Sit down, Mike Masnick. I have something to tell you and it’s going to make you sad. The cries of defamation from Australia by Milorad “Michael” Trkulja fail to rise to any meaningful level of hilarity. They’re banal, boring and silly. We’ve seen so much better, so much funnier, that Trkulja’s complaints don’t make the cut.
But that’s not the end of it. Oh, no. Not by a long shot. Because it’s not just about pathetic Milorad Trkulja, but the Aussie solicitor who took up his misbegotten cause, Stuart Gibson. What Trkulja failed to offer, Gibson provides. Funny how that happens.
What kind of blithering idiot sends something like this to the guy who came up with the phrase, the Streisand Effect? This kind.
According to his firm bio, this is in Gibson’s sweet spot.
Stuart’s practice is largely in the fields of corporate and commercial Law, intellectual property law (non-contentious and contentious), media and entertainment law (including defamation law) and sports law.
Accepting the premise that this is what Stuart practices, one can reach only one conclusion. Stuart Gibson is not a very good solicitor. In more colloquial language, Gibson has shit for brains, having sent Techdirt a letter that announces, at the top, in bold face, “not for publication.” There is no better way, none, that he could absolutely assure that this would be published on the internets.
As for the substance of his letter, it ranges from ignorant to clueless, with a dash of international intrigue thrown in for good measure.
Next, I’ll note that for all your talk of enforcing Australian monetary judgments in California, you don’t name a single one. And, you’re wrong, because the SPEECH Act absolutely does apply, and you’d be exceptionally foolish to test this, though of course that is your decision to make. The text of the SPEECH Actis pretty explicit, first about when defamation rulings are enforceable in the US and (clue time!) it doesn’t count if the statements wouldn’t be defamatory in the US:
a domestic court shall not recognize or enforce a foreign judgment for defamation unless the domestic court determines that the exercise of personal jurisdiction by the foreign court comported with the due process requirements that are imposed on domestic courts by the Constitution of the United States.
Second, the law is also explicit that a service provider, such as us (in reference to comments published by readers on our site), if protected by CDA 230 in the US, would be similarly protected from foreign judgment:
a domestic court shall not recognize or enforce a foreign judgment for defamation against the provider of an interactive computer service, as defined in section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230) unless the domestic court determines that the judgment would be consistent with section 230 if the information that is the subject of such judgment had been provided in the United States.
I recognize that you’re an Australian lawyer, not a US one, but I would suggest doing at least a tiny bit of research into the caselaw on Section 230 in the US. You will quickly learn that we do qualify as a service provider and that, no, we are not liable for statements in the comments. And, hell, even if we were, and even if the comments were defamatory under US law (which they’re not), the statute of limitations on those original comments is long past anyway.
Now Mike’s not a lawyer. He’s not a lawyer in the United States. He’s not a lawyer in Australia. He’s not a lawyer anywhere. And yet he just kicked your pathetic ass across the internet. How much must you suck for a non-lawyer to do that?
So what exactly were you trying to accomplish here, Stuart? Were you hoping to scare Mike and Techdirt into collapsing into a weeping puddle of fear in the corner at the dire threats of your letter? Did you assume that your mad skillz and fierce demeanor would overwhelm Masnick?
Did you want to make yourself into a joke on a continent far, far away?
While your client (and that’s kinda peculiar too) may feel the sting of butthurt at being called an unpleasant name on the internet, it appears he’s just some sad mope whose abilities with language are “limited,” and whose whine is pretty common and pedestrian. You have personally elevated this situation to the lofty status of public hilarity. It’s not just your flagrant ignorance of the law. It’s not just your ridiculous allegations (you “could not conceive a more defamatory reference”? Who gives a fuck what some moron can conceive of? You’re a friggin’ solicitor, the scum on the bottom of a barrister’s shoe, you loser).
It’s that you violated the one rule of the internets that no one, ever, should violate. You tried to command someone not to publish conclusive proof that you suck.
Welcome to the internet, Stuart Gibson. You did something really stupid, and the internet is not impressed. In fact, it was a really bad idea. And despite your command to the contrary — in fact, because of it — it’s published.