Watching another blogger fall off a cliff is interesting but also rather sad. Everyone keeps emailing or making comments about the totally illegal ‘Goldman Sachs666’ site so I feel it is time to explain why this guy is probably going to lose a lot of money and see his life destroyed, all because he thinks it is legal to steal names. It isn’t and his chances of winning are close to zero. Especially since he is using this name to defame the corporation.
This guy launched his site just this last month and has gotten tremendous publicity. I am jealous about that, it is hard work, trying to run a website and get people to read it. But this guy jumped into the news with both feet via the nifty trick of using the name of Goldman Sachs as his online ID.
Now, if he were honest, he would have launched a site that has a title like, ‘badbankers.com’ for example. He could then have a secondary line, ‘All about Goldman Sachs and other gnomes’. And then put in funny cartoons which are totally legal, of course. But he chose, himself, to get very close to the most dangerous parts of copyright laws and was warned off by the GS lawyers. Here is Morgan’s website, before it vanishes [and it will vanish]:
And here is the content of an email received from Go Daddy regarding our domain name:
Per the legal documents provided, the following domain names have been placed on Registrar-Lock:
The domain names will remain locked during the pending legal proceeding. The lock on the domain names shall expire automatically 1) Upon GoDaddy.com’s receipt of an order dismissing or suspending the case 2) Upon the expiration of the domain nameregistration including the Redemption Grace and Pending Delete Periods at the registry.
That is pretty serious. I have been attacked by lawyers in the past but they didn’t have a case and they dropped the matter after I responded with the correct information [thanks to research, of course]. Here is some of my past information about bloggers and lawsuits and my own brush with this business:
In this article, I talk about how the English courts have a very different view of what constitutes ‘defamation’ and many people run to London to muzzle honest discussion of important events. All of Europe is, right now, in the throes of muzzling people, even politicians, if they say the wrong thing. For example, if famous actresses are against the ritual killing of animals, they can be sued and punished for talking about stopping this!
Another example is how no one is allowed to discuss the Holocaust except in the ‘approved’ terms set in stone, by law. These terms, of course, kill any research or free speech. In the US, Jewish professors who dispute various facts about the Holocaust are hounded into poverty and prevented from appearing in the news and forbidden access to our wretched campuses that are ruled with iron fists.
The internet is the Final Frontier in this battle. But this doesn’t mean, we get a free-for-all, either. The fine line between illegal and legal is constantly being tested and moved and I am always for more freedom but there are limits. For example, if someone starts a website using my name and then defames me can and WILL be sued. But if someone wants to dispute my take on history, the law and economics, they are free as birds to call me names, say rude things, suggest stuff happen to me, etc. I have been on the net since it first began. I was one of the very few, from day one, who has ALWAYS used my real name.
This is because, I am responsible for what I write and make no bones about this. Unlike Daily Kos, for example, that is nearly 100% fake names, my name is very real and so are my opinions. Here is one brush I had in the past with lawyers:
Dear readers, I have been SLAPPed by the minions of the Queen of England. Heh. My family has a long, long history of irritating the royals in that lovely land. She doesn’t like being called a ‘despot’ so anyone doing this gets a letter from a’gang’ of lawyers who don’t like being called a ‘gang’. So I put this in parenthesis to emphisize that this is an opinion of mine and not a fact. Namely, they could also be a ‘gaggle’ or a ‘lynch mob’ or ‘professional gunslinging lawyers’ or a lot of other, unflattering names.
Anyway, according to this poor little old hedge fund, they are NOT going bankrupt. Got that? They are simply, without any warning (except when I noticed a small sentence in a Bloomberg story)ending this hedge fund which operates out of Guernsey which is an island ‘owned’ or ‘controlled’ or somehow, an appendage or ‘possession’ of a certain royal family that came out of Germany after the last Stuart died…During the wars with France and Spain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Guernsey shipowners and sea captains exploited their proximity to mainland Europe, applying for Letters of Marque and turning their merchantmen into privateers….A Projet de Loi is the equivalent of an UK Bill or a French projet de loi, and a Law is the equivalent of a UK Act of Parliament or a French loi. Laws have no effect until promulgated by Orders-in-Council of the Crown. They are given the Royal Sanction at regular meetings of the Privy Council in London after, which they are returned to the Islands for formal registration at the Royal Court.……this group of upstanding upstarts are NOT GOING BANKRUPT…I used the wrong word! They are making an orderly exit and are, over the course of a year, scrambling to pay off their investors and all other entities named and unnamed. I removed my story using the word ‘bankruptcy’ so they can’t persecute me over all this. But the fact remains, they are closing this hedge fund and the ‘voting’ in August is pro-forma since people voting ‘nay’ won’t get anything and the people voting ‘yea’ are praying they get some of their investment back as the hedge fund tries to unload its paperwork. Reminds me about selling tulips after the bubble burst. Or selling Mississippi shares when that collapsed. They all appealed to the government to declare these things ‘sitll valuable’ rather than defunct. Anyone on the streets on in the early media (scribblings on walls, etc) saying otherwise would be prosecuted and punished. Everyone wanted everyone to believe that there was no bankrupcty and the tulip bulbs and the shares were quite valuable but were suffering a slight downturn in value. Right.
The letter was very unprofessional and my host at that time, Typepad, considered this to be pure harassment. I had to pull the original story not because it was wrong but because BLOOMBERG pulled their story so I had to pull mine since it no longer had any legitimacy. Gaining this legitimacy is very, very hard. I used to quote other bloggers more but got burned too many times thanks to people not checking facts more carefully. Lessons learned the hard way! I have a reputation to keep!
Of course, my information about the hedge fund pirates turned out to be 100% correct and they are now bankrupt and living lives of despair somewhere on this planet, I wonder about them….HAHAHA. Here, for example, is an older website I launched called ‘The Washington Pest’ which I still control and can revive:
I did worry about copyright since it is similar to the Washington Post but so many pest companies in DC have that name or similar names, we are all in the same boat and mine had ‘blogspot.com’ attached and never appeared at the top of the Google list. Below is Goldmansachs666: The guy has chutzpah, I must say! He is suing Goldman Sachs! I don’t give his case much chance of succeeding but hey! If he wants to go to court, he can!
This GS letter was a shot across the prow. Since Mr. Morgan decided to go head to head with them, he must first look into the issues involved. Frankly, his chances of winning are more along the lines of snowballs in hell. But who knows? Unlike when I was served papers, he is in the news and only because GS is the bad guy right now and we all would love to see GS brought low! But alas for Mr. Morgan, his case has much less merit than GS’s case here.
The law of Defamation has come under renewed scrutiny with the advent of the Internet. This is largely because it is the nature of the Internet to give the average, anonymous person an opportunity to express their opinion well-beyond any previously defined venue. Consider the fact that a person of modest means now has the ability to publish a statement, article, or news item across the world in an instant, without an editor checking the facts. Thereafter, the item will linger on the ‘Net for months, or even years, impossible to recover and amend, if the “facts” are erroneous. Therefore, it is inevitable that problems are going to arise.
The main issue to remember when dealing with the Internet is that people still have their basic legal rights intact on the Net, and – likewise – the Internet is not as completely anonymous as the typical person may presumes.
If Morgan’s site was a parody site, his standing in the law rises quite a few significant steps. If he is a whistleblower, he still has certain rights above regular rights. But still, he would have to change the DOMAIN NAME if he wants legality. Finding the right name is difficult.
Many a child innocently would launch a web page with domain names like ‘ilovebarbie.com’ for example and gotten hammered by lawyers! Children downloading or uploading favorite songs are also hammered into the ground and their parents made much, much poorer. Indeed, it is very, very dangerous even for fans or lovers of something corporate, to put up a site with that name in the domain. You can’t use ‘coke’ or ‘pepsi’ whatever.com.
Adding some numbers after the GS name, for example, is not enough. The search engines will still treat this site as a Goldman Sachs site! On top of this, the site is going after GS and making them look bad. Another very dangerous thing to do with the wrong name.
Many of us attack GS online. So far, I have noticed no one being sent letters or muzzled. This could change, of course! If so, we will have to band together to pressure GS to stop. But I can’t get on this particular bandwagon since the guy is obviously breaking the law. If he sets a precedent, it will mostly be negative for me and make my life more miserable.
Keeping tabs on blogosphere
Criminal charges are hard to come by in blogging cases, according to Michael Trudeau, first assistant district attorney in the Cape & Islands office. With blogs and blog posts often filed anonymously, it’s often a challenge to identify the author, he said, and once they do, it’s difficult to prove that a blog post is directed as a threat.
“It’s much easier when someone picks up a phone, because then you’re dealing with person-to-person contact,” Trudeau said. “It’s a lot harder to trace back comments that are made out in the open, and even more difficult to find evidence that the comment is directed specifically at that individual.”
With criminal law still evolving, more people are looking to civil courts to keep tabs on the blogosphere, said Ardia, of the Harvard’s Citizen Media Law Project, which is working to collect, sort and analyze legal cases involving online media.
Most civil cases are settled out of court, he said. Oftentimes, a settlement is reached where the blogger agrees to remove the post. But in the few cases that do reach court, most go against the bloggers, according to project records.
In 2006, a Florida jury awarded more than $11 million to a school referral service after a dissatisfied customer called the service owner a “crook” and a “fraud” on another Web forum.
That same year, a Georgia jury awarded a local lawyer, Rafe Banks, $50,000 in damages after they found Banks’ former client, David Milum guilty of reporting on his political Web site that Milum had bribed local judges.
On Cape Cod, Barnstable resident Joseph Dugas and others filed a suit earlier this summer against Peter Robbins, a blogger for Cape Cod Today, a Web site that hosts more than 200 local blogs. The suit charges that Robbins, in one of his posts last winter, made libelous statements about Dugas and others who opposed a dredging project in Barnstable Harbor.
Below are some recent articles from a web news site that covers publishing laws. I found it via google and will probably visit it more often, it has lots of important breaking information that directly impinges upon my own activities:
(Newser) – Amazon has bowed to pressure from the Authors Guild and will allow authors and publishers to disable the controversial text-to-speech feature on its Kindle e-reader, the Los Angeles Times reports. Authors contend that the function essentially turns the e-book into an audio book, a contract violation. “They created a hybrid product,” a guild executive said. “It was being used in a way they had not been given permission for.” More »
Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the iconic Obama “Hope” poster, filed a lawsuit against the AP yesterday as a preemptive strike in their copyright dispute. The artist has asked a federal judge to rule that his work constitutes fair use of a copyrighted image. Fairey’s suit comes after the news agency wrote to the artist and demanded payment and a share of the proceeds he earned from the poster.
Citigroup is suing a Brooklyn pawnshop for copyright infringement, the New York Post reports. The logo for All Citi Pawn sports the distinctive “i” and a similar red mark over the “t.” Citigroup’s suit demands the pawnshop fork over all profits made since it adopted the logo. The shop’s manager has changed the logo, but Citi is pressing on with the claim.
A fan-written “Harry Potter lexicon” will not be published, a federal judge in New York ruled today, finding for author JK Rowling that the reference guide was an infringement of copyright.
As we can clearly see, there are lots and lots of land mines out there and people step on them. I could be sued for millions of dollars! I can’t sue anyone right now but this is mostly because I refused to do this in the past, even to people who pretend to be me and post libelous things. On the other hand, I no longer hang out at forums so I don’t care, they all get erased, eventually. Here is another webpage I found tonight that is interesting:
This is run by some wonderful MIT students. Perusing this list, we can see what is legal and what probably isn’t so legal. I publish on You Tube now and should pay attention to this list! Obviously, everyone is now cracking down on You Tube since Google has deep pockets. I left Blogspot, where Morgan runs his 666 site, because Blogspot would censor me without consulting with me about legality. So I had stupid things removed, without me being told.
The powerful people out there are itching to shut down the wild side of the internet. We can see from just a few sample stories from lists of news about lawsuits, there is a lot going on that will nip the net in significant ways as more and more laws are created. I fear that this Goldman Sachs thing will just make things worse.
WFTV is reporting that a Lake County, Florida, family owned clown company is being sued by the Walt Disney Company for $1,000,000 due to trademark infringement for their use of Tigger, Eyeore, and Pooh at their clown parties. The company, ‘Kool Klown Party People‘, purchased costumes of Tigger, Eyeore and Pooh from an eBay user in Peru and advertised them on their website, MySpace page and CraigsList for parties. When Disney found their website, they sent three notices to the company to send the costumes to Disney so they can be destroyed.
There are organizations that sweep the web, searching for people to sue. And the clowns in Florida made the news, big time. But then, they discovered, this didn’t make great business for them. Instead, it bankrupted them and also, when they panicked and sent the costumes back to South America, Disney asked to put them in jail for violating the legal agreements!
The last thing I want is a feather in Goldman Sach’s hat and for them to sneer at us and push us around, even more. This is a very serious fight and like in any battle, we must pick the high ground and build our defenses. Throwing our fight into an obvious swamp is a disaster. This guy might enjoy his impending martyrdom. But I seriously doubt it. I wish he would simply change the name. I suggest, ‘gollumsacks666.com’. It’s free and its easy. And no one else has it. I will even give him a cartoon.
P.O. BOX 483
BERLIN, NY 12022
Make checks out to ‘Elaine Supkis’