It’s official. Batzel v. Smith, 333 F.3d 1018 (9th Cir. 2003) is still the law, and the people who threatened to sue Justene at Calblog are still idiots.
Over at California Republic, Carol Platt Liebau has this post about scumbag outfit Infotel’s threatened lawsuit against Justene Adamec of Calblog. Liebau compares the threatened lawsuit to a threat “to sue the owner of a bullhorn because some thug walked by and yelled something actionable into it.” Good analogy. Read her whole post. (Via Xrlq.)
Yesterday, I wrote a post that purported to quote the demand letter sent by Infotel lawyers to Justene Adamec. (For the background, see her post here.) The letter was (I thought) a clear parody of the Nigerian e-mail scams that practically everyone on Earth has received in their in-boxes at one time or another.
Nevertheless, some guy named uppedante came completely unhinged and started posting comments calling me a racist all over the place (so far I have seen them here, here, and here). On Calblog, uppedante called the letter a “desperately needy and awkward attempt at thinly-disguised racial humor.” And on Xrlq’s site, he called it a “pathetic attempt at racial humor.” And on the leftist Atrios blog, uppedante said the letter “absoltuely reeked of smarmy racism.”
If I “absoltuely” must explain the joke, I refer you to snopes.com, where the Nigerian e-mail scam is discussed. If you read the link, you will see that the Nigerian e-mails are poorly-written letters from stupid con artists who are obsessed with making a buck at any cost. I can openly say such nasty things about Nigerian scam artists, who will almost certainly not serve me with a frivolous lawsuit.
Finally, because I am all about bringing people together, I would like to introduce uppedante to another clueless buffoon who trolls comment boards making inane, insulting, and inaccurate statements. Uppedante, meet Dim the Army Janitor.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
UPDATE: The real letter is at Xrlq’s site, here. I leave it to you to decide which letter (the parody or the real thing) contains more grammatical mistakes and generally idiotic statements. I know what my vote is.
UPDATE x2: I have to admit, the contents of this letter are amusing.
For instance, as an example of “invasion of privacy” this lawyer quotes a comment that states: “Suffice it to say that the head honcho Gofdon Frank, drives a Porsche, late model of course, and owns a Harley Davidson.” By terming it an “invasion of privacy” the lawyer, of course, confirms this information — but how could publishing what a guy drives be an invasion of privacy anyway??
And then there is a line in the letter referring to a recording a commenter claimed was made up by the company. Here is the line from the letter, complete with a “sic” added by the lawyer: “I’m confident that we can make them go away, but hopefully putting [sic] the recording up will help others.” Apparently the lawyer was disturbed by the correct spelling of “putting.”
I have obtained that demand letter from Infotel lawyers to Justene. (For background on this, go here. Briefly, the situation is that a blogger has been threatened with a lawsuit for comments made by other people on her site — despite clear law saying she can’t be held liable under such circumstances.) I think that the demand letter should be published for all to see:
FROM:MRS. M SESE-SEKO
I AM MRS. SESE-SEKO, WIDOW OF LATE PRESIDENT OF MOBUTU SESE-SEKO AND ALSO ATTORNEY FOR INFOTEL. WE HAVE REVEIWED YOURE STATEMENTS ON YOU’RE WEB SITE. WHAT THE PEOPLES ARE SAYING IT IS NOT THE TRUE. MY SONS JAMES KONGOLO AND BASHER NZANGA SAY ALSO THE STATEMENTS ARE DEFFAMATORY. SO I AM MOVED TO WRITE YOU THIS LETTER.
COMMENTS ON YOUR SITE ARE SAYS OUR COMPANYS HAVE SCAMMING CUSTOMERS. I AM NOT SEEING SUCH OUTRAGEOSITY SINCE I ESCAPED OUT OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) TO ABIDJAN, COTE D’IVOIRE. ALL THESE THINGS ARE NOT SCAMMS. BETTER BUSINESSES BURAEU SYAS YES BUT IT IS NOT IN KNOWLEDGE OF EVERYTHING> AS YOU ARE OPERATING WEBB SITE THIS IS NOBODYS FAULT EXCEPOT YOURS.
OUR COMPANY HAS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO SPNED ON LAWSUITS, COLLECTED FROM SETTLEMNT WITH LAURENT KABILA AFTER MY HUSBAND DIED OF CANCER DISEASE. DO NOT BE ENTANGLED WITH US OR WE WILL BURY YOU.
AFTER LAYING LOW AND STUDY THE SITUATION, WE DEMAND THE SUM OF EIHGTEEN MLLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS(US$18,000,000,00.) FOR THIS DEFFAMATION. MY SON ( KONGOLO ) SHALL PUT YOU IN THE PICTURE OF WHERE THE FUNDS MUST BE DEPOSITED AND DISCUSS THE OUT MODALITIES WHICH WILL INCLUDE TO PLACE THE MONEY DEPOSITED IN SWISS BANK AND OTHER COUNTRIES INTO OTHER FORMS OF MONEY CODED FOR SAFE PURPOSE.
MRS M. SESE SEKO
It’s worse than I’d thought.
(Caution for irony-impaired: may not be actual letter. Beware possible parody.)
UPDATE: If you have never heard of the Nigerian e-mail scams, and you really need the joke explained to you, click on this link.
The BBB says:
The Bureau has received numerous complaints concerning this company’s selling practices. Most complaints claim their business was billed for a directory listing which was never ordered, or that Infotel sales personnel claimed to be asking for a renewal of a listing when none existed.
. . . .
This company has an unsatisfactory business performance record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints claiming deceptive selling practices, a pattern of complaints concerning credit and billing procedures, and for failure to eliminate the cause of those complaints.
They forgot to mention that their lawyers apparently like to harass people with plainly frivolous lawsuits.