Sites Fight Back On Baseless Legal Threats

from the good-for-them dept

In the past year and a half, Techdirt has received five or six threats of legal action for things written on the site (one time we even received two completely separate legal threats on the same day — which actually was quite confusing). None of these went very far, as a quick review of every situation showed they were baseless. In every case, the threats involved statements (usually in the comments) that someone didn’t want to be out there, but which were clearly perfectly legal. What most of those doing the threatening failed to realize was that if legal action was taken, the first thing that would happen would be a public discussion of what was happening — meaning a random comment from years ago on the site that no one looked at any more, would suddenly get a lot more attention (see: Streisand, Barbara). Anyway, it looks like more sites (especially in the blog realm) are learning not to freak out every time they get a cease & desist letter, but to push back, and even publicize the threats. At some point, lawyers will wise up and realize that baseless legal threats, with the hope that the legalese will scare a non-lawyer, have a very high likelihood of backfiring in a big way.

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Comments on “Sites Fight Back On Baseless Legal Threats”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:


Can you countersue the individuals for violating laws of barratry (The offense of persistently instigating lawsuits, typically groundless ones)?

I would think that every time you get one of those letters you have to at least take the time to read, consider the legal implications, etc. and that has to take up your valuable time.

If the person doesn’t actually sue you, then they have just wasted your valuable time and should be financially responsible for doing so.

There is a *big* difference between some random idiot shouting “Hey, I’m going to sue you!” and a lawyer or other legal entity sending you a written message specifying that they are starting legal proceedings…

eskayp says:

Legalistic extortion/censorship

IANAL, but most readers would like to know WHO is threatening to sue about WHAT, and WHY our news site thinks it is baseless, wrong, silly, and/or self serving.
If you can post those facts, you can add us to the growing list of enemies the plaintiff has brought upon him/her self.
The problem then is with those sad individuals and corporations whose self esteem grows in proportion to the hatred felt toward them: Adolf Hitler, Daryl McBride, MicroSoft, et al.

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