An apparent copy of the statement of claim filed by the attorneys of Adam Josephs (better known to the internet as “Officer Bubbles”) has surfaced online. If you read just one thirty-page legal document today, let this be it.
Last week, the media found out that Josephs, a Toronto police officer, was suing YouTube and several of its users for defamation, after a series of cartoons were posted on the site ridiculing him. The cartoons were in response to another YouTube-hosted video of Josephs, in which he’s shown having a fairly stern confrontation with a bubble-blowing demonstrator during last summer’s G20 protests (hence his nickname). The original video, shot and posted to YouTube by local indie news outfit The Real News, has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times since it first went online. (It isn’t at issue in the legal complaint; only the subsequent cartoons are.)
The cartoons have been removed from YouTube, presumably as a result of Josephs’ complaint, otherwise we’d link them here. [ : Predictably, they’ve been reposted to YouTube. The account being used to repost the videos, “MisterOfficerBubbles,” is not the same as the one that originally posted them, but of course that doesn’t necessarily mean the same person isn’t responsible. Here’s a link to them all.] Josephs is suing for just over $1.2 million.
The statement of claim, embedded in its entirety below, appeared on Reddit yesterday. It matches, in all particulars, the parameters of the case as reported elsewhere, but Torontoist’s calls to Josephs’ attorneys for confirmation of the document’s authenticity have so far not been returned. We’ll update when we know definitively whether or not the thing is legitimate, but all signs point to yes.
The interesting thing about the statement of claim is that it names not only YouTube and the creator of the cartoons as defendants, but also a number of people who mocked Josephs in the comments on the videos. Since neither the creator nor the commenters have real names associated with their YouTube accounts (because who puts their real name on their YouTube account), the entire document is riddled with references to people with handles like GAYGAWD and Pussymcfats. Josephs’ attorneys have also quoted at length from some of the offending comments, providing an amazing unintentional study in contrasts between disposable YouTube smack talk and Serious Legal Stuff.
Josephs and his attorneys are trying to force YouTube to reveal the identities of the creator of the cartoons, as well as those of the authors of the allegedly defamatory comments.
The web and the law sometimes make a strange combination, do they not?
Here’s the full statement of claim, first noticed by Reddit user -Borfo-: