Does Ex-Wife Have Rights to Chris Mackney’s Suicide Note?

In December 2013, Chris Mackney (aka Christopher Machnij) committed suicide after penning a suicide note and posting it publicly on the internet. The letter alleges that Mackney was a victim of a corrupt family court system, and was being alienated from his young children. His inability to access his children appears to be a major factor in his suicide.

The text of the suicide note was posted on a forum at A Voice For Men in February, without much fanfare. But then Dina Mackney, the departed’s ex-wife decided she did not want anyone to read about the allegations against her. So she used the courts to help her scrub the internet of Chris Mackney’s existence.

Attorneys for Dina Mackney demanded that A Voice For Men remove the text of the suicide letter. The website has responded by retaining First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza. His response is found here. Randazza’s position is that A Voice For Men has a right to continue to publish the letter because:

  • Fair Use
  • Chris Mackney clearly wanted to the letter published
  • Dina Mackney can’t claim copyright simply because she was a part of the story (allegedly driving Mr. Mackney to suicide)
  • Ms. Mackney is free to express herself under the First Amendment if she believes her side of the story needs to be heard (rather than simply wiping out Mr. Mackney’s version of events)

It is an interesting case to watch… especially since Dina Mackney attempted to silence her late ex-husband, and in doing so, has only brought more attention to herself.

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