Monday, September 29, 2008

Update on Pink Truth's Outrageous Claim of Copyright Infringement

On Saturday, I informed all of you that someone claiming to be from Pink Truth (but without so much as a signature) alleged that I have "infringed" and "violated" their copyrights on this site. (Link - Pink Truth Threatens Balanced Mary Kay)

Now, as I assured you all in my last post, the very nature of my use of images and text from that website is clearly not a violation or infringement. Nonetheless, even as I contemplated what to do in order to ensure that I would not find myself being forced into a courtroom to discuss this, I received an email from blogger (the ones that host this blog), indicating that someone has, indeed, claimed that "content in your blog allegedly infringes upon the copyrights of others".

The following posts are the ones that are being called into question:

(For your convenience, I have labeled them all as accurately as possible)

Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 1
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 2
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 3
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 4
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 5
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 6
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 7
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 8
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 9
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 10
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 11
Pink Truth Lies About Copyright Infringement 12

Here is the part that I find most interesting:

We are asking that you please remove the allegedly infringing content in
your blog. If you do not do this within the next 3 days (by 10/2/08), we
will be forced to remove the posts in question. If we did not do so, we
would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its

Here is the thing. If "blogger" who is owned by google, does not want to deal with a claim of copyright infringement, "regardless of its merits", I have to wonder, why would I?

They conclude with:

"We can reinstate this content into your blog upon receipt of a counter
notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of
the DMCA."

I have not yet decided what I will do about this. My life is fairly busy right now and I have other "drama" cooking in my "real" life. But in the meantime, I want to keep all of you up to date.

I am particularly interested in making sure that everyone sees clearly the pathetic tactics and maneuverings that someone who is afraid to be completely truthful will stoop to in order to maintain the cloak of lies that she must constantly perpetuate in order for her jaded world view to continue to seem "true".

I now put it to you, my readers. What should I do?

Special thanks to those of you that have already emailed me with your findings on this subject.


  1. Ok, this stuff gets very confusing to me. But, how can one claim this -if there are copyright photos and screenshots or letter from other sites all over pt.

    My goodness, the photo from Jowdy Photography aren't suppose to be used and copied.

    If you can't use a screen shot, is it okay to retype the entire piece as long as credit is given??

    If blogger has a problem, can our site be posted on a service that wouldn't.

    David, wish I could be more help but I am clueless - Accounting, psych, and Mary kay, I may be able to help, legal stuff, I plead the fifth.

    But if I was forced to give an opinion, internet doesn't follow the standard rules of writings, and since almost all posters are anonymous, how could that be infringing on any rights. Now if real names were used, I could see more of a problem, but...

    I will just keep reading and learning, and laughing at how pathetic that other side it. So hyprcritical - it is just too funny. They can pick on anyone, say anything, lie, lie, lie, and okay on occassion just exagerate greatly and all that is okay. But let one little site show another view point and show that their, "truth" is B.S. and look at what happens... (David, you must be becoming a threat!)

    Reminds me of the kid on the playground that starts pouting and takes his ball and goes home - I guess that site owner wants to take her ball and go home since she isn't winning any more. wahh

    Did I infringe on any rights in my post, I would not want to make more trouble for us??

    Oh, I guess maybe we have a few pt readers over here, huh? I wonder if the owner readers our site too. There was a day if a pt reader, read another site and it was found out about, that reader would be banned, yup banned from pt. Dictatorship, can one say "Hitler".

    Waving and welcoming all pt visitors, we love having you here. Welcome gotheart!

    If anyone truly wants to know how nasty the owner of the other site can get, I think if you went to and read some of the earlier articles, you may get a clue. For example, even the owners daughter was "threatend" to a point, TC is evil and will cause trouble. There is enough history if one has the patience to go to Banned from the Bitchfest aka duh and ptlies, and mypinktruth.

    Congratulations David, you got Pt's attention, so maybe, we are starting to "balance" things!!

    And David no matter what, just protect our site so we have one, if we can't use screen shots, so be it, we were doing fine without them before and we will do fine still.

  2. More Legal Info:

    If you read this, "Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials," which is what this blog's content and purpose fall under--that is to continue public discourse. And that no profit was made from these posts, means you are protected under free speech rights.

    Additionally, Pink Truth cannot claim the same with their posting of copyrighted materials and internal company correspondence. 1. They are profiting from it, and 2. What they publish is libelous to Mary Kay corporate, and Mary Kay Independent Reps, and 3. What they publish is claimed as "truth" -- not opinion, mind you, but "truth"-- when much is not.

    In fact the purpose of this blog: to debunk the falsehoods Pink Truth claims is exactly to "continue the discourse." The publishers of a website or blog do fall under the same laws—and free speech protection—as other media. Basically what we do is the same as reviewing a book or a film -- totally protected. She puts out her writing to the general public – it is not gated or private information. You have a right to run a blog that debunks her claims. Hello, this is the US…

    According to the law Google must abide by, as they mentioned 512(g)(2) and (3) of
    the DMCA, they must remove the content immediately when they get a claim…false or not. And you’ll need to write to them with a counter of “fair use.” IF you want that info to go back up. That is what I would do, because clearly the law's in your favor.

    The really funny thing about this is that Pink Truth is not the original creator of the information blogged about! It’s Mary Kay that “owns the material” that they discourse, and we discourse in return. Again, that Pink Truth open to some severe libel claims.

  3. The only thing I could see is that PT has copyright written at the bottom of the blog. So if she can get away with threatening "infringement" on Balanced, which I think is absolutely pathetic and hilarious considering that there is a massive quote from a "published" article from a Unitsite on PT right at this very moment on her front page today, then I think you should counter and lodge a complaint against PT.

    You could literally go into every single thread and find that there are quotes from other sites, pictures, etc., etc., and probably (literally!) have her whole site shut down for copyright infringement.

    Mk4me brought up a really interesting point. There is a whole massive (more than one, actually) thread where she's stolen images from a copyright protected site.

    In fact, why bother with the hassle. You could simply get in touch with Mary Kay Corporate and complain that they are going into unit sites and quoting them and/or they are taking screen shots of MK publications, not to use for selling product, (!!) but for derogatory/slanderous dialogue which has a direct impact on consultants' ability, in general, to sell the product. Mary Kay has way more man power. There are women who need help over there. But the encouragement to undermine someone else's ability to work, in general, is predatory. If the blogger has the "with merit or not" sense, then [they] could have the blogger remove, in essence, the content of PT.

    That's really amazing when you think of it. She does it. Puts copyright at the bottom of her site to protect herself from the same 'action'.

  4. Is it possible to just take the name of the site off of our posts and simply refer to it as PT? Is she saying that by using their name we are infringing? Surely she has not copyrighted the letters P and T.
    I agree with the statemet that PT needs to tread carefully since they are constantly using copyrighted materials.
    I'm not even in MK anymore but I think that someone who is should absoltely notify MK that there is copyright infingement on PT. They do pursue people selling their products on ebay so surely they would take this on.

  5. Didn't Pink Truth used to be called "" and they were told to desist? I thought I read that somewhere...I'll see if I can find the article.

    Again, because we're "furthering discourse" and not claiming the material as our own, and crediting it to where it comes from, it's not copyright infringement. I don't believe using PT or Pink Truth wouldn't make a difference.

    So who's going to write to MK Corp?

  6. I would be glad to make the call, especially since I would like to know for myself what their take is on PT.
    I can call MK legal in the morning and just ask them about it.

  7. PT was "" and Mary Kay, Inc. purchased the domain ""

  8. Ok I just tried to call legal myself and the phone number that the receptionist gave me for reaching legal is not working. Can anyone direct me to where I would find the right number?

  9. I am not a lawyer, but I am a photographer and here is what I understand. A blog is considered to be "editorial". Any pictures you use in editorials do not need a model release form(permission for use from whoever is in the picture). I am unsure about the rights of the photographer who took those pictures when it comes to using them within an editorial(as previously stated, I am a photographer, so I have no need to use others' images). One thing to be concerned about though, is if the use of the images make it appear that whoever is in the images is in some way connected to the site. But that's not typical with an editorial - you can usually clearly see that the person within the picture is not necessarily associated with the editorial piece.

    Now if you are using them for commercial uses - as in on a website that sells items (for example,, then you absolutely should have a model release and permission to use the photo. This is actually how it appears that MKC might triumph over - they frequently use protected images from MKC's website (I haven't heard anything about the case ... has anything else happened?).

    I have read through some of the complaints - and here's what it looks like to me. You're quoting them, stating where the information came from. You don't appear to be taking the words from the blog and adopting them as your own. First of all, it would be difficult for pink truth to attempt to do anything to you unless they have those specific blogs registered with the copyright offices of the US. But its not impossible. Secondly, there is something called "Fair Use". Here is the description in Wikipedia:

    "Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term "fair use" originated in the United States, but has been added to Israeli and the UK law as well; a similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright."

    The fact that you are non-profit, editorial in nature, and using limited use of the material all appear to be in your favor. The reality is that if they are trying to keep you from being critical of their blog and website, that would essentially be sensorship and would be infringing on YOUR freedom of speech.

  10. Hey all, just wanted to say "hi" and I am still around, just got very, very busy. We also had our best month as a unit in over 10 years! (and as always, no frontloading here :)) going out of town for the weekend so probably won't be around much.

    And as for as using other material.. I have a real question..
    one poster on that other site, who her name would think she has messy writing, always uses cartoon characters or other "trademark" things and then adjust them to make fun of something. Wouldn't someone need permission to use these illustrations and change them to suit their needs? Yet, these are posted on that site all the time. When they do stuff like that the mock MK, I almost think Mk could sue for slander??

  11. MK4ME:

    That would be a form of commentary, "satire" within editorial use, that falls under the fair-use principle. It's kind of like SNL (Saturday Night Live) where they typically make fun of celebrity and political figures. Here is what Dan Heller says on pg 228 of his book, "A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases" about satire, "Again, the editorial nature, even in a commercially-oriented entertainment program, trumps the copyright owner's rights, allowing their use without permission."

    As previously stated, I'm not a lawyer, but a photographer. I found Dan Heller's book vitally beneficial for my needs, but I find that many of what he talks about applies to this situation. I hope that helps!

  12. Here's another great quote from his book that I think applies:

    "Fair use is a principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted and trademarked materials for purposes of commentary and criticism, as well as other uses that are deemed to be in the public interest. For example, if you want to criticize a novel, you should have the freedom to quote a portion of the author's book without asking permission. Absent this freedom, copyright owners could stifle any negative comments about their work."

    I think that says it all right there. If you want even more information that is in plain english, check out where you can find an great article on copyright and fair use written by Stanford University.

  13. Here's what I think. I think it's fair to quote what we want, but in part. I don't think it's fair to screenshot an entire thread. That's probably why Balanced got "shoved".

    As I said earlier, two or 12 or 22 hits on Pink Truth will not make a difference either way to their standing. But the quotes and commentary on Balanced does make a difference for the sake of a good debate.

    Sometimes its more beneficial to "plug your nose and vote" for a good cause. Don't attach expectations to what you can't control. You can't control the traffic to or from any site. Instead, be concerned with the message you want to convey on Balanced. This IS within your control.

    I say, read PT and then cherry pic your points you want to speak to as has been done in the past. That's legal. It's effortless. It doesn't detract from what you want to do which is provide a balanced opinion about a Mary Kay business.

    I's recommend that you counter the complaints as per Andrea's comment to save the existing commentary on the grounds of fair use and the following definition:

    "Fair use is a principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted and trademarked materials for purposes of commentary and criticism, as well as other uses that are deemed to be in the public interest."

    That is exactly what you're doing.

  14. Blogger ate my comment.

    Tracy gets her material from many sources without permission. If she can reprint MK's materials, why can't you reprint hers? I do not believe in double standards.

    And I do believe that if you give credit, you can retype things. It's done all the time...I sure did it in graduate school. We all did. How else do you quote sources, eh?

    Dave, are you doing ok? I hope all this is not giving you an ulcer.



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