Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Other Shoe

I got a letter in the mailbox today with Disney letterhead. At first, I thought it was going to contain another one of those offers to get a Disney credit card or a timeshare in Anaheim. I was wrong.


Dear Mr. Kagel: [sic]
It has come to our attention that you have made unauthorized and disparaging comments about Disney Corporation’s practices and work in your website “I Can Write Funny,”[sic] specifically, your article entitled “Secret Disney Vacation Packages.” You neither asked for nor received permission from Disney Corporation to make statements on our behalf, and therefore have willfully infringed our rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages as high as $150,000 for each libelous claim as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein.

The erroneous claims you make are as follows:
1. There are secret vacation packages Disney Corporation offers to the average consumer.
While Disney does offer special arrangements for movie stars, captains of industry, and heads of state, none of these arrangements are available to normal customers.

2. Disney employs prostitutes dressed as Disney characters.
Our character actors are highly trained entertainers and are not allowed to have sexual relations with guests on park grounds.

3. Disney employs marriage counselors to convince couples not to honeymoon in our parks.
Many couples have vacationed happily at Disney Corporation resorts and parks and only a fraction of those have become divorced as a result of their stay.

4. Disney employs “chefs.”
All our food service is provided by local teenagers, derelicts, and parolees as part of Disney Corporation’s community service program. At no time have any of our food service employees been trained in cooking or sanitation.

Disney Corporation demands that you immediately cease the use and distribution of all infringing works and all copies, including electronic copies of same, and copies of paper copies, and all electronic copies of paper copies that were once copied. If we have not received an affirmative response from you within two weeks indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, Disney Corporation shall take further action against you and crush you like a bug.

So, my first reaction was “Holy Crap! Disney is going to sue me.” My second reaction was “How the heck did they even hear about my blog? I only have five people who read it!”

My third reaction is to call my lawyer. (Okay, he’s not my lawyer, but he’s a lawyer. I call him Peter). I’m not one to stand up to authority figures; I fold like a pet cat who has been accidentally run over by a Honda Civic, hastily filled with dead leaves, and left outside its owner’s house in a “natural” pose. (More on that in a later post.)

I’m thinking of growing a backbone. Or maybe I’ll print a retraction. We’ll see which increases my site traffic more. So, you know, tell your friends.

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