In 2012, cartoonist Donna Barstow tried to get criticism of her numbingly unfunny strips taken off the net. Her weapon of choice? An ill-informed belief that copyright not only trumps well-established fair use defenses, but acts as a kind of magic "shut up" button to silence critics. In spite of the embarrassing public results, it seems she has not learned her lesson.
Now, nearly 18 months on, Barstow apparently used Google's takedown tool to request that it remove links to former federal prosecutor Ken "Popehat" White's stern critique of her legal ignorance—a page that now ranks #2 on search results for Barstow's name.
The request claims that Popehat published her "private information", but the only private information concerned is her own signature, as found on her cartoon strips, as published very widely—and not just by her critics.
"I've written back to Google," writes Ken White. "I presume they won't fall for what I can only characterize as a dishonest — and even fraudulent — attempt to de-list criticism."