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I best not catch this flick on YouTube.
February 9, 2012 1:23 PM   Subscribe

So, my brilliant dad left a threatening voice mail for one of the many estranged women in his life. She posted it on YouTube with his full legal and professional name.

He's a relatively well-known professional in his region and we have the same uncommon last name. Much as I bemoan my father's self-destructive decision-making, do I have any recourse to get this thing taken down, for the sake of our collective reputation? Where does a voice mail stand in the legal universe, as far as YouTube and its ilk are concerned?
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
What state(s) are all involved parties in? That could influence the answer.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:25 PM on February 9, 2012


One-sided recording is illegal in many jurisdictions. Contact your local law enforcement.
posted by desjardins at 1:26 PM on February 9, 2012


Of course, that might open your father up to legal consequences.
posted by desjardins at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2012


One-sided recording is illegal in many jurisdictions.

Hard to see how that applies to voicemails you leave for people. Not legal advice and IANYL, but jus' sayin'.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:29 PM on February 9, 2012 [23 favorites]


One-sided recording is illegal in many jurisdictions.

Yes, he voluntarily left her a voicemail. However, I would imagine that leaving someone a VM does not give them license to post or exhibit it to the public, but IANAL.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:30 PM on February 9, 2012


File a privacy complaint with YouTube
posted by Cortes at 1:30 PM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


File a DMCA request with YouTube. They will immediately take it down.

If the uploader decides to appeal, they would almost certainly win and it would be reinstated, but that takes effort.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


File a DMCA request with YouTube. They will immediately take it down.

If the uploader decides to appeal, they would almost certainly win and it would be reinstated, but that takes effort.
In addition to being something one might be ethically uncomfortable with, filing a knowingly false claim is illegal and potentially carries significant penalties. See OPG vs Diebold.
posted by Lame_username at 1:49 PM on February 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Posting a voicemail is not illegal because both parties know and understand that they are being recorded.
posted by speedgraphic at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2012


filing a knowingly false claim is illegal

I'm certainly not sure that someone's voicemail message isn't covered by DMCA, and anon presumably isn't either. If not, then it would be an honest mistake. I'd hope that anyone who knows anything to the contrary would keep it to themselves in this thread.

I'm not advocating breaking the law, just trying to make use of it in a bad situation.
posted by monkeymadness at 2:02 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


This DMCA thing is a sidetrack. The OP didn't leave the voicemail, his or her father did. The OP can't possibly claim any sort of copyright.
posted by Justinian at 2:05 PM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


This may be the simplistic answer, but have you thought about calling the lady and asking her nicely?
posted by I am the Walrus at 2:07 PM on February 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


One recourse would be to get in touch with the woman who posted the voicemail, and say "hey, this is going to have an impact on me due to the name thing, mind taking it down?"
posted by craven_morhead at 2:08 PM on February 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


In addition to being something one might be ethically uncomfortable with, filing a knowingly false claim is illegal and potentially carries significant penalties.

I think it's enough of a gray area that you could file a DMCA. Has there ever been a lawsuit over a voicemail copyright dispute? I don't see why the person being recorded wouldn't retain copyright for the voice recording, and it's not clear that there has been an agreement giving the person recording the message the right to publish it on the Internet. The privacy complaint option mentioned above is probably the better choice though.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2012


Before you go around making dubious legal claims, remember the Streisand effect.
posted by grouse at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Some interesting back and forth on this thread viz the copyright issue.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2012


I am absolutely certain that there is no viable DMCA claim on a recording of a threatening voicemail. The woman can post it, share it, publish it, make money off of it, and your father has no recourse.

Of course, frivolous and meritless claims and lawsuits do sometimes get the desired result, but rest assured that your father's claim would be meritless.

I think you would have better luck offering the woman money to buy the exclusive rights to the recording.
posted by jayder at 2:18 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


do I have any recourse to get this thing taken down, for the sake of our collective reputation

There's no such thing as "collective reputation" in law, no.

You don't have copyright over a voicemail you leave.
posted by Dasein at 2:20 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems to be that:

A) Your father is the one who is ruining his reputation if anyone is,
B) He's lucky that the lady isn't pressing charges
C) That your best bet to get any kind of resolution is to communicate with the lady in question directly, and see if she'll pretty please, with sugar on top, at least remove his last name.

and failing that

D) Do what you can to make sure that people know that you don't take any responsibility for your father's actions.
posted by empath at 2:28 PM on February 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


[Folks, let's stick to reasonable answers - no "change your name" no "sue your family" please. Help the OP solve their actual problem? Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:28 PM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like craven_morhead's suggestion. Could she please take it down for your sake, because you share your family name with your father?

If she says it's your father's fault, you can say "yes, but you're the only one who can help me, and stop him from creating even more victims from this tantrum."
posted by vitabellosi at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


i can't remember enough details to find it now - but i'm pretty sure there have been cases of rappers using voice mails that were left for them, and the people who left the voice mail trying to get it removed or for them to get paid and the rappers won. maybe dr. dre? maybe outkast?

i can't see how you'd have a legal recourse here.
posted by nadawi at 4:13 PM on February 9, 2012


If she felt that her safety was threatened then taking it public, while inconvenient for your family, makes perfect sense to me. The only way to get her to remove it is to convince your father to show her some kind of genuine remorse and give her an assurance that he means her no harm.

On the other hand, if it's just more embarrassing than threatening, maybe you could ask a lawyer to write her a letter, not threatening any specific action but making a request that she take it down. Sometimes just seeing a lawyer's letterhead is enough to rattle people.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:25 PM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


What kind of threats? Someone who is genuinely fearful might see going public as a safety thing, but realistically report and then do not engage is the way to handle a threat.

Maybe if you frame it in terms of also helping her make it stop. (If she's a drama lama, anything you say or do will make it worse.)

Do you have any kind of a relationship with her at all?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:54 PM on February 9, 2012


Broader (more lasting and effective) solution: best thing to address is the issue of your dad threatening people. If you don't address it on that level, you will probably keep spending your energy being surprised by and putting out fires like this, and they may very well increase in seriousness (and, yeah, also increase in damage to your reputation :/).

In this particular situation: She is very unlikely to take down the file if you ask (whether "nicely" or with baseless legal threats); instead she is most likely going to experience that as further harassment, and have it as another of her pieces of evidence to report if/when she does report this. Further approaches to her may drive her to report it.

Best thing you could do in this situation is figure out, along with your dad, how to convey to her with the assistance of a third party like a mediator that he's genuinely remorseful, that whatever he threatened will not happen, and that he won't contact her again.
posted by kalapierson at 12:05 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Cannot stress enough that you and your dad must not approach her without the assistance of a neutral third party. By that I mean a professional who has nothing to do with the situation. There are organizations that will provide this kind of help for free; just google for them. I think you're really underestimating the situation, so I'm being this clear because other responders are giving you "how to approach her" advice that could backfire more than you're understanding.
posted by kalapierson at 8:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


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