By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
In his crowdfunding quest to financially support his defense of Malheur Refuge militant, Ammon Bundy, criminal attorney Mike Arnold, of Arnold Law Firm, has taken to using the Snip.ly* service to curate his Facebook page and website. Snip.ly allows anyone to take anyone else’s content, whatever it may be, and swap out the original link in order to add an overlay of an advertisement on the page. Basically, Snip.ly allows any user to frame any site.
Providing the newly created Snip.ly link is what is shared, all those visiting the link will be subjected to your message creating the illusion the site is endorsing or has accepted the ad you place.
In essence, using Snip.ly, I myself could put adds for my own site or podcast [or anything I want] in a frame on the Arnold Law Firm site and vice versa. Currently, firm owner, Arnold is using Snip.ly to share articles from major news sites, like The Oregonian and OPB, while placing a click-through ad that leads to a donation page for his client
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
There is lots at play here, but let’s discuss the ethical questions of using someone else’s content, without their knowledge or permission, and without paying for it, in order to advertise your product, service or other offering. In 2009, the social news site Digg, had a similar problem and lost. In another case, The Washington Post v. TotalNews, a settlement was reached out of court.
Precedents are still being set, and according to Plagiarism Today, legally, there are a lot of issues with Snip.ly that include:
Trademark Infringement: If users are led to believe that the the site endorsed or had a relationship with the Snip.ly user that didn’t exist, it could create a trademark issue.
Copyright Infringement: It could be argued the Snip.ly creates a derivative work based on the original site, creating a copyright infringement.
Misappropriation: By using the name, likeness and other elements of a person in a way they don’t permit, framing could give rise to a misappropriation claim.
For an attorney whose firm is struggling with ethics complaints, Arnold doesn’t seem to understand, or care about, the negative light his antics shine on his client by default. Support for Bundy is in the minority and Arnold’s bull-in-a-China-shop ways are not winning the hearts and minds of average Americans trying to understand the case and/or Bundy’s cause.
How many other questionable tactics will the Arnold Law Firm use in the Bundy defense before they’re done?
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Checkout these other recent articles by Cheri Roberts.
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- YouTuber Dallas Ahrens says Pete Santilli Influenced Him to Go to Malheur, Read Constitution
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- Is Another Bundy Ranch Indictment Coming this Week?
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- Will Feds Round-Up Bundy Co-Conspirator COWS or Leave them to Graze Without Penalty on the Public’s Constitution?
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- The Problem with Pete Santilli
- OPINION: Was it a Cold Weather Cover-Up? People on Both Sides Stretching for Answers Why 5 Federal Agents Covered-Up Shots Fired in Oregon Standoff