Canon Battles Fake Blog; Anonymous Author Gets Last Laugh

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It might have been done in the spirit of Fake Steve Jobs, but Canon USA apparently didn't think it was funny when an anonymous writer decided to parody a corporate evangelist in a new blog.

Canon USA's "camera evangelist" Chuck Westfall answers readers' photography questions at the Digital Journalist and the Photography Blog. But the Fake Chuck Westfall writes a satirical blog in which the author pokes fun at the real Westfall and criticizes some Canon products. For instance, the Fake Chuck Westfall claims that "at Canon we think that noise is an important part of digital photography...as we have clearly demonstrated with the EOS 50D and the EOS 5D Mark II."

Yet on a February 14 post, the fake Westfall announced that his site was likely going down. The law firm of Loeb & Loeb, working on behalf of Canon, sent a complaint to the fake Westfall's Web host, WordPress.com, insisting that the parody site come down. WordPress responded by giving the fake Westfall (whose real identity is unknown) 48 hours notice.

The complaint listed four claims against the blog, and the fake Westfall responded by altering his site to comply with two of them. He removed the Canon logo, and he altered a comment, one he made himself, that could be interpreted as a violent threat. Now a plan to get people's attention by "bashing their heads with a two by four" has become an arguably more frightening threat to "start dancing ballet in front of them."

But the author chose not to comply with the other two claims, which he felt had no merit. Loeb & Loeb claimed privacy invasion because the Fake Westfall had written about "his" wife and daughter, but so had the real Westfall, on several occasions. The final claim, that the blog is misleading because people might believe that Westfall and Canon have approved of it, seems absurd. The word Fake, after all, appears in the header and in the URL.

WordPress decided to keep the blog up. And the Fake Westfall, whoever he really is, put up a post entitled To Canon and Loeb & Loeb: Thanks for the traffic!

This story, "Canon Battles Fake Blog; Anonymous Author Gets Last Laugh" was originally published by thestandard.com.

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