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posted by janrinok on Saturday April 14, @10:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the calling-a-spade-a-spade dept.

TechDirt reports

A New Hampshire state court has dismissed a defamation suit filed by a patent owner unhappy that it had been called a "patent troll". The court ruled [PDF] that the phrase "patent troll" and other rhetorical characterizations are not the type of factual statements that can be the basis of a defamation claim. While this is a fairly routine application of defamation law and the First Amendment, it is an important reminder that patent assertion entities--or "trolls"--are not shielded from criticism. Regardless of your view about the patent system, this is a victory for freedom of expression.

[...] The court went on to explain that "patent troll" is a term without a precise meaning that "doesn't enable the reader or hearer to know whether the label is true or false". The court notes that the term could encompass a broad range of activity (which some might see as beneficial, while others see it as harmful).

The court also ruled that challenged statements such as "shakedown" and comparisons to "blackmail" were non-actionable "rhetorical hyperbole". This is consistent with a long line of cases finding such language to be protected. Indeed, this is why John Oliver can call coal magnate Robert Murray a "geriatric Dr. Evil" and tell him to "eat shit". As the ACLU has put it, you can't sue people for being mean to you. Strongly expressed opinions, whether you find them childish or hilariously apt (or both), are part of living in a free society.


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  • (Score: 1) by Nutria on Saturday April 14, @11:04PM (7 children)

    by Nutria (6911) on Saturday April 14, @11:04PM (#667084)

    But you can get bureaucrats to make Safe Space rules to protect butt-hurt feelings.

    • (Score: 2) by BsAtHome on Saturday April 14, @11:14PM (1 child)

      by BsAtHome (889) on Saturday April 14, @11:14PM (#667087)

      But wouldn't that be contradictory when you can can speak your mind at that safe space?

      Does not compute. NaN boundary at +Inf reached.

      • (Score: 1) by tftp on Saturday April 14, @11:56PM

        by tftp (806) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 14, @11:56PM (#667096) Homepage
        It computes just fine. Every safe space should contain only one person.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday April 14, @11:16PM (4 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 14, @11:16PM (#667088) Homepage

      Those idiotic rules are not legislated, by our government at least.

      The more insidious aspect of this is that non-governmental institutions such as academia get to make their own rules or kick you out of the university. Goddamn, am I glad I graduated right as shit really started getting stupid. They can kick you out or screw your grades and you can't do a goddamn thing about it. You can thank your Grand Emperor-for-Life Baraq Hussein Soetoro for encouraging this troubling trend in academia and elsewhere.

      What needs to be done about the crackdowns on free speech in academia is for our government to legislate, but legislate against public institutions curtailing free speech using social or academic pressure (legislate pro free speech).

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday April 14, @11:41PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 14, @11:41PM (#667092) Journal

        Legislate all you want, but if the legislation doesn't come with YEARS IN JAIL for the perpetrators it just amounts to another drain on public tax funds.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Arik on Sunday April 15, @01:58AM (2 children)

        by Arik (4543) on Sunday April 15, @01:58AM (#667120)
        NO.

        We need the opposite. School and State should be constitutionally separated, just as Church and State are.
        --
        "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
        • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Sunday April 15, @06:52PM (1 child)

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Sunday April 15, @06:52PM (#667357)

          What the fuck?

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
          • (Score: 2) by Arik on Sunday April 15, @08:28PM

            by Arik (4543) on Sunday April 15, @08:28PM (#667376)
            http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm

            School is no place for kids.
            --
            "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by archfeld on Saturday April 14, @11:47PM

    by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Saturday April 14, @11:47PM (#667094) Journal

    What if you ARE a troll, can you sue for being compared to a low life douchebag like these guys ? I can make a case that being associated with these bottom feeding losers could have caused irreparable harm to your average bridge dwelling trolls reputation.

    --
    For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
  • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by realDonaldTrump on Saturday April 14, @11:48PM (2 children)

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 14, @11:48PM (#667095) Homepage Journal

    People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration -- and it’s a very effective form of promotion.

    --
    Text TRUMP to 88022 to join the #TrumpTrain [facebook.com]!
    • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by captain normal on Sunday April 15, @03:48AM (1 child)

      by captain normal (2205) on Sunday April 15, @03:48AM (#667153)

      "hyperbole" ...That reminds me of Phineas Taylor Barnum. Whom Donald Trump is oft compared to.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/17/out-goes-p-t-barnums-circus-in-comes-donald-trump/?utm_term=.78c3acfe3bcd [washingtonpost.com]

      • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by realDonaldTrump on Sunday April 15, @04:19AM

        by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @04:19AM (#667157) Homepage Journal

        I am like P.T. Barnum. We need P.T. Barnum a little bit, because we have to build up the image of our country. I'm the biggest a cheerleader for our country. I thought Obama, when he got elected, would be a good cheerleader. That's the one thing I said. I said, you know, he'll unify the country, whether it's African American and white and all. You know, he'll unify. He didn't unify. He was a great divider. Our country is so divided right now. I think it's on everybody. But he was the leader. He was the leader. He could've been a great cheerleader and he wasn't. And that's too bad. I am a unifier. I know people are going to find that a bit hard to believe but believe me, I am a unifier.

        --
        Text TRUMP to 88022 to join the #TrumpTrain [facebook.com]!
  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday April 15, @02:13AM (7 children)

    That's SCOTUS' take.

    I researched it very carefully before I wrote Why Brian Lazara is an Ignorant Mother Fucker: a Synopsis [warplife.com].

    --
    "You, Michael David Crawford, you are helping to destroy America."
    -- Anonymous Coward
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @02:39AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @02:39AM (#667132)

      Is this your man? [legacy.com]

      • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday April 15, @06:50AM (5 children)

        He was killed when he went through a red light because his motor scooter's brakes failed.

        My dispute with him was of a purely professional nature.

        I considered taking A Synopsis down but decided to leave it in hopes it would serve as an inspiration to others.

        --
        "You, Michael David Crawford, you are helping to destroy America."
        -- Anonymous Coward
        • (Score: 1) by realDonaldTrump on Sunday April 15, @02:54PM (4 children)

          by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @02:54PM (#667282) Homepage Journal

          Believe me, that blog entry doesn't make you look great. It makes you look smart with cyber, with computers, but dumb with people. A difficult person. I read your side of the story. And a little bit from Brian, that you decided to put into an EMAIL. And between the two of you, I'd hire Brian. If he wasn't dead. He said there was a misunderstanding. And that's what it sounds like. You said you were scared, you feared for your safety. The guy unplugged some cyber. And yelled at you. No punching, no kicking, no weapons. And I'm thinking, this guy's had a rough life. Obviously very rough. And he gets scared over a nothing like that?

          And so many links to a Spam site, it looks like you're trying to sell that site, maybe help your friend sell it. Or you don't care what you link to.

          And the dead guy, folks like to see respect for the dead. Which, frankly, we don't always have. A bad, or sick, guy dies, it's very tempting to say something nasty, right? But we try not to. Crooked Hillary, terrible person. A disaster for our Country. But when she kicks the bucket -- or gets taken out -- I'll think of something nice to say. And people will go, "oh, what a fabulous guy, she gave him nothing but problems and he said THAT about her!"

          --
          Text TRUMP to 88022 to join the #TrumpTrain [facebook.com]!
          • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday April 15, @11:50PM (3 children)

            The links in the vertical bar to the right are internal navigation.

            Did you really find spam links?

            -- A Proud American

            --
            "You, Michael David Crawford, you are helping to destroy America."
            -- Anonymous Coward
            • (Score: 1) by realDonaldTrump on Monday April 16, @12:01AM

              by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 16, @12:01AM (#667415) Homepage Journal

              You wrote "Kuro5hin Tags" on a little box. And that box is full of terrible links. And they're all over the page. You don't call it Spam. You call it internal navigation. But believe me, it's not great.

              --
              Text TRUMP to 88022 to join the #TrumpTrain [facebook.com]!
            • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Monday April 16, @12:04AM (1 child)

              by realDonaldTrump (6614) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 16, @12:04AM (#667416) Homepage Journal

              The box I'm talking about is on your right but my left, the audience's left.

              --
              Text TRUMP to 88022 to join the #TrumpTrain [facebook.com]!
              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday April 16, @02:59AM

                Kuro5hin's death was also tragic: its entire data center was decomissioned without Rusty Foster knowing about it ahead of time.

                This because he's really bad about checking his email. In my experience with him he often took months before he responded to my own emails.

                Rusty posted to Hacker News that he would set up a read-only archive, but it's been a couple years and k5 is still nothing but a Gandi parking page.

                BUT US KURONS WERE SAVED BY A HEAVEN-SENT MIRACLE:

                The Wayback Machine [archive.org].

                Unfortunately, k5's robots.txt blocked robots from indexing /comments. That had the effect that all replies weren't archived. Top-level comments were preserved because they are all in /story - that is, on the same URL as stories and diaries.

                I am overjoyed to find just now that /tags was archived.

                So I'll revise all those spam links to point to the wayback machine, but probably not until tomorrow night as I am busy with some other work.

                Here's just one shining example:

                Kuro5hin tag "Supersonic Telephone Poles" [archive.org] at The Wayback Machine.

                Despite that I regard "Supersonic Telephone Poles" to be the very finest phrase I have ever composed in nearly forty years of writing, every last Kuron regarded my use of this very, very fine phrase to be evidence of insanity, most likely bipolar mania.

                I remain puzzled.

                There are lots of other K5 links on my site. The ones I can save I'm steadily re-aiming at the wayback machine but's it's going to take months to fix them all.

                --
                "You, Michael David Crawford, you are helping to destroy America."
                -- Anonymous Coward
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