Video Professor, Inc. subpoenas website, sues anonymous posters

Nate Anderson of Ars Technica reports on the good professor’s federal lawsuit pending in Colorado. If you are interested in the subpoena angle, the Public Citizen letter to Video Professor’s counsel, linked to in the article, is a good read.

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3 thoughts on “Video Professor, Inc. subpoenas website, sues anonymous posters

  1. This issue is important to consumers! This is a draconian attack on the very foundation of the First Amendment Speech. An entity or a person with ‘deep’ pockets believes he can suppress Free Speech through financial intimidation is no different than a foreign junta or a dictatorial regime arresting their opponents for their expression of free speech through military or police action.

    Can you imagine where this would lead? Let’s warp this ahead in time and say that Video Professor is successful in his suit against the defendants in this case. According to an article in the Denver Post, he promises to take this all the way up to the Supreme Court. Would this not have a chilling effect on every negative review of a product, movie, politician, corporate business practice, restaurant, movie etc.? Could not this open the legal floodgates for anyone who has received a negative review claiming the same cause for libel and defamation? I would lead you to other similar celebrated cases being fought against a book review website at various places on the web and comments on contractors at referral lists websites and even a politician for negative comments from voters! Can you believe that!!!!

    Negative Book Review
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,1546,PZ-Myers-sued-for-a-negative-review-in-a-blog-post,Boing-Boing or

    Here:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2007/08/20/writer-sued-for-a-ne.html.

    Here: Contractors List Website

    http://www.angiegotsued.com/

    Here: Politician suing their constituents
    http://www.politechbot.com/2007/09/21/infomercial-kings-try/

    Would this not suppress every critic out there or limit their comments in a fog of possible litigation? His assertions maybe one thing, but the effect is challenging each individual to respond and defend themselves in court as not being a competitor!

    The bottom line is this. Can a person or a corporate entity who has unlimited financial and legal resources be able to use the judicial system to suppress the Free Speech of outspoken critics who he KNOWS does not have access to those same resources? Litigation in the court system is expensive.

    A lawyer can bury the other side in paperwork with legal tactics and strategies using depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas, delays, appeals etc. There is no way that the average consumer has the economic resources to legally fight such a strategy and they know this. So in effect, they are able silence their critics by De Facto litigation and Intimidation. However, the chilling aftermath of all this is a suppression of the basic First Amendment Rights and Consumer Advocacy.

    In the W. R.Grace & Co in the Woburn case and in Libby, Montana, http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/grace03.shtml. Didn’t Jan Schlichtmann’s Law Firm end up in bankruptcy?

    These cases do not merit the free speech discussion above but only shows how corporations and individuals can use the legal system to advance or protect their business practices
    from consumers.

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