Vet-Owned Small Biz SUED for Sharing a Viral Meme

The short version:

A veteran-owned small business is being sued for copyright infringement over a viral meme shared on its business Facebook page.  The purpose of this GoFundMe is to raise money to cover legal fees expected to be necessary to defend her business in the lawsuit.

The long version:

My name is Erin Karl.  I'm an actively drilling Air Force reservist and the owner of Analytical Grammar, a company started by my mother more than two decades ago when she wrote a grammar curriculum for her 8th grade public school classroom.  She passed away in 2015, and now I run the company from the basement of my home in North Carolina. 

You can learn about my company on our website: www.analyticalgrammar.com 

Over the last few years I've grown a large Facebook presence on my company page.  It now has nearly 800,000 followers.  Our page is known for daily grammar lessons, grammar fails, and a deep love for puns. 

Visit our FB page here: www.facebook.com/analyticalgrammar

In Dec 2017 we shared a picture of a visual pun that was going viral around the internet.  It also went viral from our page.  

Fast forward to August 2019.  Analytical Grammar was served a lawsuit on behalf of Matthew Bradley of Windsor, California, who says he created the meme.  There had previously been no communication between Bradley and AG. 

Representing Bradley is New York attorney Richard Liebowitz.  

Here are a few articles about this well-known copyright lawyer:

Slate.com 

Hollywood Reporter 

TechDirt.com 

Erin has Dan Booth, a lawyer experienced with Liebowitz, in her corner.  Dan has written his own blog post  about the lawsuit.  

Here is the original complaint , Exhibit A (the allegedly infringed photograph) , Exhibit B (the FB post) , and Analytical Grammar's answer and counterclaims.    

Please understand that this is ongoing litigation, so there are some things we can't say. However, my very experienced attorney has things well in hand.  While the details of our defense and this lawsuit will remain private, I’ll post updates of publicly filed material when I can.  Please know that we had no reason to believe that anyone was claiming copyright over the meme when we came across it. The photo had no copyright symbol or watermark, and it had been shared so widely that we could not locate the original source.

Defending my small business against this lawsuit will cost thousands of dollars.  I've created this GoFundMe to respectfully ask for your help.   While I do have a large social media presence, my company is very small.  I simply can't absorb these costs, and I want desperately to keep publishing the amazing curriculum my mother authored all those years ago.

If this campaign succeeds in covering the legal costs and has funds remaining, I will use the money to purchase litigation insurance for Analytical Grammar (something I do not currently have), which may help me in the future if it happens again.

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Organizer

Erin Finley Karl 
Organizer
Raleigh, NC
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