Horror Blogger Threatened With Defamation And Copyright Lawsuits After Writing An Open Letter To Horror Magazine

from the now-that's-horrifying dept

It's amazing how some people seem to think that basic criticism is defamatory. We recently wrote about how the editor of a journal that published a review of a legal book is now facing a defamation lawsuit in France, even though the book review was just a typical book review (and only slightly negative). Now, Robert Ring points us to the news of a "horror" blogger who wrote a somewhat critical "open letter" to the horror magazine Gorezone, complaining about the apparent grammar and spelling problems in the magazine combined with what the blogger felt was rather sexist content. Frankly, the open letter isn't even that critical. It's one blogger's opinion with some constructive criticism.

In response, however, after the blogger's comments were flooded with angry responses (allegedly a bunch all came from the same IP address, which is connected with Gorezone), Gorezone threatened legal action for both defamation and copyright infringement. Apparently, this would be in the UK, where (as we know all too well) defamation laws are pretty ridiculous. Even so, it's difficult to see how anything in the original post is libelous. As for the copyright infringement, the blogger had used (but has since taken down) an image of a recent cover of Gorezone to prove his point. It's difficult to see how this would be considered infringement as well, as the blog post was clearly commenting on the image, and certainly wasn't competing with Gorezone. Of course, again, this is UK law, but there is the concept of fair use/fair dealing in the UK, and it's difficult to see how this wouldn't be covered.

As the link above suggests, this sounds like a SLAPP situation, where the magazine doesn't like the criticism it's received, and its response is to threaten the blogger to try to bully him into taking down the content. We see this all too often, and it's why the world needs more anti-SLAPP protections and laws.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Robert Ring (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Small correction

    (Actually, it's Gorezone.)

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    That's a rather dick move on Gorezine's part.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Small correction

    Oops. Fixed. Thanks!

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    yozoo, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Geee

    If you could sue over people correcting your grammar and spelling misstakes, Mike would be in court all the time!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    duncan, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    I was reading the comments, and would like to quote from one from Bryn Hammond (of Gorezone magazine)

    "Thanks for the comments Dangerous Jamie but you no what 424,000 readers disagree."

    lol now I KNOW what Dangerous Jamie was going on about.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Geee

    I think you mean mistakes.

     

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  7.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Weird, I actually know this guy in a way - a regular over at the Frightfest forums (related to a festival I regularly attend). Never thought that my interests in horror and Techdirt would coincide!

     

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  8.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Small correction

    No problem. I try not to be too pedantic.

     

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

  9.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Geee

    irony, (noun) ...

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    vyvyan, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Re:

    ...and there goes 424,000 readers membership down the drain. The editors of the mag have now sealed there fate by filing that lawsuit.

    TechDirt is yellow page listing of dumb people in no particular order. :)

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    vyvyan, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re:

    err... their fate.
    and spelling mistake is a contagious disease.

     

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  12.  
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    Hymie, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    I can Hardly wait

    It's going to be really interesting when the 'Movie producers' start suing the movie critics that slam their movies and blame the critics for poor box office and a loss of revenue from the movie. Never mind whether the movie is actually good or bad. I wonder what would happen if I published the fact that I thought a some movie "sex symbol" was homely and not my idea of sexy and wouldn't bed her on a bet. Would that leave me open to this kind of suit?

     

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  13.  
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    Fushta, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    We all make mistakes, but...

    We all make mistakes, but what makes a person/company/etc truly stand-up is how they make up for those mistakes. Mike points out all the time about companies that use these SLAPP tactics to try to remove negative "press" about them. All they have to do is man-up, and fix the problem. At the end of the day, they will be much better off fixing their problems than trying to bury them.

     

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  14.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Re: I can Hardly wait

    "blame the critics for poor box office and a loss of revenue from the movie"

    IIRC, they tried to blame Ain't It Cool News for the failure of Batman & Robin back in 1997...

     

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  15.  
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    Comboman (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: I can Hardly wait

    I don't know of any law suits, but 20th Century Fox once banned Siskel & Ebert from advanced screenings because they gave a bad review to "Nuns on the Run". For those too young to remember, yes, the movie really did suck.

     

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  16.  
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    Josh (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    >and spelling mistake is a contagious disease

    and spelling mistakes are a contagious disease
    fixed

    So, apparently, are grammer mistakes. :P

     

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  17.  
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    Josh (profile), Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Re: I can Hardly wait

    That depends, which sex symbol are we talking about?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Ben, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    You want libelous slander?

    Just say that the management of the magazine are a bunch of weenie wagging pedophile butthole bandits who can't spell and sniff their momma's drawers!

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    >and spelling mistakes are a contagious disease

    If you're gonna do the grammar, do it proper! (not a mouse-stake)

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: I can Hardly wait

    Like a Hoover on overdrive it did.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    grammer nazis = mpaa / riaa shills thread jacking BEWARE

    yup thats you
    yup thats you trolls
    and yes if i want to mispel and right all funny and wrogn are you old enough to decipher mylanguage yat.

    GUESS if it drives you crazy i will now stop fixing all spelling mistakes JUST TO annoy you cause its FUN

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    @Hymie

    NO cause in your own words your saying it was an opinion.
    thats the mucky part of it.it has to cause harm to reputtion as a falsehood

    SO you'd take a poll and if the majority said it sucked you could be right.
    WHICH is why i dont listen to movie critics

    i thought avatar actually sucked.
    AND i do not like having to buy 3d googles to watch anyhting or buy into technology that does this irritating bull crap

    thats an opinion
    NOT saying that they used sub standard actors and sub standard sets and the director is a child molester.
    OF which a lot is actually false.

    SEE the differance

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Panoptes, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 8:52pm

    Touched

    To be really pedantic, spelling mistakes are an infectious disease.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    srsly, Mar 6th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > So, apparently, are grammer mistakes

    That would be spelled "grammar", not "grammer".

    "Grammer" is a pet name for ones' grandmother.

    Pedantically yours,

    Pedantophile

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Peter H. Coffin, Mar 6th, 2010 @ 11:03am

    UK, eh?

    It'll be interesting to see how far this goes in the "loser pays legal costs" UK court system...

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Jonthecelt, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    A little late to the party...

    I'm a little late to the party here, but just wanted to throw my tuppenorth in...

    Firstly, a moment of context - I'm a regular GoreZone reader, contributor to the forums (fora? if we're being sticklers...) on their site, and consider myself friends to several of the staff after meeting them at last year's filmfest. That said, I am not going to rush unquestioningly to their defence...

    Having read both the original blog (plus comments), and the GoreZone management's open response to the blog, it's my understanding that something very odd was happening. DangerousJamie discovered that many of the aggressive, apparently pro-GZ posters were all sending their messages from the same IP address, and concluded that they were all staff for the magazine. The trouble is, that several of the claimed IDs from that IP address were not staffers for the magazine, but regular readers and posters to the GZ forums, whose namesake were seemingly being used by person or persons unknown. Bryn Hammond, the editor-in-chief of GZ magazine, has stated categorically that these posts did NOT come from their offices, and can prove that their IP address is quite different. It is because of this defamation of character (posters claiming to be himself and other members of the GZ forums), rather than the original blog, which led to Bryn asking that the whole thing be shut down and removed. And it is because this request has been denied, and the writer of the blog persists in claiming that it was Bryn and fellow staffers who wrote those antagonistic "flames", that he is seeking legal advice.

    Without wishing to sound like I'm teaching anyone here to suck eggs, isn't it worth checking out both sides of a story - or trying to obtain as many facts as possible - before reporting it as news? It's somethng I felt I had to do before writing this comment: the last thing I wanted to do was leap to Bryn's defence if he HAD done something I would consider in bad form.

    Anyway, that's me done. Just felt I needed to redress the balance here and clarify a few points.

    Be happy

    Jonthecelt

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    toni, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 2:26am

    I'm being threatened with a suit for defamation for a blog I wrote about a UK finance company.
    Being threatened with a suit is a very NOT-fun experience.
    I don't know if they'll carry it out.
    I'm trying to find anything I can about the outcome of these types of suits if they ever reach court.
    I've come across 4 so far which were all settled out of court.
    Does anyone know what happened with this one??

    ps blog is welbeckwealth.wordpress.com

     

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


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