Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pink Truth Threatens Balanced Mary Kay with Copyright "Violation" and "Infringement"

Greetings Balanced Mary Kay Readers,

I suspect that what I am about to share with all of you will come as no surprise to most of you. Nonetheless, I have chosen to be completely transparent with all of you, my readers, about what is going on.

I am, unfortunately, faced with a dilemma. This dilemma involves deciding between doing what I know is right and risking a legal battle that would most likely be awarded to whoever has more time and money – or – allowing something I know to be wrong to prevail in order to “play by their rules” and stay safely away from the potential of facing frivolous litigation. Unfortunately, thanks to the way our law is currently written, right and wrong will probably have less to do with this decision than money and time. As the adage goes, “The golden rule prevails, the one with the most gold makes the rules”.

As most of you are aware, at 12:01 AM (PDT) Friday, September 26, 2008 I posted a screenshot of’s most recent attack on Mary Kay. The intention of posting this image, naturally, was to allow discussion about the claims represented in that post. I also explained that I would make every effort to provide similar images on a daily basis.

Shortly after 9:00 AM (PDT) Friday, September 26, 2008 I received the following email:

from Pink Truth
to This information removed because a private email address that has never been posted on this site was used to deliver this message to me.
date Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 9:04 AM
subject Copyright infringement

It's come to my attention that you're taking screenshots of pages of Pink Truth material and posting it for Balanced Mary Kay readers. That's a copyright violation, as I own the rights to the material and have not given you permission to post it. Please remove the infringing material immediately, and in the future, refrain from using PInk Truth's content without my express permission.

Now a few notes about this.

First of all, I am not an attorney, and I don’t claim to have a full grasp on copyright law.
Second, keeping the above in mind, I am extremely confident that this use of screenshots is NOT a copyright violation.
However, because of the first statement, and because I have not yet received legal counsel about this, I have chosen to err on the side of caution.

It is unfortunate that the people spreading lies about Mary Kay, ironically on a website with the name “truth” in the title, are so afraid of any scrutiny of their assertions that they would resort to ambiguous and unsubstantiated threats about “copyright infringement” to prevent their lies from being exposed.

I do not take kindly to being manipulated.
I firmly believe that Pink Truth is spreading malicious lies about Mary Kay.
I wholeheartedly intend to find a way to expose their lies for what they are.
I will, starting immediately, begin looking for the solution to this problem.
In the meantime, I ask for your patience.
I also would ask that – if you have any knowledge on this subject or could offer legal advice, recommendations or potential safeguards to consider – you contact me at

Balanced Mary Kay will continue offering the pros and cons, the good and the bad of Mary Kay. As always, all are welcome to participate and we welcome everyone’s opinion. Please keep in mind that we STILL do not allow opinions to be expressed as facts… even if doing so is necessary for your “style” of self expression.

Now, what do you think about this?

It is obvious that someone from Pink Truth is reading this site. What would you like to say to them?

Someone claiming to own the “rights to the material” on Pink Truth is suggesting that using an image of their work for the purpose of criticism (as I have done) is “a copyright violation”. However, I think that the U.S. Copyright Office – Title 17, U. S. Code, Section 107 clearly disagrees. What do you think?

In my opinion, this feature is important. Possibly crucial. Do you agree? Is this worth putting the energy into? Should I just give in, roll over and allow them to continue spreading vicious lies about Mary Kay unchecked? What do you think?

I know that some of you have not yet created a profile. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I hope that you will take this opportunity to log in and weigh in on this important decision.

Thank you all for your support and continued patience.


  1. First I want to let you know that the link you have provided to the copyright site is not working.

    I am not an attorney either but my understanding is that you have to credit the source. That has been done here.
    In addition, unless the site has actually been copyrighted there is nothing that TC could do. I always learned that info on the net that isnt' officially copyrighted is fair game.
    Finally, PT should be very careful with this issue as I am fairly certain that they could be accused of violation themselves. I'm not sure if they violate any of Mary Kay's copyrights but in their product review feature there are pleanty of copyrighted pictures posted. There are pictures of different company's products that are being used without express permission from the owners of those photos.

  2. It's a, I believe they are in total copyright violation because MK DOES copyright their pictures and NAME. "Mary Kay" cannot even be purchased as a search term without copyright infringement (as I have discovered the hard way). You have nithing to worry about. If anyone is in violation, it's them.

  3. There are screen shots on Pink Truth all the time. So is Tracy in violation? Guess she is. Does she own and is she responsible for the ENTIRE content? If so, that means that every time somebody "steals" stuff from other sites, her hiney is out to dry simply by the mere action of somebody posting something from another site on PT.

    When you're photocopying (reproducing) a paper or a book, you MUST get permission to use whatever you're "taking" from another source, or at a minimum use a footnote if you're quoting part of the content (the later you do). The primary source (reproducing a writing in whole or part) being a "sole" source. Like a book.

    But a private blog is not the same thing simply because you have many opinions by many participants being posted. She doesn't OWN the commentary or the writings. She simply owns the "domain name". In other words, she doesn't pay the participants for their opinions, she pays for the "space". The ideas and opinions expressed BELONG to the people posting on Pink Truth, not her. I'm speaking within the context of her her agreement when people sign up. Unless she pays for the "content"; which, I'm pretty sure she doesn't, it is "free for the taking".

    Now I say that with trepidation. Because, if you "snatch" content and then make a lot of cash from it, the "owner" of such commentary could probably come after you for retribution. In other words, if she were to write a book and use content from jta, raisinberry, scribbler, etc., she would HAVE to have permission and/or pay them to USE IT.

    I'm not a lawyer. But if you're quoting something, in part, and then giving credit to the source, it's not plagiarism or "stealing" information. However, if you're going to snatch a whole piece of work, you need permission from the author. The author isn't Tracy. It's the author as per the AUTHOR and every subsequent commenter.

    So, Dave, I would err on the side of caution and just excise pieces of this 'n that, as per previous threads, here on Balanced, and give credit to where credit is you've been doing up 'til now. Not because Tracy pulled out the big plastic water pistols, and ooo we're soo scared! But because the hoops you would need to jump to get permission from the REAL author of the publicized article, not her, just isn't worth it.

    I'm not going to toot one blog over another. Let's just say that two or twelve people hitting PT isn't going to make a difference to them. BUT it will make a difference to BALANCED.

    Keep reading PT and keep doing what you're doing. All of you.

  4. praying4courage,

    Thanks for the heads up, link is fixed now. (You may need to hit F5 or refresh your screen, but it should be working now). Or, in case that doesn't work, try this:

    As you mention, I do credit the source.

    I doubt that she actually holds a copyright for the website. You will notice the email that was sent to me does not specify what material exactly is the violating material. This vagueness raises the suspicion that, in fact, there is no infringement - but that the fear of being sued should be enough to scare me into not posting anything.

    Further, the nature of my use of these screenshots - even assuming that they are 100% copyrighted material - exempts them from any form of protection. (see link above)

    I agree that PT should be careful, and I am sure that it is only a matter of time before they find themselves facing someone with the means to exert legal pressure on them for what they do there. However, them doing the wrong thing does not allow me to do the wrong thing without consequence.

    I am quite confident that this use is legitimate. I just need to make sure that a judge would agree with me without requiring me to appear before him/her to explain it. :)

    I suppose one ave. would be to get Tracy's permission to use her content!!! :-D

  5. Shashew,

    I believe that you are right. I don't think any judge would take this case seriously by even a long shot.

    However, the same reason that I am well within my rights to post these screenshots would apply to most of their uses of Mary Kay material. I suspect they know that.

    If you used Mary Kay (for a search term), it would be a completely different reason. You are using copyrighted material to draw business, they are using it to criticize. (HUGE difference)

    I don't doubt that they are in violation of certain things, but the same protection that applies to me, applies to them.

  6. Flybye,

    You are pretty much right where I am.

    Except, I think that being able to see the whole thing, not just the parts that I pick and choose will open up the ability of BMK readers to comment on whatever aspect of Pink Truth they disagree with.

    I am not sure how the authorship thing would work, being that I am essentially taking a snapshot of the entire work, author, moderator, commentators, advertisers... the whole thing, and saying, "look at this, this is ridiculous... to me... what do you think?". I think, as you seem to imply, that once you publish something to the internet on a free-to-the-public forum such as hers, anyone can take those words, "quote" them, and respond.

    Now, if I was using those words to create my own anti-Mary Kay site, or pretending they were my words we would be talking about an entirely different scenario.

    Considering all that, I do agree that erring on the side of caution is the best thing to do here.

    I will try to keep everyone updated on the progress of this situation. Look for the return of the screenshots as soon as possible. Please be patient though as I don't have the luxury of spending my entire day obsessing over Mary Kay!

  7. David, From the years of reading these blogs...I have seen Tracy do whatever she wants and I have also seen her make other peoples lives miserable if they go agianst her. She thinks she knows everything about everything. With that being said I would like someone to put her in her place. She is just from her reading a mean spirited, and nasty women.

    I think that she is copy righting MK with all the things that she post on her site. And you know the saying what goes around comes around. It is is just a matter of time before she gets its. Just be careful because she is a mean spirited person and she thinks her stuff doesn't stink. She doesn't really care if she has a leg to stand on or not. here is a site that is on a break for a long time however there are a lot of things on here that was proven just what tc has done to others. Check it out and see. Let me add that this site is not a pro MK site.

    Have a GREAT DAY

  8. Bwahahahahahahahahahaha! TC can post whatever the heck she wants, but doesn't want to let anyone else play!

    David, I am not a lawyer, so I won't give any legal advice. My personal opinion is that what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and TC does this kind of screen shot stuff all of the time. :D

    PS - This is Shay. I am online blogging with a different account, which is why it shows up under a different name. :o)

  9. David,
    What bothers me about this situation is that TC is more or less blackmailing you into doing what she wants. I'm sure she knows that in today's world people fear being sued and will back down when lawsuits are mentioned. Threatnig to sue someone is a great way to manipulate them.
    When I mentioned the use of copyrighted material on TC's site I was not suggesting that we should do what is wrong just because she is. I was more trying to say that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

  10. P4C,

    I agree with you (people in glass houses), but I need to point out that if you read the email carefully, she did not threaten to sue. The problem is that she does not have to threaten to sue. refusal to respond to "please remove" is enough (I think) to begin the process.

    I need to know what can be done to me, and what my options are before I take a risk like this. That is why I am proceeding with caution. However, technically, she has not threatened to sue.

    Also, everyone should note that nowhere on that email is Tracy's name. I do not even have proof that Tracy is making this claim of copyright ownership.

    Just some thoughts

  11. David...check out the site that I referenced and you will see that she is a master manipulator. If I had to bet who sent it you know where I would put my money. Just check it out, and proceed with caution they will stop at nothing and I mean nothing.

    Have a GREAT DAY

  12. Duh did it all the time and I don't think she's been sued. You can still see screenshots on her page now. Just a thought.

  13. Yes I was just thinking the same thing. Duh's blog would repost entire converstations from PT, just to point out how idiotic some of the postings were. What is the difference?

    I hate the thought of being pushed around, and everything that I know about TC and how she operates tells me that she is the type of person that pushes people around. This sounds a lot like that to me. People like her often get away with this because they think the other party does not know their rights. She depends on people wanting to avoid the hassle of being sued so she gets away with it. So I commend you David for wanting to find out where you stand first, but once you find out dont back down.

  14. Well, you could always telephone the Copyright Office and ask them for an interpretation.

    Also, regarding copyright infringement. Usually it applies to information being copied and disseminated, as in information for teaching purposes, book publications, etc.. But, when you're taking a screenshot and putting it on a "private blog", you could argue that you're capturing the information for "personal use". The other side being that you take the screenshot, then spam a non-specific amount of people's in-boxes with the screen shot.

    So if you're not forwarding it, you're just posting it on a private blog you're not infringing.

    I would just call the Copyright Office and ask if there is anything specific they could point you to regarding the internet.

  15. It's MKShay - posting under the right ID this time. LOL

    Yep, Duh did it all the time - but who wants to mess with Duh? LOL

    I'm skeered of Duh!

  16. Interestingly, there's an Association for Media Bloggers:
    and they have a lawyer's blog to help bloggers understand the law.

    From what I'm seeing, looks like Pink Truth can be in real trouble with libel, as people are starting to go after false statements on blogs. With that in mind, it's not just a corporation's business they're are libeling, but the Independent sales force too. I think I'm going to sue them...

  17. Lol, Shashew! Part of me wishes you would! ;)

    Seriously, this seems to be a case of the "pot calling the kettle black" since Pink Truth uses screen shots ALL the time. However, I am not a lawyer, or any sort of legal expert. I can't even speak the jargon! I think the advice of Flybye64 to check with the copyright office (or the resource Shashew mentioned) might be the best course of action. Good luck!


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First Post - Why I Started This Blog
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