What I had at this site was a humorous, good-spirited presentation of ten items (such as bonobos, Michelangelo, sociology, Aztecs, etc.) in the style of the world-famous newspaper feature. It was titled "Rip-off's Believe it or Else!" and specifically identified as a parody. The bullying letter below will explain its absence now. So much for freedom of speech, land of the brave, home of the free, etc., etc. Have a nice day (has someone copyrighted that, too?). Whenever you can, vote against the interests of such corporations.

note added 06 Oct 26: I have received received literally dozens of emails from attorneys assuring me that my "Rip-off" pages are a perfectly legal one-time parody. The Supreme Court stated the unequivocal conclusion that parody falls within the scope of fair-use defense. Accordingly, I'm restoring them here.


July 10, 2002

Ed Stephan
523 13th Street
Bellingham, WA 98225-6102

Dear Ms Stephan:

Our company is the owner of the world-famous trademarks, Believe It or Not! and Ripley's Believe It or Not!. The trademarks are registered in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world under the following registration numbers:.

Canada United States

101724, 102036, 313668 198531, 355388, 355396
313673, 313674, 313675 918431, 918432, 1813856
313766, 313767, 313768 2041151, 2354503
314410, 314411, 314412,
314413, 314414

While recently conducting a search on the web for BELIEVE IT OR NOT, we discovered on your web site, the phrase, "Ripleys Believe It or Else!". C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\Believe It or Else!.htm This phrase, together with the manner in which it is presented, closely approximates both the content and style of our trademarks. As a result, it is likely to cause confusion with, and damage to, our own official Ripley's web site and trademarks.

Accordingly, we demand that you (i) immediately discontinue use of the name "Ripley's Believe It or Else!" and all related links within it, (ii) provide us with written assurance that you have discontinued use of the "Ripley's Believe it or Else!" and (iii) provide us with written assurance that you will not infringe on our trademarks in the future.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Yours truly,

Scott Line
Vice President Legal and Business Development