At first glance, the website may seem at home with the pages included on the Anderson County official site.
The backdrop is a photo of the Anderson County Clock Tower. The Anderson County logo, a blue design of the same tower next to a dwarf palm tree, appears in the upper right corner. Even the site’s domain name, andersoncountyplanningcommission.com, conveys an air of legitimacy.
But read the words posted on the site and it quickly becomes clear that he is not associated with the governing bodies of Anderson County.
“Your rights ARE violated”, indicates the header of the home page in bold type. “This site is provided as a public service to expose Anderson County’s outdated, corrupt, unfair, discriminatory and illegal planning process.”
The page includes a litany of accusations regarding past and present planning commissioners, as well as copies of planning commission bylaws and a tracking chart for attendance at the meeting of commissioners.
On September 7, Anderson County filed a lawsuit against the site’s anonymous founder, alleging that by using the County Tower and Saw Palmetto logo, the page violates copyright laws and l ‘fair use.
“Defendant Doe is not authorized or otherwise authorized to use the plaintiff’s marks, on the website or otherwise,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit names the unknown founder of the site as John Doe and also lists as a defendant Domains by Proxy, an Internet company that protects the identity of customers who register domain names. According to the lawsuit, Domains by Proxy has entered into a contract with the site’s founder that states that the company cannot disclose its name or address.
According to the complaint.
In addition to “content which is in no way sponsored by or associated with” the county, the site includes some of the same material on the planning committee page, including agendas and minutes of meetings, as well as a list of committee members and other public documents.
“Visitors to the website are likely to be confused as to whether the website is sponsored by the plaintiff or otherwise associated with it,” the lawsuit said.
The website, which the complaint claims was registered in March 2020, accuses several county officials, especially those on the planning commission, of using their posts for personal gain and operating without transparency. in several publications published on the site. It appears to focus on planning decisions made for County 6 District, which includes Powdersville.
As of noon on October 1, Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns had not responded to The Post and Courier’s phone calls to his office, or an email seeking comment, during the two previous days.
Follow Conor Hughes on Twitter at @ConorJHughes.