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Goldman Sachs Tries To Shut Down Dissident Blogger 161

Posted by kdawson
from the maybe-they'd-like-a-different-number dept.
The Narrative Fallacy sends along a piece from the Telegraph on efforts by Goldman Sachs to silence a blogger who is posting commentary critical of the bank. "Goldman Sachs has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website goldmansachs666.com. According to the C&D letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site 'violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights' and also 'implies a relationship' with the bank itself. Morgan claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank. In a post entitled Goldman Sachs vs Mike Morgan, the blogger predicts that the fight will probably end up in court. He went through a similar battle with US home builder Lennar a few years ago after he set up a website to collect information on what he alleged was shoddy workmanship in its homes. 'Since I went through this with Lennar, I've had advice from some of the best intellectual property lawyers, and I know exactly what I can and can't do. We're not going to back down from this.'"
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Goldman Sachs Tries To Shut Down Dissident Blogger

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  • Um.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:10PM (#27545895)
    Why do companies go to these great lengths to censor these people? Its a lot more effective to let the bloggers blog in relative obscurity then to make a big deal of it and then increase the pagerank of their blog. Pursing these types of cases only leads people to believe you do have something to hide, and that something to hide just got a lot higher up on Google by threatening to sue them....
    • Re:Um.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:02PM (#27546079) Journal

      Because most of the time it isn't more effective to let them blog in obscurity.

      I'd be willing to bet that most people blowing whistles or posting such sites have not crossed every "t" and dotted every "i" and do have some legal leverage that companies can use to shut them down and in many cases wipe them out. Most fold quietly and are never heard from or else are destroyed by legal fees. These bussinesses would not pursue these practices if they were not effective in most cases.

      Sending a scary legal-looking letter especially to a young or low-wage person is more than enough to get them to shut down and shut up what ever they are doing that you don't like. Often you can get the person to sign something to have them give up more rights while they are scared and thus have even more power over them once and if they ever come to their senses.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PhreakOfTime (588141)

        But then again, posting such a poorly thought out Cease and Desist letter [demystify.info] might end up in more attention being drawn to such unethical business practices.

        Since you are a betting man, what do you think the odds are that the lawyer who wrote that letter has severely questioned the decision to do so?

        • by Gerzel (240421) *

          The lawyer is likely working 9 to 5 with little or no personal liability in his job other than accountability for an arbitrary measure for his job performance(such as sending and filing said C&D letters). So I don't think the lawyer writing/sending them out thinks much at all about it.

      • by Renraku (518261)

        Actually scaring someone into signing a contract that they don't understand invalidates the contract.

        Example: What you're doing is illegal. Sign this paper and we'll go away. Ha! Now if you keep doing it we'll sue you since you signed a contract saying that you wouldn't do that!

        • scaring someone into signing a contract that they don't understand invalidates the contract.

          Tell that to the thousands of single moms and students who "settled" with RIAA.

        • by Gerzel (240421) *

          Yeah but try being the one who is scared proving that you were scared into signing it. Often the threat is the cost of hiring a legal defence. In order to prove that you were coerced and scared into signing a contract you have to hire the same or greater legal defence and come back to the same real reason you were threatened in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Sentry21 (8183)

      The term for this is the Streisand Effect [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Matt Perry (793115)

      Why do companies go to these great lengths to censor these people? Its a lot more effective to let the bloggers blog in relative obscurity then to make a big deal of it and then increase the pagerank of their blog.

      Did you mean "then" or "than"? Your post is interpreted differently with either word. You said "then" which makes this read as they left him to blog in obscurity and now they have decided to make a big deal about it which means they are doing the most effective thing, according to you.

    • Re:Um.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @12:19AM (#27546319) Journal

      Why do companies go to these great lengths to censor these people?

      Because it used to work. This was before the internet reached most of the people in the country, though.

      -jcr

    • by golodh (893453) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @04:04AM (#27547033)
      There are two mechanisms at work: one psychological, one institutional.

      First of all, there are psychological factors. It's not the company that responds, it's certain individuals that do. Individual who set policy, or individuals who carry out said policy.

      People who set policy, i.e. people at the top of the food chain in business usually didn't get there by being kind, timid, passive, open-minded, self-effacing and objective. Instead they tend to have much larger egos than the norm and also tend to be more much agressive towards others than usual (usually in the guise of being "effective" "goal-oriented", "focused", and "exercising management authority"). They obviously must be smart enough to get away with being agressive, or they won't be successful. Oh, and by the way, I'm extremely happy that Business offers such people a constructive outlet for their energy and aggression. Because otherwise it would go into Crime or Politics (or both).

      As a result, while they are successful, life shows them on a daily basis that their thinking is correct, their opinions are valuable, and that their approach to life is the right one.

      Now consider what happens when you contradict someone like that. Consider first what it means exactly to contradict someone like that. You and he (or she) are in a business setting, and both are vying for a "group position", i.e. who leads the thinking of whatever group is listening at that time on the issue at hand. And the subject under consideration isn't the weather either, it's (as in the case of the blog on Morgan Sachs) about company policy. Policy as set out and supported over a period of time by themselves.

      With that in mind think of how this contradicting opinion (and the one doing the contradicting) will be perceived. There are no credits for answering that the perception will be that of a threat, if not a challenge.

      So lets reformulate our original and fairly neutral description of "contradicting" a executive of a firm like that.

      I believe the way to formulate it that does justice to the depth of emotion and self-interest would be: "you issue a public challenge to an executive, implying that he is at best incompetent and unethical, and at worst a crook"

      Now about the institutional factors. Consider that high-ranking individuals impact their environment in various ways. First of all, they lead, and they can't do that without some authority. Only the very rarest of individuals can lead purely through their influence, and without exercising authority. The norm is that you shape your environment through selection (read hire-and-fire), rewards, promotions to support and protect your general ideas and the "image" of what you do and what you stand for. In its positive form it's called "Esprit de corps". It's what e.g. the Armed Forces insist on instilling in recruits. They do that because it makes the social coherence of the organization stronger. But in its negative form it can also degenerate into group think, bullying, and abuse (e.g. Nazism, Communism, Party doctrine, Scientology, and even religious abuse at the Airforce Acacdemy (see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4091956.stm) [bbc.co.uk]).

      Now PR officials are a prime example of guards of a firm's public image (i.e. what others think of a firm and its actions). It's their job to be aware of the public image and to steer it in the way the firms wants it to be through propaganda. Lawyers are another example. Apart from their more mundane tasks of drawing up contracts they are specialists in the enforceable obligations in our society operates. Rules on topics like intellectual property, slander, defamation, torts, compensation for damages, etc..

      Now do you understand the reaction of such companies? Their first-response mechanism is PR. Their secondary response are legal threats. Their tertiary response is litigation. All motivated by extremely aggressive and self-confident people who direct a lot of money and therefore wield a lot of power and who perceive the dissonant opinion as a threat to their personal position. Of course they get nasty!

      • by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @04:35AM (#27547107)

        Long story short:- They do it because they are douche bags.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by symbolic (11752)

        Oh, and by the way, I'm extremely happy that Business offers such people a constructive outlet for their energy and aggression. Because otherwise it would go into Crime or Politics (or both).

        They are becoming indistinguishable. I'd opine that the whole bailout was nothing than legalized theft - grand larceny actually - on a rather grand scale. Despite the obvious carelessness and contempt inherent in the Wall Street money train, there were few (if any) real consequences.

    • Well, maybe because they have something to hide.
  • striesand effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:16PM (#27545921)
    when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation. even if sachs win this it's too late, they've given him all the credibility he needs just by reacting to it.

    if they just ignored it and called it blatantly untrue, he'd slip off the radar never to been seen again. the other side to this is that there are lots of guys like this blogger who take up causes like this just to try get their 15 minutes. this guy strikes me as one of this self rightgeous types.

    • by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:29PM (#27546175)

      "when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation."

      I'm sure lawyers understand that better than most.

    • Re:striesand effect (Score:5, Informative)

      by fightinfilipino (1449273) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:31PM (#27546177) Homepage
      it's not often the lawyers' choice. Goldman Sachs consults Chadbourne & Parke on the best courses of action. if the law firm is doing its job correctly, they will give Goldman Sachs a number of different options they could take. but ultimately, it's up to Goldman Sachs as the client to choose what path to take. in short, the lawyer types DO understand that there's more than just litigation, but clients may not necessarily know, or even want, those other options.
      • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:39PM (#27546205)
        call me jaded, don't i don't see lawyers not advising legal action. that's simply not what we see happening in the courts these days.
        • I had an injury on city property.

          A good lawyer and a friend advised me that unless the city is at extreme fault (ie: negligent or like) that is was near worthless to pursue a case. I could simply say that they weren't negligent, so I took his advice.

          • by drsmithy (35869)

            A good lawyer and a friend advised me that unless the city is at extreme fault (ie: negligent or like) that is was near worthless to pursue a case. I could simply say that they weren't negligent, so I took his advice.

            Which is exactly how it *should* be.

            • Even if the city really was negligent?
              • I know it's a few days after the fact, but the lawyer explained what it meant to have a city be negligent. It was then my decision to determine if the city was at fault, considering my injury (bicycle riding).

                The perceived negligence is that a bicycle/walking trail abruptly ends at a very nasty intersection. If you care to see, it's Columbus, IN at the intersection of 2'nd, 3'rd, and State St. at the intersection of the river. I ended up following bicycle rules going down 3rd st, but decided to take it to t

        • by qbzzt (11136)

          call me jaded, don't i don't see lawyers not advising legal action.

          I call you jaded. Goldman Sachs is probably a long term customer of Chadbourne & Parke. It is in the law office's best interest to give good advice to such a client - even if it means forgoing the fees from one specific case.

      • by qbzzt (11136) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:34AM (#27546567)

        Goldman Sachs probably has a PR department. It's the job of the PR department to weigh in and say this is not worth doing.

        Lawyers are experts on how things would appear to a judge and a jury - not how the rest of the world would perceive them. Often the best legal course is a really bad PR course.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CodeBuster (516420)

          Often the best legal course is a really bad PR course.

          That is true, but unless the bad PR reaches a mighty crescendo of public outrage, as the AIG bonus scandals [wikipedia.org] did, then a bank holding company, like Goldman, is unlikely to change its ways. Goldman is not a consumer products or entertainment company and so is more insulated from, although not impervious to, the direct actions and opinions of the public.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Saysys (976276)
      It does not matter if it is right or wrong to the lawyers.

      What matters is how much they can convince GS to pay them for the privilege of making GoldmanSachs look bad.
    • by jcr (53032)

      when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation.

      Lawyers bill by the hour. Win or lose, it's worth it for the lawyer to pursue it.

      -jcr

    • You're missing the important perspective where this is a win-win.

      The Law-Firm made money, the Lawyer made money, and Goldman-Sachs... Well - two-outta-three ain't bad.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      They wouldn't be ignoring it if they made a statement about it at all. Calling it blatantly untrue would be that statement.

      There is also terms like trademark in which you have to protect it else it becomes extremely difficult to protect in the future. They may not really have a choice in matters like that. We also got to see the website quite nicely after the disclaimers came up. I'm suspecting that this slashvertisment was designed to create the impression that the C&D letter was unfounded in the first

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      when will lawyer types understand the world is more complex than litigation. *snip*

      Really, its not, once you include the money factor.

  • This will cause a major Streisand Effect for Goldman Sachs. Now everyone will know what they want hidden.

    It seems to me the banks are largely in control of the country, not the government or the people.

    We need to transfer money to and from Europe and Brazil. We discovered that the banks: 1) Determine the exchange rate themselves; some banks won't even tell you their exchange rate in advance. 2) Charge a large fixed fee. 3) Charge a percentage of the money transferred.
    • Here are just a few more of the many abuses by banks:

      The Federal Reserve Bank is not federal. There is nothing in reserve. It is not a bank. Three lies in the title! "The Fed" is controlled by the big banks.

      Someone associated with the big banks, acting for "The Fed", determines the interest rate that will be paid on savings. There are often news stories saying how brilliant he is for lowering the interest rate, which allows the banks higher income, and means that those who save money get less interest
      • by ip_fired (730445) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:28PM (#27546169) Homepage

        Someone associated with the big banks, acting for "The Fed", determines the interest rate that will be paid on savings. There are often news stories saying how brilliant he is for lowering the interest rate, which allows the banks higher income, and means that those who save money get less interest.

        Huh? Banks determine the interest rate that they will pay you. It's on your monthly statement. If banks need more money, they'll offer a higher interest rate to entice people to transfer more money over to them. If you want a fixed rate, you need to get a CD, which will lock you into a rate. By using a savings account which you can withdraw from, you get less. Less risk (because your cash is liquid), less reward.

        The interest rate you are talking about is the inter-bank lending rate, where banks will make very short term loans to each other (overnight, or a few days) so that they have the requisite amount of cash to meet the needs of their depositors. It doesn't always effect the rates at which you can lend at.

        In response to your other gripes:
        IRAs) Don't invest in CDs. Put your money in managed funds that will get you better returns without you having to do all of the research.
        Credit Cards) Don't buy what you can't afford. It doesn't matter what interest rate you have on the card if you pay it off in full each month.
        Savings Accounts) Move your money out when the bank lowers the rate. Move it into something with a higher return if you can afford to have it be locked up for a while.
        Bank Representatives) Not sure what bank you're with that causes you think this, but it isn't true of all banks. Start shopping around a bit more.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pod (1103)

          That was at best an extremely poor choice of words on the parent's part.

          The FED rate is the rate the FED will lend to large banks at. The parent IS correct in that, effectively, the FED has nothing in reserve, and any money it lends is basically created out of thin air. The way it influences (and benefits) these banks is that the lower the rate, the more will be lent and borrowed, and anything they get from the FED they will multiply 10x through the magic of fractional reserve banking.

          This is bad because it

          • Thanks for the clarification. However, the Federal Reserve does, basically, decide the interest rate that will be offered by banks. Many banks are offering less than 1% interest, below the rate of inflation, encouraged by the actions of the Federal Reserve.
            • by Temposs (787432) <temposs&gmail,com> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @10:36AM (#27548511) Homepage

              If you want a higher interest rate at any given time, just check out www.bankrate.com, which is a great site for researching the health of a bank and its various interest rates. Here's a page I often turn to in order to see what the highest rates are:

              http://www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/mmmf_highratehome.asp?web=brm&params=US,416&prodtype=chksav&market=416&product=33&state=US&sort=2 [bankrate.com]

              To choose a bank to deposit money into for savings, I generally will look at the bank with the highest interest rate that also has 4 stars(which indicates very good health). The bank I'm currently with for savings emails me whenever their rate changes, and they have excellent 24/7 customer service, with a competitive interest rate.

              Another good site for this kind of thing is the finance section of www.fatwallet.com:

              http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/ [fatwallet.com]

              The users keep a running list of the top returning CDs, Savings Accounts, and Credit Cards. They talk about all the minutiae of the different accounts and customer service, etc...

            • by darthflo (1095225)

              [...]encouraged by the actions of the Federal Reserve.

              "The Fed's task is to supply enough reserves to support an adequate amount of money and credit, avoiding the excesses that result in inflation and the shortages that stifle economic growth." (Source [richmondfed.org], via 'pedia [wikipedia.org]

              In financially dire times, like right now, offering extremely little interest is just the right thing to do. On one hand, this benefits entrepreneurs who can borrow at lower rates and attemt to fight recession from their side, on the other ha

          • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @04:23AM (#27547081) Journal

            That's sort of true and not at the same time.

            The fed actually holds a percentage of the money other banks own from deposits. Your local bank (or national/international conglomerate acting as a local bank) is required to keep so much of their deposits in reserve to account for normal withdraws and banking needs. The ratio usually is different for times deposits like a CD but for normal account deposits it's around 10% (last time I checked).

            Now, here is where the fed comes in to play. The local banks don't really have the facilities or security to hold the entire amount of reserves. If a bank has 10 billion deposited (on paper), it needs to keep 1 billion in reserve. Most banks can don't have the capacity to keep more then a couple million on hand so the rest gets stored at the reserve. They transfer a portion of this (what they are capable of securing on site subtracted from the CRR applicable to the banks specifics) to one of the twelve district reserve banks. They do this for a small fee which is generally charged as the FDIC insurance. When the reserve lends money, they lend this money as their own and collect the interest on it.

            They can do this essentially because 15 banks may have more then enough money deposited to cover the normal needs of all the banks in their district plus interbank lending. They aren't creating it our of thin air, they are using other people's money as their own for the purpose of stabilizing the monetary flow.

            This can go awry and cause some disasters like when banks state trading loans and counting them as asset packages for the purpose of their reserve ratios (part of what got us into trouble recently). However, the system itself isn't inherently flawed or bad as you suggest. What this does is allow wealth and value to be created without the constant need to monitor the health of the economy. It doesn't really distort it as much as it keeps it stable. And best of all, it allows wealth to be created without causing inflation.

            Now what I mean by wealth to be created without causing inflation is best explained in a short story/example. In a fixed system, there is a static amount of currency. When someone holds 90 percent of that currency, there is only 10 percent of it left for the community. The result is that people get paid less for their work and have to pay more for their goods and services they purchase. But with this reserve system and the ability to use other people's money, then you or I could do something of value and create wealth without lowing the amount of money in circulation or causing inflation. What happens is that if there was $100 in the entire country and $60 was in the hands or bank accounts of 2 of the 10 people living there, then when you convert your time and labor into value by going into the woods, cutting down a tree, cutting planks from that tree and manufacture rocking chairs or furniture or whatever, your not limited to selling them for the excess of the $5 the remaining 8 people control. Instead, they can temporarily use $2 each from the 2 with all the money and now you have your $5 plus $16 from the other 7 people with $5 and one of the 2 with $30 each. The effect is that the economy now has roughly $114-$116 and you purchase more stuff to better your life. This pays someone else more, allows them to do something to create wealth, purchase more, and the process repeats. At some point in time, they print more money to represent the actual value or wealth in the economy and you never knew it was short or in excess for that brief period of time.

            This is a necessity with a fiat currency. It can be abused though. But that is actually rare. It is a little more complicated then I just attempted to explain but most people who attempt to understand it don't ever look at the good side of it and assume the bad because they can't see the benefits. I would say that this is because most people borrow to purchase things they can't afford that will eventually decrease in value (car, boats, big screen TVs, so on) instead of borrow to mak

      • by Nevyn (5505) *

        Retirement savings accounts (IRAs): 1) IRAs are given a lower interest rate. 2) When IRA CDs are renewed automatically, it is always at a lower interest rate, taking advantage of people who are extremely busy before the renewal date, and don't have time to research a better rate at a different bank.

        An IRA is a type of account, mainly used for retirment savings due to how tax is done on it, you can have basically anything in it. A CD is a loan to a bank, much like a savings account but with a higher rate o

    • by ip_fired (730445)

      If you're going to be transferring large amounts of money, sign up for a site like FXAll.com where banks will compete with each other and you can pick the best exchange rate for you. It's a market, no one institution is setting the rate. But the bank that you do the trade with will add a spread on the rate that they give you to cover the cost of doing the trade with you.

      • Thanks for the advice about FXAll.com. Often we would not be transferring large amounts, just several thousand dollars. We have accounts with HSBC, one of the partner banks.

        Would FXAll do business with us?

        The web site says "Institutional clients who have a relationship with an FXall liquidity provider, a prime broker or a broker-dealer may be eligible to trade over FXall."

        Is a corporation an "institutional client"? Is HSBC an "FXall liquidity provider"? The web site is written with a lot of jargon,
        • by ip_fired (730445)

          On the FXAll site I see that it is for Corporate Treasurers, which I guess you might have at your company. I'm not sure at which size or volume of trades you need to do in order to make going with a company like FXAll more economical. I looked on their liquidity provider [fxall.com] page and it looks like HSBC is on there. You could also try looking at a different bank that will give you the features that you want.

          Disclaimer: My employer is one of the FXAll liquidity providers.

  • by conner_bw (120497) * on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:21PM (#27545939) Homepage Journal

    Alright, I read the blog, and I'm going to postulate the following:

    Goldman Sachs, fully aware of the Streisand effect [wikipedia.org], is specifically targeting this blog because it's horribly written and bordering on schizophrenic lunacy.

    By doing so it will attract a lot of attention, hordes people will flock to read it, and go "huh?".

    Whatever Goldman Sachs is doing, it's going to get buried in a pile of stuff they aren't doing.

    This is the same as Alien conspiracies in the 90's - So much bullshit and misinformation, interest eventually peaked, and then most people got bored and forgot about it.

    Covering tracks.

    • Right as Rain (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:30PM (#27545969)
      But you know, even if you are right, being an asshole still shines through. You always have to consider the messenger.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zerth (26112)

      Either that, or they've figured that the old adage "No press is bad press" might be true and that this is a hell of lot cheaper than a real advertising campaign.

      Gets the name out in the mainstream media.

      • I don't want to troll here, but I ask quite honestly, do you even know what Goldman Sachs is?

        They are a vast and influential investment bank with a worldwide presence. They were one of the top few campaign contributors to both Obama and McCain, and their former execs occupy high positions in the US Treasury department.

        They have considerably less need to "get their name out in the mainstream media" than those scrappy little startups called McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          They have considerably less need to "get their name out in the mainstream media" than those scrappy little startups called McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

          .

          And yet they advertise, despite being one of the world's highest firms and consistantly outgrowing its competitors. True, it has never really used TV advertisments, but I still get print pieces and see newspaper ads for GS about new products(20+% of their revenue is from products that didn't exists last decade). Hell, they've been doing ads in COLOR for almost

      • by metlin (258108)

        Seriously? Please tell me you are kidding, and that you're not really a moron asking that question.

        What do you think Goldman Sachs is, a company that sells gold teeth on late night TV?

        Get their name out to mainstream media indeed.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          No, they are a company whose image has taken a big hit. They are currently hiring an entire marketing department which, in part, will "shape a messaging and brand strategy reflects today's dynamics and the firm's leadership role in helping to define it."

          They went from being the largest bulge bracket firm to being a holding bank, lots of AIG's government money is going straight to them(with the attendant bad will), and a huge chunk of their growth in the last 2 years was from subprime derivatives.

          • by pyite (140350)

            lots of AIG's government money is going straight to them

            Shock of all shocks. AIG owed Goldman money. A LOT of money. The whole reason for AIG to be bailed out was so that the companies that AIG was obligated to pay money to would be minimally affected. Goldman happened to be the biggest one of those.

            All of Goldman's positions were either hedged or collateralized (mind you most of AIG's trading partners did not ask for collateral from AIG, Goldman did). If Goldman had to cash in on its hedges of exposure to

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:40PM (#27546007)
      Since it is hosted with Google, I wonder if *they* will fold under threats from G.S.?
    • Whatever Goldman Sachs is doing, it's going to get buried in a pile of stuff they aren't doing.

      This is the same as Alien conspiracies in the 90's - So much bullshit and misinformation, interest eventually peaked, and then most people got bored and forgot about it.

      OK, I'll bite....what was real about aliens in the 90's that was buried beneath all the bullshit?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:13PM (#27546125)
      I only skimmed the first couple entries, but it's a fact that:
      1. Henry Paulson, former treasury secretary and key architect of the bailout plan, is a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.
      2. Goldman Sachs has receieved 10 billion in TARP money.
      3. Goldman Sachs has received 12-20 billion in additional monies via the AIG bailout.

      The more people who know that the better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by uullly (1530509)

      There are some surprisingly uninformed criticisms here.
      - a guy looking for his 15 minutes
      No. I have not noticed he has much interest in fame. At least he doesn't seem to try too hard.
      - site is up only because he's shorting
      No. His short position is besides the point. He expects them to go down on fundamentals. This is a protest site.

      To this post:
      Can you point out some specific posts that qualify as 'bordering on schizophrenic lunacy'?
      The few posts I looked over sound about right.

      I think this site (or anyone

  • ... these bloggers would just not use the name of the company in their domain name. Instead, choose a name that is descriptive of the evil actions. Then merely identify what company is being referred to. And that opens up the ability to reference more than one company, too.

  • bad law (Score:4, Informative)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:24PM (#27545949) Homepage

    The C and D letter itself undermines its argument. It notes that Goldmann Sachs owns the trademark "in the financial services market". Trademarks are restricted to particular market segments. The fact that Goldmann Sachs owns that trademark in the financial services market does not prevent others from using the same trademark in other market segments. If you want to start a chain of "Goldmann Sachs Cheeseburgers", you are free to do so. So, not only is GoldmannSachs666 clearly distinct from GoldmannSachs, but since it isn't in the financial services market, it wouldn't infringe even if it weren't distinct.

    • Goldman Sachs Cheeseburgers.
      Too funny.
      Especially near Passover.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      That is most certainly a valid defense. But defenses cost money and the big evil corporations know this. It would be better for these gripe bloggers to use a name that gives the evil corporation no opportunity in this regard. Just use a domain name that describes the bad actions and identify the bad actors in the content. Then the first C & D has to be something like "stop saying that" or whatever.

      • by Gorobei (127755)

        Given Goldman owns a big chunk of Burger King, it may not even be that valid a defense.

    • The C and D letter itself undermines its argument. It notes that Goldmann Sachs owns the trademark "in the financial services market". Trademarks are restricted to particular market segments.

      So what market segment is the blogger in? By criticising a company in the financial services segment don't they operate in the same segment?

      • by belmolis (702863)

        He isn't in the financial services market if he isn't offering financial services. Since he isn't selling anything, he isn't really in any market, but if you have to specify one, it is presumably journalism.

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          So if I took out the domain Belmolis22.whatever and criticized your slashdot posts, I would be in a different market?

          Well, lets put it another way. Lets say I created a magazing called "Goldmann Sachs blurbs" and ran stories about Goldmann Sachs' business, their actions, and how the government is favoring them. Would I be in the same market or not? Could you see where if I wrote false or misleading information in the Onion style of news would weaken their trademark just a little? I would hope so because tha

    • by Quothz (683368)

      Trademarks are restricted to particular market segments.

      In the US, at least, you are mistaken. I'm not a lawyer, but the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 makes it pretty clear that injunctive relief (as opposed to damages) does not rely upon competition within a market if the trademark has achieved certain requirements for fame:

      Subject to the principles of equity, the owner of a famous mark that is distinctive, inherently or through acquired distinctiveness, shall be entitled to an injunction against another person who, at any time after the owner's mark has become famous, commences use of a mark or trade name in commerce that is likely to cause dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment of the famous mark, regardless of the presence or absence of actual or likely confusion, of competition, or of actual economic injury.

      However, TDRA has a specific exclusion for criticism:

      The following shall not be actionable as dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment under this subsection:

      ...(ii) identifying and parodying, criticizing, or commenting upon the famous mark owner or the goods or services of the famous mark owner

      • by belmolis (702863)

        No, I'm not mistaken. Trademarks are registered for specific market segments. The "famous mark" provision that you cite allows holders of some marks to claim the mark outside the registered segment(s), but most marks don't fall into this category. It is intended for marks that are not only well known but associated with diverse market segments, e.g. "Sears". Even if Goldman Sachs is very well known in the financial services area, the fact that it is restricted to this one market segment and, for that matte

        • by Quothz (683368)

          Trademarks are registered for specific market segments.

          Trademarks are registered for one or more classes of goods or services, not market segments, which are something else entirely. These classes are codified by the USPTO rules. However, the famous trademark provision shows that trademarks are not restricted to the class(es) under which they're registered, as you claimed.

          It is intended for marks that are not only well known but associated with diverse market segments

          That is absolutely not one of the criteria used when determining whether a trademark is famous:

          (i) The duration, extent, and geographic reach of advertising and publicity of the mark, whether advertised or publicized by the owner or third parties.

          (ii) The amount, volume, and geographic extent of sales of goods or services offered under the mark.

          (iii) The extent of actual recognition of the mark.

          (iv) Whether the mark was registered under the Act of March 3, 1881, or the Act of February 20, 1905, or on the principal register.

          Even if Goldman Sachs is very well known in the financial services area, the fact that it is restricted to this one market segment and, for that matter, is unknown to people who know nothing about financial services, militate rather strongly against "famous mark" status.

          That's an interesting theory. As a counterpoint, I'll note that Goldman Sachs' trademark was (one

  • Blah-sucks.com (Score:3, Informative)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @10:33PM (#27545981)
    Haven't there already been Blah-sucks.com cases that have been decided in favor of free speech?
  • by surfingmarmot (858550) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @11:44PM (#27546215)
    People try to make sense of GS catapulting this guy to fame to their detriment when they should properly just keep him in the shadows. Isn't it obvious why? One small Word, one big object: EGO The people who run Goldman-Sachs are used to running everything--including the Fed, Congress, and the Presidency. They have saddled everyone of us with a debt of $165,000 for the bail out (so far) and most of that money goes into their pockets in bonuses, guarantees for their failed investments, and other devious ways they bilk people for cash. It sticks in their craw that some little nobody on the net can flip them the bird and blow raspberries at them and be untouchable. And they just cannot accept that. Their egos cannot stand it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387)

      They have saddled everyone of us with a debt of $165,000 for the bail out (so far) and most of that money goes into their pockets in bonuses, guarantees for their failed investments, and other devious ways they bilk people for cash.

      You're way off in your figures. As you can see from this nifty little chart [wsj.com], the entire Federal Reserve balance sheet is only about $2 trillion. Include $700 billion for TARP and $787 billion for the stimulus, and it adds up to $3.487 trillion. Divide that by 250 million people in the United States, and you get $13,948 per person. And Goldman Sachs was only a small portion of that.

      Personally I think we should have let them fail. When politicians say, "You must do X or the economy will collapse!" it s

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      I think your on the spot but miss with the intent. It isn't ego but "slight of hand". Look here, while something else is happening over there.

      The distraction has already got us people in charge of the US treasury and IRS who couldn't even properly file their own tax returns with the help of computer software (and yes, I'm giving him the benfit of doubt in that statement). It's got us a bail out bill that "doesn't have to be perfect" but allows for the bitching about bonuses paid with tarp money when the law

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @12:14AM (#27546301)

    Disclosure: Yes, I am short Goldman Sachs stock. I believe this company is evil and should not exist. We need to begin to break up companies that have as much control over world finances as Goldman Sachs.

    Let me see if I get this right:

    1. Short GS stock
    2. Blog about how evil GS is
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    There's only one problem with this plan: GS stock has been rising [msn.com] since the start of the year. No wonder the guy believes GS "should not exist": Should GS stock continue to rise, there's no limit to how much the guy can lose.

    (For those who have no clue what I'm talking about: "Shorting a stock" basically involves selling stock you don't own. Your only obligation is to return the stock you "borrowed." If you can buy said stock at a lower price than the price you sold it at, you profit on the difference. If the stock becomes worthless, you basically pocket whatever profit you made from the sale of stock you never owned in the first place.)

    • His mistake was shorting the stock instead of buying put options. Never short stock, is my theory.

      Just look at it this way: If you short 100 shares of company XYZ at $6.00 and cover at $4.00, you've made $200. If you buy one 6.00 put when the stock is $6.00 and you sell the put when the stock is $4.00, you've made almost $200. Essentially by buying a put instead, you've greatly limited your downside risk at the expense of slightly less profit and a more limited time constraint.

      It's clear that this
    • by LordKaT (619540)

      You only need long-term stock devaluation when you're holding a short position for an extended period of time, otherwise you can still profit from shorting a stock in the near-term thanks to intra-day bounces.

  • They essentially own the US government. See how many people in positions of power are ex-GS.

    It doesn't matter if the law isn't on their side, they are completely above the law anyway.

    Of course, this particular web site seems to be a collection of paranoid rantings, which is strange given the amount of obvious dirt that exists on GS (last year's financial bailouts are a case in point, how much did GS make from them and who was running Treasury at the time again?)

  • I suspect that many Slashdotters are unaware of the numerous deep ties between Goldman Sachs and the Obama Administration. A few for instances:

    This above list is by no means exhaustive. Nor are the sources cited above (The Huffington Post, The Nation, etc.) exactly known for their fierce and unstinting criticism of Obama.

  • they think that the site implies relationship with goldman despite the 666 at the end? are they then implying that 666 is an appropriate manner to label them?
  • I hope he has a bottomless pit of money to fight this, if not he's already lost.

    Today, you purchase your rights.

  • by lawaetf1 (613291) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @05:49PM (#27550897)

    Wow, nobody has posted the wondrous story of Blue Jeans Cable?

    Monster Cable sent this small cable co a threatening letter with a grab-bag of patents that they claim he violated. Little did they know the owner was a former lawyer himself. His reply to Monster is absolutely priceless [audioholics.com].

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