Join The Fan Fiction Deep State And Watch This Latest Video That Addison Cain Really Doesn't Want You To See

from the legal-bully dept

Last month we had a post about wolf kink erotica writer Addison Cain (pen name) and her abuse of the DMCA which we had first written about in May, but which came up again after YouTuber Lindsay Ellis did a fantastic video analyzing the entire case. If you haven't seen that, here it is:

The reason we wrote about it again last month was that after Ellis posted her video, a lawyer named Tynia Watson had sent Ellis what appeared to be one of the stupidest legal threat letters I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). Ellis only revealed a brief portion of that letter, but that was enough.

Now, in a new video, Ellis describes all of the nonsense that has happened since then, which goes super deep in the weeds on a variety of things. You can watch the whole thing here:

I'm not going to go over everything in the video because (1) you should watch it and (2) a bunch of it is super crazy and I don't even want to start to think about figuring out how to explain all of the background necessary. Instead, I'm just going to focus on the legal threats of Tynia Watson, who is, somehow, an actual lawyer, meaning she should fucking know better than to send such bullshit conspiracy-theory laden emails to basically everyone.

As we noted, the original letter from Watson seemed to be claiming both copyright infringement (on the basis that Ellis quoted a few short segments in an obviously fair use manner) and "numerous false statements" that I could see no evidence of. In fact, Ellis' reporting got me to go back and read through a whole bunch of documents in one of the lawsuits that the video was about, and discover how Cain had insisted, repeatedly, that it was her publisher who filed the lawsuits and she had nothing to do with it -- though in discovery in a different lawsuit, it came out that Cain was in the driver's seat through much of this, telling her publisher to send the (bogus) DMCA notices, and then later telling her publisher how she was going to "hide behind" them. In fact, Cain got dismissed from one of the lawsuits on the basis that the DMCA notices were all sent by the publisher. That's kind of a big deal.

Anyway, Watson then started sending more threat letters, including to Patreon and YouTube, to try to get the video taken down. Any real copyright (or defamation) lawyer should be embarrassed that Watson is also a lawyer, because these letters are... bad. You can see them in the video (so I don't have full copies to post here, as I normally would). First, Watson sent a takedown to... Patreon. Even though the video was hosted at YouTube. Ellis, like many YouTubers and podcasters, uses Patreon as a revenue source, but there's little reason to target them for copyright infringement other than being vindictive. Patreon told Ellis to go through the standard counternotice process, but did ask her to remove the link to YouTube from her Patreon post for the requisite 10 days under the DMCA to retain its safe harbors (and then relink the video). But then it also told Ellis that if this did go to court, it would totally back her up (FWIW, Patreon has some great people who work on this stuff, so I'm not surprised to see them stand behind their user like that).

Then, YouTube notified her that it had also received a takedown from Cain. YouTube went even further and said that it didn't see how the video was infringing at all, and had rejected the takedown demand. Ellis seems surprised about this and says that she's never heard of YouTube not complying with a takedown, but it actually happens reasonably often. Despite all the mess with things like ContentID, YouTube's legal team does take fair use seriously, and especially on high profile videos is pretty quick to push back on censorial thuggish bullshit takedowns.

Ellis then has a fun narration of the takedown letter that Cain sent to YouTube, which the company passed on. It's... stunningly stupid. Here's a key clip that I want to post here just to make sure that everyone can see just how incredibly stupid it is:

The work infringed is not "fair use". My book is not public domain; it is a creative work, not a text book. The poster reads my books to degrade my work. This is not fair use of a copyrighted work, nor was this video a review of my work. It was a personal attack framed around two lawsuits filed against me personally in which the poster did not like the outcomes....

[....] The power significantly transformed my original work, both by altering the work and by mocking it for the poster's financial gain via YouTube and Patreon. Monetizing the video does not make this fair use.

Yeah. So. About all that. Fair use applies to copyright-covered works. If it were public domain, you wouldn't need fair use because... it's not covered by copyright. So that opening line is just... weird. Second, who cares if it's not a text book? Fair use is not limited to text books. Whether it's a personal attack (it wasn't) is completely meaningless to a fair use analysis as well.

But it's that second highlighted paragraph that is truly stunning. Because a key point for a court determining whether or not something is fair use is, literally, was it "transformative." And here you have Cain saying it's not fair use because it was transformative. She even used the word transformative. Also, the fact that the video is monetized is also (mostly) meaningless. Yes, "commercial" works sometimes are considered to have a higher standard when it comes to fair use, but not by much, and tons and tons of stuff is still done commercially and is fair use. The main way in which the commercial nature comes into play is if the work is somehow competing in the marketplace with the original. And in no world is Ellis' video competing with Cain's books.

From there, the takedown demand goes off on a rant about people being mean to her on the internet and then claims that the video is defamatory. And, like, that sucks, and people shouldn't be mean to Cain (or anyone) on the internet, and shouldn't threaten people, but that's got absolutely nothing at all to do with whether or not something can or should be taken down via a copyright claim. It's pure performative emotional bullshit victim-playing. Also, the video is not defamatory.

The video then goes into a bunch of other stuff which is fascinating and insane and bad, but we'll pick it up again later on in the story, after EFF steps in to defend Ellis and sends Cain's lawyer a letter basically saying "c'mon, you know this is nonsense." Rather than just walking away, the way a smart lawyer would, Cain's lawyer doubles down in a manner I've only rarely seen before. Again, I don't have the whole letter, but the parts that Ellis highlights are... whoo boy. A journey.

It argues that EFF is part of some giant conspiracy with Ellis and the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW). OTW is a great organization. We've written about them a few times, and once even teamed up with them on an amicus brief. But they're not EFF. They've worked with EFF on some things where their work has overlapped, but... so what? Watson/Cain seem to think there's a big conspiracy:

As your organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF"), is a close partner with the Organization for Transformative Works ("OTW"), and was clearly working with Lindsay Ellis on the Video, the EFF is aware that for over two years, my client, Addison Cain ("Ms. Cain") has been involved in two lawsuits in which the plaintiff (Quill Ink Books, Limited) was supported by the OTW...

Huh? What does that have to do with anything beyond attempting to tie red strings to cork boards. It gets worse.

Regardless of what really happened during the two lawsuits, it is clear that you and your client were intent on spreading false allegations and outright lies about my client and the litigation in the monetized Video, which the EFF received a portion of the proceeds to produce.

Ellis did mention EFF at the end of her first video because that's a nice thing to do when talking about bogus copyright abuse to try to silence critics, but it had nothing to do with the video. This is just random nonsense conspiracy theory claptrap.

Ms. Ellis could have easily condensed use of Ms. Cain's book into a few paragraphs for illustration instead of reading from the book for over two minutes.

Er. She did condense it down to just a few illustrative paragraphs. As is kinda obvious from the fact that in her nearly hour long video, there was just about two minutes of text from the book. It's bizarre to claim that Ellis should have done... what she actually did. And then complain about it.

It gets more and more unhinged, tying Zoey Ellis (the pen name of the plaintiff in the original case, who is no relation to Lindsay Ellis and has nothing to do with the creation of any of these videos) to all of this.

Zoey Ellis and her attorneys utilized numerous methods to obtain their objective to smear Ms. Cain's name, but one common denominator has been their utilization of the OTW, of which EFF is a close partner.....

[....]

Though you failed to directly address our allegations of defamation in your letter, it is our opinion that defamation exists, and because the EFF worked in collusion with Lindsey Ellis to create the monetized Video, the EFF is also culpable for the copyright infringement and the defamation.

Just to be clear, again, though it shouldn't need to be said: the EFF did not work with Lindsay Ellis on the video (nor did OTW, which is a totally separate organization from EFF). The video is neither defamatory nor infringing. And, even if it were (which it's not), there is no way that EFF would be "also culpable" of either the infringement or the defamation (which, again, does not exist). We're in pure crazy town.

And we're not leaving crazy town any time soon:

The tie between OTW and the EFF and the history of abuse my client faced the last two years, makes the use of Lindsay Ellis, a YouTube/Patreon personality with public sway, suspicious in the least, particularly where you assisted in the creation of a monetized Video where both the EFF and Linsday Ellis could profit off copyright infringement and defamation.

Again, none of that makes any sense, either from a "this is how facts work" standpoint or a "this is how law works" standpoint. If an actual lawyer wrote this, it is truly embarrassing. It goes on and on and on in this fashion and those are only the clips that Ellis shares. The full letter was apparently 40 pages. I'm flabbergasted.

As Ellis points out, Cain/Watson are effectively arguing that there's a vast fan fiction deep state working together to bring down... this one random author of wolf kink erotica. Because that makes sense.

Here's a simple lesson that Cain and Watson might want to learn: after people call you out on bullshit DMCA notices... stop digging. Don't file more. Don't claim defamation. Don't draw stupidly obviously bullshit conspiracy theories on the cork board with red yarn. Admit you fucked up, don't do it again, and move on with your life writing terrible wolf kink erotica fiction.

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Filed Under: addison cain, commentary, copyright, deep state, defamation, dmca, fair use, fan fiction, fan fiction deep state, lindsay ellis, omegaverse, transformative, tynia watson, wolf kink erotica
Companies: eff, organization for transformative works, otw, patreon, youtube


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 3:34pm

    A match made it batshit insane heaven

    Well, it seem that both lawyer and client have decided that the best defense is a deranged, paranoid conspiracy laden offense.

    If Addison Cain really is concerned about her reputation and people saying mean things about her then she should probably stop talking and reign in whatever nut lawyer she's got there, because all she's doing is showing that she's willing to abuse the law to squash criticism(and lie about it in the process) and that when backed into a corner she'll spin wild conspiracy theories about how everyone is out to get her rather than accept that she was wrong, neither of which are doing her any favors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Khym Chanur (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 3:52pm

    I laughed and laughed and laughed when that video covered the EFF/OTW conspiracy theory.

    the original letter from Watson seemed to be claiming ... "numerous false statements" that I could see no evidence of.

    As far as I can tell the lawyer seemed to be saying that something only counts as perjury if a court has deemed it such, and thus Cain didn't commit perjury. (So, y'know, more bullshit)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 4:40pm

      Re:

      If that is her argument then it seems to have shot another of her own arguments in the back, as 'it only counts if a judge rules it as such' would also apply to her claims of defamation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 1:59am

        Re: Re:

        "If that is her argument then it seems to have shot another of her own arguments in the back..."

        It's almost as if she's taking legal advice from our very own Baghdad Bob, then. Shooting his own arguments in the back is an almost unique tell of his.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2020 @ 4:01pm

    Well, she is a fiction writer after all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2020 @ 4:34pm

    How does Section 230 not override the DMCA in validating platform immunity to suspected legal violations user content uploads? It protects them from everything else. Why not copyright claims?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 4:42pm

      Re:

      Because The Holy Copyright, Upon Which Society Itself Rests has an unfortunate tendency to turn brains off when it comes to lawyers, judges and politicians, and as such it was felt that it needed to be treated extra special when it came to 230.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:31pm

      Re:

      How does Section 230 not override the DMCA in validating platform immunity to suspected legal violations user content uploads? It protects them from everything else. Why not copyright claims?

      Because (e)(2) of Section 230 says it has no impact on intellectual property law. Section 230 doesn't matter for copyright.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Del Luge, 26 Oct 2020 @ 4:36pm

    A one-person ANOMALY so gets major rant.

    A thousand anomalies mean nothing to the basis of copyright.

    New readers (IF were any) should know that ten years ago Masnick claimed to "support copyright", or more accurately, that was what we were informed of. You will not find ANY support for copyright from Maz or fanboys last five years: they openly want it destroyed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:10pm

      When that one person is indicative of both how a vast number of successful content creators view copyright law and how the copyright system can be used to legitimately censor the speech of others? They’re not an anomaly — they’re a validation of everyone who views copyright as a threat to free speech. You not seeing copyright as a form of information control, or the same corporations you love to decry as “enemies of speech” exercising their control over copyrights they hold as trying to commit the kind of censorship of which you accuse social media services of committing when they merely kick someone out, is a “you” problem. You might want to consider doing something about it some time soon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:11pm

      Re: A one-person ANOMALY so gets major rant.

      Pointing out attempted abuse of copyright law by Cain and Watson could arguably be considered"supporting copyright."

      But your rant sounds as unhinged as Cain and Watson, so I don't expect you to see reason.

      Continue frothing at the mouth!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:19pm

        You’ll have to forgive Brainy Smurf there; he’s still trying to figure out how he can decry corporations as having no ability to exercise any legal rights and support corporations using copyright to censor speech. Cognitive dissonance of that magnitude takes a toll, y’know.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:47pm

      Re: A one-person ANOMALY so gets major rant.

      Once again, you can't tell the difference between abolition and reform.
      Also, Masnick's position was never that he "supported copyright", he supported whatever the evidence provided dictated we should go.

      You're bad at trolling, even.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 4:43pm

    This story alone justifies my monthly contribution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:12pm

    Is there a lawyer somewhere who could sue for defamation on behalf of wolves everywhere?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:13pm

    Honestly the lawyer's response sounds less like a lawyer and more like an angry wolfkink fan leaving a nasty comment on a YouTube video.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:17pm

    Smarter people than Addison Cain have done far dumber things with copyright claims…but not by much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Designerfx (profile), 26 Oct 2020 @ 5:47pm

    streisand effect

    Did you not notice the Streisand (effect) picture in the background, Mike? https://youtu.be/K3v5wFMQRqs?t=1162

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Deepstateagent, 26 Oct 2020 @ 10:29pm

    Come on, the conspiracy should be obvious to anyone, I mean why would two organisations which views on a topic align, come to the same conclusion and do similar actions, even more proposterous would it be to think suchs organisations could work together outside of a conspiracy with a goal to destroy a single person.

    And of course such a conspiracy would only target an important person, so saying it would be unlikely that there would be a conspiracy against Cain because she isn't important enough is clearly shown to be false, because there is a conspiracy against Cain.

    No no, Youtube and Patreon where clearly created in a conspiracy by the EFF and the OTW at the beginning of time just so Lindsay Ellis could make a video with the clear goal to totaly and absolutely destroy Cain and even remove her from having ever existed.

    You'd have to be delusional to come to any other conclusion considering the undeniable and self evident proof provided here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 4:37am

    The "insanity" defense has been around for a long time, but this has to be one of the first "insanity offense" cases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 4:55am

    Next step: "No, I didn't do any of that, it was all my lawyer's idea!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:05am

    The part of this that still just blows my mind is the fact that there is such a thing as wolf-kink erotica.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      teka, 27 Oct 2020 @ 6:08am

      Re:

      Oh my sweet summer child, The interweblinknetsphere has all that, and more. Every day we are turning over the mulch in the Garden of Earthly Delights to show all the pale soft things wriggling under the surface.

      awoo, etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      Rule 34: 'If it exists, there is porn of it', and honestly werewolf porn would probably fall on the tamer end of the spectrum given the other stuff out there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 1:59pm

    Fan Fiction Deep State

    Several fan communities are in dire need of a FFDS. Star Wars and Harry Potter come to mind.

    I had hypothesized during the Star Wars prequels Lucas might have been intentionally seasoning them with bad self parody in order to give the franchise back to the people. His friendliness to fan works (all later eliminated by Disney) seemed to add to that.

    And in the wake of the Rowling TERF revelations, the Potter series, thought to be problematic but forgivable is now under actual audit by the fan community.

    Sturgeon's Law seems to apply no matter if material is fan or commercial, whether it's from the original source or new authors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:54pm

      Re: Fan Fiction Deep State

      Sturgeon's Law seems to apply no matter if material is fan or commercial, whether it's from the original source or new authors.

      I mean, it says right in the law that it applies to everything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    fairuse (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 2:56am

    Ouch my brain

    I watched all of the videos above. The whole mess is too crazy to think about.

    Wolf Kink? Can't figure out the audience.

    The legal part is something I would not believe if I was just told about it.

    people...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 2:00pm

    LindSAY Ellis

    Lindsay Ellis.

    It's a Berenstain Bears syndrome thing in my brain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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