Pippa Middleton Takes Legal Action Against Parody Twitter Account

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pippatipsYou know from reading IT-Lex that in Britain, online defamation is no laughing matter. Over the weekend, the Independent posted news of a new, developing legal skirmish involving something that was said on Twitter. Perhaps you remember Pippa Middleton, whose sudden rise to fame threatened to overshadow her sister’s (royal) wedding. Last year, Pippa released a book of cooking and entertaining tips, entitled “Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends”. Why? Who knows – but it’s a question that was asked by The Telegraph. Reviews were savage, and apparently sales weren’t too strong either. Not surprisingly, this book opened Pippa up to some internet mockery, and that’s where the current issues arise.

A parody Twitter account, @Pippatips, popped up, and has amassed over 50,000 followers. Satirizing the tone of Pippa’s book, the Twitter feed offers bland, meaningless platitudes and tips that aren’t particularly useful or insightful. “A refreshing afternoon nap can be enjoyed by taking a nap in the afternoon” is one. Another: “if you’re shopping on a budget, try purchasing things that cost less to buy”. Think those sound ridiculous? The Daily Mail reported some content from the actual book:

On Bonfire Night, she suggests having a bonfire.

For Hallowe’en, how about pumpkin soup served in a hollowed-out pumpkin? 

To stop cakes going stale, she advises storing them in something called ‘an airtight tin’, while hot drinks for picnics should be poured from flasks into ‘mugs or paper cups’.

Based on the success of the Twitter feed, its creators got a book deal of their own, and their “When One is Expecting: A Posh Person’s Guide to Pregnancy and Parenting” came out a month ago. (Any ideas why the book would be about babies, particularly?). Now, it seems that Pippa Middleton’s lawyers have contacted Icon Books, the publishers of ‘When One…’, and demanded that the Twitter feed be deleted. Not sure why they’re talking to the book publishers about the Twitter feed – the book is not mentioned on @pippatips at all, so there’s not a lot of cross promotion.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The Twitter profile says “Clearly a parody”, and the satire is pretty playful and benign. By drawing more attention to it this way, Pippa Middleton’s legal team make her look unsympathetic, like a bad sport. Britain has a proud tradition of satire, so it’d be very surprising if anything came of this.

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