08 May 2015

Stupid Lawyer Tricks………

A lawyer for the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma has sent a DMCA take-down notice to the Penny Arcade forums alleging misappropriation of trade secrets. (See also here)

They have also apparently sued the poster.

There, are of course any number of problems with this:
  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act applies to copyright, not trade secrets.
  • The idea that the oaths, robes, secret handshakes, secret knocks, and seating arrangements are trade secrets is kind of laughable.
  • The post was made 3½ years ago, and has been publicly available since then, so the idea that it is a secret any more is ludicrous.
  • The Streisand Effect, wherein an attempt to censor information results in its wider dissemination.
In any case, this makes the description of rituals on Penny Arcade a legitimate topic for discussion.
Phi Sigma Sigma (PSS) secretly stands for Philanthropic Social Society. However, this is never written down or recorded (until now) because it is so "sacred". The Handshake consists of a series of motions. Member A first begins with the pointer finger and the thumb surrounding Member B's pointer finger and thumb. This is the "Phi". Then Member A wraps the remaining fingers, middle, ring and pinky around the hand as a symbol of the "Sigma". Depending on who is the senior member, the pinky finger is wrapped around the older member's hand. Next is the hand knock. It goes Knock. Pause. Knock. Pause. Knock, knock, knock. The meetings are set up usually with the President, VP and other officers sitting at the front. The President wears a yellow or gold robe and the officers wear royal blue robes. The remaining members sit across from the officers in a pyramid formation with the base closest to the officers and the apex farthest from the officers. Members are seated by class order, then by alphabetical order. The table at which the President and Vice President are seated consists of candles on each side. Two gold candles and one blue at each corner of the table. Members usually recite an oath, "We, the members of Phi Sigma Sigma, promise to keep secret and sacred all of our proceedings." The way to enter the pyramid is by using the hand knock to notify the members you are wanting to enter the room. The President will respond back with her gavel by repeating the knock. The person will enter then travel to the apex of the pyramid formation. The President will say the secret and sacred words "Remove the Veil" and then the member will respond back with the Chapter's name, example, "Zeta Eta." The Gold and King Blue symbolize "Perpetuity" and "Sincerity". At initiation, blue "veils" (tulle from the local fabric store) are placed on the heads of the potential new members and are later removed to symbolize some sort of occult transformation and that they are full-fledged members.
This story has made it to the ΦΣΣ Wikipedia page I think that it's time to understand that it's game over, and any additional attempt to suppress this information serves neither the public nor the sorority.


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