingertips, the bar is terrifyingly high.
But Little Debbie clears it.
"Commentator" Debbie Schlussel is the stream of bat's piss that shines out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark. She is the manic and oddly-worded blog post in the darkness, the watcher of the malls, the fire that burns the homes of incorrectly-hued neighbors, the light that brings the truthiness, the shrill honking voice that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of the totally mental. Little Debbie stands out.
And apparently, as is common with floridly nutty people in public life, she's an aspiring censor. Go figure.
When I wrote this post advocating for a non-partisan approach to defending thuggishly threatened speech, I was happy when people started to link to it, because I believe its message sincerely and forcefully.
I was happy, that is, until I noticed that a large number of the links were coming from scrapers — sites that simply copy an entire post verbatim, with or without attribution.
Take conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' site InfoWars, which scraped my post wholesale, though it at least preserved original links and attributed it with a link. That's clearly not fair use. I tried writing InfoWars Editor Kurt Nimmo, politely requesting that they transform the post into a reasonably limited quotation and a link, so as to respect both my intellectual property rights and good blogging etiquette. I never got a response. Perhaps that's understandable. Folks at InfoWars are busy. Day by day, they are the tip of the spear, seeking the irrefutable proof that Lizard People faked the "Moon Landing" to create the illusion of a genuine space program, whilst actually preventing humanity from encountering That Which We Are Not Meant To Know. This month they are very busy fact-checking this so-called private space mission, which is actually being filmed on a sound stage in Burbank. If you look carefully you'll see a number of the participants were washouts from second-string reality shows. And InfoWars is this close to a blockbuster story about how local craft services people have been delivering a suspicious amount of live bugs to the soundstage. So they're busy — too busy to create original content, too busy to refrain from thievery, too busy to respond to emails.
I considered sending them a DMCA notice, but I may hold off just a bit. My wife has informed me that I have reached my quarterly quota of unbalanced people I may antagonize. She's concerned that I might get snatched off the street and stuffed into some sort of Patriot's Terrarium or something.
I also got scraped by a blogger named Chris Roubis, whose blog falls into the general classificaion of "sites with advertisements about how fluoridation threatens babies" or "sites with post categories involving the terms 'UFO' and 'Chemtrails.'" As much as I like attention, this seemed like something of a disappointing comedown, venue-wise. InfoWars is heavily trafficked, and has higher-class advertisements advocating use of colloidal silver, not posts about babies, who after all are not independently productive members of society. [Interesting Fact: Lizard People, who are naturally green, are genetically incapable of turning blue, whatever disguise or glamour they are wearing. Therefore widespread use of colloidal silver is an excellent method of identifying Lizard People. This is also why it is imperative that someone fund a live-action Smurfs movie.] Anyway, I left a comment at Chris Roubis' site, but a week later it's still in moderation. He's busy too, I'm sure. So is Radio Justin, who also scraped me shamelessly. I tried listening to Radio Justin to see if he's hold a symposium explaining his principled reasons for ripping off my content and not answering my complaint about it, but after a while a got sort of depressed by the weepy Donna Summer tributes and tuned out.
Anyway, I guess I should be happy. Silence and stonewalling, ultimately, are preferable to enraged, vaguely threatening, and semi-literate justifications, which is what I got the last time I complained about a scraper. Counting blessings!
George Tierney, Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina, who finds himself abruptly infamous for sending crass tweets to Sandra Fluke and then making legal threats to people who wrote about him, raises a series of questions in my addled mind.
Yesterday in this post I mentioned a response I recently sent to a cease-and-desist letter generated in the course of a controversy about whether a particular seller was eligible to sell goods on the web site Etsy.
I've since spoken to the attorney to whom I wrote. We had a very civilized discussion, though we disagree on some fundamentals (including but not limited to the substance of his email).
He related to me that he is the husband of the young woman at the heart of the controversy, and the father to their two-year-old daughter. He said that since the controversy went viral, they have received a flood of abuse, both by email and in various internet postings. He said that the abuse included threats of physical harm against his wife. He said that people went as far as to post his daughter's school, its address, and a video of it. Though he complained about some of the factual claims made about the business in question, these threats and comments were his chief concern in his discussion with me.
For purposes of this post, I am taking him at his word.
I stand by what I wrote in my response to the cease-and-desist letter. Nobody who reads this site is likely to doubt my commitment to freedom of expression. But allow me to be blunt: if you are the sort of person who thinks it is funny to react to this sort of situation by making threats, or targeting somebody's kid, or engaging in harassment that crosses the line into illegal behavior, you are not a friend of free speech, and you are not my friend. You're an enemy.
The internet is full of assholes. I strongly disagree with this attorney's argument, which seems to be — in part — that people who write vehemently about controversial issues on the internet are morally or legally responsible for what assholes do when they read it. That's not the law. But that doesn't change the fact that people who make threats, and target the family members (especially children) of folks embroiled in controversy, and engage in direct harassment of them (as opposed to writing about the situation and stating their views), are vile, and we should call them out.
So. If you are someone who reacts to these controversies by sending threatening emails to the participants, or writes comments about how violence should be done to them, or posts their kids' schools, you are my enemy. I will call you out. You liked that response I sent to the cease-and-desist letter? You might not like the tone as much when it's naming and shaming you. You like it when I conduct lengthy and detailed investigations of fraud? You won't like it if I use those same techniques to track down people who make threats, and hand them over to the victims, or to law enforcement.
You want to argue? Fine. You want to criticize? Fine. You want to ridicule? Fine. But when you threaten, and if you cross the line into unlawful harassment, and if you target families of controversial figures, you're hurting the cause you think you're fighting for. You're also making it easier for law enforcement, and legislatures, and courts to justify censorship. You're a problem. And if you become my problem, I'm going to use my First Amendment rights to make you pay. You won't enjoy it.
My client in this matter engaged in clearly protected expression and said absolutely nothing that could rationally be taken as encouraging threats, violence, or unlawful harassment. If this attorney sues, I will fight him on every front without quarter and with all of the allies I can muster. But let's be clear: if you are someone who has been making threats against these people, then you are a substantial contributing factor to my client's stressful situation this week. That makes me angry.
Please don't make me angry.
Daring state legislators to have me arrested is beginning to feel suspiciously like work.
Last week, you may recall, I sent the Connecticut Joint Committee on the Judiciary a rude post that would probably constitute a crime under the ridiculously overbroad cyberbullying bill they passed. Now a reliable source informs me that bill died in committee. Swell.
But do I get some down time to get some sleep and recover from this miserable chest cold and watch Lena Headey slap Jack Gleeson over and over again? No I do not.
Because fuck you, Arizona.
Okay. Here we go. Cowboy up, Ken.
Dear Members of the Arizona State Legislature,
By this post, it is my specific intent to use this digital device — a computer — to annoy and offend you.
It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a telephone ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.
OK. I certainly don't intend to convey any physical threat. And I can't terrify or intimidate you, even with the prospect of revealing you for a pack of morons who ought to be voted out of office — after all, you're in Arizona, where prolonged lawlessness, venality and idiocy seem to be sure paths to electoral victory.
I certainly do mean to annoy and offend you, though. You've been swept up in the moronic and thoughtless anti-bullying craze and consequently passed a bill that is ridiculous on its face, a bill that criminalizes annoying and offending people on the internet. That's like criminalizing driving on the road. By so clearly violating the First Amendment, you've violated your oaths of office. You should be ashamed of yourselves. What kind of example are you setting for the children of Arizona by ignoring the law to pass fashionable rubbish? It is no excuse that you are merely modifying an archaic law to apply it to the internet — you're still enacting patently unconstitutional legislation.
and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act
Oh, yeah. Also, snort my taint, go to Hell, and go fuck yourselves.
There. I'm a criminal in Arizona. Send some of your cops to collect me. I know it may be temporarily confusing for them, as I'm not brown, but perhaps they can manage.
Come get me.
Numerous tipsters and friends pointed out the New York Post story about how the New York City Department of Education had banned words like "dinosaur" and "birthday" and "Halloween" from tests. I was quite ready to unload on the Department — in fact, I was discussing a contest to see who could use all of the words in one test question — when I was struck with a sudden and overpowering sense of skepticism, and ground to a halt.
Sometimes these stories are based on snippets of truth taken out of context, or misreported. Am I, I asked myself (not aloud, because that's pretentious), being taken in by a story that plays into my predisposition to see the education bureaucracy as witlessly politically correct?
So, though it pained me, I tried to find the original source for the story. None of the news reports or blog posts about it posted the Department of Education document allegedly containing the dinosaur's-birthday ban. From a reference in one of the stories I figured that the language came from the Department's notice seeking bids from test providers — an RFP, to those who bid on government contracts — and located it here. But the Department's site doesn't let you access the RFPs unless you have a vendor account. Fortunately there's a Popehat reader who has one. I think he does work for the Department carting off dead bodies or catering mixed drinks to the rubber room or something; I didn't ask. Thanks to this intrepid reader, I had it — the Appendix to RFP #R0911, the Periodic Assessment Program. A delay followed, as I spent much of the weekend coughing up muppet-colored gunk. But then I read it.
And yes, contrary to my concerns, it's just about as bad as was reported.
The Appendix shows a list of topics for test questions "that would probably cause a selection to be deemed unacceptable by the New York City Department of Education." The Department explains:
In general, a topic might be unacceptable for any of the following reasons:
The topic could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students that might hamper their ability to take the remainder of the test in the optimal frame of mind.
The topic is controversial among the adult population and might not be acceptable in a state-mandated testing situation.
The topic has been ―done to death‖ in standardized tests or textbooks and is thus overly familiar and/or boring to students.
The topic will appear biased against (or toward) some group of people.
Now, it might be perfectly reasonable for the Department to avoid tests with obscene content, or content celebrating criminal activity, like the pimping-or-crack-dealing math test that the occasional "creative" teacher devises. But the Department's list of disfavored subjects is incomprehensibly broad and, in many instances, stubbornly irrational. Here it is, with the occasional comment from me:
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs (No questions about Prohibition? No questions about colonial tobacco trade?)
Birthdays (no "Ronnie got six presents on her birthday. She gave four away.")
Bodily functions (Presumably they mean no traditionally private bodily functions. Otherwise this is going to be a very abstract test.)
Cancer (and other diseases) (Nothing about Jonas Salk. Gotcha.)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues (Not even children dealing with a fundamentally broken educational system run by twits?)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or public library setting) (Really? Because — kids would feel deprived? Really?)
Creatures from outer space
Dancing (ballet is acceptable) (What. The. FUCK.)
Death and disease (So — just avoid discussing any war, then.)
Dinosaurs and prehistoric times
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Homes with swimming pools
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
But that's not all. Now that the Department has gotten a topic/word list out of its system, it's time to move on to more amorphous concepts:
Avoid anything that may be interpreted as:
Anthropomorphism (attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena) (Anthropomorphism is allowed in retellings of fables.)
Biased towards or against any particular form or system of government (So. Democracy? Meh. Take it or leave it.)
Dangerous for children (alone at home, swimming without adult supervision, etc.) (No children-overcoming-adversity stories.)
Demeaning to any group (Not counting, presumably, demeaning to the children taking the resulting insipid tests)
Disrespectful to authority or authority figures (no questioning authority! No American Revolution stuff, please.)
Highly controversial (Meaning, whatever the Department wants it to mean)
Middle-class amenities that may be unfamiliar to some children (Decently written tests administered in decent schools, for instance)
Smug, moralistic, preachy (That invades the province of the Department's administrators)
Stereotyping of any group
Stridently feminist or chauvinistic
Avoid using trade names.
In short: I'm glad that I took the time to locate and read the source document. It makes the story worse, not better. \
New Yorkers' tax dollars went to drafting this list — to sitting in rooms and coming up with lists of concepts and topics that might possibly upset someone somewhere, and thus must be avoided in the modern Wiffle School.
Tell me: do you think the time spend devising this list, and devising compliant bids, and policing bids for compliance, contributed anything positive or useful to the education of children?
Late Friday night I posted my analysis of Crystal Cox's vengeful and freakish assault on Marc Randazza. I discussed how her "oh look I registered a domain in your name, I need money, do you need reputation services" closely resembled a seemingly extortionate email she sent to a previous target of her wrath. I also pointed out the main thing you need to know to evaluate what Crystal Cox is: when she gets mad at you, she'll buy a domain in the name of your three-year-old child as part of an attack on you.
In that post, I argued that the best private response to the sort of gibbering evil Crystal Cox offers is more speech, not litigation. Marc Randazza — whose own three-year-old daughter is a target here — is taking the more-speech road. It works. For example, today David Carr at the New York Times posted a piece about Cox and her behavior, revealing that after his critical piece about her last year she launched a domain attacking him.
Some evidence suggests that this weekend Cox bought up a bunch of new domains. No doubt she'll launch new vile attacks on her growing number of critics. I registered domains in the names of my children, but who knows, maybe she found variations on my name, or my business, or my children's names that I did not anticipate (or could not reasonably afford to buy). That's what she is. That's what she does. Treat her accordingly.
Edited to add: looks like Forbes gets her, too. Note that she also started sites attacking the Forbes reporter based on his prior article on her.
Here's the most important thing you need to know about blogger and "investigative journalist" Crystal Cox: when she got angry at First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, she didn't just register the domains marcrandazza.com and fuckmarcrandazza.com and marcrandazzasucks.com in order to attack him. She registered jenniferrandazza.com and nataliarandazza.com — the names of Randazza's wife and three-year-old daughter.
That's Crystal Cox in a nutshell — an appropriate receptacle.
"Liberty," said Learned Hand, "lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."
Learned Hand was quite right — if people don't support basic legal norms like freedom of expression and due process of law, no legal systems will be sufficient to enforce those norms. They will wither. But how is the appetite for liberty born in our hearts? Some choose to believe that it is an inherent aspiration of humanity. I don't think that history, ancient or recent, supports that. Rather, I think that liberty is a cultural value, carefully cultivated by example and education. Good American citizenship is characterized by fidelity to shared taught values, and a willingness to support them and teach them to others.
Like any value, liberty can also be suppressed. People — especially young people — can be taught to scorn it.
Right now, the Shawano School District is Wisconsin is teaching students to scorn free expression. The Shawano School District, through its leaders, is teaching bad American citizenship.
Listen to me: no sensible and well-ordered society can recognize a right to be free from offense. It's unprincipled and mercurial, a celebration of the rule of subjective reaction over the rule of law. It's an open invitation to censorship-by-heckler's-veto. It chills satire, parody, sharp retorts, hard truths, and uncomfortable revelations. George Bernard Shaw says "all great truths begin as blasphemies" — so where is the room for exploration of truth in a society that lets every entitled group define its own blasphemies and demand that everyone avoid uttering them? Going to courts complaining of fee-fees is no basis for a system of government.
Why the mini-rant? It's because today, courtesy of Ophelia Benson, I learned of a loathsome example of the assertion that we all have the right not to be offended, and an illustration of how it can be used as a weapon of suppression. The Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (ASHS) at University College London has a Facebook page, and on that page they posted a picture as part of an invitation to a party:
That was the title of an email I received an hour ago. OK, I added the exclamation point — the email was titled only "Felony Arrest."
Other criminal defense attorneys — indeed, perhaps most attorneys — know what comes next. Was it from a client, or potential client, alerting me to crisis requiring my assistance? No. No, it was not. It was an unsolicited email from a legal marketeer I had never heard of before — from a fairly well know referral service — who wanted me to "discuss a relationship" in which I would pay for access to his firm's list of potential clients. Here, with certain deliberate omissions and alterations, is how it went:
I do not believe that our two firms have met.
I'd like to discuss a relationship regarding the rights to our criminal law matters in the San Diego area.
Take a look at some of our current pre-screened (for financial capability) client matters in that protected territory.
To access our database:
• go to our site, societyforcornholingunsuspectingchildren.com;
• click on attorney log-in;
• your user name is rube2012;
• your password, is sucker2012;
• all lower case
• note that the password and user name are different
• click on the "all" cases line near the top of the home page;
• expires on January 4
Of course, I do ask that you not yet contact any of the clients.
Let me know whether it looks like a potential fit.
Mr. Feculent Q. Pus-Crust
Society For Cornholing Unsuspecting Children
[Los Angeles address and numbers]
My new pal Feculent is right about one thing — our firms have not met. That's because my firm is a law firm, and his firm is lodged, like a partially absorbed suppository, in the legal referral industry.
A few notes:
1. As is common with solicitations form the legal referral industry, the email title is intended to deceive. They do they same thing when they call — they tell the receptionist "I'm calling with a referral of a case" or "I need to talk about a criminal case."
2. My firm does, in fact, do work throughout California. However, most of our work is in the greater Los Angeles area. Our San Diego work is a few percentage points of our practice. Trying to pitch San Diego strongly suggest that dear Feculent is working off of some sort of automated lead generator. [Note: Feculent writes an enraged email back stating that he writes each pitch by hand and does not use any automated lead generator.]
3. Note that the misleading headline and the lack of a prominent opt-out provision puts the email squarely in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.
4. I cannot imagine doing business with someone who seeks to initiate a business relationship based on deception. Even if I thought that using a legal referral service is palatable (which I do not) or made business sense (which I do not), I would never in a million years turn to a firm like the S.F.C.U.S., which approached me with a deceitful heart and a dishonest pitch.
5. I didn't use the password to look at their "pre-screened (for financial capability)" client matters. But the mere existence of a list of such things being put on the internet and emailed to potential customers is bizarre. I assume — I hope — that the list doesn't disclose actual names. Even if it does not, what type of criminal case has (a) a client pre-screened for financial ability and (b) such a leisurely pace that it can be summarized on a web site and used for marketing purposes to attract potential lawyers to represent the client, as opposed to, I don't know, immediately connecting the criminal defendant with a lawyer to protect his or her rights?
I feel the way I do when I get body-part-enlargement spam and fortune-in-gold-in-Nigeria pitches: what sort of morons respond to this? Isn't the model, in some ways, inherently self-repudiating? Isn't any lawyer who would respond to such a pitch inherently unsuitable to represent any criminal defendant?