Outed Blogger Plans To Sue Google; Skank Model Mess Gets Messier

from the fun-to-watch-from-the-sidelines dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about how model Liskula Cohen bizarrely sued "sought pre-action discovery from" Google on an anonymous blogger for putting up a blog that referred to Cohen as a skank, an old hag, a "ho" and a few other choice phrases. Of course, pretty much no one would have seen such a blog if Cohen hadn't gone legal about it, claiming (with no proof) that she was losing jobs because of it (which seems difficult to believe). We were disappointed that a judge found the insults on the blog to be "defamatory," and ordered Google to reveal the blogger -- which it did. However, the now revealed blogger, Rosemary Port, is now pissed off and planning to sue Google for $15 million for exposing her.

As much as I agree that she should have been able to remain anonymous, I'm not sure what legal grounds Port has to make such a claim. Her attorney says Google: "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity," which hardly seems likely to stand up in court. Google had no such fiduciary duty, and was ordered by a court to give up the name. Her lawyer is right in noting that anonymity is "inherent in the First Amendment" (and many courts have found this to be true), but that has nothing to do with Google. Google is not the US gov't and the First Amendment doesn't apply to Google. I would have no problem with a lawsuit appealing the ruling to reveal Port's name, but that's not a lawsuit against Google. Bad lawsuits begat bad lawsuits.

Separately, Cohen's own lawyer is claiming that Cohen is dropping the defamation lawsuit against Port (which is not what she was claiming last week) and the whole thing seems to have descended into screaming back and forth -- with arguments over who should forgive whom.

But there is one other interesting tidbit. We've pointed out how ridiculous the original lawsuit was, as it only called that much more attention to Cohen and the idea that someone finds her "skanky." Port claims that probably the only two people who saw the site prior to the lawsuit were Port and Cohen. When it was pointed out that this whole lawsuit brought a lot more attention to the idea of Cohen as a "skank," Cohen's lawyer claims "If we had thought for a minute that the Google case would have brought more attention to the anonymous blogger's site, we never would have started it." Perhaps that's true, but if it is, Cohen and her lawyer seem particularly clueless about how the internet works and how news spreads.

In the end, this whole thing has the feel of a big publicity stunt, wasting public resources and the court system to get both Cohen, and now Port, a bunch of free media coverage. Basically, we have back and forth lawsuits that are really just attention-grabbing attempts by people who felt "insulted" by others' actions. Despite Port's claims that the founding fathers wanted to preserve her right to privacy, this legal mud-wresting contest is probably not what they had in mind.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Aaaaaaand now...

    Rosemary Port is a skanky skank.

    Funny how this works. You'd think people would have had a chance to see how the internet works over the past couple decades...

     

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  2.  
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    BullJustin (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: Aaaaaaand now...

    That would require people to be both observant and willing to learn from pother's mistakes.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    looks like they got it

    and how does writing about this discourage future plaintiffs from starting frivolous lawsuits just to get attention?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    lawsuit seems wrong

    Someone should be sued, but Suing Google for breached fiduciary duty doesn't seem right. Google was presented a sopena which was issued under incorrect circumstances.

    Maybe the representing counsel, Sal should contact the EFF for some insight...

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    The the US, we have a right to free speech, but that doesn't mean there aren't consequences for what you say. If Port (anon. blogger) said Cohen (model) was a skank for no reason then she should be sued. Just because you have a right to free speech, doesn't mean you can say anything. You are still responsible for what you say. My guess is that Port (anon blogger) is a fat, ugly chick that can't get any sex. If she said mean things about someone else out of bitterness, I hope she gets sued into oblivion. On the other hand, if Cohen was publicly being a skank and just wanted to shut someone up over it, she should get sued down the sewer. My guess is they are both trash with nothing better to do, both bitter and both losers who should go away together.

     

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  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    "If Port (anon. blogger) said Cohen (model) was a skank for no reason then she should be sued. Just because you have a right to free speech, doesn't mean you can say anything. You are still responsible for what you say. My guess is that Port (anon blogger) is a fat, ugly chick that can't get any sex."

    Hoookay... You don't even read what you write, do you?

     

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  7.  
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    BullJustin (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, Port is pretty easy on the eyes.

     

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  8.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    Am I the only person that sees the irony in the fact that almost everyone that is okay with the decision to expose the identity of this blogger posts anonymously?

    More to the point, Suing someone and losing should be expensive. Very, very expensive. Remember, *we* pay for these lawsuits.

    I'm taxed enough as it is, thankyouverymuch.

     

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  9.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re: looks like they got it

    Hopefully, they will see that it ends in vary bad attention.

    From that point forward, every time I see the name Liskula Cohen, I'll think "that's the skank that broke the First Amendment." That can't be good for jobs.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    Am I the only person who sees the irony (ok not "irony") in AC saying "Just because you have a right to free speech, doesn't mean you can say anything." and then going on to say "My guess is that Port (anon blogger) is a fat, ugly chick that can't get any sex."

     

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    Danny (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:03am

    Pot. Kettle. Not so bright.

    The skank ought to sue her lawyer for stupidity.

    I know, I know, stupidity is not malpractice. Still, she should sue.

     

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  12.  
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    some old guy, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    that judge...

    How much you wanna bet that judge feels pretty damn stupid right about now?

    He's the one who really fucked up here. Moron judge..

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Actually, Port is pretty easy on the eyes."

    True, but appeal and skankiness are not opposing concepts.

     

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    Shienen, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    I read a few of the reports on this, both when it started and now that the hot bird with the hump has been revealed.

    The whole thing seems completely pointless from every angle. The actual blogs were pretty funny and could easily be identified as meaningless venting. The kind of inane, angry and ultimately benign craap that makes up 90% of blogs (I can't support that percentage, before some smartarse says something)

    If I sued every person whose ever typed abuse or death threats at me for having a preference for the X-Box 360 I'd almost have enough money to buy a PS3!

    It reminds me of a story in Saturdays Sun about a woman whose been sent to jail for 3 months after threatening to kill someone on Facebook...isn't that what facebook is for???

     

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    Greg, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: lawsuit seems wrong

    Not to be a spelling Nazi (ok.. maybe a little,) but it's "subpoena"

     

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    Greg, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    yea.. I was kinda wondering about that, myself

     

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    Tangledweb, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    BullJustin: ""Actually, Port is pretty easy on the eyes.""

    ChurchHatesTucker: "True, but appeal and skankiness are not opposing concepts."

    I think BullJustin was responding to "My guess is that Port (anon blogger) is a fat, ugly chick that can't get any sex."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: lawsuit seems wrong

    Good job, Greg.

    I started to say "sopaipilla", which is what I had for lunch. You have to admit that nothing surpasses a freshly fried, warm pastry sparkling with sugar, cinnamon and gobs of sticky honey inside it. Mmmm. Perfect way to finish up a healthy serving of crackling chicken fajitas, perfectly spiced with fresh and tasty guacamole, home-made tortillas and mango salsa with cilantro and topped with sour cream.

     

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    Yakko Warner, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Step 3: PROFIT

    "this legal mud-wresting contest is probably not what they had in mind."

    Tonight, on Pay-Per-View: Legal mud-wrestling skanky hos!

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: looks like they got it

    "From that point forward, every time I see the name Liskula Cohen, I'll think "that's the skank that broke the First Amendment." That can't be good for jobs."

    Unless she applies to a law firm.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    "The kind of inane, angry and ultimately benign craap that makes up 90% of blogs (I can't support that percentage, before some smartarse says something)"

    "90% of Science Fiction is crap. But then, 90% of everything is crap." --Theadore Sturgeon

    Sounds about right.

     

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  22.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    "If I sued every person whose ever typed abuse or death threats at me for having a preference for the X-Box 360 I'd almost have enough money to buy a PS3!"

    How DARE you insult the price of the PS3, you monkey-humping communist pole-smoker! For your actions, I vow to slay your first-born goldfish and plant my seed in all of your daughters to taint your bloodline!!!

    Bwahahahahahahaha.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Mike -

    The original lawsuit was "ridiculous" because it was not a lawsuit. Cohen did not sue Google. You had plenty of time to get this right.

     

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    Josh (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    anon. blogger

    I saw in a, either NY Times or CNN, article this morning that the blogger was actually a former friend of the model. So doesn't that mean that she may have had some insight that the rest of us didn't as to whether or not the model was a skank or not?

     

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  25.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re:

    "For your actions, I vow to slay your first-born goldfish and plant my seed in all of your daughters to taint your bloodline!!!"

    ZOMG! Animal cruelty and child-rape! Someone, call the skanky authorities!

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    "The the US, we have a right to free speech, but that doesn't mean there aren't consequences for what you say."

    That defeats the purpose of free speech. In any country you have free speech but that doesn't mean there are no consequences for what you say. You may lose your job, be put in jail, or killed if you disagree with the government but you still have the freedom to disagree, but have to be willing to take the consequences.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:07am

    Re: Pot. Kettle. Not so bright.

    negligence. Yes, stupidity can be malpractice. You have to be as keen as an ordinary person in the field you practice (I forget the exact legal wording) or you could be liable for negligence.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Pot. Kettle. Not so bright.

    The word I think is prudent as an ordinary person in the field or something.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Step 3: PROFIT

    "this legal mud-wresting contest is probably not what they had in mind."

    Lets not allow the founding fathers to ruin my entertainment.

     

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  30.  
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    whateva, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    @BullJustin Port is easy on the eyes?!? Jeezzz she is so f%^%king ugly - the reason she goes around posting trash about other people is because she can't get laid.

     

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  31.  
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    taoareyou (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:27am

    My Thoughts

    I think Google should have some degree of responsibility here. They have a legal team and should have exhausted every trick available to them in order to protect the privacy of someone using their service. The lawsuit doesn't appear to have any legal soundness, but it's certainly a blemish on Google's reputation.

    "Google will roll over and barf up everything it knows about you without a fight."

    This entire spectacle appears silly, but it has very important effects. It means anybody or any company can take legal actions to stifle negative opinions about them.

    The "model" dropped her plans to sue for defamation. No surprise, since she wasn't defamed. But the damage is done. You can bet that companies are scouring the Internet as we speak looking for all negative blog entries and comments mentioning them, especially on sites where Google can assist in providing the identity of the writers.

    Unless things change, companies will be using the courts to silence negative opinions by identifying and legally intimidating anyone voicing them.

    Google could have come out of this as a shining defender of rights against those who wish to control the free expression of opinion. Instead, they look like a tool used to chill freedoms.

     

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  32.  
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    bigpicture, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    Re: Legal System?

    This is just another indicator that the legal system is seriously broke. If Google was responding to a legal order (complying with the law) then why does the legal system allow Google to be sued over that? Is there no absolute compliance protection in the US legal system at all??? In the eyes of the world it is getting to be a joke.

    If there was something wrong with the LEGAL ORDER that Google had to comply with (such as it is unconstitutional) then whoever issued the order should be held accountable. Why is the judge and the legal system not held accountable??? Why does the issue have to be addressed through a third party, why does Google have to clarify the law through precedent, why can't the law correct itself??

    This is a huge bucket of crap, that there are really no checks and balances, that the system can run amok and entities like the RIAA can exist unchecked, essentially making their own laws. Those without money get crushed and the ones with money get to make their own laws either through congress or precedent. There is no protection from the Constitution any more, the corrupt have corrupted the system. Imagine a jury of peers to these two (the alleged skank and skankor?) making a decision that will set legal precedent on this issue. Oh! the quality of the law!!!

     

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  33.  
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    John, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:35am

    Sigh... Once again Mike, you're reporting is inaccurate and wrong. From Ben Sheffner:

    "Once again demonstrating its inability to get basic legal facts right, Techdirt claims that "Liskula Cohen bizarrely sued Google and anonymous blogger for putting up a blog...." False, as I first explained last January. Cohen sought pre-action discovery under CPLR § 3102(c), seeking information from Google, but has not sued Google, Port, or anyone else."

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    Sigh... Once again Mike, you're reporting is inaccurate and wrong. From Ben Sheffner:

    Heh. No, as per usual, Sheffner is being nitpicky. She filed suit to get a judge to order Google to hand over the name, which involved Google lawyers going to court. Technically, you could argue Google wasn't "sued" but for all intents and purposes, it was.

    It had to go to court, it had to defend itself, and it eventually lost. It wasn't sued for money, but it was sued for the name. It may not be the exact legal term, but it's the same thing.

    Sheffner's got some weird obsession with trying to make us look bad, so he nitpicks it if we get a single legal term wrong, often taking our words out of context and getting the basics of what we said wrong. Last week he insisted we said some stuff we did not -- and when I pointed it out to him, his response was that I obviously implied stuff, when I did not. His obsession runs so deep that he's now reading stuff into what I've said when I never did. Not sure what I did to him or why he wastes so much time nitpicking over points that are meaningless.

    Cohen went to court, forced Google into court, forced Google to defend itself and a judge ruled against Google and in favor of Cohen. It wasn't "suing"? Does anyone other than a lawyer who hates us care? No. The story is still the same.

     

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    minijedimaster (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    Where did Rosemary Port get the idea that Cohen was a skank I wonder? Last I checked it's not defamation if its true... I think... bah who cares.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I think BullJustin was responding to "My guess is that Port (anon blogger) is a fat, ugly chick that can't get any sex."

    Ironically, getting sex is the classical definition (as opposed to the 'you're just such a douche I don't even know how to refer to you' definition) of 'skank.' (Fat and Ugly crosses definitions, FWIW.)

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re:

    Mike....buddy....please tell me you aren't that guy! When you're wrong, just say it (as you have before)! No squirming, it makes me lose faith...

    "It had to go to court, it had to defend itself, and it eventually lost. It wasn't sued for money, but it was sued for the name. It may not be the exact legal term, but it's the same thing."

    As a big proponent of the "don't call it theft, it's legal term is infringement" argument of truth-telling, I find the statement "It may not be the exact legal term, but it's the same thing" VERY disturbing. I can remember anonymous Harold repeating this same line over and over again in the past.

    Call things what they are, tell the truth, and admit it if/when you fuck up; these are principles we should ALL live by. Lawsuit has a very specific definition, and the statement...

    "Cohen went to court, forced Google into court, forced Google to defend itself and a judge ruled against Google and in favor of Cohen. It wasn't "suing"?"

    ...seems silly because they're are plenty of situations in which Google could go into court, be forced to defend itself, and have a judge rule against it that would have NOTHING to do with a lawsuit.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

    The Daily Intel section of the NY Magazine has a real interesting exchange between Cohen and the Post's Andrea Peyser..

    From the article:
    But before we nominate Cohen for sainthood, we must acknowledge her other, darker side, the one that managed to scare the shit out of the Post's Andrea Peyser.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/08/the_two_sides_of_accused_model.html

    Maybe not a "skank" in the traditional sense, but perhaps a little off balance, maybe even bi-polar. Who knows. But the whole thing just reeks.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mike....buddy....please tell me you aren't that guy! When you're wrong, just say it (as you have before)! No squirming, it makes me lose faith...

    I've updated the post. But I'd argue that I wasn't wrong colloquially. Every news article on the case reported it as being a lawsuit (and still do), and the difference between the two is no real difference at all. This isn't a case where the difference matters at all to the story.

    The difference between "theft" and "infringement" is usually a key point in the stories we discuss. Whether Google was "sued" or brought to court under a "pre-action discovery" doesn't change a single aspect of the story. In common parlance, the company was sued, which is why pretty much every reporter wrote it up that way.

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:16pm

    I disagree. If the court order in violation of the blogger's first amendment right, then, the court order is invalid and google outed her illegally. It honestly sounds like the "I was just following orders" defense applied to something else. If your orders are illegal, you can't hide behind them... If the court order is appealed and declared unconstitutional, the blogger should seek reparation from Google who should pay up for outing her and seek reparation from the government for giving it an illegal order.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

    Re:

    I disagree. If the court order in violation of the blogger's first amendment right, then, the court order is invalid and google outed her illegally. It honestly sounds like the "I was just following orders" defense applied to something else. If your orders are illegal, you can't hide behind them... If the court order is appealed and declared unconstitutional, the blogger should seek reparation from Google who should pay up for outing her and seek reparation from the government for giving it an illegal order.

    I believe this is wrong on two counts.

    First, even if it turns out that the court order was in error, Google is not subject to the First Amendment. Google has every right to reveal the blogger if it chooses -- whether or not the court ordered it. Google is a private company and the First Amendment does not apply to it.

    Second, it's quite different than "I was just following orders." That's from a boss. A court order is not something you can just ignore.

     

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  42.  
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    Mark, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    poor metaphor

    "Despite Port's claims that the founding fathers wanted to preserve her right to privacy, this legal mud-wresting contest is probably not what they had in mind."

    If this were a case involving two men, would you have used the mud-wrestling metaphor? That was pointlessly misogynistic and demeaning to women. Set a higher standard.

     

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  43.  
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    AJ, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Re: poor metaphor

    Was this humor? Shit, I’m lost now….. I thought I had it all under control until this post….

     

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  44.  
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    Gordon Not a coward so I use my real name., Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Mike-
    Although the modern legal term is used in the context Helmet talks about.....
    Here is the Definition from Mirriam-Webster.
    So you were actually right based on def. for transient verb #1 and also from the very last entry. She did in fact petition the court for something.

    * Main Entry: sue
    * Pronunciation: ˈsü
    * Function: verb
    * Inflected Form(s): sued; su·ing
    * Etymology: Middle English sewen, siuen to follow, strive for, petition, from Anglo-French sivre, siure, from Vulgar Latin *sequere, from Latin sequi to follow; akin to Greek hepesthai to follow, Sanskrit sacate he accompanies
    * Date: 14th century

    transitive verb 1 obsolete : to make petition to or for
    2 archaic : to pay court or suit to : woo
    3 a : to seek justice or right from (a person) by legal process; specifically : to bring an action against b : to proceed with and follow up (a legal action) to proper terminationintransitive verb 1 : to make a request or application : plead —usually used with for or to
    2 : to pay court : woo
    3 : to take legal proceedings in court

    Helmet-
    I almost never disagree with you. You seem to think the same way I do on many issues, but you're only mostly right on this one.

     

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    Michael Ho (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: poor metaphor

    hmm. given that this story looks like a publicity stunt... I'd have to say that the "mud wrestling" metaphor seems appropriate for the specific situation. If it were a case involving two men, would saying this was a "legal cock-fight" have been demeaning to men?

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: poor metaphor

    I'm at a loss too. My sarcasm detector must be malfunctioning. If anything, mud-wrestling seemed to be the incorrect term, I just assumed he meant "mud flinging".

    Mark is probably brand new to the intertubes, and hasn't had a chance to allow his skin to thicken.

    Don't worry Mark, you'll get there.

    /Should have been KY-Wrestling, really.

     

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    LostSailor (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But I'd argue that I wasn't wrong colloquially....The difference between "theft" and "infringement" is usually a key point in the stories we discuss.

    Even if used "colloquially," the words "theft" and "stealing" used in regard to illegal file sharing in violation of copyright are cause for righteous indignation. If you're going to be a stickler for precise terminology when it tends to support your position, you shouldn't object when others call out for the same precision on your part when writing critically of others.

    I agree with Dark Helmet.

    Most of the time when I comment here, it's more to point out factual errors or misleading statements. Sometimes, as here, I get the impression that you're just in a hurry and get a bit careless with your writing. But since you are an influential writer on tech and copyright (among other topics), carelessness, to me, only undermines your credibility.

    In common parlance, the company was sued, which is why pretty much every reporter wrote it up that way.

    In common parlance file-sharing is often referred to as theft or stealing. Do I take it you'll no longer be objecting to the use of those terms here, because reporters write it up that way?

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Re: poor metaphor

    Since men don't mud wrestle, and this was a contest between two women and women do mud wrestle, it was spot on. Obviously it wouldn't be used when referring to two men. But, a metaphor that cannot be applied evenly across genders is not misogynistic be default.

    "Misogyny" is a hatred towards women. There was nothing hateful in the metaphor.

     

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  49.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    Also, according to the dictionary definition, Cohen "took the legal proceedings to court" which again argues that suing is proper usage.

    I'll note, also, that a quick spin through the press shows that most everyone called it suing, including such journalistic stalwarts as the Christian Science Monitor.

    As I said, I clarified the post, but I'd argue the "clarification" actually only makes the matter more confusing. She sued.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even if used "colloquially," the words "theft" and "stealing" used in regard to illegal file sharing in violation of copyright are cause for righteous indignation. If you're going to be a stickler for precise terminology when it tends to support your position, you shouldn't object when others call out for the same precision on your part when writing critically of others.

    Again, as I pointed out (perhaps not clearly enough), the difference when it's theft or infringement has a strong bearing on what we're talking about.

    That's not the case here at all.

    In common parlance file-sharing is often referred to as theft or stealing. Do I take it you'll no longer be objecting to the use of those terms here, because reporters write it up that way?

    Not at all. Don't be ridiculous. As I said, the difference in theft or file sharing actually has an impact on the story, and is used to mislead. That's not the case with calling a "pre-action discovery" "suing."

    You know that.

     

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  51.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: poor metaphor

    "If it were a case involving two men, would saying this was a "legal cock-fight" have been demeaning to men?"

    BRAVO!!! Thank god ONE of you TechDirt people has a sense of humor.

    Kind of ironic to see a Ho commenting on a skank, however...

     

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  52.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: poor metaphor

    "Since men don't mud wrestle"

    Hello, my name is Every Bar On Halsted Street In Chicago...i don't think we've met...

     

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  53.  
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    President Skroob (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: poor metaphor

    You better call Spaceball city and notify President Skroob immediately.

     

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  54.  
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    AJ, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Note from the common people

    I'll be the judge of this!
    I consider myself fitting comfortably in the “common” genre of Tech Dirt readers. I follow this blog for personal entertainment only, and I am in no way affiliated with any of the industries involved.

    With all the word-play aside, here is how we “commoners” define the following terms:

    Common Parlance = some legal speak I will definitely have to look up to understand.

    Pre-action discovery = Intro credits to a porn movie.

    “Theft and or Stealing” = the taking of goods or property from someone.

    Sued = Being taken to court in order to be forced to do something you would rather not do.

    In the interest of keeping things simple, please continue to use terms us “commoners” understand, as we are lazy, and would rather not have to look things up.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    The Great US of A as it's finest. I'll sue you for existing, and win!

     

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Note from the common people

    Sued = Being taken to court in order to be forced to do something you would rather not do.

    That sums it up quite nicely, actually.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Re:

    You're a fucking idiot!

     

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    Michael Ho (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: poor metaphor

    I was wondering when my last name would get mentioned in this thread... :P

    With it, I had to grow sense of humor, as you might imagine.

     

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  59.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re: My Thoughts

    Google *could* have fought back, but they had no *legal* (or direct financial) requirement to do so. It can obviously be argued, as you have, that Google had a PR reason to not reveal the blogger's name. But in this case, I'm sure Google decided that it was not worth the effort over such a trivial case. Google should pick its battles and save up its legal artillery for the cases that actually matter.

     

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    LostSailor (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This seems to me to be a mini "Streisand Effect" in that your defending what you regard as minor error on somewhat shaky ground and by doing so only calling more attention to the error.

    Not at all. Don't be ridiculous. As I said, the difference in theft or file sharing actually has an impact on the story, and is used to mislead. That's not the case with calling a "pre-action discovery" "suing."

    "Theft" and "infringement" in file sharing do have a legal component. "Stealing" however, is more often used colloquially to mean "taking something you have no right to" which would fit in illegal file sharing. Yet, that term, too, is verboten. (Would "filch," "pilfer," or "purloin" be acceptable? "File-filching" has a nice right to it!)

    "Pre-action" means before the action...before a lawsuit. In fact, Cohen hadn't (and to my knowledge hasn't) actually sued anyone. Google said they wouldn't turn over the information without a court order; Cohen asked the court to issue the order and the Anonymous Blogger objected (Google really didn't do much in the proceeding at all).

    So, whether other journalists were using term or not, writing that Cohen "sued Google" is a fundamental misstatement of fact. You were called on it. And instead of just admitting that the wording was poor, you accuse Sheffner of being "nitpicky" and trying to make you look bad. But he was right.

    As I said, I find it interesting that you insist on technical accuracy of words in certain contexts, but not in others, usually tending toward whether they help or hurt your positions.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    LostSailor, as others have pointed out in this very thread, "suing" makes a lot more sense to most people than "pre-action discovery." Theft, however, does not replace infringement in most minds, because the two are different in *significant ways*. That is not the case with this issue.

    And, of course, considering your long history disagreeing with me over pretty much everything, it doesn't surprise me that you'd try to read more into this than it is. It's Sheffner nitpicking. Notice that he didn't call out all of the mainstream reporters who did this. He called me out. He's obsessed. He does this pretty regularly, and it's quite amusing to me, because I can't believe a grown man would spend so much time trying to find something wrong with what I've written, and have to reach so far to find something so meaningless.

    The story's been changed. Did it have any impact at all? Nope.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: poor metaphor

    "With it, I had to grow sense of humor, as you might imagine"

    Shut up, Ho...

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't think he hates you Mike... He just thinks your reporting is sloppy. I'm inclined to agree.

    Read Dark Helmet #37 below.

    You're entertaining and fun to read, but gosh, this sort of stuff (Does anyone other than a lawyer who hates us care?) makes you look rather small and thin-skinned.

     

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    LostSailor (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The story's been changed. Did it have any impact at all?

    Well, I appreciated it. At least there's that impact.

    Actually, Mike, you know quite well that I don't disagree with you on everything. There are, in fact, many areas where we do agree. I've actually posted some comments where I heartily agree with you, especially in cases where copyright holders overreach in claiming protection for content where there is none.

    Where we usually "disagree" is when you misstate facts or use misleading language (like saying someone has been "silenced" when compelled to remove infringing material), or misconstrue something to make it better fit your argument. Such as when I point out that you side-stepped the use of the word "stealing" relying on the relatively safer ground of "theft" in the exchange above.

    And I understand the fervor of your defense in such cases as such writing might undermine your credibility. However, it's usually more credible to admit and correct; if you can graciously acknowledge when your wrong, it tends to support everything you write.

    He does this pretty regularly, and it's quite amusing to me, because I can't believe a grown man would spend so much time trying to find something wrong with what I've written

    It's not obsession. You are an influential writer on what I'll term the "free content" side of the "copyright wars." Your writing gets picked up by other blogs and even news outlets and cited as an authority. I think that you do try to be an honest partisan voice on these issues, but you do in fact sometimes use misleading language and/or misstate facts (or write as if supposition has become fact). I understand that you may disagree on what's misleading, but it's not obsession, it's trying to keep the facts straight. For example, many commenters here have sometimes show a very wrong understanding on what copyright even is; information is essential to a reasonable debate, misinformation kills it.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ""suing" makes a lot more sense to most people than "pre-action discovery.""

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to keep this thing going, but I for one don't CARE what makes sense to most people, I want accuracy. There is correct and there is incorrect, and I still think you're incorrect this time. I've seen you admit when you're wrong before, hell everyone's wrong at some point, so I'm not sure what the push back in this instance is for, other than perhaps an emotional response due to the rivalry with Sheffner, who seemse to have an instinct for being annoying. But still, right is right, and wrong is wrong, AND I think that it's more important in this case than you're suggesting (more on that in a second).

    "Theft, however, does not replace infringement in most minds, because the two are different in *significant ways*."

    Well, I'm not sure how you define significant, but the perception and knee-jerk response a lot of folks (myself included) get to the word lawsuit IS significant. I think you'd get a much different reaction out of people in general if instead of saying, "Cohen bizarrely sued Google" it had originally stated "Cohen bizarrely sought pre-action discovery from Google" with never a mention of sue or lawsuit (to your credit, you changed the article, although if you actually thought you weren't incorrect I'm not sure why). Pre-action discovery sounds like some kind of procedural deal; lawsuit carries a greedy or insecure connotation with it.

    "considering your long history disagreeing with me over pretty much everything, it doesn't surprise me that you'd try to read more into this than it is"

    Okay, so what about me? I tend to be rather supportive, I think, and I have a problem with it too. Again, there's right and there is wrong, correct and incorrect, accurate and innacurate. I think that the people that use "theft" instead of "infringe" do so because they know the emotional response they will get with the former. Given your refusal to agree that you were incorrect, coupled with the fact that you've decided to retain the incorrect word striked out in the article, I am forced to wonder if you're doing the same thing.

    And that would be extremely disappointing, because I'd have to revert to one of my old standby lines: no matter which side of a conflict you're on in the modern world, only one thing is certain, and that is that there are no more good guys.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm sorry, I don't mean to keep this thing going, but I for one don't CARE what makes sense to most people, I want accuracy. There is correct and there is incorrect, and I still think you're incorrect this time. I've seen you admit when you're wrong before, hell everyone's wrong at some point, so I'm not sure what the push back in this instance is for

    Yes, I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong, and do so frequently. I'm saying in this case, I'm not actually wrong. According to any common usage, this was a lawsuit. Pretty much every reporter and the dictionary agree.

    The fact that I often admit when I am wrong suggests why I'm pushing back in this case: because I don't think the original verb was wrong. It was accurate.

    Well, I'm not sure how you define significant, but the perception and knee-jerk response a lot of folks (myself included) get to the word lawsuit IS significant. I think you'd get a much different reaction out of people in general if instead of saying, "Cohen bizarrely sued Google" it had originally stated "Cohen bizarrely sought pre-action discovery from Google" with never a mention of sue or lawsuit (to your credit, you changed the article, although if you actually thought you weren't incorrect I'm not sure why). Pre-action discovery sounds like some kind of procedural deal; lawsuit carries a greedy or insecure connotation with it.

    The thing is, the pre-action discovery actually plays down what this really was -- which was dragging Google into court over the privacy of an individual.


    Okay, so what about me? I tend to be rather supportive, I think, and I have a problem with it too


    Understood. I certainly don't expect anyone to agree with me all the time. But I don't think there was anything wrong with the term "sue" in this case. I respect your decision to disagree, but I'm not changing my mind because of it. There was nothing inaccurate in the use of "sue," but I did still change it to ease your concerns.

    Given your refusal to agree that you were incorrect, coupled with the fact that you've decided to retain the incorrect word striked out in the article, I am forced to wonder if you're doing the same thing.

    The use of the strikethrough is what we do whenever we make such a change. It's so people don't think we just "rewrote history." I can point you to previous examples if you want.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The use of the strikethrough is what we do whenever we make such a change. It's so people don't think we just "rewrote history." I can point you to previous examples if you want."

    Nah, I've seen it before, so I'm good. It isn't that big a deal, but while I've seen you strike through innacuracies or changes before, I've NEVER seen you alter a story just to ease some concerns.

    Whatever, agree to disagree, but based on your actions in altering the story, I think your conscience is pinging you.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Note from the common people

    Bravo. Lawyers love to hide behind language, and throw others in front of it. Let's keep it real.

     

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  69.  
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    CrushU, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Tired of Re:

    I'll support Mike's argument here, because he has the dictionary backing him up. "Theft" = "Taking from another, depriving them of that thing which you took." "Infringement" = "Using something of another's without permission, without preventing them from using it as well." Very different.
    "Lawsuit" = "Bringing someone into court to force them to do something they don't want to."
    "Pre-action Discovery" = "Bringing someone into court to force them to reveal information" ... In math we would call that an Element of Sued. :)

    Infringement != Theft, while Pre-Action Discover is an element of the set of Lawsuits. (I'd make that nifty E symbol if I remembered how.)

     

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  70.  
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    AJ, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re:

    obsession is right, he's got a ton of links to Tech Dirt, a play by play on this post, and he loves using your name..... I think he likes you Mike...... :)

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Tired of Re:

    Crush, you're definitions aren't from any dictionary I've every seen.

    For instance, an integral part of the definition of a lawsuit is that it's a civil action.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And he talks about my insistence that the word usage be changed, but fails to mention or credit me by name!

    Fer shame, fer shame...

     

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  73.  
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    AJ, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    Definition..

    Which one...

    Websters online:
    3 a : to seek justice or right from (a person) by legal process; specifically : to bring an action against b : to proceed with and follow up (a legal action) to proper terminationintransitive verb 1 : to make a request or application : plead —usually used with for or to
    2 : to pay court : woo
    3 : to take legal proceedings in court

    Dictionary.com
    1. to institute a process in law against; bring a civil action against: to sue someone for damages.
    2. to woo or court.
    3. Obsolete. to make petition or appeal to.
    –verb (used without object)
    4. to institute legal proceedings, or bring suit: She threatened to sue.

    Thefreedictionary.com
    sue (s)
    v. sued, su·ing, sues
    v.tr.
    1. Law
    a. To petition (a court) for redress of grievances or recovery of a right.

    I could go on, but whats the point?

    Just my opinion, but i think it meets some, if not all of all 3 definitions. So all the back and forth above really is about the persons point of view of the definition of the word. All the arguing is about trying to prove someone wrong (based on what I've seen, he was using the word correctly), not about the intent of the post itself.. but to each his own....

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Definition..

    Fair enough. I was going back to the root word of lawsuit, which is a civil action.

    But all in all, I suppose it ain't that big a thing. I just want to be as tough on the side I agree with as the side I don't.

     

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    senshikaze (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    people, people, can't we all just get a lawn?

    I think we can agree on this:
    Google was being a skank for giving up the blogger's identity, the model was being a skank because, well...,I mean she IS a model, and the blogger was a skank for picking blogspot.
    There. now who else wants to be skank?

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    Re: people, people, can't we all just get a lawn?

    Skank me, and give me a damn good reason...

     

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  77.  
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    lordmorgul, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    Re:

    So by your own argument Port now has a viable reason to sue you for defamation of character, force Techdirt to divulge your identity, and you will not fight such a lawsuit because you feel so strongly that you have no right to say 'anything' and you are responsible for what you say.

    This seems like a win-win situation for both you and Port.

     

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    rockman123 (profile), Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    what the fuck is a skank

    meaning the definition is so ambiguous it has no meaning, how can she sue somebody for calling her a nebulous undefinable adjective, now if port had said, i saw the skank cohen rob the bank in chinatown yesterday - buts what's really cool, is this skank cohen we've been talking about, is she going to sue me, and everybody else on this blog that called her the skankiest of the skank, because shes a skank and i know it because i inferred that deep seated skankness all the way down here deep in the heart texas, or is she just going to change her name to her royal highness skank princess of skanktown

     

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  79.  
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    lordmorgul, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    True. She's good looking.

     

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  80.  
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    lordmorgul, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: poor metaphor

    I would stand by the prior claim that 'men' do not mud wrestle.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2009 @ 10:08pm

    Re: My Thoughts

    Hey, the U.S. has managed to take something simple and turn it into a circus. This is funny stuff, it's good entertainment. It's worth every tax dollar that taxpayers pay for it, this is valuable comedy.

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Aug 25th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Re: poor metaphor

    "Hello, my name is Every Bar On Halsted Street In Chicago...i don't think we've met..."

    Note to self, avoid bars on Halsted Steet. Check.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 25th, 2009 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: poor metaphor

    "Note to self, avoid bars on Halsted Steet. Check"

    Depending on your orientatin, probably a good idea. Let me assure you, you don't want to go biking through there as a straight guy in cycle shorts and an Under Armor shirt: it can be startling.

    Although I suppose the flower I had in my hair probably didn't help, but dammit, I want to be PRETTY!!!

     

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    burns1093307 (profile), Aug 25th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    Outed Blogger Plans To Sue Google; Skank Model Mess Gets Messier

    This whole argument against Cohen suing anyone is an example of the "small penis" defence.

    Bottom line is that Port defamed Cohen so she (Port) deserves all she gets. Cohen couldnt get an apology or a retraction outside of court because Port deliberately hid behind anonymity in order to prevent Cohen from getting one. You say there would have been zero chance of anyone coming across the attack on Cohen if she hadnt sued, but Techdirt had no problem finding out about them didnt it? And could Port justify her comments about Cohen or not?

    Defending your reputation in court is always a gauntlet because the libeller and other malicious onlookers will always use it as an opportunity to repeat the libel and exploit the victim's discomfort for their own personal enjoyment. That doesnt make Cohen wrong for going to court and Google doesnt need Techdirt's help to defend its constitutional rights.

     

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  85.  
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    kip, Aug 25th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    they're not clueless at all

    re: "Cohen and her lawyer seem particularly clueless about how the internet works and how news spreads."

    Actually, I don't think they are clueless at all. They knew that all publicity is good publicity when you are unknown, and filed a ridiculous lawsuit just to get the model's name in the press. They were probably shocked when the judge bought their bogus arguments, and then they dropped the case because they don't really care.

    If your job is to have sex appeal (like a model), having people think you're a skank is probably a good thing (look at Paris Hilton).

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Conspiracy theory

    Just speculating, but this whole thing may be fabricated. These two knew each other beforehand. Might not the whole thing be a scheme to get press and damages planned in advance? Cohen has gotten an unbelievable amount of press and Port might get some money in settlement, so it would be a pretty lucrative deal. Again, just speculating, no facts to back it up.

     

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    iNtrigued (profile), Aug 25th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: looks like they got it

    Zing!

     

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    rockyourbodidharma (profile), Aug 25th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    1st Amendment Anonymity???

    How is anonymity inherent in the First Amendment? I know courts have found that it is illegal to ban distribution of messages simply because they are anonymous - but that does not equate to anonymity being guaranteed in the first amendment. Moreover the First amendment does NOT extend to defamatory, libelous or slanderous speech.
    I am glad she was revealed.

     

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  89.  
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    Anon, Aug 25th, 2009 @ 8:25pm

    Re:

    Actually, they have a picture of Port on cnn.com: Click Here

    If that's a fat ugly chick to you... you gotta be blind.

    I don't think anyone should be sued over name calling. This is all just imature. Maybe both should just have a time out of something.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    Sorry to pile on, but I agree you really should just admit you were wrong about Google being "sued" and have done.

    It's a BIG difference, because Google was not, and was never contemplated by Cohen to be, the defendant in the defamation case Cohen was considering (and decided not to file). It was in the posture of a WITNESS with evidence necessary to establish the identity of the putative defendant.

    Sure, witnesses get "hauled into court" sometimes when they do not voluntarily divulge information. (It's often a smart move when they want to protect themselves, and that's what appears to be the case here; Google's anonymity agreement with Port stated that it WOULD divulge her identity if ordered by a court). That doesn't make them DEFENDANTS and it is flat out wrong to say they are being "SUED."

    I'm sorry to pile on, but I think this site is important and I don't want you to lose credibility through sloppiness or stubbornness.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous forever, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 12:27am

    "Just because you have a right to free speech, doesn't mean you can say anything."

    Uh YES it does! That IS free speech. If you can be punished for saying something that isn't "nice" or pc you don't have free speech. Free speech can't be abused, except by stifling it. People really don't understand free speech anymore.

    And in times of limited freedom such as the colonial prerevolutionary period in the US or the political correctness of today, the anonymity of the internet provides the last bastion of free speech. For example both Common Sense and The Federalist Papers were written anonymously.

    Shame those patriots died for a "Don't be mean" moron such as yourself.

    You gonna sue me for that? (Funny you're moniker is anonymous too.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nonsense. Rosemary Port is the skankiest skank of the lot. It just doesn't get any skankier.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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