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Censorship The Courts

Magicjack Loses Legal Attack Against Boing Boing 148

Posted by kdawson
from the ridicule-they-deserve dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that USB VOIP company Magicjack lost a lawsuit against Boing Boing when the judge declared the legal action a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation). Magicjack must pay more than $50,000 in legal costs. Boing Boing has posted a page linking and summarizing all the legal documents relating to the lawsuit.
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Magicjack Loses Legal Attack Against Boing Boing

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  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:25AM (#31255454)
    convincing me to not buy their product. Too bad, I was considering getting hold of one to play around with it. But I try not to support companies run by litigious pricks with no sense of humor.
  • by bguiz (1627491) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:54AM (#31255614)
    Even BoingBoing agrees that MagicJack's hardware is great stuff... Too bad their marketing/management/legal department seems to think it can get away with shady practices like their crappy EULA.
  • by Itninja (937614) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:08AM (#31256072) Homepage
    I have also read that, despite being advertised on those 'as seen on TV' ads that everyone hates, the product actually does what it says. Even stodgy old Consumer Reports says it's a winner.
  • by bguiz (1627491) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @02:58AM (#31256324)

    It just struck me that the main bone BoingBoing had to pick with MagicJack's EULA is that its users' calls are monitored, and are played targeted ads (obtained from said monitoring). How is this really much different from Google's adsense inside of gmail, where ads containing keywords found in your email's body are displayed next to your emails?

    Not that I am supporting MagicJack or Google in anyway, but what really was the difference? Did it boil down to Google's better wording or selling of its adsense, or are we just more sensitive when it is done to audio/ voice as opposed to when it is done in text/ email?

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @08:20AM (#31257964) Homepage Journal

    That's all I care about, not their shitty SIP service, or their shitty customer service, but using them with Asterisk as an interface.

  • by EvilBudMan (588716) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:16AM (#31258842) Journal

    Damn you are so right, but for Magic Jack it's just a cost of quelling free speech. They will probably keep doing this to blogging sites, especially those that aren't as big as Boing Boing. In most other states you can't sue them back either. I think that might be a good idea anytime someone looses a civil suit. Make them pay cost if their was no reasonable way they could win period in all the states in all cases.

    I mean is $50,000 really enough to slow them up? They could stand that all day long and some smaller sites may not last it out that long. What a shame.

  • Typical Corporation. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:51AM (#31259230)

    This had nothing to do with MagicJack as a product, nor was anyone saying that it was inherently bad, a ripoff, or a scam.

    This was simply BOING BOING pointing out, that like MANY corporations, their EULA is ridiculous. Like so many others, it is A) almost impossible to find, and B) absolutely ridiculous in its content. You have to promise your first born son for sacrifice to the telecommunication gods by buying their product, and you don't really find this out, until you have already bought their product. Move along, nothing to see here. The demands corporations TYPICALLY put in EULA's are above and beyond reasonable and are pretty much crazy. IANAL however I would bet MOST of these EULA's would not stand up in court as binding (though they may give weight for intent or something of that nature).

    Having said all that, MagicJack could have easily amended their stupid EULA to something a bit nicer, or tried to appease their POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS another way. However in true corporate form they would rather hire a bunch of lawyers and duke it out in court to avoid giving consumers what they want. Re-read that statement. Crazy. Not only that, I bet if you pulled the stats as to how many times a EULA like this would even be USED, particularly for a 50$ product with a 3$ subscription fee, it would be minute to the point of non-existence. As we all know while some people may put up a big stink about this sort of thing (and they should) most if faced with the actual situation either are too lazy or don't care enough about it to make any kind of stand anyway.

    In all a stupid move by MagicJack, but one that seems about par for the course for any corporate identity.

    I applaud BOING BOING for its work however, as the basic principle is if you don't like it, or agree with it, simply don't buy it. However in this case and many like it, you would never have found out about it until after you bought the product (if then) so it is already too late, they already got your money.

    This is why it is important what BOING BOING did (particulary when they didn't really have to, other than feeling slighted for being pushed around by lawyers), and why the SLAPP is a good idea, as it keeps the public informed. It isn't saying that MagicJack must change what it does, or fining them for bad behavior. It is just a decision that says, BOING BOING has a legitimate right to inform people about this information, and that MagicJack doesn't have the right to try and use the courts as its thugs to try and prevent it, thus they can pay for most of BOING BOING's legal fees. Thats all.

    Anyway good for BOING BOING, and shame on MagicJack.

  • by MoralHazard (447833) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @01:10PM (#31261158)

    You're dead right about that. Big Law doesn't like quitters. Firms like A&P, Skadden, etc. are staffed & partnered by the top 10-20% of law school grads, who are the worst kind of Type-A, hypomanic, aggressive, need-to-win kids. (They're also pretty damn smart, but that's orthogonal.) The attitude is like a boot-camp drill instructor: If you didn't kick the other guy's ass, you weren't trying hard enough, even if "hard enough" means working 100-hour weeks for months on end. It's unreal.

    I have a bunch of friends from college that went to the good law schools and ended up taking Big Law offers before the diploma ink was dry. Most of them left before the 5-year mark, got their lives back, and are much happier. The few still climbing the partner-track cliff are some of the smartest, most dedicated people I know, but they have no family life and I only see them about twice a year.

    Of course, they start at $150k+ salaries and move up to $200k and $300k range by their 5th year, so I don't feel too sorry for them. And for the rare few who do manage to hold on all the way to the brass ring (making partner), the annual compensation gets into the low 7-figure range. If they ever get tired of that, they can pretty much pick their next jobs in the corporate world at the $1M+ level.

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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