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Censorship Your Rights Online

Canon Tries To Shut Down "Fake" Canon Blog 125

Thomas Hawk writes "An interesting twist over at the Fake Chuck Westfall Blog. Fake Chuck (like Fake Steve before him) has a blog out parodying Canon's real Technical Information Advisor Chuck Westfall. It seems that Canon and their lawyers over at Loeb & Loeb are none too fond of all the fun that Fake Chuck and DSLR geeks everywhere have been having at their expense and have sent Fake Chuck's blog hosting company, WordPress, a notice to take the blog down. Canon's lawyers cite that Fake Chuck's blog is 'calculated to mislead recipients,' even though the blog has 'fake' in the title, 'fake' in the URL and 'fake' just about everywhere else in the blog. What in the heck is wrong with Canon? Do they really think that trying to shut down a parody blog is going to make their new 5D Mark II ship any faster?" After Fake Chuck removed the Canon logo from his site, WordPress is standing behind him and has rebuffed Canon's demand.
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Canon Tries To Shut Down "Fake" Canon Blog

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:32PM (#26864961)

    This post has fake all over it, so you can't mod it down.

  • MS fakery (Score:5, Funny)

    by Goffee71 ( 628501 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:35PM (#26864973) Homepage
    Is there no fake Microsoft blog? If so, I'm guessing no one believes what they write anyway.
  • 5D Mk II (Score:1, Insightful)

    I dont't have one, but it seems the 5D Mk II is already out. On Geizhals [], an Austrian price comparison website (Google translation []), numerous retailers list it as available. At €2380 (the cheapest one that actually has it in stock) it's not exactly cheap, but then again, most professional DSLRs aren't.

  • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:42PM (#26865013) Journal

    More free press for Canon. The real intention all along. Good job.

  • by DeadPixels ( 1391907 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:44PM (#26865027)
    Companies would realize that not liking someone's views doesn't give them the right to censor the person.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:46PM (#26865041)

      In this case, though, the views expressed are decidedly noncanonical.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iminplaya ( 723125 )

      Yeah, but there's no prohibition against making lots of noise and getting on the front page when you have a product you need to push.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely! Canon are hurting as they've had nothing but immense quality problems with almost every major model released in the last 2 years. Canon just cannot stand being called out as making 'fake' cameras and watch their user base walk over to real Nikon.
      FACT: On a Luminous Landscapes trip to Antarctica, ZERO Nikon D700 failures, 6(six) Canon 5Dii failures of which 3 recovered and 3 were bricked.
      Can you smell the PANIC back at Canon HQ?

      • Personally if they'd just learn the ancient and mystical art of autofocus calibration, that would help... My last two DSLR bodies (20D, 40D) have needed to go back for re-adjustment (which made a world of difference).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          In contrast to that, I haven't had any problems with my 40D at all, and the 350D I had before that only occasionally had issues with dirty contacts on the lens throwing that nasty "error 99" every once in a while.

          I guess with DSLRs (or SLRs, really) you buy into whichever brand of dog food you are interested in, since lens cost will eventually eclipse camera body cost as you build a collection of lenses. We can bicker and argue about one brand being better than another, but as long as they take pretty faith

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Just want to add that with the same two cameras, the 350D and my current 40D, I also haven't had problems.

            I *have* had minor problems with lenses, especially third-party ones. That is where calibration/quality control is a major problem, even with Canon lenses (though I haven't had a problem with my Canon lenses, I know many others have.)

            • by kybosch ( 250319 )

              As someone who had a blast with the Fake Chuck Westfall blog, even going so far as to make suggestions for stories the author could cover, I would like to chime in on my experiences with the same two cameras the above posters mentioned: Canon's 350D (Rebel XT) and 40D.

              I shot for two years with the 350D with no problems, going as far as China and New Zealand and once even over the handlebars of my bike to land on my face with the camera strapped to my back, and yet I never had any problems. I am a recent con

              • by WNight ( 23683 )

                I agree about these fakes. They aren't there to needlessly harass, they're there to show a better way. FakeChuck may not even care who gets the message, Nikon, Canon, or whoever, just that someone does.

                More important, imho, than any product defects is how a company responds to them. I haven't looked into it, but if Canon swaps a bricked camera without hassle, even with modded firmware and such, then I'll be more apt to take the risk than if they had better quality but were hard to get to fix something that

      • You forget to mention that on the Antarctica trip you mentioned, of 77 total 70% of photographers were using Canon, and 30% Nikon. Fifty percent of Canon users, so 35% of the total, were using 5D IIs, or 26 people.

        They don't mention specifically how many people were using D700s, only "lots". I have no idea of course, but let's say for arguments sake that 50% of Nikon users had the D700 - though their wording lends me to believe it's probably less. That's approximately 12 D700s. Three dead 5D IIs out of 26 i

    • by g0at ( 135364 )

      By definition, a company can't censor a person.


      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by corsec67 ( 627446 )

        No, wrong. []

        By definition, a company very much can censor.

        It is just legal if it is the context of forums under that companies control, or using copyright/trademark laws.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:46PM (#26865043)
    The Streisand effect has now hit the Fake Chuck blog. I wasn't aware of the blog but thanks to Canon's own doing more people will be aware of it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Wha says that's not what they were going for? These are sneaky bastards these corporate types. It's difficult tfor us straight thinking peeps to get a handle on them.

  • Bad Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @03:58PM (#26865091)

    The take down letter asked for 4 things:

    1. Stop using the Canon logo.
    2. Remove references to violence.
    3. Remove references to Chuck's family.
    4. Changes to the look and feel of the blog so it would not be
    confused with actual Canon corporate sites.

    It wasn't a totally unreasonable blanket take-down demand, and as such Fake Chuck will easily be able to comply and continue as a source of satire and humor.

    • Re:Bad Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by rcw-home ( 122017 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @04:33PM (#26865291)

      I looked at the PDF of the takedown. Yes, it mentioned those four things as "particularly egregious" but it was a blanket take-down demand. Let's examine the basis they list for their complaint and their demand: [] (the "Blog") - is using our client's trademark and Mr. Westfall's name and likeness without authorization

      Accordingly, we hereby demand that you immediately remove the above-mentioned objectionable and harmful content from your website, as well as terminate the Blog author's account.

      (emphasis mine)

      If Wordpress hadn't exhibited some common sense, Fake Chuck would have had to find a new home.

    • Bad lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @05:02PM (#26865413)
      The take down letter made other, unreasonable demands. As I've posted before, it's often the case that from the plaintiff point of view, the weaker the case the stronger the language, and contrariwise for the defendant. This was a weak case so L&L tried to boost it with strong language demanding that Wordpress cease to allow the fake CW to publish any blogs. Wordpress detected it was a weak case and offered the minimum actually needed to comply. And now, people who had no idea that some people think Canon DSLRs are not very good, and have inadequate QA, are suddenly informed on the subject.

      I had to issue a takedown notice last year when I discovered that a fake business had stolen the identity of our legitimate business. As a result, we could have been raided by the police and had our equipment taken by them, which could have driven us out of business. The initial response of the website host was to go away. Before I could respond to this, which would have involved a High Court injunction, they obviously took legal advice and I suddenly got a grovel. So I am sympathetic to legitimate takedowns. As you say, part of this one was legitimate. But L&L should have done better than have it drafted by a paralegal, and simply insisted that the genuinely infringing material be removed or fixed, and requested as a matter of courtesy that the blog confine itself to technical matters. Despite their claims to the contrary, lawyers are frequently not the shiniest apples in the barrel.

      • You're absolutely correct. It's too bad that large companies hire poor Law Firms. Just because you have a lot of money to through around doesn't mean that you should. Maybe Canon should dump L&L and hire a firm that would have acted responsibly and then take the extra cash and put into Q&A or maybe hire someone to actually read the complaints from consumers.

        Sadly for Canon, now I know about their poor Customer Service and dedication to quality. They won't be on my list.

    • by Maxmin ( 921568 )

      #20178 wrote:

      If you had read the take down letter, you'd know it asked for six things:

      1. Stop using the Canon logo.

      2. Remove references to violence.

      3. Remove references to Chuck's family.

      4. Changes to the look and feel of the blog so it would not be confused with actual Canon corporate sites.

      "Accordingly, we hereby demand that you immediately remove the above-mentioned objectionable and harmful content from your website, as well as (5) terminate the Blog author's account. We further demand that you (6)

    • 1. Stop using the Canon logo.
      2. Remove references to violence.
      3. Remove references to Chuck's family.
      4. Changes to the look and feel of the blog so it would not be confused with actual Canon corporate sites.

      5. ???
      6. Profit.

      There. Fixed it for you.

  • by samj ( 115984 ) <> on Sunday February 15, 2009 @04:35PM (#26865295) Homepage

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Sam Johnston <samj-at-".net>
    Date: Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 9:31 PM
    Subject: Thanks for the heads up about your blog!
    To: Chuck Westfall <>
    Cc: Toni Scheinder <>, "Douglas E. Mirell" <>

    G'day Chuck,

    It's not every day that something truly entertaining comes to my
    attention but thanks to my mates at Slashdot[1] and your mates at Loeb
    & Loeb with their (surely fake?) letter[2] I was drawn attention to
    your refreshingly entertaining fake blog[3]. Anyway I'm sure I'm one
    of many who have immediately added your blog to my reader - it's truly
    amazing what a bit of viral marketing can do for you!

    Kodos to the guys at Automattic too for identifying the letter for
    what it was so quickly and taking appropriate action - those guys

    Eagerly awaiting your next post,

    Your [virtual] friend,


    1. []
    2. []
    3. []

  • Who is fake canon, or chuck for that matter and why should I give a shit? If DSLR wasn't mentioned I wouldn't have a clue this is something to do with photography.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @05:06PM (#26865433)
    since using it in obvious parody is protected fair use.
    • You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      "Protected fair use" applies to copyright, but AFAIK not to trademarks. The Canon logo is a trademark.

  • Are we absolutely sure this isn't fake news?
  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <`moc.sice' `ta' `drazila'> on Sunday February 15, 2009 @07:23PM (#26866413) Homepage
    is probably Canon corporate policy, not a fake blog.

    My experience with Canon printers has been good. They are very well constructed, using actual metal parts where it makes sense, they aren't the typical plastic shells surrounding mostly air one sees in the great majority of consumer printers.

    I will not buy a new Canon printer.

    Canon's PIXMA IP3000/4000/5000/6000 printers had the easiest to refill cartridges around. I've got an IP3000, which I bought for $60 with a $20 rebate when new. (and yes, Canon did actually send me the rebate money) Well, it's aging and developing enough signs of wear that I'm thinking of replacing it.

    There are a few IP3000s left that were never sold in sealed retail boxes. The price at Amazon starts at $209. The cheapest used IP3000 available at Amazon starts at $110. People in the know would rather chance a used printer than buy a new Canon printer.

    How often do you see computer peripherals go up in price years after they are manufactured to the point where they are far more expensive than comparable new ones? The demand for the old ones comes down to drastically reduced cost of ownership. I've been printing for the last year on $30 worth of high-quality fourmilabs bulk ink, and my printed photos have never looked better.

    If Canon were to make a new line of printers with chipless cartridges, I'd be happy to pay $100+ for one. If they made one that could be used directly with bulk ink, I'd be delighted to pay $150.
    • by karnal ( 22275 )

      Is there any manufacturer of inkjet printers that allows for chipless refilling nowadays?

      I stopped caring about inkjets when I had an epson that I couldn't change out the print heads on. Bought a 50$ brother 2040 - to be honest, I don't print much in color. My wife bought a Samsung 300 something laser that does color; I haven't done any photos on it, but honestly if I'm gonna do photos, I've had good luck in the past via the internet.

      I know that certain printers you could buy add-ons (3rd party) to basica

    • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @10:47PM (#26868125) Homepage Journal

      When Canon started chipping their cartridges I finally took the plunge and bought a Xerox color laser printer. I haven't looked back since.

      FUCK the whole cheap printer/expensive ink business model.

    • Actually PIXMA was the start down the dark road of proprietary inks. Before that, the inks were just a plastic box with a sponge, they had a separate tank for each color, and the inks and print heads were separately removable.

      I really couldn't guess what they're doing now, though. I haven't bothered with color inkjet printers since my i550 died and I noticed that CVS had decent photo prints for a fraction of the cost per m^2 I'd have paid for printer ink.

      I'm all about the cheap black laser printers now.

      • . Before that, the inks were just a plastic box with a sponge, they had a separate tank for each color, and the inks and print heads were separately removable.

        That's a pretty good description of what I like about my PIXMA IP3000. I think what you're talking about started the model year after the x000 seriies.

    • HP too. I have a Hewlett-Packard CP1700 Color Ink Jet Printer. The refilled cartridges are 1/3 the price of new ones. I bought a 100baseT JetDirect card for it on eBay for $20, and now I have a great printer that is economical to use - up to 13x19 sized paper. If I see another one on eBay or Craigslist, I'm going to buy it also.

      After I took the "watch battery" out of the printer, it no longer told me that there was "a problem" with the refilled cartridges. They now last for what seems like forever, and this

    • There are a few IP3000s left that were never sold in sealed retail boxes.

      They were never sold in retail boxes? That seems a bit weird, as I've seen plenty of IP3000s in sealed retail boxes.

      How often do you see computer peripherals go up in price years after they are manufactured to the point where they are far more expensive than comparable new ones?


    • The thing that bugs me most about Cannon printers is that they sprinkle their Linux drivers all over the internet. I've never found a Cannon Linux driver on Cannon's US website. I have to either go to their Australian website or their Asian one. Can anyone explain this?

      I welcome a fake Cannon website, if it organizes their drivers in a logical manner.
  • 3 words... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pig-power ( 1069288 ) on Sunday February 15, 2009 @09:10PM (#26867405)
    Thank You Wordpress
  • Since the site is marked 'fake' it clearly is a parody. There may be grounds to argue that references to his wife and child are unacceptable because they might not be public figures, but the guy he's parodying clearly is. His own lawyers in the letter have conceded he is a public figure. Thus the standard for defamation is much higher than with a private party. While I'm not a lawyer, based on supreme court decisions such as New York Times v. Sullivan and Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, no reasonable perso

  • Isn't that the name of that evil gollum-attorney in Cryptonomicon? :P

  • by John Pfeiffer ( 454131 ) on Monday February 16, 2009 @04:33AM (#26870091) Homepage

    People think stupid stuff. All it takes is that x% of people too stupid to grasp the concept, to then pass the 'information' on to their friends. Give it another iteration or two, and it starts to become a problem. Human beings readily accept the easiest to digest and most palatable information available to them. Canon is just trying to head that shit off.

    Think about it this way; you have someone like Jack Thompson, devoting his every waking hour to convincing people that videogames are solely responsible for the breakdown of society. Bullshit, of course. But a percentage of people take it seriously enough to tell someone else, whether or not these people have any idea what in the hell they're talking about is irrelevant, with only a little help, such ideas can silently seep into common knowledge until a majority of people believe-- or at the very least, take seriously --such things.

    To put it another way, if you're subjected to someone yelling about something loud enough, long enough, sooner or later it's going to have an effect.

    I'm not saying Canon took the right tact, I mean the blog looks fairly harmless, I'm just saying I can think of a few reasons they'd want to do something about someone taking pokes at them in such a way.

    For the record, I'm fairly brand-agnostic. Though I haven't used a Nikon SLR since the days of film.

  • What part of viral and gorilla (sick) marketing do we not get?
  • Watch our for that Andrew Loeb, he is a goddammed nutcase.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson