A dissection of the legal cart00ney

As you know, one of my upstream ISP's got a letter from an English solicitor threatening to sue them if this site was not taken down. So here's my take on their letter:

Upon viewing the sites evidence-eliminator-sucks.com, badtux.org, and badtux.net, it is immediately apparent that these contain material which is gravely defamatory of our clients.

FALSE. There is not, and has not been for some time, any material on badtux.org or badtux.net that even *MENTIONS* their clients. But then, all lawyers are professional liars.

Indeed it is apparent both from the name of the evidence-eliminator-sucks site and from its contents that the sole purpose for its existence is to conduct a defamatory campaign against the good reputation of our client and their product(s).

That assumes that their client had a good reputation. Which they don't. Their reputation is lower than a snake's belly, and sinking fast. In addition, their own lawyer doesn't know if they have one, or more, product(s)?!

Given that RHS is itself an internet sales company, you will appreciate that the existence of existence of such a site, whose address is thrown up every time a potential customer does a search for RHS's own web page and/or product, has a grave impact upon RHS's trading reputation and goodwill and is undoubtedly affecting sales of its products.

Wow, great endorsement of this site, TLT Solicitors! I'm glad to hear that I'm affecting sales of RHS's products. If they quit acting like irresponsible paranoid freaks and started acting professional, maybe that wouldn't happen, but whoa, they're Brits in the new world order, act responsibly? Act professionally? No way, they just want to sue everybody else for the consequences of their irresponsibility!

As for their trading reputation and goodwill, their trading reputation and goodwill is about the same as for any other spammer -- i.e., lower than a snake's belly. All I do is point out their actions, such as spreading browser hijack viruses around, spamming the USENET on a regular basis, and threatening people with jail if they don't buy Robin Hood Software's bloated spamware.

This site also contains material personally defamatory of Mr Churchill. It is also causing grave damage to the personal and professional reputation of Mr Churchill.

What "personal and professional reputation"? How can you damage something that doesn't exist?! Mr. Churchill's reputation is as a paranoid conspiracy-theory-seeing spammer nutcase. That is apparent from viewing the contents of his very own website. If Mr. Blow of TLT Solicitors wants to sue someone for harming Mr. Churchill's reputation, he needs to sue Robin Hood Software for posting paranoid-delusional rantings!

You will no doubt be aware that you are considered to be a publisher under English law of defamation [...](see Godfrey -v- Demon Internet Ltd [2001] QB 201).

Uhm, no. The publisher of the site is BadTux Enterprises, with a known fixed address of P.O. Box 10083, Scottsdale, AZ 85271. The ISP in question is no more culpable than the phone company. Not a single byte of my site resides on one of their servers, and not a single byte of my site has *ever* resided on one of their servers. All they do is accept bytes on one ATM connection from U.S. West, who is my actual Internet connectivity provider, and forward bytes to another ATM connection. They are no more the publisher of my web site than the backbone provider that hauls it across the Atlantic to the UK. This is totally different from the Demon Internet case, where Demon Internet refused to remove a post criticizing Lawrence Godfrey from one of their own servers. Under English law, an ISP is responsible for the contents of their own servers. But under no stretch of the law could the Demon Internet case be extended to stuff that isn't on the ISP's servers, and, indeed, isn't even connected to the ISP's network other than in the ISP's role as a forwarder of packets from one ATM connection to another.

Unless this site is removed within the next 48 hours we have instructions to commence legal proceedings in the UK for defamation against you.

Go ahead, make my day. I have no intention to ever set foot on your little island anyhow, and if you do go ahead, I'll file a copyright lawsuit in U.S. District Court against your clients claiming $15,000,000 worth of damages (for the thousands of times that they have illegally published a copyrighted photograph of myself to viewers of their web site, exact figure to be detirmined upon subpoena'ing the log files of their web server). The only reason I haven't done so in the past was because I would need to hire a lawyer, and it was just too much hassle. But if you force me to hire a lawyer to defend myself against a warrantless lawsuit, it makes sense to have him go ahead and do something that'll make his nut too... and remember, under the Berne Convention treaty signed by both the U.S. and the U.K., copyright infringment judgements in a U.S. court are enforcible in the UK!

So go ahead, my friend. Cost your clients more money. Your idiot clients could have gotten rid of the site by just agreeing to my settlement offer -- take all mention of myself off of their site, and I'd take down the evidence-eliminator-sucks.com site. They refused, and hired a solicitor to make groundless legal threats. So be it. All that you have accomplished by your irresponsible threats is to further harm your client by making sure that this site is mirrored at five or more sites all around the Internet, beyond my ability to remove it even if I desired to do so. I should file a complaint with your local legal board that you have harmed your clients' interests.

Eric Lee Green
Last modified: Sun Jul 20 08:39:03 MST 2003