Constable Adam Josephs, better known to millions of Internet users as Officers Bubbles, has filed a defamation suit against YouTube and 24 commenters for posting cartoons and comments that the officer’s attorney defined as “inflaming or encouraging quite an aggressive backlash that was turning into violent threats.” One of the commenters (Todd Mara) has confirmed that he has received his lawsuit documentation for $1.2 million.
Constable Josephs came to fame for a video recorded by TheRealNews.com’s Nazrul Islam. In the video, Josephs is seen confronting a young anti-G20 street protestor. The young protestor (identified as Courtney Winkles) is seen blowing bubbles and having a seemingly non-violent or antagonizing conversation with a female officer. Constable Josephs walks up with an authoritative warning: “If the bubble touches me, you’re going to be arrested for assault!” In the video, the young protestor seems astonished by the comments while even the facial expressions of the female officer seem dismayed at the comments. Although it is now apparent in the video, you later see the young protestor being arrested, and we can only speculate that the reason for the arrest may be because of the bubble blowing.
Josephs is only the latest in a long line of famous and not-so-famous Internet celebrities who have decided to remove their battle from the realm of cyberspace and into the very real world of the courtroom. Here are a few others who have decided to use the litigation exit to get off of the fast moving Internet highway.
In 2007, multi-award winning and mega-star rapper 50 Cent sued an Internet advertising company for $1 million for illegally using his image in a video game. In the suit, 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, alleged that Traffix Inc. used his likeness in a game called “Shoot the Rapper.” In an ad for the game, it shows the image of 50 Cent walking back and forth across the top of the screen and it asks the user shoot him using the point and click function on the user’s mouse. The suit focused on the fact that the advertising company used his likeness without his permission and gave the impression that 50 Cent himself was personally endorsing the game, which was not the case.
Earlier this year, former model Carla Franklin decided to take Internet giant Google to court. Franklin decided to go the legal route when it was discovered that some anonymous posters had published some material that the Ivy League-educated model considered to be most unflattering from a film in which she appeared, and referred to Franklin as a “whore.” Franklin pushed Google to release the identities of the anonymous posters, but when she did not get what she wanted, she decided to file suit against Google. This case is ongoing, but the chances against a mega-company like Google are very slim, as Google seems adamantly reluctant and dedicated to protecting the identities of its users.
In 2004, socialite, heiress, reality TV star and tabloid queen Paris Hilton sued a Panama-based company for the unauthorized release of a sex tape made by Hilton and her former boyfriend (Rick Solomon). In the $30 million suit, Hilton states that Kahanti Ltd. illegally distributed the tape, violated her privacy, engaged in illegal business practices and caused her emotional distress. In her suit, she requested $15 million in damages and an additional $15 million for punitive damages.
YouTube, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google Inc., has been sued in the past, and the Internet giant always seems to come out on top. In some cases, it would seem that the plaintiffs would have an enormity of weaponry to fire at the giant, but sometimes your target can just be too big. In the case of Constable Josephs, although apparently having a larger than life persona and ego, he may find that he has come up against a foe that is a thousand times bigger and has an ego that is a million times more stubborn.