Lindsay Ellis completely and comprehensively shuts down attempted legal bullying from wolf-person erotica author Addison Cain
The abuse of copyright law to harass, silence, or extort individuals without colorable legal justification is, unfortunately, a fact of American life. I have posted about one brand of this ugly practice – bit torrent copyright trolling – on this blog a fair amount. However, that is only one of several ways Title 17 of the United States Code is abused by the unscrupulous.
For example, consider Addison Cain. In addition to being a prolific wolf-person erotica author (re-read those four words, I dare you!) and fan of inspirational “you go girl!” text Instagram posts, Ms. Cain is a serial abuser of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (“DMCA”) notice-and-takedown process to get competitors’ works she finds distasteful or commercially threatening removed from vendors’ websites. So prolific was her DMCA abuse that Ms. Cain caught some headlines for an insane lawsuit involving her and another author concerning Ms. Cain’s DMCA abuse and, more generally, their mutual grievances concerning who was ripping off who in their notably similar wolf-person erotica efforts.
Whew. Two notes on that last SPICY paragraph. First, I never thought the words “wolf-person erotica” would ever appear on this blog. Second, while I lack the stomach to investigate the specifics of the lawsuit above, the gist I’ve gathered is that both Ms. Cain and her rival are both, essentially, mid-tier participants in a body of fan-fic literature called – I kid you not – “the Omegaverse” which is – I kid you not a second time – a hypersexual wolf-person centric spin-off of the TV show “Supernatural.”
So, into this already sordid scene enters Lindsay Ellis a charming Youtube film critic and pop culture mulcher, who, along with the equally charming Youtube legal commentator Legal Eagle, published a synopsis of the foregoing wolf-person erotica DMCA abuse lawsuit kerfuffle. I have watched the video in its entirety and can confidently say it is both very long and very entertaining. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cringe. It’s a great time.
Ms. Ellis’s sniggering “WOLF FIGHT” recap video might have been the end of it but Ms. Cain, perhaps on bad legal advice or perhaps because the moon was full, settled on the fight half of her fight or flight instinct and sicced her lawyers on Ms. Ellis for her Omegaverse video. Ms. Cain’s attorney wrote Ms. Ellis an email nasty-gram which, even in the realm of stupid lawyer demand letters, is a real stinker chock full of laughable threats based on inaccurate assessments of copyright and defamation law.
Embarrassing and inaccurate legal threats aside, mean letters from lawyers scare a lot of people and Ms. Ellis, to her credit, was not cowed. Instead of rolling over and playing dead, Ms. Ellis came back for more instead and published a second video responding to, and in excruciating detail, refuting each and every one of Ms. Cain’s ridiculous legal threats. Like her first video, it is long, ridiculous, and really entertaining. However, more importantly, Ms. Ellis’ response video is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and accessible explanations of fair use in copyright as applied to criticism and commentary Youtube videos. Given the exploding fields of “video essays” and “video game streaming / let’s plays,” this is a topic which many content creators will find increasingly relevant in the years to come.
In conclusion, while some will be drawn to this story for its steamy lupine erotica and copyright law drama like me, there is a more general and important story here. It is the feel-good story of a self-publishing content creator standing up against baseless legal threats and being hilarious doing so. See! There’s still good in this increasingly litigious and horny wolf-person eat wolf-person world of ours!
P.S. I just want to repeat that when she’s NOT starting fights with self-martyring wolf-person erotica authors, Ms. Ellis publishes very entertaining and thoughtful film reviews with a focus on musicals and Disney films. Along with House Burlington (SHAMELESS PLUG) and Red Letter Media, hers are some of my favorite reviews on Youtube. Check her out for sure.
P.P.S. Huge shout out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They are an internet free speech and privacy advocacy group who, in addition to listing me as copyright troll defense resource, gave Ms. Ellis a lot of great legal support in the course of the foregoing drama.
P.P.P.S. In her second video, Ms. Ellis spends a lot of time lamenting that Ms. Cain and her lawyers are able to legally bully her without seeming consequence. If Ms. Ellis wanted to expand her legal knowledge on legal bullying, she would do well to research some of my favorite anachronistic legal causes of action: barratry, champerty, and maintenance!