Author Sues Half The Internet For Defamation, Copyright Infringement, Cyberbullying, Use Of Section 230

from the WRONGED-UNIMAGINABLY-WRONGED dept

Why settle for copyright infringement accusations when you can have it all? That seems to be pro se filer Michael Henry Smith's rationale. Apparently, his self-published fictional account of the Waco biker/cop shootout hasn't racked up as many sales as he believes it should. And now, the Internet must pay.

MICHAEL HENRY SMITH, Plaintiff

Vs.


ALPHABET INC., AMAZON.COM, ATTRACTSOFT GMBH, AUTOMATTIC/GRAVATAR, BEAM.TO, BESSEMER VENTURE PARTNERS, BOX/BOX, INC/OPEN BOX/MEDXT, COATUE MANAGEMENT, DFJ GROWTH, EZINECENTRE, FACEBOOK, FREEHOSTINGEU, GENERAL ATLANTIC, GOOGLE, ITOCHU TECHNOLOGY VENTURES, MACNICA NETWORKS USA, INC., MITSUI & CO, MY SOCIAL HUB XP, NEW ENTERPRISE ASSOCIATES, SAP VENTURES, SCALE VENTURE PARTNERS, SOCIAL + CAPITAL PARTNERSHIP, TELEFONICA DIGITAL, TELSTRA, AND TELSTRA VENTURES, TPG CAPITAL and TUCOWS INC.
Bring on the "defendants shielded by aliases!"
ALA KID, LONG DONG, JIMBO KING, CINDY LOU, BRIANNA NATFIALY, LONG JOHN, NUKE DUKEM, PETER WILL HARDEN, CAPTAIN SPRAWLING, CAPTAIN SPAULDING, THEREAL MIKESMITH, THEREAL MIKESMITH1ER.
Smith has filed this case under multiple causes. PACER lists it under both "Copyright Infringement" and "Assault, Libel and Slander.".

That's not enough, though. Smith alleges a host of wrongs.

LAWSUIT FOR THE THEFT AND DISSEMINATION OF MY INTELECTUAL PROPERTY, FOR CYBER BULLYING, CYBER STALKING, CYBER HARASSMENT, LIABLE, SLANDER AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER, THE USE OF HATE LANGUAGE IN THE PURSUIT OF THESE ACTIONS and/or FOR PROVIDING A SAFE HAVEN THE DEFENDNATS CONDUCTING OF THESE ACTIVITIES and/or FOR FAILING TO PROTECT MY WORKS FROM THESE ACTIVITIES
Following this is the meat of the complaint, most of which is composed of allegations copy-pasted under each defendant's name. Amazon receives a little more personal attention because that's where Smith's saga begins.

Smith self-published his book ("The Waco Biker Massacre") using Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing. "Within weeks," his book was available elsewhere on the web and he was allegedly being subjected to personal attacks from a variety of internet ruffians. I've lapsed into archaic slang as a gentle segue into Smith's depiction of his fortunes, post-Amazon upload.
As of today,it is my estimation that some 100,000 copies of my work have been distributed without my receiving a single Sioux in compensation.
As a nation, we've long since moved to paper currency. The backing of our currency by government stores of precious metals/Native Americans is but a dim memory. Smith is demanding well over 100 million dollars/Sioux, but only the former is actually possible to obtain here in the US. Smith notes the lack of Sioux has pushed back Volume 2's release date indefinitely.

From there, the allegations against each tech defendant are remarkably similar… and remarkably unhinged. Every defendant has allegedly encouraged the proliferation of child pornography, earning "hundereds of millions of dollars" in the process -- all the while refusing to hand over personal details on their users to Smith. In Smith's view, the Internet is all mobbed up.
One of those industries is the theft and distribution of my intellectual properties. Some of the others are the aforementioned sites that solicit children for exploitation and the distribution of child pornography. This defendant makes hundreds of millions of dollars hosting criminal enterprlses; every year.

In my endeavors to stop the proliferation of the illegal distribution of my works and the personal attacks on me personally, I have contacted these various entities and their sub-entities to obtain the identities of the criminals behind the theft and distribution of my works and to petition these hosting services to stop distributing my works. This defendant and its sub-entities and aliases has refused. They invoke the Internet Omerta.
And so on for most of the defendants: theft, child porn, hundreds of millions of dollars, Internet Omerta, etc. A few defendants receive their own special accusations, though. Like Facebook:
Facebook is a corporation and online social networking service. It also harbors criminals and cyber predators.
Smith seems most upset at the fact that Facebook -- like many of the other defendants -- won't just hand over user info without a court order. Somehow, this is viewed as wrong.
Just as all of the other defendants, similarly situated, it refuses to take definitive action; or reveal the identities of the other cyber criminals; unless I bring it into court and then that they receive a court order to disclose the identities of these other criminals.
With this added detail, it is now apparent that "Internet Omerta" actually means "will only comply with a lawful requests like a court orders, not the angry, ranting email/messages of some random dude on the internet."

In the end, it all comes down to money. Lots of it. The child porn pandering. The cyberbullying. The copyright infringement. It all adds up.
The minimum retail value of a copy of my short story is $3.99. The maximum retail value of a copy of my short story is $9.99. None of that includes the bonuses and awards for selling 100,000 copies of my work. None of that includes the notoriety for the work that could have garnered it recognition from a movie/television company that would have led to even more income. The personal stress and anxiety and physical injuries that I have suffered as a result of this continuous onslaught of cyber bullying, cyber stalking, liable, slander and defamation of character, and being subjected to hate speech is nearly unquantifiable.
Nearly "unquantifiable:"
For all of the foregoing I am requesting that this Honorable Court direct this action to a trial before a jury. That upon the finding of the jury in my favor that this Honorable Court direct the defendants to pay me $1,000,000.00 each for my losses, damages, pun, suffering, emotional distress and harms to my life. That is with the exception of the defendants BEAM.TO and MY SOCIAL HUP XP. That these vagabond defendants be held liable to me for the amount of $100,000,000.00.
As a majority of these parties are protected by Section 230, it looks like this case is going nowhere -- even if Smith had managed to state a coherent claim, which he has not. I can understand Smith's concern about copyright infringement and the harassment he's apparently experienced. (The exhibits contain two screenshots of accounts attacking him. They also contain two screenshots supposedly showing Beam.To's participation in child pornography distribution, but only actually show normal Google search results and a splash ad for a [legal] porn site. The abuse seems to have been a reaction to Smith's habit of showing up anywhere the Waco shootout is discussed and plugging his book/calling other people liars.) But making outlandish claims and demands won't put any more cash in your pocket. From the looks of it, it may not even put anymore filings on this docket… at least not from Michael Smith.

A one-page order added to the docket suggests the judge is either going to ask for a full rewrite of the complaint or try to talk Smith out of pursuing this woefully misguided lawsuit.
This cause shall come before the undersigned on March 21, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., for a pretrial conference in Courtroom 3A, United States Courthouse, Mobile, Alabama. Plaintiff is ORDERED to appear for the pretrial conference for the purpose of inquiring about Plaintiff’s complaint filed on February 26, 2016.
I may be reading too much into a two-sentence order, but it seems unlikely Judge William Cassady is formally inviting ordering Smith to his courtroom to congratulate him on the gutsiness of his opening salvo on Google, Amazon, et al.




Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Michael, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:45am

    direct the defendants to pay me $1,000,000.00 each for my losses, damages, pun, suffering, emotional distress and harms to my life

    I have to agree that his "damages" and "suffering" are a bit of a pun.

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

  • identicon
    Jason, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:46am

    "Liable"

    Funny.

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

  • identicon
    ryuugami, 18 Mar 2016 @ 9:51am

    ALA KID, LONG DONG, JIMBO KING, CINDY LOU, BRIANNA NATFIALY, LONG JOHN, NUKE DUKEM, PETER WILL HARDEN, CAPTAIN SPRAWLING, CAPTAIN SPAULDING, THEREAL MIKESMITH, THEREAL MIKESMITH1ER.

    Is it just me, or are most of these just aliases for penis? Heh, "Peter Will Harden" *snicker*

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:01am

    Man identifying himself as Mike Smith demands personal information about internet users with pseudonyms.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:05am

    Well just Thank God he didn't Sue the other half of The Internet. Those Omnicromnions are nasty customers, oh yes. Nasty customers indeed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      > Those Omnicromnions are nasty customers, oh yes. Nasty customers indeed.

      Not half so bad as their Omnicrominions...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:09am

    Sioux ... I think he meant

    sou - n 1. a former French coin of low denomination

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

  • icon
    AricTheRed (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:20am

    There's a couple of times I've wanted to be a fly on the wall...

    There's a couple of times I've wanted to be a fly on the wall...

    Two come to mind at the moment:

    1) When Jennifer Lawrence was shooting those selfies that got leaked (actually I wish she was texting them to me not the fly thing... but any way.)

    2) The "pretrial conference" between Michael Henry Smith (aka one of the top 100 dumbest voluntary litigants) and Judge Cassady (aka hopefully one mildly patient jurist.)

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

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:23am

    That Guy...

    Amazon says it's published by "That Guy" and "Why should you buy this book?" in the description says "Well it is an instant collector’s item..." and apparently owning this book gives you cred for being a "true believer" in what is billed as FICTION.

    What?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:55am

      Re: That Guy...

      "Well it is an instant collector’s item..."
      OK, I want to see how this collection of bits will be dated and priced on Antiques Roadshow! Will the authentication process require provenance to show that it was purchased on Amazon rather than from 'Billy Bobs Child Pornography Studio and Pirate Ebook Site'? Will the bits deteriorate with age and require restoration?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:25am

    Ah, the classic 'Spaghetti Offense'

    Wherein you throw everything possible at the wall(or court) in hopes that something will stick.

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:27am

    ALA KID, LONG DONG, JIMBO KING, CINDY LOU, BRIANNA NATFIALY, LONG JOHN, NUKE DUKEM, PETER WILL HARDEN, CAPTAIN SPRAWLING, CAPTAIN SPAULDING, THEREAL MIKESMITH, THEREAL MIKESMITH1ER.

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

  • icon
    yankinwaoz (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 10:37am

    Is this common?

    I don't work in law. But I suspect that receiving nonsense lawsuits filed by nutters with the flimsiest grasp on reality is normal for court clerks.

    I suspect that the clerks also have a protocol that filters these out these suite to prevent them from clogging up court resources.

    The only reason this suit makes TechDirt is because the list of defendants is many large Internet companies.

    Perhaps the courts should require that lawyer must file any suits. And that they lawyer could be disbarred for filing nonsense.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:45am

      Re: Is this common?

      I suspect that the clerks also have a protocol that filters these out these suite to prevent them from clogging up court resources.


      I doubt it. If the guy files it and pays the fee, then it's pretty much going to the judge. Clerks aren't empowered to filter out claims they think are groundless.

      A claim like this is going to have at least a couple hundred dollars in filing fees - surely that can pay for an hour of the judge's time to deny it.

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

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 3:01pm

      Re: Is this common?

      The AC on Mar 18th, 2016 @ 11:45am dealt with your first concern well enough but, I think your second point deserves countering even more. There are already some who think that the BAR has too much of a stranglehold on our justice system. I don't fall that far on the conspiracy spectrum but, I also don't think it's a good idea to separate the people further from the ability to file suits in the courts than they already are. If you can afford the filing costs and fill out the forms competently, then you should be allowed to file a lawsuit. If it's frivolous then the judge can toss it out.

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

  • identicon
    That Guy?, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:22am

    Check out the reviews on his book on Amazon. It looks like the comments were all written by the same person, which I suspect they were.

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

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:22am

    Capt ICE Enforcer words

    I feel left out why isn't he suing me am I not good enough for him. Somebody give me his contact information I'm going to sue him for defamation and being a jerk face.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 11:54am

    Internet Omerta

    I gotta give him credit for coming up with The Internet Omertà. He should trademark that and try selling T-Shirts and caps.

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

  • identicon
    DogBreath, 18 Mar 2016 @ 12:43pm

    It could have been worse...

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 1:27pm

    Possible reasons the court ORDERED him to appear?

    Speculation.

    It is very likely, that there is some mathematically greater than zero probability that the court is having him appear in order to give him everything he asks for without the nuisance of involving the other parties he is suing.

    What are the chances?
    /s

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

  • icon
    madasahatter (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 2:09pm

    Which is better

    Which work of fiction is better his "book" or "lawsuit"?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 3:04pm

      Re: Which is better

      I think the question would be better posed as: Which is more entertaining? I'm voting for the lawsuit, and I haven't read the book.

      I wonder if it would have had any sale value if he hadn't released it in an open venue?

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 2:31pm

    Something something state of mental health care in this country in light of the entitlement culture.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2016 @ 5:18pm

    Seems to me the judge may want to gauge the guy's mental stability in person with a filing like this one. A psych evaluation on whether this guy is a harmless kook or actually a threat to himself or others seems in order. A handful of these conspiracy nuts can get violent if their demands are ignored/denied.

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

  • icon
    Gwiz (profile), 18 Mar 2016 @ 5:26pm

    I guess we know what happened to OOTB now.

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

  • identicon
    RR, 18 Mar 2016 @ 6:09pm

    Seems smart to me

    The court fees are much cheaper than any regular advertising he could buy, and more effective.

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

  • identicon
    JP, 19 Mar 2016 @ 2:57am

    Em, did anyone read the Disqus link when writing the article? Michael Henry Smith says "This is a malware site. These people that haunt that short story are cowards and cops. The short story is not a great piece of literature but it is an excellent idea of more than what happened but why it happened. Go to Amazon and read it for free there."

    The last sentence kind of destroys his whole case as he is admitting it can be read for free, without payment of Sioux.

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

  • icon
    Coyoty (profile), 19 Mar 2016 @ 9:39pm

    I'm responsible for a significant amount of pun and suffering. Why aren't I listed in the Siouxt? Am I not Siouxtable? I feel my reputation is impunned.

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

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 7:06pm

      Re:

      At risk of spoiling the joke, this looks like - of all things - a text-to-speech flub. He almost certainly meant "without my receiving a single sou", and that final word - which refers to an old French copper coin of tiny value - happens to be pronounced more-or-less identically to "Sioux".

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

      • icon
        The Wanderer (profile), 21 Mar 2016 @ 7:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Er. I meant speech-to-text, obviously.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2016 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re:

        I commend you for giving the benefit of the doubt, but I fear that's more than is deserved here. Between that ("sou" vs "Sioux") and the fact that the suit is for "LIABLE, SLANDER AND DEFAMATION" it seems much more likely to me that it was typed up by a person who just didn't know how to spell the word they meant to be using.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.