This morning I found an email in my inbox from Christopher M. Caira, an attorney claiming to represent comic book artist Brian Bolland. The return email address, along with his signature, shows that he is from the Chicago law firm Klafter & Burke. Their website shows they specialize in real estate and taxes.
Evidently, they are expanding their legal scope into the lucrative world of comic book convention commissioned sketch law.
Yesterday this same person attempted to post two comments on my blog. He didn’t identify himself yesterday as a lawyer representing Brian Bolland. In fact, he claimed the complete opposite. He claimed not to speak for Brian Bolland.
I automatically held his comments for moderation because WordPress misidentified them as spam. He attempted to post numerous links within his comments. I have WordPress configured to identify any comment with two or more links to be spam.
This all stems from a post I made on my blog almost two months ago concerning a commissioned sketch Brian Bolland did for a fan at the 2007 New York Comicon. I found the sketch while looking for photos from the convention. The fan (also named Brian) wrote that he paid $150 for it.
The sketch measured approximately 3 by 4 inches.
I believed Brian Bolland overcharged the fan for the sketch. In fact, I wrote that he “ripped off” the fan.
Evidently, Brian Bolland Googled himself last week and found my post. He twice responded to what I wrote. His comments seemed good-natured and not the least bit snarky. It seemed that he was admitting that he overcharged the fan for the commission. He wrote, “I feel particularly upset that I’ve shafted a fellow Brian.”
How can he admit that he “shafted” the fan, but then have his lawyer send a threatening email to me demanding that I remove my post? Isn’t shafting someone worse than ripping them off? I’m no wordsmith, but it certainly seems so to me. Maybe it’s just me, but the expression shafted seems to have a pseudo-sexual connotation to it that the phrase “ripped off” just doesn’t have.
If Brian Bolland wanted me to remove my post, why didn’t he just ask me himself? Why engage the services of a lawyer? If he had simply asked me nicely to remove the post when he first discovered it, I probably would have done so. I had no malice or ill will towards him.
All that changed when he threatened me with legal action. I don’t like to be threatened. I now don’t particularly feel like removing the post.
Christopher M. Caira, working as Brian Bolland’s legal representative, asked my hosting provider to shut down my blog.
My hosting provider refused. Caria then asked my hosting provider to remove the post where I said Brian Bolland ripped off a fan. My hosting provider refused.
Caira then asked my hosting provider to remove the Cease and Desist (C&D) letter. Caira claimed the letter disclosed private information, including his personal contact information. Oddly enough, it’s the same “personal contact information” published on the Klafter & Burke website. I thought it was important to include the C&D letter to show what steps Brian Bolland and his lawyer took to silence critical speech. My hosting provider capitulated to this request. They contacted me and asked me to remove the C&D letter. Because I didn’t want to have my blog shut down, I removed the C&D letter.
I also began looking for a new hosting provider.