by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
blogs, copyright, defamation, horror, reviews


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

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  • icon
    Robert Ring (profile), 5 Mar 2010 @ 10:55am

    Small correction

    (Actually, it's Gorezone.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Poster, 5 Mar 2010 @ 10:56am

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

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

  • identicon
    yozoo, 5 Mar 2010 @ 10:59am


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

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

  • identicon
    duncan, 5 Mar 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.

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

    • identicon
      vyvyan, 5 Mar 2010 @ 11:50am


      ...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 chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 5 Mar 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!

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

  • identicon
    Hymie, 5 Mar 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?

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

  • identicon
    Fushta, 5 Mar 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.

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

  • identicon
    Ben, 5 Mar 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, 5 Mar 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

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

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


    NO cause in your own words your saying it was an opinion.
    thats the mucky part of 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

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

  • identicon
    Peter H. Coffin, 6 Mar 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jonthecelt, 22 Apr 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


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

  • identicon
    toni, 6 Jul 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

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

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