When the Fake IPL Player became a household subject in April of 2009, few were aware that the blogger who emerged a few weeks ago from behind the name, Anupam Mukerji – a Bangalore-based marketing consultant, was preoccupied with protecting himself legally. In fact, the surge in attention after the first few posts even prompted a temporary hiatus from blogging while he thought about how to protect himself from the powerful feathers he may have ruffled.
Even before he started blogging on Blogger.com, Google’s blogging platform, while the concept was just a knot of ideas, the word “Fake” found its way into the name to replace “Faceless” because of advice from friend and Rainmaker co-founder Bhavin Patel. In fact, it was Bhavin who also advised him to get a disclaimer for the blog and to stick to nicknames and descriptions of the teams, players and owners that were the subject of his acidic humour.
Another Rainmaker co-founder, Sachin Malhan, was not as enthusiastic, and almost convinced Anupam to kill the blog. Later, seeing that the Fake IPL Player was not about to roll over meekly, Sachin introduced Anupam to Sajan Poovayya, the Managing Partner at Poovayya & Co. in Bangalore, and took him over for a meeting.
At the Poovayya office, Sajan and his team of lawyers pointed out that some of the nicknames could be construed as defamatory. “Paedophile Priest” was one. “Appam Chutiya” was another. Anupam agreed to stop using the former, but said he would have to continue using the latter, as it had become key to the blog’s popularity.
Sajan’s other major concern was the “one per cent chance” of someone filing a police case. According to Anupam, Sajan said that if someone were to file a police case, Google would be forced into revealing the IP address of the owner of the blog and he would be arrested. Sajan said he would then have to file a bail application and get him out, but also cautioned him. “If you’re lucky, you will be out of jail in one day, if you’re unlucky, three days”. Anupam felt that three days was a reasonable risk for the fun that he was having, and continued blogging to a breathless audience!
Aju John is part of the faculty on myLaw.net.