April 15, 2005
No Mo' Torrent

Cherie Williams, team leader of Team Aggie Spirit, the University of California-Davis' DARPA Grand Challenge team, has threatened me with legal action unless I remove my torrent of DARPA application videos.

To Whom It May Concern:

This email is to notify you that you are redistributing an unauthorized video on your bit torrent site (http://gc.heavymeta.org:6969/torrents/DARPA+GC+2005+Official+Application+Videos+Vol.+1.torrent?B94CF81185E39B2274180C3DCA88CA4C0003C57A) entitled "team-aggie-spirit.mpg." The original film (the version on your site appears to have been modified) is owned by the University of California at Davis and is only authorized for distribution on the official Team Aggie Spirit website. Please remove the file or legal action may be taken against you. We are currently tracking down the individuals responsible for disseminating this video.

The only video available for release at this time is on our site: http://www.teamaggiespirit.com/video.html/.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.


Contact Team Aggie Spirit, contact@teamaggiespirit.com

I have no doubt that they can sue me and win, I'm just a little puzzled as to why they care. Do they have a financial interest at stake that is harmed by my distributing the same low-res video that's available for download from their website? Weird.

Update: Apparently the same team has made legal threats against another guy for merely linking to their video. So in addition to paranoid, let's add dumb.

And more: Cherie Williams apologizes and says she doesn't

...believe this unofficial video is a fair representation of some of our team members and their efforts (and regrettably, that recruit never stayed with the team long enough to appreciate this), and in good conscience I cannot allow it to be distributed in the manner it has been, out of respect for my fellow colleagues that have put so much of their time and effort into this project.

Well now I feel bad.

Posted by jjwiseman at April 15, 2005 02:42 PM

Well, it is obvious that you stand to make tons of money from providing free distribution of their video. It is only smart business practice on their part to quash any attempts to provide them with free publicity and bandwidth. It is the first rule of publicity that free publicity is bad and less distribution of your marketing materials is always better.

Hey, they are Aggies after all. What do you expect from a school which is looked down upon as academically inferior even to fellow Texans?

Posted by: TensegrityDan on April 15, 2005 03:31 PM

Strange, and quite sad. Perhaps they have some reason? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Posted by: Rich on April 15, 2005 03:37 PM

Oops. When I read "aggie", I assumed Texas.

I guess there are aggro people all over.

Posted by: TensegrityDan on April 15, 2005 08:57 PM

Emails are not valid legal documents. Always ask for a written letter on official stationary, perferrably signed by the legal department. Otherwise you are giving in to knuckleheads, and increasing the noise level.

Their belief that they looked like bozos tells much.

Posted by: fph on April 16, 2005 01:22 PM
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