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Author Topic: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael  (Read 68462 times)

hjulenissen

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #80 on: February 01, 2012, 07:09:41 am »

... "an inexperienced, uncritical fool"...not just abusive or name calling - they call directly to the honesty, integrity and professionlism of a person
I suggest you lookup the referenced post. You will see that I was in fact talking about my judgement of his _claims_, not his person directly. I received critique for the harsh tone, and I have apologized to Mark for that.
Quote from: Hjulenissen
The problem is not that analogies does not work (they seem quite relevant), or that I am disinterested in audio or wine. The problem is that his claims seems like those of an unexperienced, uncritical fool. He might well be a photography expert. Then I suggest he talk about photography.

Quote from: Farmer
to suggest that none of these terms is libellous anywhere with any degree of certainty is a mistake.
I do not claim that. I do claim that I am fairly certain that it is not libellous where I live. I politely suggest that discussing what is proper conduct is more relevant than discussing the law of countries far, far away.

-h
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 07:30:07 am by hjulenissen »
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John Camp

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #81 on: February 01, 2012, 03:10:56 pm »

I suggest you lookup the referenced post. You will see that I was in fact talking about my judgement of his _claims_, not his person directly. I received critique for the harsh tone, and I have apologized to Mark for that.I do not claim that. I do claim that I am fairly certain that it is not libellous where I live. I politely suggest that discussing what is proper conduct is more relevant than discussing the law of countries far, far away.

-h

I hope people don't get angry or defensive in this part of the thread, because this is an interesting topic (libel on the internet). Perhaps it should be made a separate thread. I can tell you that I did look up the referenced quote, and that perhaps a court would buy the idea that you were just talking about his claims, and not about his person. I don't know about that, for sure. But I worked for twenty-odd years as a reporter and editor for large newspapers in the US, and what you said would never have made it past the copy desk of a newspaper if it were said about a private person, as opposed to a public person. (There are distinctions that are too complicated to go into here -- suffice to say that politicians and movie stars are very hard to libel in the US.) I can also tell you that a quick and sincere apology is often considered a strong defense in libel cases in the US, although not necessarily sufficient if damage has been done.

Even if it's not libelous where you live, it may be libelous in other places, like the UK. The UK is somewhat notorious for its very broad libel laws.  If you publish or caused to be published, even in tiny quantities, a libelous statement in the UK, you fall under their libel laws. If you are sued, you then have a choice: you can go to the UK to defend yourself, or not. If you choose not to, a judgment will be entered against you, and you will then be liable to arrest if you ever enter the UK. So, would you ever like to visit England? People may think this would be a very rare situation, but in fact, it's so common that it actually has a name now: libel tourism. A wiki article about it is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libel_tourism

There have been several notorious cases, including one involving an American historian who was sued by another (British?) historian holocaust denial issues.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #82 on: February 01, 2012, 03:35:07 pm »

... very hard to libel in the US...

... The UK is somewhat notorious for its very broad libel laws...
"
One of the instances which make me feel good about living in the land of the free (speech) ;)

Rob C

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #83 on: February 01, 2012, 03:57:13 pm »

I don't know anything about US laws and the press there, but I can tell you that in my opinion the press in the UK - the red tops - is a load of crap. They write (and often invent) anything they think will sell more paper.

I had an instance of that myself, where several facts about me and my career were supplied, mixed up by the paper to suit the mood of the moment and printed in a manner that wasn't a libel but which did make me feel embarrassed by the way certain claims were created where none had been intended or even imagined! No hard damage to myself, really, but to anyone knowing me professionally, it would have looked like I was making unfounded claims to boost my reputation. Everything stated was true, but not in the order or combination of facts that they claimed.

Being able to sue them is very unlikely unless you're either very rich or very poor.

Rob C

Farmer

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #84 on: February 01, 2012, 05:01:58 pm »

I suggest you lookup the referenced post. You will see that I was in fact talking about my judgement of his _claims_, not his person directly. I received critique for the harsh tone, and I have apologized to Mark for that.I do not claim that. I do claim that I am fairly certain that it is not libellous where I live. I politely suggest that discussing what is proper conduct is more relevant than discussing the law of countries far, far away.

It may or may not be more relevant (I'm happy to accept that it is), but that does not make the other issue irrelevant.

I think John's post covered things very well.  There are possible consequences beyond your own, local jurisdiction.  This is an interesting and useful topic for people who deal and write (or are written about) internationally.
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Phil Brown

Jeremy Roussak

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #85 on: February 02, 2012, 03:43:01 am »

Even if it's not libelous where you live, it may be libelous in other places, like the UK. The UK is somewhat notorious for its very broad libel laws.  If you publish or caused to be published, even in tiny quantities, a libelous statement in the UK, you fall under their libel laws.
True, and a very Bad Thing. On the other hand, any damages awarded are proportionate to the extent of publication within the jurisdiction.

If you are sued, you then have a choice: you can go to the UK to defend yourself, or not. If you choose not to, a judgment will be entered against you, and you will then be liable to arrest if you ever enter the UK.
Drivel. A civil judgment entered against you in an English court orders you to pay damages. If you don't, civil enforcement proceedings can be taken against you by a variety of methods. None involves any possibilty of arrest.

There have been several notorious cases, including one involving an American historian who was sued by another (British?) historian holocaust denial issues.
I believe you're thinking of David Irving, who sued Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books a few years ago. He lost, very badly indeed. The full judgment is here and is an enormously entertaining read.

Jeremy
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dmerger

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #86 on: February 02, 2012, 09:39:29 am »

Yes, John, libel is an interesting and important subject.  It’s also a serious matter to accuse posters on internet forums of libel. 

First, we need to narrow the scope of the discussion.  It’s not feasible to have a meaningful discussion of libel  in the case of the posts you mentioned when the discussion veers into a discussion of libel laws around the globe that have no apparent applicability to the matter.  Mark Dubovoy, you and I, I believe, are all residents of the U.S., so perhaps we can limit our discussion to U.S. law.  Since you made the accusation of libel, however, you must have had a jurisdiction in mind, so if your accusation was based on the law of a different jurisdiction, we can discuss it.  For now, I’ll proceed on the assumption that your accusation was based on U.S. law.

If somebody accused you of "charlatanism," of being "intellectually dishonest," of being "an inexperienced, uncritical fool," and if somebody else questioned your sanity, and did so in print, don't you think you might have at least a prima facie case of libel?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that these are the posts you claim are libelous:

"Let's stay on topic.  There is enough charlatanism in this article on the photographic side without having to dive into the trivial targets he's provided in the audio and wine tasting categories."  Quote by kwalsh.  http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61421.20

"Not so much hyperbole as deception, IMO - passing off an iPhone shot as something else, even by omission, is intellectually dishonest in my book."  Quote from jeremyrh. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61421.60

(Also the post by hjulenissen, to which he has already responded, so I’ll not discuss it further.)

There at least two reasons why these comments are not libelous.
 
1.   These comments are about the content of a published article.   Surely, John, as a journalist, you must recognize that such comments about a published work, be it an article, a book, or a film, are protected speech and not libelous. 

2.   At worst, these comments might be considered name-calling or hyperbole, which are not libelous.

Consider what it would be like if these types of comments were instead libelous.  Reviews or critiques of articles, books, and films would likely be boring and bland lest any comment be construed as a libelous comment about authors or directors.   The phrase “intellectually dishonest” is in common usage and used countless times every day.  If usage of this phrase was libelous, our courts would be jammed with libel lawsuits.  Fortunately, we don’t live in such a world.

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Dean Erger

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #87 on: February 02, 2012, 10:27:33 am »

Yes, John, libel is an interesting and important subject.  It’s also a serious matter to accuse posters on internet forums of libel. 

My post quoted below is one that drew the most outrage from Mr. Schewe. In an ad hominem attack on me, he accused me of the the same.

Quote
Mark discounts DXO, but yet DXO refers to the IQ180 as the king of the sensors. Does anyone see a disconnect here? I haven't had the opportunity to work with the IQ180, but it is undoubtedly a very fine instrument and I don't see why he needs to make outrageous claims about [topic banned by Michael] or its marked per pixel superiority to a dSLR.

Getting his passion and love of the craft across is a nice thing to do, but there might be a slight conflict of interest as suggested by a Google search for "podas workshops dubovoy". Those all expense paid trips to some of the most photogenic sites in the world and possible honoraria must also be nice. :)

What prompted me to make such a suggestion is that the statements were not supported by science and I wondered what else might be influencing a PhD is hard science to make such statements. In any case, I only made the suggestion that his personal and financial ties to Phase One could influence his analysis. I hardly think that rises to libel.

I recently received a private message via LuLa, and on reviewing previous messages, I see that I had received a couple of rather lengthy, cordial, and well reasoned private messages from Mark, and this caused me to feel guilty.

Regards,

Bill

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stamper

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #88 on: February 02, 2012, 11:30:40 am »

Quote.

I only made the suggestion that his personal and financial ties to Phase One could influence his analysis. I hardly think that rises to libel.

Unquote

Go see a lawyer if you are worried then you can sleep better or maybe the answer will cause you sleeplessness?

John Camp

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #89 on: February 02, 2012, 07:20:33 pm »

Yes, John, libel is an interesting and important subject.  It’s also a serious matter to accuse posters on internet forums of libel. 

First, we need to narrow the scope of the discussion.  It’s not feasible to have a meaningful discussion of libel  in the case of the posts you mentioned when the discussion veers into a discussion of libel laws around the globe that have no apparent applicability to the matter.  Mark Dubovoy, you and I, I believe, are all residents of the U.S., so perhaps we can limit our discussion to U.S. law.  Since you made the accusation of libel, however, you must have had a jurisdiction in mind, so if your accusation was based on the law of a different jurisdiction, we can discuss it.  For now, I’ll proceed on the assumption that your accusation was based on U.S. law.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears that these are the posts you claim are libelous:

"Let's stay on topic.  There is enough charlatanism in this article on the photographic side without having to dive into the trivial targets he's provided in the audio and wine tasting categories."  Quote by kwalsh.  http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61421.20

"Not so much hyperbole as deception, IMO - passing off an iPhone shot as something else, even by omission, is intellectually dishonest in my book."  Quote from jeremyrh. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61421.60

(Also the post by hjulenissen, to which he has already responded, so I’ll not discuss it further.)

There at least two reasons why these comments are not libelous.
 
1.   These comments are about the content of a published article.   Surely, John, as a journalist, you must recognize that such comments about a published work, be it an article, a book, or a film, are protected speech and not libelous. 

2.   At worst, these comments might be considered name-calling or hyperbole, which are not libelous.

Consider what it would be like if these types of comments were instead libelous.  Reviews or critiques of articles, books, and films would likely be boring and bland lest any comment be construed as a libelous comment about authors or directors.   The phrase “intellectually dishonest” is in common usage and used countless times every day.  If usage of this phrase was libelous, our courts would be jammed with libel lawsuits.  Fortunately, we don’t live in such a world.



We really probably need a libel lawyer to comment at this point. All of my comments are derived from reading (several times) the Associated Press Libel Handbook back when I was a reporter.

Those clips you have above are indeed where I got those phrases from.

One thing that handbook emphasizes is that if you get to court, defenses based on word play (or hair splitting) are not effective. That is, in your examples above, to say that the charge of "charlatanism" would apply to an article or book, but not to its author, would be, in my mind, severely stretching things. How can a book, which is made up of paper, or a web posting, which is made up of pixels, be a charlatan? Or "intellectually dishonest?" Both of those phrases, of course, refer directly to the author. It'd be absurd to go to court and try to defend yourself by saying, "Well, the article is a charlatan, but the author is fine upright guy, and I never thought differently."

When you say, "comments about a published work, be it an article, a book, or a film, are protected speech and not libelous," you are mostly, but not entirely correct. You are usually free to say that an openly published article is incorrect, or misleading, or incomplete, or whatever, but not that the author is an idiot or a charlatan, or intellectually dishonest.

I don't know where the idea came from that name-calling or hyperbole aren't libelous, but they certainly are. I can't quote the line exactly, but the late Hunter Thompson said something to the effect, "If you call somebody a pig-fucker, you better be able to produce the pig." Name calling (fighting words) aren't libelous when they precede a fight, for example, and the exchange is mutual, but "name-calling" and hyperbole certainly can be libelous. Call a lawyer a "shyster," or a doctor a "quack," and you will be in court next week, and you will have no defense other than the most rigorous proof, and since those charges are quite amorphous, they'd be very hard to prove -- these two particular cases are very well-supported in case law.

You say, "Reviews or critiques of articles, books, and films would likely be boring and bland lest any comment be construed as a libelous comment about authors or directors.   The phrase “intellectually dishonest” is in common usage and used countless times every day.  If usage of this phrase was libelous, our courts would be jammed with libel lawsuits."

The thing you apparently don't understand is that libel is a legal and technical term, and means a fairly specific thing, which (to sloppily summarize) means to publish something that holds another person in disrepute. "Slander" is to do the same thing, but in speech. Doesn't even have to be inaccurate, in all cases. For example, you could do a restaurant review that says that Joe Schmoe's restaurant isn't very good, and by the way, he's a pig-fucker, and even if you produced the pig, a court could hold that it was non-relevant to the review in question and you could be found to have committed libel.

So, if thousands of libels are published every day -- and they are -- why aren't the courts overwhelmed? Because filing a lawsuit is extremely expensive, the rewards for actual damages are very difficult to prove, there are usually extenuating circumstances, the defendant often apologizes which helps remove the charge that the libel was done with malice, the plaintiff may do more damage to himself with the suit and he would be letting the libel go, and, importantly, many, many people are judgment proof. Suppose somebody posted an article on a photo forum, it was severely criticized, and the author decided he wanted to sue for libel. He hires a lawyer, the lawyer does a little research and comes back and tell him, "Look, the guy who libeled you has posted a lot, and in several of them, he says he doesn't have the money to buy an f2.8 zoom lens. If you sue, it'll cost you $100,000 up front, and if you win, we'll probably get a used D30 with a scratched lens and a broken Gameboy console." Many lawsuits aren't filed for the simple reason that the the person who sues can win, and lose his shirt at the same time.

Also, in many lawsuits, the insult is considered trivial, and though it IS libelous, you'll get nothing in actual damages and $1 in punitive damages. It's like spitting on the sidewalk -- it may be illegal, but cops have better things to do that to arrest people.

But, some examples to think about. The National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, which is an American newspaper, published a story a few years back that said Kate Hudson, an American actress, suffered from an eating disorder. Hudson sued in England (not the US, where the comment would not have been libelous), won, and the paper was forced to pay damages. You can find this case on Wiki.

Back in the early 60s, there was a critical American libel case called New York Times v. Sullivan (also on Wiki) which held (and this is another sloppy characterization) that people who actively sought publicity about themselves and their personal character could not sue for libel for negative comments, absent "malice." This applied more directly to politicians and celebrities (like Kate Hudson, which is why she couldn't sue here.) But, just a couple of years later, Barry Goldwater, who had been the 1964 Republican candidate for President, sued a magazine which, during the presidential campaign, had "surveyed" a bunch of psychiatrists asking if Goldwater was mentally suited to be President. Something less than half of those who responded said he was mentally unfit. Goldwater sued, said that the story was published with malice, and he won -- $1 in actual damages, and $75,000 in punitive damages, a considerable sum at the time. So, no, you can't say anything you want, even about politicians.

Another thing that until recently affected Americans who made libelous comments was "libel tourism." It got bad enough that the US passed a law making some foreign libel judgments (particularly those from England) unenforceable. See the Wiki entry on "libel tourism.

@Rob C -- Ah, yes. They have made you look like a fool, but they didn't call you one. See the point above, about libel being a technical matter.

@Kikashl -- You said, "Drivel. A civil judgment entered against you in an English court orders you to pay damages. If you don't, civil enforcement proceedings can be taken against you by a variety of methods. None involves any possibilty of arrest."

How do you take civil enforcement proceedings against a foreigner who refuses to subject himself to your court? If I've been ordered by an English court to pay £100,000 in damages, and refuse to do so, and the US government says that the order in unenforceable here (and Obama has recently signed a law to that effect) and if I nevertheless take the next Delta flight to Heathrow, what happens? Does the English court simply say, "Screw it, this won't work?"

I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. As I understood it, the offender could be detained until he/she makes arrangements to pay. Is that incorrect? This controversy erupted between the US and England on libel judgments -- Americans who didn't subject themselves to the suit, and therefore had a judgment entered against them, claimed that they could no longer go to the UK without facing the possibility of being detained there. Perhaps detained isn't the same as being arrested? Maybe you're put in a nicer lockup, with cable TV? Could you explain why this is drivel?
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Farmer

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #90 on: February 02, 2012, 09:24:41 pm »

It's an interesting question.  In the UK, as I understand it, going to gaol for a debt is extremely rare, but there are certain provisions for it.  Most likely, though, you could be gaoled for failing to follow a court order with regard to payment of monies in relation to a judgement (note that this would have to be for refusing to do it, rather than being unable to do it).
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Phil Brown

hjulenissen

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #91 on: February 03, 2012, 07:31:00 am »

How do you take civil enforcement proceedings against a foreigner who refuses to subject himself to your court?
This confuse me. Using the internet in North Korea might be illegal and punishable by death. In what way should this affect me if I am sitting in a cafe in e.g. France?

I honestly think that it is a bad sign for society if every part of social relations are to be regulated by law and lawyers, and if discussions should be terminated due to fear of being sued.

-h
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dmerger

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #92 on: February 03, 2012, 09:47:32 am »

Wow, your last post is quite a ramble, John.  Needless to say, I disagree with a lot of your assertions.  Moreover, some of your assertions are so clearly wrong that they hardly warrant serious discussion.  I’ll provide one example:

I don't know where the idea came from that name-calling or hyperbole aren't libelous, but they certainly are.

Here is a quote from the Media Law Resource Center: “That which is name-calling, hyperbole, or, however characterized, cannot be proven true or false, cannot be the subject of a libel or slander claim.”  (Emphasis added.) http://www.medialaw.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Public_Resources/Libel_FAQs/Libel_FAQs.htm

Here is a quote from a Harvard University web site: “The right to speak guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes the right to voice opinions, criticize others, and comment on matters of public interest. It also protects the use of hyperbole and extreme statements when it is clear these are rhetorical ploys. Accordingly, you can safely state your opinion that others are inept, stupid, jerks, failures, etc. even though these statements might hurt the subject's feelings or diminish their reputations. Such terms represent what is called "pure opinions" because they can't be proven true or false. As a result, they cannot form the basis for a defamation claim.” (Emphasis added.) (Libel is defamation in written or fixed form.)  http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/opinion-and-fair-comment-privileges

I don’t think it would benefit anyone for us to continue this discussion.   Let’s just agree to disagree and leave it at that. 
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Dean Erger

stamper

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #93 on: February 03, 2012, 09:58:27 am »

Quote

even though these statements might hurt the subject's feelings or diminish their reputations.

Unquote

Hurt feelings can be disregarded probably because that was the intended aim? In the UK I believe that a diminished reputation would need for the person to lose financially before a Libel is proved. I am not 100% sure so I assume someone else will jump on it. A quagmire that is probably left alone before somone takes offence and tests it all it all out in court? ;D

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #94 on: February 03, 2012, 11:52:28 am »

I don't know if the case has been adjudicated yet, but an actress sued Amazon (owner of the Internet Movie Database) for disclosing her age on the database.  Her claim was that she was approaching 40 years of age and that this would cause her career harm since those in the movie/tv business would be more reluctant to use her (true story is here).  I suppose that she is arguing real economic harm whereas the former thread discussing the original Dubovoy article might not be construed in that way.
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dreed

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #95 on: February 03, 2012, 12:38:44 pm »

I don't know if the case has been adjudicated yet, but an actress sued Amazon (owner of the Internet Movie Database) for disclosing her age on the database.  Her claim was that she was approaching 40 years of age and that this would cause her career harm since those in the movie/tv business would be more reluctant to use her (true story is here).  I suppose that she is arguing real economic harm whereas the former thread discussing the original Dubovoy article might not be construed in that way.

The crime here is that Amazon joined together data from two databases that should be independent of each other. They've committed a serious breech of privacy.

It would be no different to LuLa using your birthday and other data entered whilst purchasing something with to compliment the data it displays for your forums' profile.
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John Camp

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #96 on: February 03, 2012, 01:25:39 pm »

Needless to say, I disagree with a lot of your assertions.  Moreover, some of your assertions are so clearly wrong that they hardly warrant serious discussion.  I’ll provide one example:

Here is a quote from the Media Law Resource Center: “That which is name-calling, hyperbole, or, however characterized, cannot be proven true or false, cannot be the subject of a libel or slander claim.”  (Emphasis added.) http://www.medialaw.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Public_Resources/Libel_FAQs/Libel_FAQs.htm

Here is a quote from a Harvard University web site: “The right to speak guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes the right to voice opinions, criticize others, and comment on matters of public interest. It also protects the use of hyperbole and extreme statements when it is clear these are rhetorical ploys. Accordingly, you can safely state your opinion that others are inept, stupid, jerks, failures, etc. even though these statements might hurt the subject's feelings or diminish their reputations. Such terms represent what is called "pure opinions" because they can't be proven true or false. As a result, they cannot form the basis for a defamation claim.” (Emphasis added.) (Libel is defamation in written or fixed form.)  http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/opinion-and-fair-comment-privileges

I don’t think it would benefit anyone for us to continue this discussion.   Let’s just agree to disagree and leave it at that. 


I disagree. I'm getting a lot out of it. You say that I've made lots of errors, and cite one, I wish you would cite the others, as well.

As in most matters of law, specifics count. In the stuff you quoted above, "“The right to speak guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes the right to voice opinions, criticize others, and comment on matters of public interest. It also protects the use of hyperbole and extreme statements when it is clear these are rhetorical ploys."

You'll notice the phrase, "when it is clear that these are rhetorical ploys." There have been some cases of wildly extreme characterizations that have been found non-libelous because of their obviously extreme nature -- they were pieces of rhetoric. But what could be interpreted as a reasonable, factual charge, in an otherwise sober commentary, may not be interpreted as merely a rhetorical ploy, but an actual statement of fact. To suggest that somebody is corrupt I don't believe would be considered rhetorical; to say that somebody is a charlatan would also be a problem, I believe, because that's also a factual matter. To call somebody a charlatan is clearly different than calling somebody a jerk; it is much more closely related to the charge that somebody is a thief, which your sources agree would be libelous. Notice that your sources say that couching something as an opinion is not necessarily protection -- in the statement, "In my opinion, John is a thief," the introductory phrase does not does not protect you.
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #97 on: February 03, 2012, 02:23:15 pm »

@Kikashl -- You said, "Drivel. A civil judgment entered against you in an English court orders you to pay damages. If you don't, civil enforcement proceedings can be taken against you by a variety of methods. None involves any possibilty of arrest."

How do you take civil enforcement proceedings against a foreigner who refuses to subject himself to your court? If I've been ordered by an English court to pay £100,000 in damages, and refuse to do so, and the US government says that the order in unenforceable here (and Obama has recently signed a law to that effect) and if I nevertheless take the next Delta flight to Heathrow, what happens? Does the English court simply say, "Screw it, this won't work?"

I don't think so, but I don't know for sure. As I understood it, the offender could be detained until he/she makes arrangements to pay. Is that incorrect? This controversy erupted between the US and England on libel judgments -- Americans who didn't subject themselves to the suit, and therefore had a judgment entered against them, claimed that they could no longer go to the UK without facing the possibility of being detained there. Perhaps detained isn't the same as being arrested? Maybe you're put in a nicer lockup, with cable TV? Could you explain why this is drivel?
The simple answer to the question at the start of your second paragraph is that you can't enforce a judgment against someone who has no assets in the jurisdiction.

There are various treaties which would allow you to go to the courts of the country in which the defendant is domiciled, or in which he may have assets, and say "Here is a judgment from an English court; please use the law of your country to enforce it". I have no idea if there is such a treaty between England and the USA.

The understanding you express in your third paragraph is simply wrong. There are no provisions for deprivation of liberty over debt; debtors' prisons such as Marshalsea were common in Dickens's time but were abolished in the latter half of the nineteenth century. A debt is merely a debt and failure to pay carries no possibility of imprisonment.

There are various ways in which a judgment debt can be enforced against someone with assets or income in the jurisdiction (orders to his bank to pay from his assets, orders against his employers to pay some of his income, etc) It is possible that if such orders were made and then not complied with, such disregard could be considered contempt of court, for which prison sentences are certainly handed down with regularity.

The American in question could visit the UK without fear of imprisonment (over a simple judgment debt, at any rate). I don't draw any distinction between detained, arrested and jailed (or gaoled).

Bear in mind I write only of the position in England and Wales. The laws in other countries may be very different.
 
Jeremy
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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #98 on: February 03, 2012, 05:47:46 pm »

Jeremy is right about English law here, but there are some key instances in which you can be gaoled for debt (such as refusing to pay alimony) but not just for the debt incurred due to a civil matter.  However, you can be gaoled if you refuse (as opposed to are incapable) to pay a debt resulting from a court order because you are refusing to follow the court order.

This means that if you have the capacity to pay a judgement from a tort of libel then you can be gaoled for refusing the order.  It's not being gaoled for not paying a debt literally, but it is effectively.
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Re: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael
« Reply #99 on: February 03, 2012, 06:19:19 pm »

The crime here is that Amazon joined together data from two databases that should be independent of each other. They've committed a serious breech of privacy.

I suppose you are not a lawyer, so I wonder how you (and many others in this thread) can make such legal claims.

IANAL either, but public persons have severely lowered expectations of privacy, and I'm quite sure the actress will lose her case promptly as long as her birth date was gathered from a public source or without breaking the law - but I bet it's going to be settled off the books with corrupt payoffs, aka. out-of-court settlement.
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