www.LetsRun.com – 2700 Woodlands Village Blvd. Flagstaff, AZ 86001– [email protected]

May 13, 2002


To: Claudia Morf, Sr. V.P./CFO (**@rodale.com)

Amby Burfoot  (***@rodale.com)

Paul A. McGinley, Esquire (****@GMLE.COM)

RE:      Your threatened lawsuit to LetsRun.com


Ms. Morf, Mr. Burfoot, and Mr. McGinley,


Please be advised that we received a letter from your law firm indicating that our website – LetsRun.com – is violating US copyright law because a visitor to our largely unmoderated message boards posted the runnersworld.com Peter Snell Interview without permission from Rodale, Inc.


We find it very ironic that you are threatening to sue us over a visitor’s posting of a single item of runnersworld.com copyrighted material on the LetsRun.com message board.  Over the weekend, we did investigative research into the runnersword.com message boards and find no fewer than four blatant and much more extensive cases of copyright infringement of LetsRun.com material.


Let’s compare the offenses.   The one  instance of copyrighted material that was posted on our site was an interview of approximately 900 words and no where did the posted material on our board clearly indicate that it was copyrighted material from another site.  In comparison, the four instances of copyright infringement of our material on your site totals more than 40,500 words and three of the four cases clearly include the term “Copyright © LetsRun.com All Rights Reserved” on your website.  Moreover, the one small instance of copyright infringement that allegedly occurred on our site took place on May 9, 2002 and was removed the very next day - May 10, 2002.  The four instances of copyrighted material on your site date from Feb. 23, Feb. 22, Feb. 22, and Feb. 22, 2002 and still have yet to be removed even though three of the instances clearly show that the material is copyrighted LetsRun.com material. 


We are not lawyers and really can’t afford to hire any at this time so we are relying on your lawyers’ expertise to help us here.  According to your lawyers’ definition of copyright infringement, runnersworld.com has for the last 72 days allowed approximately 40,500 words of LetsRun.com copyrighted material to appear on its website in clear violation of US copyright laws. 

We therefore are contemplating filing a counter lawsuit for greater damages.  The amount of our copyrighted material that has been stolen from us and posted on your website is more than 45 times greater than the amount of similar material from your site that was posted on our site (45,500 words versus 900).  Moreover, our copyrighted material has remained on your site for 72 times as long than your material remained on ours (72 days and counting versus 1 day). Thus the damages inflicted on us by Rodale, Inc and runnersworld.com are 3,240 times (45*72=3,240) greater than the damages we inflicted on you.


Now to try to estimate a value of the damages inflicted on both parties.  Considering that we believe you pay $30 dollars per interview, we think that the minimum value of the damage we caused you is $30 dollars.  Likely, it’s much more as we know of other running sites that pay approximately $75 dollars per interview. Thus we feel that we owe you somewhere between $30 and $75 in damages. In comparison, our calculations indicate that runnersworld.com owes us a minimum of $97,200 and a maximum of $243,000 in compensatory damages since our damages are 3,240 times greater than yours (and counting).

We want to thank your lawyers for letting us know about this great potential revenue source.  We were struggling to make ends meet, train for the 2004 Olympics full-time, and operate LetsRun.com all at the same time.  Thankfully your magazine, a major force in the running community, has come to our rescue. We will definitely give you praise if we make the 2004 Olympic team. Thank you for your support.

We hope you do sue us.


See you in court,

Robert and Weldon Johnson


PS. Actually, we just received a follow up letter from your lawyer and it appears we are going to have to write you guys another letter. He claims the copyright infringement of the Peter Snell argument was not only the message board post but also the simple linking that occurs on our front-page. That’s ridiculous (and something that you do all the time on Runnersworld.com) but we’ll get back to you on that one. Would you please let your lawyer know what you are doing on your own website?


PPS. Next time don’t you think it would be a lot easier (and cheaper from your perspective) to send us an email letting us know that someone on our largely unmoderated boards has violated US copyright laws?


PPPS. Additionally, in the future, please let us know where specifically on our large site the infringement has occurred. This is actually a stipulation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – “Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.” (emphasis added by us)


We have given you this same courtesy.  On the following 87 pages (no joke – it’s that long), you will find the instances of copyright infringement of our material that occurs on runnersworld.com as well as the links to where to find the material so you can take it down.





1st Thread – February 23, 2002:



2nd Thread: Feb. 22, 2002


3rd Thread: Feb. 22, 2002


4th Thread: Started Feb. 22, 2002