steepholm (steepholm) wrote,
steepholm
steepholm

Cyberbullies of Yesteryear; or, The Case of the Pornographic Penguin

Reading Anne Rooney's interesting post on the buying up of domain names, etc. which nowadays seems to be an inevitable corollary of book publication put me in mind of the case of Katie.com from about a decade ago.

Short version: a survivor of online molestation, Katie Tarbox, wrote a book about her experiences, which was published by Penguin under the title Katie.com. Except that katie.com was the personal site of a totally unconnected person, Katie Jones, who used it for business and personal purposes, including putting up pictures of her young son. Jones first found herself flooded with unwanted emails about molestation; and was then bullied by Penguin's lawyers to "donate" her domain name to them. She refused, but the site became effectively unusable. The case got a lot of online publicity at the time, with Neil Gaiman amongst others weighing in on Jones's behalf.

According to this interview with Jones, Penguin had originally wanted to call the book Girl.com, but changed their mind when they found that that was the name of a porn site.

Well, I just went to Katie.com out of curiosity - and hey, it too is now a porn site.

Good job, Penguin.
Tags: books
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