What Is Ron Paul Thinking? Sues To Unmask Anonymous Internet Users
from the perhaps-he-doesn't-get-the-internet-so-much... dept
And really, that should be it. However, for whatever reason, the Paul campaign has now filed a lawsuit in the federal courts, in the Northern California district, seeking to identify whoever created and uploaded the video -- alleging trademark infringement and defamation. Even more ridiculous is that he's filed for expedited discovery to try to unmask those uploaders quickly. This is all sorts of bizarre and not particularly smart. It also seems to go against a bunch of Paul's main points -- including his belief in state's rights over federal (he's suing in federal court, not state court, using some questionable theories) and his support of the First Amendment -- which, many courts have pointed out, includes the right to speak anonymously.
Even more specifically, on the actual details of the lawsuit it's difficult to see how this is a trademark claim in any way, since it's questionable how this is a "use in commerce" (necessary for trademark law). Second, the defamation claim is just bizarre. As a public figure, the bar for defamation is crazy high -- and he'd likely have to prove that the video was made maliciously to make him look bad. That seems like a massively high hurdle, since it's just as likely that some clueless/ignorant people made the video thinking it would help him. But, on top of that, is just putting his name on a dumb and offensive video -- without ever suggesting he was directly associated with it -- even defamation in the first place? Hell, if anyone has a defamation claim here (and I don't think anyone does) it would be Huntsman.
Finally, what good does filing this lawsuit do? I can't figure out any conceivable argument under which filing the lawsuit makes sense. Not only is it on questionable legal theories and contrary to his core statements on Constitutional support, but it also simply calls more attention to the offensive video and brings the story back into the news cycle, after he's been trying to distance himself from it. No doubt, the video is stupid, but this lawsuit may be even dumber.