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Free Republic v. Aldridge 296

Posted by michael
from the swatting-flies-with-a-sledgehammer dept.
Jim Howard writes: "The controversial conservative political web site Free Republic has won a permanent injunction against one of its users who was alleged to have conducted a campaign of disruption against the site. The decision was rendered by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia." Free Republic's allegations against the user are online as well.
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Free Republic v. Aldridge

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. Free Republic v. Aldridge - FR Motion for Preliminary Injunction Miscellaneous Announcement Source: Free Republic Published: 1-25-01 Author: Winston & Strawn Posted on 01/25/2001 16:15:44 PST by Clarity V I R G I N I A: IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY Chancery No. 170290 FREE REPUBLIC, LLC, Complainant, v. THOMAS CHAPPELL ALDRIDGE, JR. Respondent. ____________________________________ MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF COMPLAINANT'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION Respondent Thomas Chappell Aldridge, Jr. ("Aldridge") is a computer vandal. His target for the past three years has been a web site operated by Complainant Free Republic, LLC on the Internet. His stated goal is to force Free Republic's web site off the Internet because it promotes political viewpoints with which he disagrees. To accomplish this goal, Aldridge has used a variety of illegal tactics. Those tactics include: (1) using his computer to trespass on Free Republic's web site under anonymous names without authorization; (2) "posting" (i.e., publishing) lewd and defamatory messages on the web site, often under someone else's name; (3) using his computer to harass authorized Free Republic users; (4) using his computer to intimidate Free Republic authorized users by surreptitiously obtaining and posting private information regarding them; (5) using Free Republic's electronic message services without authority to disseminate his messages to millions of users on the Internet; (6) bombarding, in concert with others, Free Republic's web site with bulk electronic messages (commonly called "spam") in order to tie up its bandwidth and disrupt its operations; and (7) counseling others on how to disrupt Free Republic's web site. This conduct violates the Virginia Computer Crime Act ("VCCA"), Virginia Code 18.2-152.1, et. seq., the Virginia conspiracy statute, Virginia Code 18.2-499 and 18.2-500, and common law. Complainant hereby moves the Court to issue a limited temporary injunction that would prevent Aldridge, and others acting in concert with him, from posting any further messages on Free Republic's web site. Factual Background I. Free Republic Background Complainant Free Republic is a California limited liability company that operates a web site on the Internet under the domain name http://www.freerepublic.com. See Affidavit of James Robinson ("Robinson Aff.") at 2. Jim Robinson founded Free Republic in 1996 as a conservative Internet forum that would provide breaking news updates and encourage users of all political persuasions to comment on current events. Despite its concentration on conservative viewpoints, Free Republic is not affiliated with any political party, news source, government agency or any other entity. Id. at 4. Free Republic is funded solely by donations from readers of its site. The web site has over 50,000 registered members and receives an average of 50,000 to 100,000 "hits" per day from people around the world. Because of the volume of daily activity on its web site, Free Republic's limited resources render it vulnerable to attempts by Aldridge, and others acting at his behest, to halt or disable Free Republic's web site with harassing or bulk electronic messages. Id. at 3, 5. II. The Free Republic Web Site Registration Process and User Agreement Anyone on the Internet is welcome to view the messages on Free Republic's web site without registration. But the ability to post a message or a response on Free Republic's web site is a privilege granted only to users who complete a registration process and agree to the terms of Free Republic's User Agreement. Id. at 6. Due to the number of new users who register at the web site each day, the process has been automated. The registration process requires a potential user to supply a valid e-mail address and to agree to the terms and conditions of usage before receiving posting privileges. On the Free Republic registration web page, the user specifies a "screen name" and password after providing his or her e-mail address. Once the registration form is submitted, an "activation code" is sent back to the e-mail address specified by the user in the registration form. The activation code must then be entered at Free Republic's web site before posting privileges are activated. Id. at 7-11. The screen name selected by the registrant becomes the identity of the person on the web site. This allows users to post messages anonymously. If the user posts a message, his or her screen name--but not necessarily his or her real name, e-mail address, or password--appears along with the message on the web site. A Free Republic user cannot post a message on Free Republic's web site, however, without inputting both a screen name and the corresponding password. Id. at 7, 8. Free Republic instituted the password feature to prevent a third party from posting messages under someone else's screen name, one of the activities in which Aldridge was engaging. All potential users agree to the terms of a User Agreement before receiving authorization to post messages on the web site. This User Agreement is found and completed on Free Republic's web site. Id. at 9 & Ex. 1. The User Agreement makes it clear that Free Republic has reserved its right to revoke a user's privilege to post messages on the web site when the privilege is abused: Please remember to use courtesy when posting, refrain from personal attacks and do not use profane or obscene language. Your posts will be read by thousands of people and will be archived for years to come. Violation of these guidelines can cause your account to be suspended or revoked. Your Free Republic account cannot be used to engage in any illegal activity. Id., Ex. 1 (emphases added). The registration process contemplates that a Free Republic user will have only one account and only one screen name. There is no legitimate reason for a Free Republic user to have multiple accounts on the web site. Indeed, the use of multiple screen names circumvents the ability of the operators of Free Republic's web site to refuse access to individuals whose accounts have been suspended or revoked. Id. at 12. A person can respond to having one screen name blocked by using another screen name. That is exactly what Aldridge has done. Free Republic unfortunately lacks the technology and manpower to prevent Aldridge and others acting in concert with him from circumventing Free Republic's registration process and User Agreement. Free Republic has found it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent Aldridge from posting unauthorized messages on Free Republic's web site. Id. at 13. III. Aldridge's Illegal Conduct Targeted At Free Republic, Its Founder, And Its Users Aldridge's political beliefs conflict with the conservative views expressed by other Free Republic users. Instead of engaging in legitimate political debate--which is encouraged by Free Republic--Aldridge, since 1997, has engaged in systematic actions, alone and with others, to halt or otherwise disable Free Republic's web site as well as to harass Free Republic, its founder, and its users. Id. at 14. Aldridge originally registered under the name Eschoir. This was a pun, combining the word Esquire (Aldridge is a member of the Virginia Bar with a law office in Springfield, Virginia) with his being a member of a choir. Aldridge used this name to post messages that attacked the positions espoused by others. Free Republic allowed Aldridge to post messages under Eschoir for several weeks. In the latter part of 1997, after Aldridge went beyond the pale and began posting lewd messages and personal attacks on other users, his privilege to post messages on Free Republic's web site was permanently revoked. Id. at 15, 16. For example, Aldridge used his infamous screen name "Eschoir" to post profane and obscene comments about the daughter of a Free Republic user: "Yuo [sic] can hide but you can't run. You know, when your daughter makes it with President Clinton, she prefers doggie style. RRRrrruffff! . . . And your daughter not only likes it doggie style, but do the words 'Hershey Highway' mean anything to you?" Robinson Aff., Ex. 4 at 7, 8. A. Aldridge's Breach Of Contract And Computer Trespass Aldridge--whose privilege to post messages on Free Republic's web site has been permanently revoked--has found a hole in the registration process that allowed him to register at least 50 new Free Republic screen names. It appears that Aldridge has taken advantage of a feature offered by his Internet Server Providers America Online, Inc. ("AOL") and Erols, Inc. that allows him to create multiple e-mail addresses. Aldridge uses his new e-mail addresses to register dozens of new screen names with Free Republic. Id. at 17 & Exs. 5-7; see also id., Ex. 8 at 2. Based on Aldridge's request for documents from Free Republic, it appears that he has also used the following screen names on Free Republic's web site: 1952vet, 23yotz, 78rpm, a scaparelli, activist amor fati, aptly put, ardent one, ardentdeb, amo vitusian, arnold lunn, atheist conservatives, backtotheesch, basket lunch, batjack v. Klayman, beautiful streamer, ben watson, biggles, big wanda, billingsgate, bloodiedbutunbowed, blunderbuss, blutamoto, boxcars, braveandtrueheart, bite the bullet, burned up, cabinfevered, cancer l999, capncranky, Capt. Freeps, cardinal richelieu, celestian, chappell, cogan's bluff, Connie's a liar, coolid2349, correction fluid, could it be esch?, david schimmel, ddnajar, debased one, debutante, dfu is nuts, dixie gal, dreadscot, dsl69, dung from outhouse, dydimus, elainek7722, ergotism66, eschhaton Eschoir, eschoiragain, eschoir's back 121398, evayy2000, evoy2001, evvay2000, far from it, father abraham, fed foe, Feet of Klay, felching, flush right, freaglerfan, free thought, freedie the dreamers, freeze-out, frogtown justice league, Frogtown commando, frogtown2000, gargantua99, ghfjdk, global warning, gorebore00, grass roots, Hairy True-man, Hand of the White House, hoo- yah!, hot debater, intellectualdebt, jintentionall, italia, italiana, it's embarrassing, jbs1950, jim bowie's blade, Jim Rob'emsome, jim robnson, judge ross, justanewbie99, justice league of frogtown, jwmp271, kenyon, lasserboy, klaxamative, lazy freeps, ledee, lms228, lol hehe rbfhe, longtime lurker, Lotte luigi45, luvvie, macroplay3, major freeping, malocchio, marginalized, mariano, mark text, mark time, massa bush, mcb49, mendoza, merkin, naval gazer, never never never give up, newbie, newbie0987, newsman, nine2fiver, nomorecorruption, nomerrinos, not gary aldrich, novacaine, numberonefreeper, oldster, paco loco hombre, pacolo8294, Paula Jones' Twat, pequod, permanent injunction, pestsquire, philemon2000, Pleaase Delete Me, policywond45, pongopain, posterboy1922, purgedpurged, rat bastard from hell, really eschoir, recovering one, reggie stration, reedeet, regurgitation, riohese, rjt24, scalia wolvet, scooter1967, serpenthead, sfc29, sha-man, shrewish, slowload, smegma, snakeyes, snork, Spamster, st vitus jig, st. Vitus, st.crispin, starrgeezer, stavro galt, street fighter, streetphighter, sturmer, sun'll come out to Morrow, tab align, Tapphy, techlawguy, That Old Black Magic, thatsess-choir, the Discredited Mr. Buckley, the Late Mr. Buckley, the mipplebing of barsoom, The Truth, thebabe, tom, tom the sodomite, to Morrow, toastville, true2you, truemogga, unpersuaded, updater, viagrown, vigorish, villiens 1956, vindicator 1999, virtual chocolate, warrior princess, whuzzup!, xanthan, xantippe, xantippe68, xtream 1st, zondervan, The Dreaded Eschoir, repubilus_fr, sub_terran_1, or Lenny. See Robinson Aff. at 18 & Ex. 9 at 6-7. Because of the multiple e-mail addresses, Free Republic cannot easily trace these new screen names back to Aldridge, thus allowing him to post unauthorized messages on the web site until detected. Aldridge's multiple Free Republic screen names include, among others, "Tab_Align," "Not_Tab_Align," and "my_white_plume." Aldridge also has registered under the screen name "Spamster," evidently in recognition of his use of spam to disrupt Free Republic. In addition, Aldridge has used the profane screen name "Paula Jones' Twat." Id. at 18 & Exs. 4, 7, 9-13. Each time Aldridge re-registers, he agrees to abide by the User Agreement. Aldridge then proceeds to violate the User Agreement by posting lewd and obnoxious messages. See, e.g., id. at 19 & Exs. 6, 7. Once Free Republic detects his presence, his new screen name is blocked from accessing the web site. Aldridge then signs on Free Republic again, using yet another screen name. Id. at 19 & Exs. 11, 15. As a result, Aldridge's privilege to post messages on Free Republic's web site has been revoked on many occasions by various means. Since 1999, each time Mr. Robinson identified Aldridge as the person behind a particular harassing e-mail, Mr. Robinson would ban Aldridge from posting messages on the web site. Id. at 20. Free Republic's counsel, Brian Buckley, also sent Aldridge internal emails (or "private replies") through Free Republic's electronic message service to remind Aldridge that he had been banned from the site. Affidavit of Brian Buckley at 7; see also id., Ex. 1. In 1999, the banning process was automated. Since then, Aldridge, or any other person who has been banned from Free Republic's web site, receives the following message--"You have been denied posting privileges"--when attempting to post a message on the web site under an unauthorized screen name. Robinson Aff. at 20 & Ex. 17. Unfortunately, however, there is no simple way to detect Aldridge's presence on Free Republic's web site when he uses a new screen name linked to a new e-mail account. Id. at 20. Aldridge not only is aware that his postings are unauthorized, he takes pride in it. Aldridge is a self-proclaimed "dedicated disruptor [sic]" of Free Republic's web site, id. at 21 & Ex. 18, who "refus[es] to be banned" by Free Republic. Id. at 21 & Exs. 12, 13, 19. On other occasions, he has bragged of the disruption he has caused. Id. at 21 & Ex. 20 ("Have Laz and I working together caused so much bandwidth drain that [Free Republic] is closed down effectively?"), Ex. 21 (encouraging action by others that would "eat up major bandwith [sic]" on Free Republic). His ultimate goal is to force Free Republic off the Internet. Id. at 21 & Ex. 20. Aldridge sometimes has succeeded. His misconduct has forced Free Republic to shut down its posting program for periods of time to ensure that Aldridge's unauthorized posts were identified and deleted. Id. at 22 & Ex. 22 ("Free Republic has been disrupted by some clown [i.e., Aldridge] who is posting under other people's names. I am shutting down the posting program until I can get the mess cleaned up."); see also id., Ex. 16 (boasting that he is the "one disruptor [sic]" of Free Republic's web site). When Free Republic was unable to identify and delete Aldridge's unauthorized posts immediately, such posts commonly elicited many responses from legitimate Free Republic users. This, in turn, has further halted or disrupted Free Republic's web site. Id. at 22. There is little Free Republic can due, short of obtaining an injunction from this Court, to stop Aldridge from continuing his pattern of trespass, disruption and harassment. B. Aldridge's Harassment By Computer Apparently not satisfied with his efforts to halt and disrupt Free Republic's web site, Aldridge and/or people acting at Aldridge's behest began targeting Free Republic's founder, Jim Robinson, and other Free Republic users with harassing messages. Id. at 23. Aldridge apparently hopes that such messages will further his "ceaseless work to put [Free Republic] in the worse possible light" as well as his stated goal of chasing Free Republic off the Internet. Id. at 23 & Exs. 6, 30. Before Free Republic instituted the password feature on its web site, Aldridge posted messages under the name "Jim Robinson" without Mr. Robinson's knowledge or consent, thus falsely attributing insulting and lewd Free Republic message posts to Mr. Robinson. Id. at 24 & Ex. 23; see also id., Ex. 24 at 15-16. Aldridge has since bragged about his impersonations. See id., Ex. 48. Aldridge also posted obscene, vulgar and profane messages under the respective screen names of other Free Republic users. This sometimes resulted in the legitimate users having their posting privileges revoked. Id. at 24 & Ex. 44 (Aldridge bragging that his "disinformation re Lenny" resulted in the real Lenny being banned from Free Republic). In July 1999, Aldridge authored several messages on the Internet that falsely suggest he had sexual relations with Free Republic's Director of Media Relations, Connie Hair. See Affidavit of Connie Hair ("Hair Aff.") at 5 & Exs. 1 & 2 ("Let me nudge her . . . No, she still wants to sleep a little . . . BTW, after a few drinks, CaL [an abbreviation for Clinton's a Liar--my screen name on Free Republic] can be quite - er - vivacious! . . . I don't want to get her revved up again. Hummina hummina hummina."). In late 1999, Aldridge raised his level of harassment to a more serious plane. In an attempt to intimidate and threaten Ms. Hair, Aldridge described the interior features of her personal residence in detail: I went by 831 N. Van Dorn St. today. . . . It is the next to end unit of a two story row house development that dates back to just after WWII. . . . The morning paper [the Post, BTW] hadn't been picked up when I was by about 2:30, but the drapes were wide open and I could see the blue glow of a big screen TV on. There was wicker furniture on the shared stoop. Id. at 6 & Ex. 3. Aldridge has never been invited to the residence; he apparently obtained this information by going to the house itself. See also id. at 7 & Ex. 4 (Aldridge asked the user whether he should "stop by [her] Van Dorn Street row house later for a little night cap?"). The Free Republic user took these messages by Aldridge as a threat and filed a report against Aldridge with the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department early last year. Id. at 7. The police investigation did not deter Aldridge's disturbing behavior. On October 10, 2000, Aldridge harassed Ms. Hair by listing without authorization her California address, her phone number and all but 3 digits of her social security number on the Internet. Id. at 8 & Ex. 5. On October 21, 2000, Aldridge posted an unauthorized message on Free Republic's web site that described Ms. Hair's "room" and an imaginary sexual encounter with her. Id. at 9 & Ex. 6. To further his scheme and to enlist others to assist his cause, Aldridge has used several so- called Yahoo Clubs, many of which he created, that are dedicated to targeting Free Republic, its owner Jim Robinson, and its attorney Brian Buckley. Yahoo is a well-known Internet portal that offers several free services to its users, including the ability to participate in certain so-called "Yahoo Clubs." A Yahoo Club is a web site where users who share an interest in a particular topic can create and join a "virtual club" on the Internet. Aldridge earlier formed clubs titled "AFParodiesSite," "TheAntiFreepers," "AntiFreep," "AFSecretSite," "AFSecondEdition," "AFSS2," "AFSS7," "Up the Anti's," and "Trolls R Us." (Aldridge and his co-conspirators typically refer to Free Republic users as "Freepers.") Aldridge's latest Yahoo Club is called "Free Republic Death Watch," which can be found on the Internet at http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/freerepublicdeathwatc h. Robinson Aff. at 27. Aldridge uses Free Republic Death Watch to boast about his "forced entr[ies]" onto Free Republic's web site. Id. at 28 & Ex. 27. To flaunt his misdeeds, Aldridge provides hypertext links from his messages on Free Republic Death Watch to his unauthorized posts on Free Republic's web site. See id., Exs. 27-29. This allows Free Republic Death Watch users to see for themselves the messages posted by Aldridge on Free Republic's web site and the responses they generated. In one post on Free Republic Death Watch, Aldridge implied that he intends to disrupt and harass Free Republic until it is "blown up," that is, removed from the Internet. Id. at 29 & Ex. 30. As a means to that end, Aldridge has harassed Mr. Robinson by requesting information about Mr. Robinson's benefits from the Social Security Administration and falsely accusing Mr. Robinson of defrauding that agency. See id. In addition, Aldridge often refers to Mr. Robinson using the crude term "RimJob." This was apparently intended as a spoof on Mr. Robinson's screen name "JimRob" that he uses on Free Republic's web site. Id. at 29, Exs. 13, 31. On several occasions, Aldridge also obtained and then posted portions of the Social Security numbers, date of birth, home address, and phone numbers of Free Republic users on Free Republic Death Watch's web site. Id. at 30, Exs. 32, 33. It appears that these messages by Aldridge were meant to imply that he had obtained private information concerning these individuals and would not be afraid to use that information if they did not end their respective relationships with Free Republic. Finally, Aldridge has sent harassing E-mails to Free Republic users concerning messages they had posted on Free Republic's web site. Buckley Aff. at 9 & Ex. 2. In fact, Aldridge confessed in one such e-mail that he has worked on concert with others to disrupt Free Republic's web site with bulk electronic messages. In a June 1999 e-mail to Deb McKay, a Free Republic user, Aldridge discussed how he had registered "ol' Deb" as an unauthorized screen name on Free Republic's web site. He explained that his co-conspirators, or "bannees" (a term describing people banned from Free Republic), "were having trouble registering" when attempting to spam Free Republic. Ex. 3. He accordingly had the "bannees" use the "ol' Deb" screen name. They then posted what Aldridge characterized as "inflammatory, troll-attracting articles." Id. at 10 & Ex. 3. C. Aldridge's Theft Of Computer Services As indicated above, Free Republic operates an electronic message service that allows authorized users to post messages on its web site's so-called electronic bulletin board. Once a message is posted to Free Republic's web site, that message can be viewed by millions of users around the world on the Internet. Free Republic is fully aware that its messages can be viewed by virtually anyone, and it therefore has adopted procedures that govern who may post messages on its web site. Robinson Aff. at 31. By the means discussed above, Aldridge posts unauthorized messages on Free Republic's web site with the intent to obtain use of Free Republic's electronic message computer services without authority. In essence, Aldridge has turned Free Republic's web site into a vehicle through which he showcases his unauthorized messages to the world. Aldridge, who does not contribute to maintaining Free Republic's server and defraying its operating costs, has used, and continues to use, these stolen services at Free Republic's expense. Id. at 32. D. Aldridge's Transmission Of Unsolicited Bulk Electronic Mail Aldridge also uses Free Republic Death Watch to conspire with users of that Yahoo Club to halt or otherwise disable Free Republic's web site. Specifically, Aldridge registers new screen names with Free Republic and then bombards the site with messages. Aldridge also publishes those new screen names and their corresponding passwords on Free Republic Death Watch to encourage others to "spam" the web site. Id. at 33, 34 & Ex. 34 ("Screen name reedeet . . . password andrews . . . Post as much as you can"), Ex. 35 ("jwmp271 . . . password patsie"), Ex. 36 ("Thank you for registering with Free Republic! . . . Your screen name is: Jim Robnson . . . Your password is: freeper"), Ex. 37 ("Anybody want Time to Bite the Bullet, the password is bullet."). Aldridge has expressed his satisfaction when others use screen names he has created to disrupt Free Republic's web site. Id. at 37 & Ex. 40 ("The second one [i.e. message posted by a person using his unauthorized screen name] got a lot of attention. . . . Love it when I can get a troll [i.e., a co- conspirator] to hype my profile [on Free Republic] while I am away."). To further his spamming of Free Republic, Aldridge instructs others on how to register multiple screen names on the web site. Id. at 35 & Ex. 19 ("I have posted over and over the method for using AOL to register and get new screen names."). As referenced in this post by Aldridge, he had previously discussed, on an anti-Free Republic site that has been deleted from the Internet, how to register multiple email addresses with AOL and use those email addresses to register multiple screen names on Free Republic's web site. Even the filing of this lawsuit has failed to deter Aldridge's disruptive behavior. On January 5, 2001, one day after Aldridge was served with the Bill of Complaint, he posted one of his so-called "Freedie run" posts, i.e., a message soliciting others to spam Free Republic: I have created a valid screen name and password for anyone who cares to use it. Lindam, you can have that passage posted that you said you would love to have posted on FR [an abbreviation for Free Republic]. It is now in your hands. The screen name is "Activist" and the password is "freeper." You can post whatever message you have been longing to see on Free Republic now without cost. Id. at 36 & Ex. 38; see also id., Ex. 47 (talking about the "First Freedie Run"). As recently as January 18, 2001, Aldridge posted Jim Robinson's e-mail on Free Republic Death Watch in the apparent hope that others will harass Mr. Robinson with unsolicited bulk messages. Id. at 37 & Ex. 39. Through posts such as this one, Aldridge has worked in concert with other individuals (some of whom also have been banned from Free Republic's web site) to disrupt Free Republic's web site with unsolicited bulk electronic mail submissions. Finally, Aldridge, or someone acting at his behest, repeatedly posts fabricated articles on Free Republic's web site. Id. at 38 & Exs. 40-43. These "articles" result in hundreds of responses by legitimate Free Republic users. When this occurs, Aldridge succeeds in harming Free Republic by spamming its web site with unsolicited bulk electronic mail. Id. at 38 & Ex. 15 ("[W]e have a disruptor [i.e., Aldridge] on Free Republic posting false articles. Please ignore all articles by this specific person. He gets banned then signs up as a new member in just a few minutes."). As illustrated by Aldridge's posts to Free Republic Death Watch, Aldridge takes great pride in the number of times his unauthorized posts to Free Republic's web site are viewed, how many irate comments his unauthorized posts generate, and thus how much of Free Republic's bandwidth data he ties up with his unlawful conduct. Id. at 39 & Exs. 29, 40-43 (noting the number of article views and comments generated by his fake articles posted on Free Republic's web site without authorization). Argument Aldridge Should Be Enjoined From Posting Unauthorized Messages On Free Republic's Web Site And Causing Others To Do So Despite multiple warnings, Defendant Aldrich refuses to stop his unlawful attempts to disrupt Free Republic's web site and harass its users. Only a Court-ordered injunction that prevents Aldridge from directly or indirectly posting unauthorized messages on Free Republic's web site will provide any assurance that Aldridge's illegal conduct ceases. An injunction is appropriate under well-settled common law principles. In Blackwelder Furniture Co. of Statesville, Inc. v. Seilig Mfg. Co., Inc., 550 F.2d 189 (4th Cir. 1977), the Fourth Circuit confirmed that the appropriate analysis is the balance of hardships test. Id. at 194. This test--which encourages a court to "maintain the status quo ante litem, provided that it can be done without imposing too excessive an interim burden upon the defendant"--requires a "flexible interplay" of the following factors: (1) likelihood of irreparable harm to the complainant if the injunction were not granted; (2) likelihood of irreparable harm to the defendant if the injunction were granted; (3) complainant's likelihood of success on the merits; and (4) the public interest. Id. at 194- 196. The Blackwelder standards have been recognized by many Virginia state courts. See, e.g., Plate v. Kincannon Place Condominium Unit Owners Assoc., 30 Va. Cir. 323, 325 (Cir. Ct. Fairfax County 1993) (Annunziata, J.) (temporary injunction granted); see also Zaki v. Oberoi, 18 Va. Cir. 209, 210 (Cir. Ct. Fairfax County 1989) (Kenny, J.). Pursuant to the balance of the hardships test, the "first step is to balance the likelihood of irreparable harm to [complainant] against the likelihood of irreparable harm to the defendant[]." Blackwelder, 550 F.2d at 195. If a "decided imbalance of hardship should appear in the [complainant's] favor," then the likelihood of success is determined by the following formulation: [I]t will ordinarily be enough that the [complainant] has raised questions going to the merits so serious, substantial, difficult and doubtful, as to make them fair ground for litigation and thus for more deliberate investigation. Id. at 195 (quoting Hamilton Watch Co. v. Benrus Watch Co., 206 F.2d 738, 743 (2nd Cir. 1953)). Accordingly, the two most important factors are those of probable injury to the complainant without an injunction, and of likely harm to the defendant if an injunction were issued. If the balance were found to be in favor of the complainant, it would be enough that grave or serious questions were presented, and the complainant would "need not show a likelihood of success." Id. at 196. I. Complainant Will Suffer Irreparable Injury. In the instant case, application of the common law factors warrants the issuance of a temporary injunction. Aldridge has committed, and continues to commit, computer crimes in an effort to disrupt Free Republic and harass its founder and users. Those crimes disrupt Free Republic and its operations, antagonize its readers, and frustrate its purpose. Free Republic has no adequate remedy at law. The majority of the harm Aldridge has caused Free Republic--i.e., harm to reputation, a diminution of membership, lost employee time devoted to ferreting out and rectifying Aldridge's misdeeds, and lost donations--is intangible or difficult to quantify. The Fourth Circuit in Blackwelder stated that "irreparability of harm includes the 'impossibility of ascertaining with any accuracy the extent of the loss.'" Blackwelder, 550 F.2d at 197. Similarly, potential destruction to a complainant's goodwill equals irreparable injury. See, e.g., Federal Leasing v. Underwriters at Lloyd's, 650 F.2d 495, 500 (4th Cir. 1981) ("[T]he right to continue a business is not measurable entirely in monetary terms[.]") (citation omitted); see also Blackwelder, 550 F.2d at 197 (holding that "indirect, though at times far reaching, effects upon [complainant's] good will" constitutes immeasurable damages that equate to irreparable harm) (citation omitted). II. No Irreparable Injury Will Befall Aldridge If The Requested Injunction Were Issued. By contrast, Aldridge will not incur any injury, much less suffer irreparable harm, if the Court enjoined his conduct. Aldridge's legal practice is not dependent on his ability to post messages on Free Republic. While he may invoke the First Amendment, his First Amendment rights do not give him a privilege to violate the VCCA or breach his User Agreement with Free Republic. Indeed, he has no constitutional right to disseminate his opinions, much less his form of harassment, on Free Republic's web site. Since Free Republic is a private enterprise, it is not required to give Aldridge access to its web site. Cf Cyber Promotions, Inc. v. America Online, Inc., 948 F. Supp. 436, 437 (E.D. Pa. 1996) (holding that, "in the absence of State action, the private online service has the right to prevent unsolicited e-mail solicitations from reaching its subscribers over the Internet"); Lloyd Corp. Ltd. v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 551, 568 (1972) ("this Court has never held that a trespasser or an uninvited guest may exercise general rights of free speech on property privately owned and used nondiscriminatorily for private purposes only"; "property [does not] lose its private character merely because the public is generally invited to use it for designated purposes"). On the other hand, Free Republic is not asking that Aldridge be totally muzzled, as tempting as that prospect may be. Under the proposed injunction, Aldridge would be precluded only from unlawfully posting unauthorized messaged on Free Republic's private web site and causing, counseling, and/or enabling others to do the same. Aldridge otherwise would be free to operate Free Republic Death Watch and any other forum he wants to establish to broadcast his political viewpoints. III. Free Republic is Likely to Succeed on the Merits. Aldridge has willfully and maliciously violated the VCCA, violated the Virginia civil conspiracy statute, and breached his User Agreement with Free Republic. Accordingly, there is a very strong likelihood that Free Republic will succeed on the merits of this action. A. Aldridge Violated The VCCA And The Virginia Conspiracy Statute. In 1984, the General Assembly enacted the VCCA, which criminalizes computer-assisted crimes. The General Assembly provided a private cause of action for violations of the VCCA. Va. Code Ann. 18.2-152.12. The evidence described above establish that Free Republic is likely to prove at trial that Aldridge violated several sections of the VCCA. First, Aldridge committed computer trespass. Aldridge posts, and conspires with others to post, messages on Free Republic's web site without authorization for the purpose of temporarily or permanently removing, halting, or otherwise disabling Free Republic's computer data, computer programs, and/or computer software in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-152.4(A)(1). Aldridge's conduct has directly and/or indirectly caused Free Republic's computers to malfunction for some period of time in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-152.4(A)(2). Aldridge has also directly and/or indirectly falsified or forged electronic mail transmission information or other routing information in connection with the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail through or into Free Republic's computer network in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-152.4(A)(7). Second, Aldridge stole Free Republic's computer services. Aldridge has willfully used, and continues to use, his computer with the intent to obtain Free Republic's electronic message computer services without authority in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-152.6. Third, Aldridge harasses Free Republic and its users by computer. Aldridge has directly and/or indirectly used, and continues to use, his computer to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, and/or indecent language, as well as veiled threats, on Free Republic's web site and Free Republic Death Watch with the intent to coerce, intimidate, and/or harass Free Republic in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-152.7:1. Finally, Aldridge has caused Free Republic to suffer injury from unsolicited bulk electronic mail. For example, Aldridge has caused others to post messages on Free Republic's web site under unauthorized screen names he has established. See, e.g., Robinson Aff. at 34, 36 & Ex. 34 (Aldridge posted on Free Republic Death Watch an unauthorized Free Republic screen name and corresponding password along with the message: "Post as much as you can"); , Exs. 35-38. In addition, Aldridge posts fake articles on Free Republic's web site with the intent to cause multiple responses that result in halting or disabling the web site. Aldridge keeps careful tally of how many comments his fake articles generate, and thus how much Free Republic bandwidth he wastes. See, e.g., id. at 38 & Exs. 40-43. This malicious conduct has caused Free Republic to suffer injury from the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail in violation of Virginia Code 18.2-152.12 as well as the Virginia Conspiracy Statute, Virginia Code 18.2-499 and 18.2- 500. B. Aldridge Breached His User Agreement With Free Republic. Like all users who post messages on Free Republic's web site, Aldridge voluntarily agreed to the terms of Free Republic's User Agreement in consideration for obtaining the privilege to post messages on Free Republic's web site. In exchange for this commitment, Free Republic granted Aldridge the conditional privilege to post messages on Free Republic's web site. Free Republic expressly reserved the right, however, to revoke those privileges if abused. Free Republic had to exercise that right after Aldridge posted personal attacks, used profane and obscene language, and engaged in illegal activity on Free Republic's web site. As a result, Aldridge was banned from using Free Republic's electronic message service to post messages on the web site. See Robinson Aff. at 16-20. Because he has been banned from posting messages on Free Republic's web site, Aldridge breaches the User Agreement each time he posts a new message on Free Republic's web site without authorization. IV. The Public Interest is Served by the Issuance of an Injunction. The public interest is served by issuing the requested injunction. Aldridge cannot possibly show that the public has an interest in allowing him to violate freely the VCCA, breach his User Agreement, and harass other citizens. To the contrary, the public has an interest in an exchange of political viewpoints on the Internet that is uninterrupted by those who in essence are computer hecklers and vandals. Another factor is that Aldridge is a member of the Virginia Bar. Indeed, Aldridge has touted the fact that he is a lawyer on Free Republic's web site and has published the statutes he has violated on his Free Republic Death Watch web site. At one time, Aldridge posted his form retainer agreement on Free Republic's web site. Robinson Aff., Ex. 4 at 4. Allowing an attorney to so openly flout the laws of the Commonwealth can only increase the public's disdain for the legal profession and increase the public's skepticism of the legal system. Conclusion WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, Complainant Free Republic prays that this Honorable Court grant its Motion for Temporary Injunction and enter an order enjoining Aldridge and those acting in concert with him from: (a) posting messages on Free Republic's web site; (b) counseling others on how to post messages on Free Republic's web site; (c) obtaining screen names and passwords for others to use in posting messages on Free Republic's web site; and (d) revealing non-public personal information (including, but not limited to, social security numbers) concerning Free Republic's founder or its users on the Internet. Free Republic further asks for an award of such further relief as this Honorable Court deems just and proper. Respectfully submitted, WINSTON & STRAWN ______________________________ Gordon A. Coffee #25808 Charles B. Klein #39117 1400 L Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005-3502 (202) 371-5741 Attorneys for Complainant Dated: January 25, 2001
  • by Anonymous Coward
    homophobic.

    That's an misused word.

    Homo - same
    Phobic - fear of

    So, homophobic means 'fear of the same'.

    Stop bastardising english/latin. Perhaps "a-homosexual" or "antihomosexual" would be more appropriate.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Enough is enough. The trollophile who keeps modding this guy's posts up shall be taken out behind the Slashdot wood shed and beaten to cyberpulp.

    And as for you:

    When the going gets tough, the liberals hide under the bed until the conservatives handle the situation. Our War of Independence was fought by armed free men, and don't you forget it.
    Yeah, I love the way the conservatives roll up their sleeves and wade in when there are problems needing solving. Like the civil rights movement. While liberal politicians were fighting tooth and nail to keep segregation legal, you conservatives were the ones passing the legislation, attending the marches, and arguing for equal treatment under the law.

    Oh, wait. I have that backwards.

    As for the Revolutionary War, it was the liberals who were demanding independence, throwing tea into the harbor, and loading muskets. The conservatives of the age were called "Tories," and wanted nothing more than to make peace with mother England.

    As you look at the evolution of the political parties, there has been so much upheaval and machination that no one party can claim to carry the mantle of the revolution. To claim such might be politically useful, but it's certainly not an exercise in intellectual honesty.

    The wealth of our nation -- which you enjoy -- was created by free men, not by liberals. The freedoms which you enjoy were created by free men, not by liberals.
    Yawn. . . yes, yes. Folks of your political mindset are the cause of all things good and noble. Those who oppose you are moral reprobates akin to Stalin and Hitler, in spirit if not in body count. Tell me, did you actually think your way into this position? Or simply settle into it because you found it comforting to shore up your own preconceived notions?

    I guess in your world, "liberals" sit around cluttered, tiny apartments smoking weed, growing their beards, and showering twice a year whether they need it or not. Occassionally, they might arise from their drug-induced stupor to hop in their rusted-out VW bus and attend a PETA rally. If you took off your Republican-colored glasses, you'd see that the vast majority of so-called "liberals" are holding steady jobs and adding just as much to "the wealth of our nation" as you and your Objectivist friends are.

    A hard-working, moral man can do just about anything, and in the United States we've have done just about anything -- with one exception: We've allowed ourselves to be enslaved by the parasitic liberals. We've allowed them to sap our substance with their taxes, their welfare beaurocracy, and their lawyers. We are being nibbled to death by mice, whining, cowardly mice with beards and sandals. When a man can take your property, you are -- in principle -- his slave. This situation is intolerable and will long not be permitted to endure.
    Yeah, yeah. Death to the treehuggers. Taxes do not automatically "sap the strength" of a country. It depends on the utility of the program. You can't describe the Interstate Highway system as a toilet for money while championing the free market which spawned the ridiculous dotcom craze. Both government and free market spending have their uses and their excesses. So if you'll can the "liberals are Satan-worshipping child eaters" rhetoric, perhaps you could add something to the debate over what those uses are.
    "I have always seen unbelief as a form of sin and madness." -- Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony
    Not believing in a book written by nomads three thousand years ago which claims all sorts of implausible miracles is a sign of madness? Refusing to believe in things which have no evidence to support them is madness? As for it being a sin, the term means "offense against God," so an unbeliever isn't going to be worried by that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:25AM (#303146)
    80md?
  • (But of course, a right-leaning group is going to go for a property claim (however wrongheaded) since property rights are central to their philosophy (however wrongheaded).)

    /me chuckles. You haven't spent much time reading FreeRepublic.com, have you? FreeRepublic has been sued for embedding off-site content. They lost. Regular posters hold differing opinions on copyright and related issues, and range from statist GOP types to libertarians and a few stereotypes in-between. Your generalization definitely does not apply here.

  • > What group of people brought AIDS into the US? It sure wasn't heterosexuals.

    And you can prove this can you? Given that heterosexuals can transmit it as well.

    And it was much less likely to have been a gay female than any heterosexual.

    Given the number of STDs that can affect solely heterosexual men, it's a rather poor argument
  • I've been reading the site for years.

    You have misrepresented the site. Not that a prayer thread is really anything to be embarassed by anyhow.

    There are seemingly endless threads all the time where people debate drug legalization; I'd hardly characterize the often bitter arguments as "monocultural."

  • It says *right there* in what you quoted that "there never was any counterclaim against anyone but FR." That means that there was only a counterclaim against FR. Then, it talks about that counterclaim against FR.
  • Anybody who wants to get a feel for the mindset of the site's inhabitants need only browse one article [freerepublic.com] to understand.
  • Have you been reading the site? It seems far more monocultural than any other forum I've seen on the web thus far. That link was meant to capture the spirit, not to make a statistical argument. And, for what it's worth, I count 18 sample points on that page, not one.
  • the only unifying factor there is people tend to lean to the right.

    You've managed to state explicitly what I was illustrating with the link. My post doesn't constitute a judgement unless yours does too.

  • I say "hey, look at those people bouncing that ball". You say "don't judge people who bounce balls!"

    I made no judgement. I gave a representative link.

    I'd sure love it if someone gave examples of the troll posts and links and said that that's what all the slashdot posters are like.

    You're knocking down a strawman. I never made any such claim. You made me curious, though: are you suggesting those prayers are not heartfelt but are, rather, the work of trolls?

  • If you claim that the link is uncharacteristic of the site, I'll take your word for it.
  • We have not earned our Rights. These are god-given; inherited by being. We, and our fore-fathers (and fore-mothers :), have fought to keep this assumption valid. Any limit to these has to be earned.

    In this case, where people are disruptive to the site may have earned a limit. When the topic is ignored and postings are made only to disrupt the flow of dialog, it is my most humble opinion that limits are permissable.

    Second, his Aldridge seems to have released private information about the site's caretakers. This is a direct invasion. Can this be covered by stalking laws? (I don't think he'll be charged w/ stalking because one of his followers could have visited the Hair home and reported findings.)

    Third, Robinson, et al. own the site and can ban anyone they want. Is the ban for a particular UserID or the human behind it? In this case, it is for the human. After so many IDs, this Aldridge didn't leave them alone. Maybe, this can be covered by stalking laws, too...
  • If I could flip a switch and activate a magical device that would filter out such an overly loud rendition of the Consitution, such an action should no longer be used as an excuse to ignore the 1st Amendment.

    Unless this was a REAL DoS attack, there is simply no cause of action here. The tools available here make such claims considerably less meaningful.
  • Actually, if this were a lunch counter and not a magazine and the product were sandwiches and not ad space: there would be no question that this sort of BS is wrong.

    Once you allow for equal access to merchants, it should be applied evenly and pretty much universally. That is what is meant by "equality under the law".

    Also, no one said that it was the New York Times that was being exclusionary here. Publications associated with educational institutions should be held to higher standards of openness.
  • Read the second link - the allegations. It goes into quite a bit of detail.

    Some of the points touched on make me think I need to cancel all my extra hotmail/yahoo ID's and just create one with my name and that is it, lest I get sued by yahoo :)
  • Freerepublic doesn't allow users to log on anonymously, that's the point. The server is private property, so Jim Rob can let anyone he wants on there, and if an offending user keeps on coming back, and harassing the people on the board, he will get charged with trespassing.

    I think a distinction must be made between pseudonymity-- in which an author posts under a consistent "nom de guerre", and strict anonymity, where authorship is unknown.

    To put it another way, I could adopt a nickname (e.g. CommodusTerraMajor), and post scientillating political commentary under that name. CommodusHumusMajor would aquire karma (perhaps) and a "track record" of previous posts. But few would be able to connect CommodusHumusMajor with me, allowing myself to go about my life unmolested by angry slashdotters.

    At the same time, the name CommodusTerraMajor could become synonymous with insightful commentary (Score +1 bonus). It could be that the very name would inspire people to carefully read the post, trusting his every word. This would be a valued pseudonym

    Or, I could post as an Anomymous Coward, knowledgable of the fact that my words (Score:0) will be ignored by most slashdotters, as an anonymous individual cannot earn a reputation.

  • by zaphod (2284) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:48AM (#303166) Journal
    be prepared that we may start muttering "McVeigh" under our breaths

    And conversatives will sigh "SLA". Remember that left wing group of American terrorists who killed a mother in front of her child during a bank robbery?

    Anyway, McVeigh is not a right winger. He hated all things about government which is not a right wing view. He was coined a right winger by the left wing media folks like Dan Rather (you know, the "independent" who raises money for the Democrats - no media bias there).

    While the original posters message was over the top, there is hypocricy in the liberal camp. Here in Minnesota a 13 year old wore a harmless sweatshirt the read "Straight Pride" because his school has placed pink triangles around the school as "safe zones" for gay/lesbian/transexual kids (your basic government run indocrination centers - but I digress). Anyway the same "tolerant" liberals who put up the pink triangles banned Elliot from wearing his "Straight Pride" shirt even though the government run school could display "Gay Pride" posters.

    So here we have liberals who want free speech, but ONLY if you say the right thing. So much for liberal tolerance.
  • ...is that this fellow's attitude isn't that uncommon.
    A lot of neo-leftists out there think that things like anti-gay speech, and anti-abortion speech are illegal, and any tactic they can use to shut them up is completely justified.

    At Portland State University in Oregon (from which I graduated 4 months ago), I saw "peace activists" scream at, spit on, and assault street preachers who said things that pissed them off.
    Granted, the preachers were bozos and probably deserved the yelling, but seeing a hippie punch a priest in the jaw... is something to see.
  • " (For instance, Gore never said he "invented" the internet.) Even if he didn't - even LIBERAL's used that joke against Gore.
  • Just did a little digging - what Al REALLY said -

    "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

    Close enough - which of course isn't close to accurate since the Intenet evolved from Arpanet which has been around since 69.

  • STOP MODERATING THIS TROLL UP!!!!!!

    Um, anyhow, back to the stormtroopers

    You're in violation of George Lucas' copyright, please cease and desist from using the term Stormtroopers to refer to what you believe to be brainwashed strongmen acting on behalf of the Evil Liberal Empire. Or at least capitalize it. Grammar Nazi.

    It's a fact. Their religion was considered "unacceptable" and they were exterminated

    Just like your very own organization promotes. If you aren't reformed Christian, you're wrong. Heh. You know, there was no Christian until 2000 years ago. Before that, we were all Catholics. And, according to your own organization, you wouldn't have condoned Koresh's "congregation" - where in the Bible does it say you need to stockpile massive amounts of firearms and force your way upon the unsuspecting masses?

    The FBI monitors and harasses many churches whose views are considered "politically incorrect". Just a year ago, we narrowly escaped imposition of a brutal military dictatorship which would have outlawed Christianity entirely

    You say this as though it's the bleeding liberals who are guilty of this heinous act. That's funny, because the last time I checked:

    • The Nazi's (a right-aligned political party in Germany in the first half of the 1900's) kept tabs on churches and people whose views were unacceptable. Like Jews. And Blacks.
    • Republican hero Sen. Joseph McCarthy wanted to keep tabs on people whose views were unacceptable. Like Communists. And people who contributed to political causes. Like Republican fundraising committees.
    • Affirmative Action seeks to keep tabs on who works where. Hey, look, that's a Republican-sponsored initiative, too...
    The Conservative Right has plenty to brag about when it comes to suppressing and repressing groups it doesn't believe in.

    If Y2K disruption had not been kept under control by the wisdom and forsight of American business and the patriot community

    During the Y2K Disruption, most of your "Patriot Community" was hiding out in their bomb shelters with enough canned food to feed the homeless in a major city for a week and enough ammunition to kill those homeless multiple times over. And those that weren't hiding in basements were raving like a bunch of lunatics that the end of the world was coming, and were counting the minutes until they were taken up. Well, you're still here, I'm still here, and the world goes on. What exactly did you do to control the Y2K disruption?

    Secret documents were leaked and have found their way into the patriotic resistance underground

    Please post these documents along with their obvious equivalents OT-III and such, please. And Kennedy was killed by a bunch of heathens because he was a good Catholic boy.

    It is insane and unjust that I am subject to the same laws as a citizen of Massachusetts

    I assume you aren't in Massachussets, because if you are, then you're just an idiot spouting off, because you make no sense. You are subject to the laws of the state you live in, and to the laws of the country which contains the state you live in. The only reason you would be subject to the laws of Massachussets would be if you were either physically in MA, or doing business in MA, in which case, you are involved the the daily life of the state of MA. Where's the confusion here?

    Federal interference in the housing market directly violates my Constitutional right to freedom of association

    What does your right to associate have to do with someone else's right to buy a house in a neighborhood. I've lived in my house for a year and haven't even seen half of my neighbors, let alone associate with them. If you're buying real estate to make a profit when you sell it, then you should

    • Stop being a hypocrite and decrying the Free Market when it's the Free Market that's pumping your property values up, and...
    • Stop living in the houses you are buying to later sell for a profit. You're messing up the interior by living there, who wants to by a lived-in house...
  • by Booker (6173) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:05AM (#303175) Homepage
    free speech does not mean that the newspapers have to publish whatever you want to say, even if you offer to pay for it.

    There's nothing fascist about that.

    ---

  • So, maybe you could have done just a little bit more digging and found this [firstmonday.dk], which gives a full background of the story, including multiple quotes from Vint Cerf - arguably one of the real Internet inventors - who has attempted to defend Al Gore's statement many times.

    But then, if you dig too hard, you might actually come up with something closer to the truth, and who wants the truth if it clashes with one's preconceived notions.
  • Au contraire - if those newspapers are published by state-run institutions, paid for by state/public money, then those newspapers _are_ an arm of the state. And the state has no business promoting some political viewpoints while refusing to air others.

    This is, to my knowledge, not settled law, but it's definitely a makeable case. For private schools/papers, however, you are generally correct.
  • This is true as long as there's a definite firewall between student-funded and state-funded activities. But the situation is rather a gray area, IMO. I bet that, at the University of Oregon, which you seem to be familiar with, the Student Association/Government doesn't collect its fees directly from students. I bet that, instead, the school collects it under the auspices of an "activity fee" or some such, and this money is then disbursed back to student associations. Now, does the _school_ keep that money separate from its general funds, or is it collected and dumped in a common pot? If it's not kept separate (truthfully, I'd be surprised if it wasn't), it's another makeable case...

    It's an interesting question, that, as I said before, I don't think has been adequately explored yet. Other issues to consider - what does it mean for a paper to be officially sanctioned by a school? Does the school ever use the paper as a forum for official announcements/positions? Do they pay for the privilege if they do? If not, wouldn't that mean that the paper, at least partially, operates at the behest of the parent school?

    Again, this is unsettled to my knowledge, but it would be awfully expensive to go to court and find out who's responsible for what, so it might be wise for student-run papers at public schools to consider who exactly they think they are responsible to.
  • in fact, most of them were skinheads, the liberals' racist shock-troops

    OH MY GOD...this is too fucking funny. I gotta see that again!

    in fact, most of them were skinheads, the liberals' racist shock-troops

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAAHAHA......oh goddamnit...let's see that again....

    in fact, most of them were skinheads, the liberals' racist shock-troops

    WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    (sniff sniff) hehehe...ok...hehehe...I'm done now...promise...hehehe....

    They were there to oppose the natural rights and liberties of business enterprises.

    BRAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH AH AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

    Stop it! Stop it! Oh god make him stop! HAHAHAHAHAHA....

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • Most lesbians (go ahead and hang around them) find the sexual behavior of gay men to be disgusting, and lesbians could hardly be called homophobes, could they?

    You'd be surprised. Many lesbians find men in general disgusting, regardless of their sexual habits. Gay and lesbian cultures are very different from one another; the two groups didn't have much to do with each other until recently.

    They only really get along because there's a group of right-wing assholes who can't mind their own goddamn business. These assholes want to throw people in jail for being homosexual, or sometimes subject them to psychological torture in order to "heterosexualize" them. Then there's the NARTH camp, which promises hysterical parents that they can "straighten out" their children through reparative therapy; except that their claims have only anecdotal support.

    Eventually the homophobes are just going to have to deal with the fact that some people are just plain homosexual, much like some people are just plain left-handed. Bush and Cheney seem just fine [cnn.com] with it, which puts them light years ahead of most so-called "social conservatives."

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • You know, once upon a time, "Republican" did not mean "right wing." This was especially true in Lincoln's day.

    In fact, the GOP didn't go really hardcore right wing until the Great Depression.

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • One of the most destructive people on my old BBS was a 46 year old man with money to burn. I have every confidence that if you could buy mod points, he would buy up a passel and do some real damage - I could imagine him modding up Natalie Portman to a +5.

    Of course the obvious response is that then other people would buy the points to counteract him, and he'd be down in the dungeon again. And the limitation of ratings to no more than +5 would ensure that even unlimited funds could not increase ratings too much. Still, there are enough serious abusers who would want to buy power that I would be worried about the results.

    Still, limiting moderator point use to one per message would most likely limit the damage significantly. Otherwise you'd see moderation wars, which I doubt would serve anyone well but the folks selling the points; I could imagine the confusion as messages dropped down to the bottom and zoomed up to the top almost at random.

    Perhaps the most promising feature of moderator point purchase and sale is that it might do something that has been incredibly hard: provide a revenue source so sites like Slashdot could be profitable.

    Hi back, by the way. Got a real job. Started making real money. Didn't have time for anything else for a long time, so I had to slough off a ton of projects. Drop me an email and I'll respond.

    D

    ----
  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:54AM (#303192) Homepage
    Sadly, due to all the graphical gingerbread, ads, and so on cluttering up the commercial sites, it's really enjoyable to read articles on FR that are totally unsullied by same. But when I see a news source I like, I will usually read the article over there because I feel a moral responsibility to give them ad revenue.

    Free Republic really is a fascinating collection of articles, on a wide range of topics with a wide range of political viewpoints expressed. (Just look for the "barf alerts" to see articles opposing the general FR ideology).

    It's true that there are many comments that are poorly thought out, ungrammatical and ill-informed. But there is some intelligent wheat among the chaff, and the byplay between users can be interesting.

    It's definitely not as sophisticated as Slashdot, but it's aimed at a population much closer to the American average, so that should surprise no one. And surely the members of the American average deserve some kind of voice? They deserve to be heard, by those who wish to listen.

    I ran a bulletin board system some years back that eventually wound up being overrrun by harassers; they're like locusts, and even a small number of them can completely destroy the atmosphere of a board. So on the whole, I have to side with Free Republic here; otherwise, every political forum would be effectively unusable. Even Slashdot, with its sophisticated software and elaborate moderation system, descends into unusability at times. Unfortunately, I suspect the average user could not be lured into understanding, let alone operating, a moderation system. Perhaps I'm wrong; I don't think I am.

    Thoughts?

    D

    ----
  • I wonder if because of this story we will see less postings by the Slashdot Trolls now?

    I hope so.

    I realized that slashdot trolling has gone way too far when I saw goatse.cx scrawled on a restroom wall of a local pizzashop/geek hangout. That was just too much.
  • By posting goatse.cx links they were able to subvert the prevalent political message and perhaps make people start to think for themselves.

    It's true - usually hitting one of those links makes me stop thinking "open source blah blah blah" and start thinking for myself: "dammit, hit the back button!".

  • . I sure wish those who would label him a right winger, would find a quote of his, any quote, which displays any of the values that are advocated by the political right

    Like his feelings on states' rghts, reducing the federal government, abortion, gun laws, taxes, military spending, etc? Or did you mean something OTHER than every major republican platform?

    I must have missed his staunch support of universal healthcare and public education.

    Please not, I don't lump conservatives/republicans in with McVeigh (he is clearly an extremist) but to suggest he WASN'T a conservative extremist is mind-boggling to say the least.

    ---------------------------------------------
  • Free Republic seems to be a load of right-wing, racist, homophobic crap but the bottom line is Aldridge stepped over the line. Either engage in discussion within the rules of the forum or leave it alone. Any sensible person should be able to see that spamming and posting personal information and threats is not the way to fight and now the courts have put it in writing. I may not like what FR has to say but I'd rather let them say it than have a**holes like Aldridge get away with that kind of behaviour...

    *sing* I'm a karma whore and I'm okay....
    I work all night and I post all day
  • no...read the post. I support his right to say what he likes WITHIN THE RULES OF THE FORUM. You can't legally yell 'FIRE' in a theatre (if there isn't a fire) because there are rules about that particular type of speech. That forum had rules as well and spamming, multiple addresses and posting threats were not among the permissable behaviours.

    *sing* I'm a karma whore and I'm okay....
    I work all night and I post all day
  • You know what? If I pass a group of young black guys on the street, I sometimes get a little nervous....does that make me racist? Perhaps. I'll tell you one thing though, the terms 'sexist', 'racist', 'homophobic', etc. ARE used as bludgeons by liberals against people who don't agree with them. I claim, however, that normal, sensible people who were brought up to believe that people should be treated with respect KNOW racism when they see it. My 7 year old could tell you there is something wrong with a Nazi or a Klan site even though he doesn't yet understand why these people must also be allowed to have their say.

    *sing* I'm a karma whore and I'm okay....
    I work all night and I post all day
  • Err, just a note ... they're being sued by a bunch of newspapers for mirroring those stories as you seemed to hint slashdot should do. Copyright infringement and all, just like cmdrtaco always said....
  • Close enough - which of course isn't close to accurate since the Intenet evolved from Arpanet which has been around since 69.

    But, what did happen in the early 90s was that the Internet was expanded from a research entity to the publically available Internet. It required an act of Congress to open the closed, research network to commercial entities which sold access to the public. This allowed the Internet as we know it today with access available to all (who can pay) to develop.
  • "Trespassing" on a public web forum? Interesting concept.

    And it seems that if you scream, shout and intimidate people in an attempt to influence a national election regardless of the vote, it's free speech. When you act annoying on a conservative web forum, it's illegal and you get taken to court. Funny world.
  • And more so... those opposed to the conservative politics of the site would have a field day pointing to the postings of these disruptors as "evidence" of how FR supports/condones "hate speech".

    There are guidelines posted by the owner of the forum over what is and isn't allowable -- objectionable posts (especially those with profanity or racist comments) are quickly removed when discovered, usually within minutes. Repeat offenders are temporarily or permanently banned.

    --

  • We have not earned our Rights. These are god-given; inherited by being.

    I'll not dispute this, but for the purposes of discussion, it's interesting to discuss which god or gods our individual rights come from. For example, the right to keep and bear arms is almost certainly bestowed by the Hebrew wind god Yahweh, which currently holds the position of Christian God. This view is shared by virtually all sane historians and theologians. There are those that believe that the god Kali, worshipped by the Thugee, is the source of the right to bear arms, but most of those people are (quite frankly) batty.

    The right to free speech most likely originated with Zeus. Most of the other gods that have existed in the past have been very restrictive when it comes to speech, placing arbitrary and draconian limitations on what can and cannot be said. Zeus was/is more (pardon the term) liberal in this sense. Ditto for freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, etc. The bulk of the evidence suggests that all freedoms related to expression originated from the Greek pantheon. This was refreshing to people after having to endure thousands of years of warlike gods that did not look kindly on free expression.

    At any rate, I'm not sure what this has to do with anything, but it's a topic that interests me.
  • There are many black and asian people on that board for your information.
    So? Blacks and Asians can be racists too!

    Ever hear of "Uncle Tom" Blacks? The ones who side with Whitey to the detriment of his/her own people? We Chicanos have people like that in our own community -- we call them "Tio Taco"...
    --
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • Having very little sympathy for either (the) left or right [sic], it appears that in general (the) intellectual [sic] level of leftist (leftists) [sic] is rather inferior.
    Yeah, but some of us leftists know how to speak English properly. People in glass houses...
    --
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • I know a lot of so called "Uncle Toms" and they are just hard working americans trying to escape from the "African American" culture which breeds ignorance.
    Heh. People, the preceding post is an example of racism, not prejudice or bias.

    From Merriam-Webster: racism [m-w.com] 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

    You claim that African American culture breeds ignorance, therefore it is obvious that you feel that they should subscribe to your "superior" White American culture.

    You, sir are a racist, you just don't have the balls to come out and say it openly like your skinheaded neo-Nazi brethren [stormfront.org]...
    --
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • No, but as a conservative I don't like the government mandating "politically correct thought".
    ROTFL!!!! You conservatives sure crack me up!!!
    Teacher: Now class, repeat after me. I pledge allegiance to the United States of America...

    Student: (who is a Jehovah's Witness so he sits silently)

    Teacher: Now Juan, why don't you get up and join us in our Pledge of Allegiance? Are you a communist or something?
    You say you are against the government mandating PC. Are you against the the government forcing students to say the Pledge of Allegiance? If not then you are a hypocrite...
    --
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • I choose not to live alongside certain people.
    Who? Criminals? The poor? Or are you just against spics and niggers?
    Federal interference in the housing market directly violates my Constitutional right to freedom of association.
    Look up the Interstate Commerece clause. That is where the Fair Housing and Equal Accomodation laws come from.

    Besides, no one is fucking with your "freedom of association" rights. You can always join the Ku Klux Klan and move to Idaho.

    Pendejo...
    --
    You think being a MIB is all voodoo mind control? You should see the paperwork!
  • Apparently these folks don't believe that freedom includes rights to free speech. Rather than competing in the marketplace of ideas, they apparently prefer to impose their own brand of free speech antitrust law.

    I imagine that the defendant must have gone well beyond the pale for a court to grant such a motion. However, it is ironic that these folks couldn't themselves find more credible ways to monitor and moderate their own property.
  • The freedom of speech issue is consistently held on this forum, both by liberals and libertarian conservatives. You allege "cowardly and snakelike" inconsistencies, but none can be found here. Partisans of Slashdot here have consistently defended speech they loved as well as speech they have hated.

    It would appear that it is the FreeRepublic, however, that has deviated from avowedly libertarian views by seeking court-ordered censorship of speech which they disdain, and not the denizens of Slashdot.

    Brandeis had it right: the only proper remedy for bad speech is more and better speech. The marketplace of ideas does not require antitrust laws.

    If actors, be they right-wing or left, cannot stand the heat of enlightened, reasoned argument and respond in kind, but must resort to hard-knocks battle tactics, this says more about the lack of intellectual quality of those positions than anything else.
  • Wow

    Moderation Totals:Flamebait=2, Troll=3, Insightful=5, Funny=1, Overrated=2, Total=13

    Just needs an "interesting" for a full house.

  • Apparently these folks don't believe that freedom includes rights to free speech.

    This is the same nonsense that spammers use to justify themselves. No, freedom does not include rights to "free speech" that use other people's property without permission.

    However, it is ironic that these folks couldn't themselves find more credible ways to monitor and moderate their own property.

    They did -- they warned him that he was breaking the rules, and when he continued they told him to get lost. He sneaked back anyway under aliases, and got caught at it. If you warn off a repeated tresspasser and he keeps returning in disguise, wouldn't you eventually call the police?
    /.

  • Although the web forum is open to the public, it is hosted on a private server and as such is technically private property.

    The server is property. The forum is information, and information is only property through copyright or patent.

    What copyright or patent was violated here?

    Trespassing isn't the right claim. Maybe fraud would be a better fit; making false representations in order to obtain a service. Or perhaps harassment.

    (But of course, a right-leaning group is going to go for a property claim (however wrongheaded) since property rights are central to their philosophy (however wrongheaded).)

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • If the court rules against this guy, does that mean the next time a Congressional representative starts reading the D.C. phonebook to keep a bill from a vote that police will burst in and arrest him or her?

    At issue here is that the rules of the forum were not being followed. The United Sates Senate allows filabuster as a strategic tool. The House or Representatives does not. Neither of them allow you to just walk in and participate in the debate. The issue is following the rules of the forum not making court rulings about the s/n ratio in a given place.
    _____________

  • by scoove (71173) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:34AM (#303245)
    And it seems that if you scream, shout and intimidate people in an attempt to influence a national election regardless of the vote, it's free speech.

    Sure, like the known hecklers that got thrown in jail for 48 hours when Bubba Clinton came to town last fall.

    Kind of hard to scream and shout when you're held in jail without charges, then released when Bubba's gone.

    When you act annoying on a conservative web forum, it's illegal and you get taken to court.

    When you write annoying opposing thoughts to a liberal president, it's not illegal and you get thrown in jail without going to court.

    However, when you put metal spikes in trees trying to kill loggers, hack opposing websites to supress speech that you don't like, steal campus newspapers that prints things you don't agree with, torch expensive houses built on land you think should go back to the wild to deprive people of their homes, send bombs to conservative businessmen who you believe don't appreciate the environment, break into research labs and set infected animals free, it's considered "progressive activism" and is regarded by the social elite to be an acceptable means to the end?

    Funny world.

    I'd have to agree...
  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @08:57AM (#303251) Homepage Journal
    Sigh, maybe it's time to burn a karma point or two. This is off-topic, but hopefully the references below will redeem it.

    The story that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet has been thoroughly debunked by Phil Agre in http://commons.somewhere.com/rre/2000/RRE.Al.Gore. and.the.Inte.html [somewhere.com] and rebutted further later [syr.edu]
    That meme was a creation of Declan McCullagh, a "reporter" for Wired News who is a fanatical Libertarian [hotwired.com] so extreme that he managed to have a chapter of a book using him as a poster-boy for Libertarian ideologues [code-is-law.org] If you think I'm just flaming, this aspect of his fabricated story being a Liberatarian hit-piece was extensively discussed in a debunking by Salon [salon.com]

    After Declan McCullagh was repeatedly taken to task for his hatchet-job, over more than year, by everyone who was there, from Dave Farber [interesting-people.org] to Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf [interesting-people.org] he finally grudgingly retracted [wired.com]

    But people still repeat it, because urban legends never die.

  • And conversatives will sigh "SLA".
    And liberals will point to Slepian. And conservatives will point to... See a pattern developing here? We've all got crosses to bear. This is a silly argument, whether it's brought up by a conservative or a liberal.
    While the original posters message was over the top, there is hypocricy in the liberal camp.
    Thanks for pointing this out! Because God knows there's NO hypocrisy among conservatives.

    Anyway the same "tolerant" liberals who put up the pink triangles banned Elliot from wearing his "Straight Pride" shirt even though the government run school could display "Gay Pride" posters.
    To the best of my knowledge, the people who made him remove the shirt were school administrators, who did so not on the basis of political ideology, but because school administrators have NEVER been unwilling to sacrifice freedom at the altar of a smoothly-run school. These types have clamped down on liberals at LEAST as much as conservatives in the past - witness the Vietnam/black armband Supreme Court case (can't remember the parties involved right now). They likely saw the Gay Pride stuff as widely-accepted, whereas Eliott was viewed as aggressive, so they went for him; simple as that. It's not right, IMO, but I doubt it's a sinister agenda on the part of the school

    So here we have liberals who want free speech, but ONLY if you say the right thing. So much for liberal tolerance.
    Boy, never heard this line before. All those damn liberals are facists and liars, who don't want freedom for anyone but their friends, and only tolerate other liberals. Great argument! Not an overgerealization at *all*!

    -brennan

  • by brennan73 (94035) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @07:10AM (#303258)
    Perhaps you could pick a bigger strawman to wield against liberals?

    As a card-carrying liberal, I and everyone I know deplore the exact actions you're referring to, most of which are crimes committed by extreme environmentalists. Funny, though, how you use their actions to tar just the entire spectrum of "progressive activists."

    Interesting that you're against people thrown in jail for expressing political views, yet you didn't once mention the peaceful protestors who were pepper-sprayed and beaten by police in Seattle protesting the WTO. Hmm. No doubt if you respond to this, you'll mention the .01% who were violent, rather than the people I'm talking about, who had their rights trampled on.

    Ah, but no, since extreme environmentalists are liberals of a sort, and extreme environmentalists have committed terrorist acts, the entire liberal/progressive movement is made up of supporters of terrorism. Wow, what fabulous, amazing logic! Thanks for clearing that up; armed with this new knowledge, I'll pick up a couple of Molotov cocktails on my way home from work.

    -brennan

  • "why not take it to his ISP? He could do a lot less without an ISP to help him harass this site, and going to court would waste resources which could have been saved, but oh well!"

    From personal experience, a lot of the most annoying trolls do their damage from public terminals at libraries, etc. And what are you going to do if he's using say EarthLink. Are you really going to send an e-mail to EarthLink and say "somebody who uses you as an ISP but posts here using a Hotmail account is being abusive. Please make him stop"??
  • Both slashdot and freerepublic have championed free speech in the past. But, with any big forum, there are disruptive people. Appropriate to their idiologies, slashdot solved the problem with clever technology (moderators, points, etc.) and Free Republic solved the problem with hoards of angry conservatives :-) Suing over the matter is actually quite out of character for freepers because they don't like trial lawyers and dislike lawsuits. Anyways, I can't believe that joker pleaded the 5th in a civil suit. WTF is up with that?
  • A private server disallowing people to post on its message board is NOT trampling anyone's freedom of speach. It's as if you owned a bar, and someone kept on making trouble in your bar, you would kick him out, and keep him out, and use the law if necessary.

    Many of the articles on the site border on disgraceful racism

    WTF does this mean? That because someone posts an article that you *think* (note the key word, as liberals tend to think most anything is racist) is racist, the whole site is bad?

    There are many black and asian people on that board for your information.

    BTW, they don't "clamp down on those who think differently" as I often go there, and post opposing view points, there is the occasional idiot, but there are those everywhere.


    He who knows not, and knows he knows not is a wise man
  • The site is not a "republic" and never claimed to be, so the site can restrict as much as it wants, and still have a valid name. The name refers to our republic.


    He who knows not, and knows he knows not is a wise man
  • Apparently these folks don't believe that freedom includes rights to free speech.
    Your right to throw a punch ends where my nose begins, is the common response. You can say all you want; I don't have to listen to it, repeat it, or let you write it down on my property.
  • I don't like extreme right wing politics at all but I'm glad they got this guy. Obviously he's one fucked up individual to spend so much time and effort disrupting a site just because his tiny, child-like brain can't take it when they ban him.

    Good for them I say.

  • What the guy did was the equivalent of walking into a quiet suburban neighborhood and shouting the constitution through a bullhorn at 3 AM. That's the difference between "free speech" and "disturbing the peace". So, even if it were a public forum (which it isn't) I see no hypocrisy in them suing the guy. He must have been very persistant for this to end up in court, so he certainly can't argue that he had no warning.
  • From the Declaration of Independance:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    From the constitution:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    It's clear that the document you are using for your argument is the Declaration of Independence, because it refers to Creator-granted inalienable rights. It doesn't, however, found anything. It breaks away from the British Empire.

    The preamble from the constution uses very different language. God doesn't even get a mention. It's stated pretty clearly that the document is created for the benefit of the People of the United States, which even at the time included a healthy amount of Non-Christians. Considering that God doesn't seem to have a SSN, a mailing address, a residence, or any paid tax returns, we can conclude that God is not a US Citizen. Thus, the constitution is not written for him. I'm sure that they'd be willing to throw in an "equal rights for deities" clause, but since we can't even figure out where God lives, we have no idea which Senator represents him, and thus no place to start.

    As for patriotism: here's a clue. You're not one. Your blind attack on the larger half of US Citizens (liberals and/or non-cristians) indicates that your actions have a lot more to do with the destruction rather than the preservation of the US. Jesus Christ was a nice guy. You are a dick. Thank you for playing.

    I feel for the troll. Someone smack my hand.

  • by Sir Tristam (139543) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:41AM (#303294)
    It does not surprise me that they have ignored freedom of speech like this, and started to clamp down on those who think differently.
    I am afraid that you are very mistaken on what "free speech" actually means. It does not mean without monetary cost, but unfettered. Agree with their viewpoints or not, you cannot dispute the fact that Free Republic has taken no action to prevent Aldridge from starting his own site and presenting his own views there. The only two things that Free Republic is asking for in this case is that (a) Aldridge stop posting his views at their expense and (b) Aldridge stop trying to prevent them from presenting their views at their own expense.

    If Aldridge can start his own competing web site--which he can--and if he can put on it his views--which he can--then his freedom of speech has not been infringed. Free Republic set up their own web site, and tried to post their own views. Aldridge made every effort he could to stop them. Thus, Free Republic's free speech rights were violated by Aldridge.

    Chris Beckenbach

  • I give up, what is it
    Vandal (n): a member of a Germanic people who lived in the area south of the Baltic between the Vistula and the Oder, overran Gaul, Spain, and northern Africa in the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., and in 455 sacked Rome.
  • "Trespassing" on a public web forum? Interesting concept.
    If you are banned from a store or restraunt, and you return, you are tresspassing. Prior to notice is given, it is not tresspassing.

  • by zaius (147422) <jeff.zaius@dyndns@org> on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:17AM (#303306)
    I can see the case now: "Slashdot vs. Anonymous Coward(s)"...
  • The right of freedom of the press does NOT include a right to use someone else's press.

  • "Trespassing" on a public web forum? Interesting concept.

    Although the web forum is open to the public, it is hosted on a private server and as such is technically private property. Thus, if someone such as Aldridge is told not to come back, they can be held liable for trespassing if they do.

    ---
    The AOL-Time Warner-Microsoft-Intel-CBS-ABC-NBC-Fox corporation:
  • They said his actions were "beyond the pale" which is a racial slur used to refer to the Irish. The Pale was a defensive perimeter around Dublin when the English occupied the city. To be "beyond the pale" came to mean uncivilized and barbaric and was synonymous with "wild Irish," one of the slurs the English used.

    And of course, there's vandal.
  • I think part of it also is that they don't want the other sites to lose ad revenue.
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:42AM (#303329) Homepage
    It's actually a fun board to read, provided you (a) don't get offended too easily (some of the viewpoints can be a bit out there, even for me), (b) know your own mind, and (c) have a ton of free time.

    Yes, FR can be a bit out there at times, but so can Slashdot. Think of it as an ultra-conservative Slashdot. They post links to stories, (and *cough* usually include the entire story, so you don't need to go read the article then come back to FR in order to comment on it) the stories are typically stuff you won't find on other news sites (it's fun and pointless trying to find Conservative stories on most news sites), and it is an eyeopener. Go take a look.
  • will they sue CmdrTaco?
  • Well, this might be a relevant precedent if /. decided to go after spammers and/or crapflooders by legal means, instead of just by bitchslapping their accounts and blocking their IPs.

    However I would doubt that this is necessary at this point, as I find moderation perfectly sufficient to keep them out of users' hair.

    (Not trying to start a moderation good/bad thread... just noting that /. seems to do better in this regard.)

  • by Xaviar (202211)
    It appears that they do [195.92.95.5] have a clue.
  • This to me shows the overwhelming hypocricy of the liberal movement. I have no doubt that those attacking this site were liberals, doubtless believing themselves to be on some righteous crusade. Typically, however, the liberals show themselves to favor censorship when it suits them, - that is to censor opposing views.

    They claim to be tolerant, but in fact they are only tolerant of opinions that match with their own - those that agree, for instance, that sodomy is aceeptable behavior, or that we should countenance massive criminal activity because the poor dears were mistreated as children.

    As ever, we find the true face of the liberal revealed - cowardly and snakelike, favoring censorship, but doing so by malevolent underhand means - attempting to flood people promulgating their legitimate views with much garbage. I really think it's time that these people were exposed for the cowards they are. We have tolerated liberalism in all its manifest guises - its tolerance of petty and not so petty criminals, its insistence on screwing up our country - for many years now. Never have we attempted any such underhand tactics against them.

    It appears clear that these liberals will stop at nothing in the pursuit of their own agenda - posting obscene messages, and so on, and even "targeting Free Republic's founder, Jim Robinson" in pursuance of "his stated goal of chasing Free Republic off the Internet". I have seen enough. I have tolerated their supposedly well-meaning activities, but I will not accept these kind of attacks.
  • If the court rules against this guy, does that mean the next time a Congressional representative starts reading the D.C. phonebook to keep a bill from a vote that police will burst in and arrest him or her?

    Rock on. C-Span is my new channel of record.

    This is so much cooler than National Public Radio. Even their new "morning zoo" format [ridiculopathy.com] isn't this cool.

  • Rock on. C-Span is my new channel of record.

    I mis-read that as C-Spam. Hmmm....

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @07:21AM (#303356) Homepage Journal
    First off, let me state quite clearly I haven't ever read FR, having just been there for the first time today. I spent about 30 minutes looking over the site and areas it has.

    Regardless of their content, no individual has the right to slander a site. Apparently that is all that is real to the whole story, the guy basically took out his little tirade versus the eveeel "conservative" site and just invented whatever hyperbole he needed at the time.

    Pleading the 5th in a civil suit is beyond belief, but alas its what happens when the ultra-left get pressed to act on facts instead of emotion. (this works just as well versus some of the ultra-right - but they are not as prevalent as some might think)

    So why is this story on /.? Granted the general anti-conservative (or anything Republican) bent of the /. staff pervades, perhaps its to serve as a warning to some of the screwballs here?

    The first rule of "freedom of speech" is that it does not give you freedom to slander, let alone freedom to violate anothers rights. It would no different than having someone constantly spam /. with messages calling the operators trash, making bogus claims about their actions, promoting windows over everything else, and generally spaming the servers with trash just to make a point.

    Freedom of speech is very important, but you cannot have it without responsibility, and that is what this gentleman forgot. Its a very important ideal, even if you don't like the message.
  • I'm an antiwar.com reader from way back.

    I am also a left winger who appreciates reading news and views from those I disagree with

    -perdida

  • This to me shows the overwhelming hypocricy of the liberal movement. I have no doubt that those attacking this site were liberals, doubtless believing themselves to be on some righteous crusade.

    Oh, come on, get over it already. This wasn't "Free Republic v. the Liberal Movement," it was "Free Republic v. One Major Nutcase." This was not any project of the DNC or any other garbage like that, just the activity of a single loon who (and here I wholeheartedly agree with you) wanted to violate the rights of others to express themselves. I don't really know the whole message of Free Republic beyond what has been mentioned here, but I don't need to; there is a community with a voice, and they have a right to speak, particularly on a forum website of their own creation and use.

    And for those who would say that this injunction is censorship, I suggest you read the details and see just what was taking place. This guy was free to express his opinions for quite some time by merely posting normally; instead he clearly did attempt to disrupt the site to such a degree that it would have to close down entirely. He is the one attempting censorship, not them.
  • That is correct. We have devoted our "lives, liberties, and sacred honor" to limiting the power of the central government. This will again be a free nation only when power is excercised at the local level, for the benefit of the community.

    And yet you applaud the central government's actions to remove this person from Free Republic's forums. I don't follow your logic.

    As long as the Federal stormtroopers can force us to allow inferior and disruptive "students" to attend our schools alongside our children -- we are not free.

    Who is to judge what an "inferior student" is? You? Me? The Gov.. oh, nevermind. I'm all for expelling violent students, but until every family can afford to send their children to private schools, public education remains a right for every citizen. That being said, IMHO secondary schools in this country should be flunking every third student for failure to pass the required curriculum. Not because they're different or disabled, but because they're lazy. There is a difference.

    As long as the Federal stormtroopers can forbid us to pray to our Creator as we choose, we are not free.

    Last I checked, "Federal stormtroopers" weren't raiding churches, temples, synagogues(sp, I'm an ignorant goyim) etc. Perhaps you're referring to school prayer? I would point you again to the Constitution you hold so dear, which guarantees the separation of church and state. Public prayer has no place in the public schools. If your child wants to pray silently they are certianly able to do that. Allowing public prayer during a government sponsored program is a tacit endorsement of one religon, with the implication that the government doesn't endorse the others. Sure, this seems extreme, but what happens when Susie, whose parents are Pagan, wants to pray to the Goddess? Not so simple when you're talking about anything other than "Christianity".
    As long as they can forbid the education of our children in a Christian manner, we are not free.

    Last time I checked there were any number of excellent faith-based schools operating freely within the borders of the U.S. The government doesn't seem to be too concerned about it.

    As long as they can ram filth down our throats on the television, we are not free.

    You are free. Free to turn the TV off if you don't like what you see. Free to write to that program's advertisers and protest the content. And you're also free to choose any number of additional options for entertainment.

    As long as we are denied the right to police our own communities as we see fit, we are not free.

    If you've got a problem with the way the laws are written, write your duly elected representative. If he/she decides that your opinions and views are worthy of legislation, and the majority of voters agree with them, then the law will be passed. If they don't, it won't. That's the way the system works.

    As long as we are forced to allow undesired outsiders to buy land in our communities, we are not free.

    Their money's just as green as yours is.

    I note that you use Karl Marx's term "antithesis" to make your argument.

    It may surprise you to know I've never read Marx. "Antithesis" was the appropriate word for what I was attempting to express, the opposite of another idea, or "thesis".

    Leftist UN internationalism is anathema to a free man. The liberals are nibbling away at our national sovereignty, piece by piece, and UN "police actions" are the thin end of the wedge.

    Ok, now you're critically off topic. This started out as a debate over a troll being removed from a message board. Somehow it's evolved into the "UN-Liberal-Fascist Stormtrooper" conspiracy. Time to change the tinfoil in your hat, there, Sparky.
  • by markmoss (301064) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @07:41AM (#303375)
    There's a big difference between "create" and "invent." If I design a circuit board, and some originality is involved (not usually 8-), then I invented something. Meanwhile, on one line on the factory floor, about a dozen people and $2M in machines creates 800 circuit boards an hour...

    Gore does have a habit of overstatement -- I guess he's trying to prove he really is a politician rather than a Mr. Rogers impersonator. 8-) But it's well attested that he really was the first Congressman to understand that the Arpanet could be more than a chat line for goverment scientists. And unless you are a knee-jerk conservative, I doubt that you can look up the whole story and then claim that Gore's overstatements are worse than every other politicians.

    There were some really good reasons to vote against Gore, but the hoopla about "inventing the internet" certainly wasn't one.
  • by markmoss (301064) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:39AM (#303376)
    The fundamental allegation is that after Aldridge's Freep log-in was blocked for egregiously violating their acceptable use policy, he used multiple e-mail accounts to get more than 50 log-ins under various names, and continued posting in violation of the AUP. Much as I dislike them, if there is any truth to that, they are in the right and Aldridge is wrong. It's a private web site. They have to right to kick you out if they want to. You don't have the right to sneak back in disguise.

    One problem here is that we have a URL to the freepers' allegations, but nothing about Aldridge's response. Now and then I've noticed a conservative to twist the truth, or even to (gasp!) lie. (For instance, Gore never said he "invented" the internet.) Obviously Aldridge didn't convince the judge, but maybe the judge is a conservative Republican too...
  • Despite the fact that I think the original post by 'Dan' was a farce, and meant as general slashdot style satirical humor, I do agree with liberals on the free speech thing. And the far right does often like to champion the idea that not all speech should be allowed in public. I would consider myself conservative, but not a Republican. I may be dismayed and concerned about the KKK and Neo-Nazi's being able to spout their ridiculous rhetoric, but if they're not allowed to do so, it's only a few steps closer to the edge of banning all free speech, including the stuff I like to spout off about that others may not like to hear. That is why I specifically DO NOT go to KKK rallies just to boycott them and argue with them. They're largely ignored in America, and they never receive more attention than the occasional Jerry Springer show appearance because everyone ignores them.

    And from reading all the posts on FR in response to one of the posts from this crazy guy, it seems he did his job of pissing everyone off. Bad karma posters only get recognition when people argue with them. Ignore people like that and they will stop, or find someone else who will listen to the endless lunatic ranting. FR obviously gave this guy a lot of attention, even though it was negative. So if he was receiving so much attention, why did they have to ban him? If their own conservative crowd couldn't ignore him, I would say they have issues of their own to deal with too.

    However, if he was actually causing disruption to the site, DoS attacks, email spams, etc. I would have to say they were well within their rights to legally order him to 'stay off' their private property.

  • by blair1q (305137)
    Semantic problem:

    http://www.FreeRepublic.com/forum/a3a70c1b007e0. ht m
    Each time Aldridge re-registers, he agrees to abide by the User Agreement. Aldridge then proceeds to violate the User Agreement by posting lewd and obnoxious messages.

    It's pretty clear that he does not agree to abide by the "User Agreement". He merely clicks a button near a statement that he either doesn't read or reads and disagrees with. The button might even say something like "I Agree". Silly button.

    --Blair
  • by Chakat (320875) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:51AM (#303387) Homepage
    Disagreeing with you here, Mr. Hayes. I happen to be a card-carrying Libertarian, and I can see that this guy was merely an idiotic crapflooder who couldn't handle when FR said get out of here, you aren't wanted here. I have playful arguements with the liberals that are in my life, but when the fighting is over, we laugh about it. We don't let the hate and the passion get the better of our civility.

    Personally, I feel that at the end of the day, most "liberals" want the same thing "conservatives" want, good food, good love, and good entertainment. It's just that the politics and the path we choose get in the way of the end.

  • I guess that we don't have to wait for Germany to start a political info war [slashdot.org], we can do it to ourselves. On a bright note, at least they are doing something to stop a no good spamming troll. Free speech must be protected, but I don't think that vandalism counts.
  • By rejecting the holy and spiritual basis for our Constitution, you reject the Constitution as well.

    So what you are saying is you want to get rid of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech. It sounds alot like you want to suspend the Constitution, that does not sound like a patriot to me. That sounds like a Facist.

    By all reasonable standards, you are not a patriot, nor even a citizen -- yet you demand the same rights and privileges as men who believe in the constitution.


  • We have earned our rights. The liberals have earned nothing.

    You are wrong, if it were not for liberals fighting for freedom, we would have no freedom of religion, our children would be indoctrinated into christianity at very young age by forced prayer in school. There would be no freedom of speech, anything and everything that had anything to do with sex would be banned. It would illegal to be gay. The war on drugs would have turned our country into a military state and the constitution all but suspended. 99% of all the wealth would belong to 1% of the population and the rest of us would be working for 50 cents an hour in sweat shops. Women would be second class citizens, not only would abortion be illegal, so would any form of birth control.

    To extend the rights of free men to conservatives is to institute a immoral military state. I, for one, refuse to do so.

    Yes this is flamebait and I am a troll, please moderate accordingly.



  • "Cussards and reprobates" indeed! I couldn't have said it better myself. Indeed, indeed, let them retreat into their weird fantasies of "moons" and "native Americans", let them destroy themselves . . .

    And of course you are correct: Slashdot will be renewed. And the time is fast approaching.


  • As I understand it the core tenet of conservatism is the freedom to live one's life free from governmental interference.

    That is correct. We have devoted our "lives, liberties, and sacred honor" to limiting the power of the central government. This will again be a free nation only when power is excercised at the local level, for the benefit of the community.

    As long as the Federal stormtroopers can force us to allow inferior and disruptive "students" to attend our schools alongside our children -- we are not free.

    As long as the Federal stormtroopers can forbid us to pray to our Creator as we choose, we are not free.

    As long as they can forbid the education of our children in a Christian manner, we are not free.

    As long as they can ram filth down our throats on the television, we are not free.

    As long as we are denied the right to police our own communities as we see fit, we are not free.

    As long as we are forced to allow undesired outsiders to buy land in our communities, we are not free.


    Being told to defend a nation or a Constitution you may or may not believe in seems to be the antithesis of this concept.

    I note that you use Karl Marx's term "antithesis" to make your argument. Predictable. In any case, you are correct: We firmly and unequivocally reject all attempts to force us to fight and die for other nations. Leftist UN internationalism is anathema to a free man. The liberals are nibbling away at our national sovereignty, piece by piece, and UN "police actions" are the thin end of the wedge.

    It is intolerable that free American men should be conscripted into the service of foreign and barbaric governments.

  • by theonomist (442009) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:07AM (#303415) Homepage

    " . . .inalienable rights are endowed by our creator . . ."

    No, we are endowed with inalienable rights by our Creator. But you were at least trying to quote the Declaration, so I'll take the thought for the deed and let it slide.

    The problem here is that you and the rest of the liberals do not acknowledge your Creator. So how then can you appeal to Him for these rights? You can't. By rejecting the holy and spiritual basis for our Constitution, you reject the Constitution as well. Where does that leave you? Nowhere. By all reasonable standards, you are not a patriot, nor even a citizen -- yet you demand the same rights and privileges as men who fought and died for them.

    You want "natural rights"? Here's a Natural Law instead: There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Lunch

  • by theonomist (442009) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:17AM (#303416) Homepage

    when the rebels fought the men who kept them under their thumb in the revolutionary war, that was heroic.

    but when the rebels fought the men who kept them under their thumb in Seattle, that's a bunch of long haired freaks.

    You are correct on the first one, but in the second you drift off into absurd propaganda. Those so-called "long-haired freaks" (in fact, most of them were skinheads, the liberals' racist shock-troops) were not being kept under anyone's thumb. They were "protesting" against freedom. They were there to oppose the natural rights and liberties of business enterprises. They were fighting against the creation of wealth. They were fighting against the right to private property and freedom of association.

    The dogmatic anti-prosperity/anti-freedom ideology of the Left is hardly comparable to the noble principles set forth by our Founding Fathers.

    Your entire argument is meaningless gibberish. Reasoning by analogy is a bad idea: The results are rarely valid, and even then only by accident.


  • It's sad, but true: Statistics don't lie.

  • by theonomist (442009) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:46AM (#303418) Homepage

    I wasn't trying to quote anything.

    Be that as it may, "endowing" a "right" with anything (you didn't specify what) is a waste of energy. I mean, like, that's not what "endow" means, dude.


    Are you saying that God plays partisan politics?

    God prefers those who keep His Law. If one party does so, and the other does not, why then quite naturally God will tend to prefer the members of the former to those of the latter.

    That's an obvious truth, but it doesn't have much to do with "partisan politics" as you understand it: God's not sitting up there saying, "My team, right or wrong!" He's saying, "My team, because the only way to be on it is to be right in the first place." See the difference?

    This has nothing to do with "diversity", "tolerance", or "broad-mindedness": Those slogans are all red herrings. Would you be "tolerant" of somebody who bombed your city? No. Some things are just plain wrong.


    By what right do YOU decide who is and isn't a patriot, much less even a citizen?

    Simple common sense. Imagine you're running a business. Imagine that one of your employees sets your office on fire. Would you consider that person a good and loyal servant, or a dangerous nut? Would you give him a raise, or fire him? You'd fire him. You'd get rid of the dumb bastard, because even if he believes that he is right, he is still a dangerous lunatic. So it is with the liberals: They are devoted to destroying the foundations of our nation. We have a right to act in self-defense, whether you like it or not.

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