Guy Sues Wikipedia & Craigslist For $1 Billion Because (He Claims) He Found Nudity On Both

from the pro-se-me dept

Admittedly, most pro se lawsuits (filed by an individual, without a lawyer) are complete junk -- and on any given day you can find some really silly lawsuits. But sometimes they're worth highlighting anyway, just for how amusing they can be. Eric Goldman alerts us to the following lawsuit, filed by one Russell Dan Smith, arguing that both Craigslist and Wikipedia should be barred from being available in the state of South Carolina, and that each should be forced to pay $500 million, with half going to the state of South Carolina (might help with the budget) and half going to Russell Dan Smith (might help with the monthly payments he has to make on his $10,000 Puma camper).

What, you might ask, should force both sites to be blocked in the great state of South Carolina, as well pay up a billion dollars, combined? According to Mr. Smith, both sites "have been and still do openly promote child prostitution and the distribution of child pornography." Also, "both defendants also promote adult prostitution and nudity designed to excite prurient interests in the people viewing it." How does Mr. Smith know this? Because, he notes, he discovered such things on both sites, but "not intentionally." You see, "the pictures came to him by way of his surfing defendants' websites for valid non-pornographic purposes." You see, "plaintiff does not and does not want to view such nudity as heretofore described." Understood, of course. And "for allowing such nudity of children and adults to be seen by those who do not want to see it, both defendants are liable of attempting to lure other persons to share in this crime."

Mr. Smith also highlights the fact that Craigslist sued South Carolian Attorney General Henry McMaster -- a lawsuit that was tossed out, but is being appealed. He claims that "there is a probability shown by the preponderance of the evidence that defendant Craigslist was a criminal organization suing the Attorney General of the State of South Carolina for no other reason than that the State had been investigating the organization and intended therefore to paralyze by fear of further action." Of course, as covered in detail at the time, McMaster had been threatening to put Craigslist execs in jail, for actions of its users -- actions clearly protected under Section 230 of the CDA, which other courts have highlighted. Craigslist's offensive lawsuit was not to "sue McMaster," so much as to get a declaratory judgment that it had done nothing wrong, so as to stop McMaster from continued grandstanding.

As one final point, it does seem worth pointing out that, on the documents filed, there is a note reading that "frivolous civil proceedings may be subject to sanctions...." Seems worth pointing out...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Here's an idea: If you don't like the content of a site don't go there.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Re:

    But God told me I was going to Hell if I didn't at least attempt to profit from ridiculous claims of someone else's supposed moral corruption! How will I afford decent real estate in Heaven if I don't store up treasures for myself on earth?

     

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

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:01pm

    for the children

    where is all this child prostitution I keep hearing about on craigslist? This guy claims to find it by accident, and I can't even find it when I'm looking for it. Oh, ummm, I mean, for researching a paper on that sort of thing.

     

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  4.  
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    DogBreath, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Lawsuits from crazies

    Quick, someone do a records check to see if Johnathan Lee Riches got an early release and changed his name to Russell Dan Smith.

     

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  5.  
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    Pickle Monger (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Say, what?

    Russell Dan Smith? Of the "Extraterrestrials and Sex" fame?
    What, you might ask, should force both sites to be blocked in the great state of South Carolina, as well pay up a billion dollars, combined?
    Probably because they can afford it, being extraterrestrials and all...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Grant Woodward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Oh, SC

    You know, I actually like living here. It's a beautiful state, and the Upstate's got a lot of smart, successful folks. Which naturally means that it's only idiots like Mr. Smith here that get the attention.

     

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  7.  
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    TheStupidOne, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Nudity on Both

    I've found nudity on craigslist, even pornography. I can't recall if I've seen any on wikipedia, but I'm sure I can. I bet I can even find under 18 yo boobies on there. Strangely though in both cases the company in question can't be blamed (safe harbors and all) and since the illegal activities in question would constitute a tiny fraction of the activity on each site then clearly someone should just grow up

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Just wait until this guy finds out about GIS...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: for the children

    Welcome to the FBI watchlist AC.

     

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

  10.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    OMG!!!

    Nudity on the internet? Can't be.

     

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

  11.  
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    Gregory Kohs (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    One day...

    While this particular case may be a lost cause, I think it's pretty clear that the pendulum is swinging back the other way from Section 230 provisions, as people begin to see how irresponsible websites can become about user-generated content, when you take away punishment for not behaving responsibly.

    Anyway, the Wikimedia Foundation really ought to be sued, but not for this. Rather, they should be sued for the sweetheart contracts they hand out, no-bid style, to corporations that favor their own staff and trustees. (It's called "self-dealing", and thus far the WMF does a fairly good job of deflecting attention away from it, but it is an ingrained practice there.)

     

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  12.  
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    Pickle Monger (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: One day...

    Wikimedia Foundation is neither a public company nor a part of US gov't. Why should they be sued for the way they award the contracts unless it violates prior contractual obligations?

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    There's at least one nude underage girl on Wikipedia (it was a controversial album cover), and there used to be an erect horse penis somewhere. I'm surprised this is the first time they've been sued for it.

     

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  14.  
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    Dishevel, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Oh, SC

    You AG got some face time as well.

     

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  15.  
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    interval (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    This can't be a real suite...

    Suing because you found adult content somewhere on a website is ridiculous enough. But no one seems to be pointing out the obvious: 1 BILLION DOLLARS? There's no way anyone is taking this seriously.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Oh yes, and there's poor Linu Medina.

     

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  17.  
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    Lilburne, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    To be fair to the guy

    There is an awful lot of childporn uploaded on wikipedia, and a large number of active editors defending the right to hold it there.

    Additionally the large and ever increasing number of porn images spill out all over wikimedia commons. Try searching for 'furniture' here:
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    and you are no more than a couple of clicks away from extreme porn content.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Rick, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Whats Sad

    Is this dumb you know what will more then likely win, maybe not as much as he is asking for but I bet he wins something. Guess its time for me to go find my retirement law suit somewhere on the web, I am tired of working now.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Ryan Diederich, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    Dont forget.

    Nude images of children arent neccesarily child pornography.

    Those such as Linu Medina are scientific in nature, and dont count for that.

    Craigslist may actually have child pornography on it, but Craigslist isnt reliable.

    I think I might sue McMaster. You see, onI saw that there was a child pornography bust in South Carolina. McMaster shouldnt be allowing this sort of thing to happen.

     

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  20.  
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    Chad, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    It's kind of odd for someone to do this. He only makes $750/month? Sounds schizophrenic already.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re:

    This is an example of disorganized behavior in a man who receives SSI. He filled out the form completely which implies he actually believes what he's doing. Lot, computer. $100 in checking, $30 on hand... probably going to the liquor store right after submitting it.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    "..nudity designed to excite prurient interests in the people viewing it."

    Are you kidding? Someone needs to drop this guy off at the nearest topless club. He's WAY overdue for a visit there.
    ;D

     

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  23.  
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    RandomGuy (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    Better add Google to the list too.

    Hell, why not just sue "the internet"?

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 7:17pm

    Re: To be fair to the guy

    Why do think the net was born?

    Porn porn porn!

     

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

  25.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    There is nudity on the internets?

    I demand to see it now! o_O

     

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

  26.  
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    apple repair new orleans, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 9:23pm

    This guy is thinking small time...

    If successful, this guy will be the world's first trillionaire. He has he whole INTERNET to sue...

     

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  27.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 10:32pm

    Re: One day...

    "people begin to see how irresponsible websites can become about user-generated content"

    How does that even make sense in your mind? User-generated content is the responsibly of the USER not the WEBSITE. The reason section 230 exists is to codify simple logic.


    "Rather, they should be sued for the sweetheart contracts they hand out, no-bid style, to corporations that favor their own staff and trustees. (It's called "self-dealing", and thus far the WMF does a fairly good job of deflecting attention away from it, but it is an ingrained practice there.)"

    {{Citation Needed}}

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 12:34am

    Re: One day...


    While this particular case may be a lost cause, I think it's pretty clear that the pendulum is swinging back the other way from Section 230 provisions, as people begin to see how irresponsible websites can become about user-generated content, when you take away punishment for not behaving responsibly.


    This makes no sense. There already is punishment for websites not behaving responsibly - it's codified into the law. There are certain policies a site has to enforce in order to maintain its safe harbor, including responding to DMCA takedown notices, and probably a few other things as well (registering?). I personally have yet to see this pendulum you're speaking of, so please share any examples you might have that don't involve grandstanding politicians.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    hmmm, Nov 23rd, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    remove the images...

    replace images of "horse-penis.jpg" with a picture of this guy filing the lawsuit.....hilarity abounds!!!

     

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

  30.  
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    Merlin, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 4:24am

    Sue Guy

    Can I sue that Guy? Because his sue made me interesting in Wikipedia and now I suffer :(

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Jo, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 1:34am

    Re: One day...

    Wikipedia should be sued for being awesome, phenomenally successful and generally great.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Jo, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 1:34am

    Re: One day...

    Wikipedia should be sued for being awesome, phenomenally successful and generally great.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Nudity on Both

    I'm absolutely certain you can find under-18 boobies on Wikipedia. Even discounting the illustrations on "Blue-Footed Booby", both Wikipedia and the law understand that there is a difference between "medical illustration" and "child pornography".

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    If this were for real there would be jail time

    If these sites weren't making every reasonable effort to follow the law then someone would be under arrest by now.

    If this person hasn't forwarded his evidence to the police or to the people he's suing so the problem can be fixed, he's morally if not legally an accessory.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Russell Dan Smith, Dec 24th, 2010 @ 6:38pm

    Court case

    I cannot comment on an open case, except as follows:
    The state court bumped the case up to the Federal court and joindered it to a class-action case in Charleston, SC.

    My regards to the begging head of Wikipedia, who started this whole thing. He will not be rid of me anytime soon. He had best watch his p's and q's, since I'm watching to grab him at every point.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Russell Dan Smith, Dec 27th, 2010 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward: I do not drink alcoholic beverages, and only a very few sodas. I take 32 pills daily to maintain both my mental and physical condition. I do not use illegal drugs. I drink several pints of water daily to assist in the necessary in absorption off the lithium I took.
    In 1980 when I was released from the US Penitentiary, Leavenworth, KS, I formed People Organized to Stop Rape of Imprisoned People (POSRIP); that was later incorporated as Stop Prisoner Rape, and which is now Just Detention International. I am now the author of several books. Still, I am a truly vindictive individual ala galore. The person on Hardforum who threatened to murder me should think about saying such things, since the website would be responsible for pathetic threats.
    Anyway, you now have plenty of information to research and find to be extraordinarily truthful.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    john lagrone, Feb 6th, 2013 @ 1:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You sir are a damn loser

     

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


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