I don’t know whether it was the phase of the moon, or the Kool-aid, or what, but this was apparently the week to file lawsuits for things related to the Internet. This week sees a lawsuit between the City of Chicago and the owner of the Chicago2016.com domain, between the RIAA and anti-RIAA blogger Ray Beckerman over his blog “Recording Industry v. The People”, and between the EFF and Bush and dog in Jewel v. NSA. And for good measure, while not Internet-related, a lawsuit to keep both Obama and McCain off the Texas ballot.
In Chicago, graduate student Stephen Frayne Jr. has ticked off both the City of Chicago and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and was on the receiving end of a demand for arbitration from the City of Chicago over his grabbing the domain name “Chicago2016.com”. Chicago is in the running to host the 2016 Olympics, and already is doing business on Chicago2016.org. In response, Frayne has filed a lawsuit against Chicago and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
According to Frayne and his lawsuit, “This case represents an important battle for First Amendment rights and the use of the Internet as a forum to foster debate over a topic that deserves to be discussed.”
“I’m not interested in selling, but in public discussion,” added Fraynes. He contends that his Chicago2016 site is intended to foster discussion about Chicago’s olympic bid, and whether it is the best use of taxpayer money and other resources.
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“We certainly see Chicago2016.com as the logical default domain for our site, and we believe having someone else control it is misleading for people seeking information about Chicago’s bid,” said Chicago 2016 spokesman Patrick Sandusky, adding that “I can tell you this is absolutely not about free speech, but about the natural domain for our site, and the domain name that is rightfully ours.”
To the extent that this is a case between a governmental entity and a private citizen, over an important domain, we have to wonder if this will become an Eminent Domain case (groan).
In a case of supreme irony, the ultimate vexatious litigator, the RIAA, has filed a lawsuit against attorney blogger Ray Beckerman, claiming that his conduct is.. wait for it.. vexatious. Ray Beckerman is in a tiny minority of attorneys who take on the RIAA to defend alleged file sharers, in addition to running his blog. The RIAA is apparently ticked off that Beckerman is making the pleadings of their current case (pleadings that are public documents, mind you) available on his blog.
According to the RIAA, Beckerman “has maintained an anti-recording industry blog during the course of this case and has consistently posted virtually every one of his baseless motions on his blog seeking to bolster his public relations campaign and embarrass plaintiffs. Such vexatious conduct demeans the integrity of these judicial proceedings and warrants this imposition of sanctions.”
Pardon me while I regain my composure and try to stop laughing here. How do these RIAA lawyers sleep at night? It’s lawyers like these that make the rest of us look bad.
Meanwhile, taking it straight to the top, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sued President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with the NSA and several other key administration personnel, “to stop the NSA’s illegal surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and hold personally responsible those who authorized or participated in the spying program.”
Explains EFF attorney Kevin Bankston, “For years, the NSA has been engaged in a massive and massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T’s domestic networks and databases of customer records. Our goal in this new case against the government, as in our case against AT&T, is to dismantle this dragnet surveillance program as soon as possible.”
Finally, even though not Internet-related per se, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you about a lawsuit filed in Texas, demanding that both leading presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, be struck from the Texas presidential ballot. The lawsuit, filed by Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, claims that both McCain and Obama missed the filing deadline to get on the Texas ballot, and that “The seriousness of this issue is self-evident. The hubris of the major parties has risen to such a level that they do not believe that the election laws of the State of Texas apply to them.”
While it may well be that they missed the filing deadline, and should be made to address the situation or suffer the consequences, we note that Mr. Barr is not above a little hubris himself.
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