Rapist ex-lawmaker claims copyright on his name, threatens legal action against anyone who uses it without permission

Former South Dakota State Rep. Ted Alvin Klaudt -- presently serving time for raping his two foster daughters -- is sending bizarre "copyright notices" from prison to news agencies and outlets that use his name in print or online, claiming a "common law copyright" on his name and demanding $500,000 for any unauthorized use.

Proving, at least, that knowing the law is no prerequisite for serving in high office.

A letter and an accompanying document labeled ''Common Law Copyright Notice'' said former state Rep. Ted Alvin Klaudt is reserving a common-law copyright of a trade name or trademark for his name. It said no one can use his name without his consent, and anyone who does would owe him $500,000...

The letter and copyright notice Klaudt sent to The Associated Press carried a postmark of Dec. 11 from Mobridge, a city near his ranch. The notice was signed July 13, 2008, and notarized in Bon Homme County, the location of the Springfield prison. It also included a seal indicating it was filed with the register of deeds in Corson County, where the family ranch is located, on July 31, 2008.

The letter said anyone seeking to use Klaudt's name would have to file a written request 20 days in advance. It also said he would pursue charges and other legal action against anyone who violated the notice.

Ex-Lawmaker Convicted of Rape: Name Is Copyrighted (via /.)



  1. This would be a better gambit if it were novel, but it isn’t. It’s an old jailhouse lawyer trick, passed down from generation to generation of inmates like cargo cultism in the south seas.

    A variation on it is to first issue a flurry of documents purporting to establish a legal change of name, then in the second stage file for a writ of Habeas Corpus claiming that the name on the judgement and sentence is different and that therefore the inmate must be released.

    Neither method works.

    1. I suppose the belief that these sorts of arguments work is a commentary on how people (well, inmates) think of the criminal justice system: a thoughtless golumn enforcing rules without for either justice or consequences. They’re opinion of a judge as a sentient, decision-making entity must be pretty low for them to think the argument would work.

  2. What everyone else has said. This article would be more accurate if it said “…that claiming to know the law…” because Klaudt clearly does not.

  3. What the article says is that “knowing the law is no prerequisite for serving in high office.” i.e., this case proves that one doesn’t have to know the law to get into high office.

  4. I’m Ted Alvin Klaudt, and so is my wife. So I guess this means that there will be [counts other posts] at least five lawsuits winging their way to BB as a result of this thread so far?

  5. We’re all Ted Alvin Klaudt now.

    On a more serious note, I genuinely am Ted Alvin Klaudt, but not Ted Alvin Klaudt the rapist; I’m Ted Alvin Klaudt the latrine orderly. Furthermore to this nominative coinkydink I hereby grant all people of the Earth everywhere the right to use my name (Ted Alvin Klaudt) IN PERPETUITY on land and sea and wherever God shines his light*, particularly when referring to my namesake Ted Alvin Klaudt (the rapist) as a method of avoiding tiresome litigation.

    * Except in Nebraska.

  6. perhaps he could change his name to a short story and then of course it would be copyrighted. “For Sale: Baby shoes – never used,”is unfortunately already taken but I’m sure he could think of something.

  7. A commentary, by bardfinn.

    Ted Alvin Klaudt, Ted Alvin Klaudt, Ted Alvin Klaudt – Ted Alvin Klaudt;
    TedTed TedTedTedTedTed TedTedTedTedTed TedTedTedTedTedTed



    (ad nauseam)

  8. “Proving, at least, that knowing the law is no prerequisite for serving in high office.”

    Dude was a state representative in South Dakota. That’s… medium office at best, right? I mean there’s like 150 people in South Dakota these days. I imagine they all just take turns serving in the statehouse.

  9. Being a state representative in South Dakota is the equivalent of being 3rd junior assistant dogcatcher in Omaha. I’m from Iowa, and South Dakota is one of the few states we can beat up.

  10. Part of what makes this the most stupid is that you cannot register a copyright for a name.* You can trademark it, but not register a copyright for it. Think about it, if you could register a copyright on a name, do you honestly think that companies would still stick with the trademark? A trademark confers less “protection” than a copyright, since someone can use a trademarked name without permission of the trademark holder in many more ways than one can use a copyrighted work.

    * There is a distinction between having a copyright on something, which happens the instant the creator says it’s copyrighted, and registering a copyright with the copyright office, which creates a legal record of said copyright.

  11. I remember when Leonardo DiCaprio attempted to have his name copywritten and trademarked to prevent its unauthorized use in the tabloids. I believe he did the same with his image, too. Shot down in court. Sorry Ted Alvin Klaudt (oh, damn, there goes $500,000!) but you’re overstepping your legal bounds. I also can’t help but find it sadly amusing that those who violate the physical rights of others think they should have their rights upheld to the bitter end… even when those rights don’t exist…

  12. Had to go look it up, but it seems he identifies with the Republican party.

    At first, I thought the ‘R’ was for ‘Rape’. Actually, I still do.

  13. pretty fucking pathetic and sad (but not surprising, I must say) to be coming from an ex-legislator.

    Hard to see the audaciousness of one snowflake when your job consists of creating blizzards, I guess.

  14. W ll knw wht hppns t rpsts nd ncsts prcks n prsn. hp ths trd swrls n th bwl fr th rst f hs ntrl lf. Wht pc f sht.

  15. Perhaps all he wanted was fame?
    Smart guy, making the Streisand Effect work *for* him ; )
    Maybe not really the S-E, but if not, something close.

  16. Among many other problems with this guy’s legal theory, he can’t claim copyright in his name because he didn’t create the name. If anything, his parents could claim copyright in the full name “Ted Alvin Klaudt,” but even then it would be as a derivative work; they could claim copyright in the particular arrangement of three public-domain words.

    OH MY GOD. I just realized his given names are “Theodore Alvin.” God, I wish there were a Simon involved in this story somehow.

  17. To the people ridiculing South Dakota: We have four Giant stone robot presidents lying in wait under Mount Rushmore, and they will punch you in your grandma.

  18. “Ted Alvin Klaudt” can be sung to the tune of “Carol of the Bells.” Ted Alvin Klaudt, Ted Alvin Klaudt. I don’t have time to write the whole filk now, but the “Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas” line would be “Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Rapist.”

  19. i have just patented my genes. any woman who bares a child with these patented genes without my consent, i will sue. (it would probably make more sense if i posted this under a monsanto post; but when i hear lawsuit, i become excited about the possibilities)

  20. Sounds like the guy gets legal advice from comic book villains.

    Hoffman, run down to the patent office, copyright the name “Green Goblin.” I want a quarter every time someone says it.

    -J.J. Jameson

  21. Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt
    Ted Alvin Klaudt

    …Now, sue me, you pedophile. G’wan, I *dare* you.

Comments are closed.