Posted June 3, 2009 9:37 pm by with 4 comments

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larussaIt was only a matter of time before the lawyers jump on the Twitter Express. While might suspect that some big Hollywood celeb would be the one concerned with having their image “abducted” on Twitter it instead goes to a veteran Major League Baseball manager, Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Some of the coverage of this event portrays LaRussa as a guy with no sense of humor.

So what’s the fuss all about? Apparently the individual tweeting as Tony La Russa (@tonylarussa was removed after the lawsuit was filed) made statements that the real Tony didn’t appreciate. So he’s suing Twitter and the causes of action include trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cybersquatting, misappropriation of name and likeness, invasion of privacy, and intentional misrepresentation.

Two of the fake tweets in particular is actually very out of bounds. They read:

Lost 2 out of 3 but made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher……I’d call that an I-55 series

Drinking a cold Zima and wishing f*$#@^ Hancock was alive, I bet he could’ve gotten Jack Wilson out.

Not so funny if you are the family of Darryl Kile who died while in Chicago with the team in 2002 of coronary disease or Josh Hancock who was killed while driving under the influence in 2007. LaRussa himself was arrested for a DWI offense in 2007.

I am not suggesting that we require good taste from people on the Internet. That’s like asking to move a beach full of sand one grain at a time. In this case, however, there may not have even been an issue if the imposter (who is a coward by the way) hadn’t been so dismissive of serious matters which bring in other innocent parties like families that want to put these things behind them. Maybe this is a rant but this crossed a line in my opinion.

So the legal side of this? You can see a description of the suit at the Citizen Media Law Project. What the courts determine will be interesting and there is little if any precedence to look to since this is not a domain name squatting case. The WSJ recently talked to this matter.

So what’s your take? Have you had any issues along these lines? What actions have you taken? Will this open the flood gates for cases, real or imagined, against Twitter and other social media players?