August 7, 2008

:D.

:(.

21 comments:

reader_iam said...

Unfortunate, isn't it, that the guy has the same name as a UT Law prof, who's had to go to some lengths to make the distinction (including getting a letter from the plaintiff attorneys) and who's reported getting hate mail in connection with this situation--partly, it's alleged, due to how a particular blog handled things.

Should he sue?

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Ah, the law of unintended consequences ... .

reader_iam said...

Prof asked for help with clarification.

Chip Ahoy said...

Apologies. Didn't see your last line up there.

I'm conflicted. Part of me likes ugly people being outed. The other part detests the freedom stomped on. The other part doesn't care. The other part thinks the amount of damages claimed is outrageous. Another part thinks the girls should get a life and accept this is the way people really do talk. Another part, the smallest one, wonders how these birds expect to find employment in their chosen field now that they've made such a BFD out of the whole thing. But then that part is answered by a part I wasn't even aware of that says, "There's always somebody who'd want that." That pretty much sums up all my parts.

Simon said...

From the story:
"Several more of those commenters have also been unmasked, said Mark Lemley, a Stanford law professor who is representing the two Yale students. Lemley said he is negotiating with the others to settle out of court. If those talks fail, they, too, will be outed, he said."

:p

Simon said...

What "freedom [is being] stomped on," Chip? True, McIntyre held that the First Amendment protects "the freedom to publish anonymously," 514 U.S. 342, but that was in the context of political speech, the very core of the First Amendment. Ryan's remarks seem to fall a long way from that core.

Bissage said...

The sum of my parts thinks Chip's 1:03 was inspired genius.

Kev said...

Our esteemed hostess ought to exercise great care when gratuitously posting frownies on the Internet; they are trademarked, after all.

But not to worry--the company will happily sell you one on their website. (And if you did purchase the above Frowny through legitimate means, please ignore this comment.)

FULL DISCLOSURE: This company is run by a close relative of mine, and they really do own the patent for the Frowny. But you might be surprised at how many people took the threat of the lawsuit seriously (or maybe not, since satire seems to be lost on a lot of folks nowadays).

Revenant said...

Lemley said he is negotiating with the others to settle out of court. If those talks fail, they, too, will be outed, he said.

Simon, could you explain to me how the above is NOT extortion? "Pay me money or I'll reveal your identity" seems like a pretty crystal clear example of such.

MadisonMan said...

My cousin Lee Harvey Oswald (No, not that one) and his brother-in-law Osama bin Laden (No, not that one) can totally relate to the UT Law prof.

chip Ahoy is spot on. I really do wonder how these ladies will find employment as lawyers. Bitch Whine & Moan might be hiring, I suppose.

Chip Ahoy said...

Simon, the freedom being stomped I referred to isn't explicitly constitutionally protected. It's the freedom so many of us on the internet have so far enjoyed of letting our id run rampant with impunity. It's rather like dreams where you test-drive outrageous desires, and then having those dreams outed, publicized, and fined. No wait, it's like the freedom of not paying taxes on internet purchases being suddenly taken away. No wait, wait, wait, it's like the freedom of not having to grow up if I don't want to and then someone comes along and makes me.

George said...

I am Lester Scoggin.

Simon said...

Rev - "pay me money or words you posted in a public forum will be attributed to you" is extortion?

Revenant said...

"pay me money or words you posted in a public forum will be attributed to you" is extortion?

It wasn't a public forum, though. Not only was there a reasonable expectation of privacy -- the system itself was designed to support that.

Say your company had an anonymous feedback system, like a suggestion box. You leave a note in the box saying "[your boss's name] is a horrible manager and should be sacked". Someone gets their hands on evidence proving you left that note and threatens to make the proof public unless you pay them a thousand bucks.

Would that be legal? And how is that any different from what's being done here? The people left anonymous comments in a system specifically designed to allow anonymous comments. Now they're being told that they can either pay money or have their identities exposed. That would be illegal if anyone other than a lawyer did it.

rhhardin said...

Anybody is free to insult me.

veni vidi vici said...

Chip @ 1.03,
this is one of those cases where the whole is far less than the sum of its parts, then, eh?

Seven Machos said...

So the issue is that one side of a lawsuit has been named publicly but it's bad that the other side will be named publicly. What am I missing?

I'm all for free speech and I think that a court could find that autoadmit falls within the rubric of free speech or not. It's really iffy. However, if you sue, you have to do so publicly. I should think we can all agree to that.

I apologize if I have completely gotten this wrong and look forward to strenuous correction.

Zeb Quinn said...

The Internet for years operated in a multitude of ways in a manner analgous to the wild wild west. For better or worse, this is one more step in the bringing of civilization to the 'net.

peter hoh said...

Isn't that the Cindy Crawford emoticon?

PG said...

It wasn't a public forum, though.

It was designed to be as easily found (no membership required to view the site; nothing shielded from search engines) as possible. If AutoAdmit wasn't a public forum in the sense of its content being openly and freely available to the public*, what is?

* Distinguishing from "public forum" in the con law, California shopping mall sense.