When we last jumped off the Charles Carreon train, he had finally been served after evading service in the Satirical Chas case. As you might recall, Carreon was mighty upset that a satirical blogger had taken up residence at charles-carreon.com. With a mighty roar and great bravado, Carreon issued one of the greatest censorious threats of internet history, raising the specter of a trademark infringement case and promising to litigate the unique trademark and First Amendment issues up and down the appellate courts.
It may be that Charles Carreon realized that the moment he stops making an ass of himself, Satirical Chas will start to run out of material and Carreon can fade back into the internet ether from which he came. Or it may be that he doesn’t want to waste the time or money litigating a case he stands a good chance of losing. Or maybe – just maybe — this holiday season, Charles Carreon’s heart grew three times in size and he realized the error of his ways.
For whatever reason, Charles Carreon is crying uncle.
Yesterday, the parties agreed to extend the deadline (PDF) for Mr. Carreon to respond to the lawsuit, meaning that Mr. Carreon’s response would now be due on December 20.
However, it appears (PDF) that Satirical Chas and Carreon have reached a tentative agreement to settle the case. Carreon has proposed that the following judgment be entered, though it is unclear whether Satirical Chas has accepted these terms:
The court shall enter a declaration declaring that:
1. Plaintiff’s domain name “charles-carreon.com,” plaintiff’s use of the domain name, and plaintiff’s current manner of using his web site, do not violate defendant’s rights;
2. Plaintiff’s use of the domain name “charles-carreon.com,” in its current manner of use, is fair use and protected under the First Amendment, and does not infringe on defendant’s mark;
3. Defendant is not entitled to an injunction against plaintiff using the domain name “charles-carreon.com” or operating the Web site located at the URL “www.charles-carreon.com;” and
4. Plaintiff shall take a total money judgment inclusive of costs in the amount of $725, being the sum of the filing fee and service costs claimed.
That’s essentially the ballgame. After much gusto in threatening endless litigation against Satirical Chas, Charles Carreon is offering to concede that his censorious threats were baseless.
But Mr. Carreon isn’t getting away that easy. After Mr. Carreon refused to play nice and waive service of process, he opened himself up to paying the costs of actually being served. Satirical Chas’ attorneys asked Mr. Carreon to pay a few hundred dollars to cover those costs and told him they would ask the court to order him to pay those costs. Mr. Carreon declined, suggesting they wait until the end of the case.
In the game of litigation chess, this was an unforced error: Satirical Chas’ attorneys sought (PDF) not only the few hundred bucks it cost to serve process, but much more. Because they had to spend time asking the Court to tell Carreon to pay what he already owes, it cost even more money. Grand total: $4,664.45.
Charles Carreon doesn’t want to pay that much, so he’s asked the Court to give him more time (PDF) to explain why he shouldn’t have to pay those costs. He’s very busy, you understand. In doing so, he’s also whimpering that he just might refuse to settle and will continue the litigation on the merits.
So, it’s unclear where the parties stand. They may not fully agree on the exact terms of settling the matter, or they may just disagree on how many simoleons Carreon has to hand over to pay the cleanup costs of the mess he created.
Perhaps Mr. Carreon’s proffered concession isn’t sincere and he just wants out of this mess. Perhaps he has seen the light. But that’s not important.
What is important is the strong message this will send to the censorious. If you trumpet trumped-up threats of litigation against your critics, people like Ken White will put up the Popehat Signal seeking assistance for those in need, and attorneys like Paul Alan Levy and Cathy Gellis will answer its call. If you leave your threat hanging in the air, there are people who will clear the air. They won’t wait for you to file suit; they’ll force you to defend your censorious threats. And you will wind up paying with more than your reputation*.
Stay tuned. This case will either be wrapped up like a present for Christmas, or it’ll carry on into the new year.
(My gratitude to Nicholas Weaver for pointing out this filing. Stupid ECF not alerting me…)
*Sorry, I meant rapeutation.