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In 2007, the magazine Mortgage Strategy asked: “Would you accept green belt development if cheaper homes could be built?” And to my astonishment, it turns out that I answered:
Yes, there are opportunities to use green belt land. I know of some green belt sites that are standing empty. They are not being used for anything worthwhile and they seem suitable for development. I also know of land banks that builders are apparently just sitting on. As long as the buildings are in keeping with the local environment, there's a case for developing the green belt. (webofevil)
... where webofevil = my actual given name.

What the dry-roasted fuck is this? My name, age and profession are all there, rendered correctly, and there I apparently am banging on about land banks and green belt development. To the extent that I’m ever likely to pronounce on this issue, I would say that I’d rather priority was given to developing neglected existing housing stock and some brownfield sites—but that’s really not the point here. Someone gave this quote to Mortgage Strategy magazine in my name and, in so doing, made me look like the sort of person who would give a quote to Mortgage Strategy magazine, which I resent.

There don’t seem to be any other dull quotes erroneously attributed to me floating around out there, but this one was disconcerting enough. Don’t get me wrong, though; I have this in proportion. If this timid impersonation is the most extreme identity theft that I ever face, I’ll be content.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
zornhau
Jul. 27th, 2010 09:19 am (UTC)
Odd
Unless you're called John Smith, or something common, I wonder if this is astro turf.
webofevil
Jul. 27th, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
Re: Odd
I'm really not, which is why it was so odd to see the three pertinent facts deployed correctly. Even if I was just being used as a sock puppet, I'm unclear where they got those details from. Unsettling.
zornhau
Jul. 27th, 2010 09:43 am (UTC)
Re: Odd
A lazy journalist made up the quote then found you in some directory or other. I wonder if there's a data protection angle here.
autopope
Jul. 27th, 2010 09:32 am (UTC)
You know, if you've got the energy it would be a good idea to write them a snotty letter. Demand a retraction or something. No need to use the "L" word (or the "D" word, in Scotland). Just put the wind up the underpaid freelance sub-editor about using un-fact-checked quotes in future.

(Assuming they're still going, of course.)
offensive_mango
Jul. 27th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
?! o_O
offensive_mango
Jul. 27th, 2010 10:09 am (UTC)
Do you have a journalist friend who was just starting out in 2007, who found him/herself at a mortgage magazine, and who was having trouble getting man-on-the-street opinion and asked you for a favor? Because otherwise, I got nothing.
ruudboy
Jul. 27th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
This. Frankly, it sounds like something rhodri might have done.
hoshuteki
Jul. 27th, 2010 10:35 am (UTC)
I am most surprised that you were leafing through old issues of Mortgage Strategy magazine. EDIT: Actually, now that I've tried googling your real name, I see there are few enough hits, and this is one of them.

Edited at 2010-07-27 10:36 am (UTC)
communicator
Jul. 27th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
This is shocking bad and I hope you complain
lebeautemps
Jul. 27th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
Jeez.
Someone covering their ass - dated 2007, posted actually WHEN?
lebeautemps
Jul. 27th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)
Oh ok. In a paper magasine? WTFck. Have words.
major_clanger
Jul. 27th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
A quick search shows that this quote was repeated recently in Money Marketing, so it's not going away.

Hmm, I'm wondering what cause of action you might have if you really wanted to make an issue of this. Libel would be difficult as it's not really defamatory, unless it would be seen as very prejudicial to your role as a Hansard reporter to be expressing views on HMG policy. A claim for unjust enrichment wouldn't fly as this isn't a quote you'd have been paid for. And passing off would be hard to prove as you've not really got a significant reputation under your own name (sorry!) nor have you suffered damage.

[Tedious but Necessary Disclaimer: the next bit is my informed legal view, but is not formal legal advice.]

I think your best legal bet would be to sue for false attribution under s.84(1) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The relevant case law is Moore v News of the World [1972] 1 QB 441 (under the very similar s.43 of the 1956 Copyright Act) which concerned an invented quote in a news report.

In practical terms it would probably be worth making a complaint to the PCC first.
lowlowprices
Jul. 27th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
You never know, this could improve your credit rating and open up exciting new opportunities.
psychonomy
Aug. 2nd, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
I've come rather late to this, but certain personal details of mine have recently cropped up in some court documents, provoking some scratching of head. It didn't take me long to realise that some judicious Googling had simply turned up my entry in the indicia at the beginning of each BV.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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