Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts The Media United States

The Ongoing Case of Rakofsky vs. Internet 157

Posted by timothy
from the oj-simpson-was-a-duffer dept.
Chmcginn writes "Joseph Rakofsky, a New Jersey lawyer whose claim to internet fame is filing a lawsuit against the Washington Post and the American Bar Association for criticizing his performance at a Washington, DC murder trial, has amended his suit to include a number of bloggers and internet forum members — for criticizing the lawsuit. Which is a bigger threat to free speech — direct government action, or fear of lawsuits for frivolous defamation charges?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Ongoing Case of Rakofsky vs. Internet

Comments Filter:
  • In my opinion . . . (Score:5, Informative)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:24PM (#36391568) Journal

    . . . Joseph Rakofsky is an asshat.

    • by uncanny (954868)
      It's not libel if it is the truth!
      • by mjwx (966435)

        It's not libel if it is the truth!

        Find me a picture of a donkey wearing Mr Rakofsky on it's head then.

        • by russotto (537200)

          Find me a picture of a donkey wearing Mr Rakofsky on it's head then.

          Here you go:

          No sorry, nevermind, you can find your own goatse link.

    • . . . Joseph Rakofsky is an asshat.

      OverlordQ, of Slashdot was quoted today stating that, "...Joseph Rakofsky is an asshat."

      while un-named sources differed in their opinion, stating, "I think he is excellent. There a balance of posts so /. should be all right ;-0"

      Personally, I have no opinion either way. His method of handling this situation, however, could lead one to the belief that he is, indeed, an asshat.

      • that he is a horse's ass ?!!?! all these terms about asses are so confusing. he might as well get mistaken for an asswipe in this confusion. someone needs to clear the confusion about termage and measure the ass situation, to any extent there is, if any.
    • by t0qer (230538)

      . . Joseph Rakofsky is an asshat.

      Granted you're right, but why do we hold newspapers accountable for what they publish, but we don't hold sites like Yelp accountable? [slashdot.org]

      One serious oversight I have seen with the DMCA is parts of the safe harbour provision allow sites to not be responsible for user generated content. I think this needs to change, and content should in the least be moderated by the community if they want DMCA safe harbour coverage(works here, works on reddit doesn't it?)

      If a site owner doesn't

      • What in hell does a moderation method, faulty or otherwise, have to do with the subject of this article? The subject happens to be an asshat, of the "goat-fucking son of a bitch" variety.

        • by t0qer (230538)

          You really haven't been here long have you?

          Because of DMCA, a user generated content site can publish anything, without fear of direct reprise from the person libelled.

          Despite TFA being about an asshat, who probably deserved bad reviews/blogs, for everyone Joseph, there are 1000's of legitimate business that are getting slandered on review sites by their competitors.

          If you read my link(RTFL), you would understand that the business I work for, was in the same boat with Yelp. Another business was recruiting

          • by russotto (537200)

            Because of DMCA, a user generated content site can publish anything, without fear of direct reprise from the person libelled.

            Actually, no. It's Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which provides this immunity, not the never-sufficiently-damned DMCA. A good thing, too, or else few uncensored user generated content sites could exist thanks to people like Mr. Rakofsky... and apparently yourself.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      In my opinion Joseph Rakofsky is an incompetent attorney who should not only see these suits dismissed with prejudice, but should be disbarred, and also countersued by every target of these frivolous suits for harassment, fraud, and anything else which might apply. I would also like to state that it is my opinion that Joseph Rakofsky is a douchebag. I would even go so far as to say that I suspect he is mentally retarded, except that would be offensive to the mentally challenged.

  • by msauve (701917) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:25PM (#36391592)
    SLAPP [wikipedia.org].
    • by pavon (30274)

      Yeah, this is hilarious. Filing frivolous lawsuits against the Bar Association is not a good way to keep your law license.

  • by JBMcB (73720) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:26PM (#36391612)

    Direct government action. A lawsuit from an individual, you have a chance of defending against. The government makes the rules, interprets the rules, and arbitrates the rules. The deck is pretty well stacked against you.

    • Re:DGA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ByOhTek (1181381) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:30PM (#36391686) Journal

      But there are times one branch of the government will side against the actions of the government.

      That's one advantage of a government that isn't a cohesive whole, it significantly reduces the cases of the government getting away with abuse.

  • The frivolous lawsuits are often tossed out of court relatively quickly, while the government takes forever, and often tortures and imprisons people. I'll take a bankruptcy over water boarding any day!
  • Suits, obviously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:27PM (#36391628)

    Just look at the situation in the UK - for example, this analysis from the Morton Report [themortonreport.com] :

    The result is that Britain is suffering from a severe case of 'libel chill', where publishers and newspapers are afraid to publish a story because the subject, usually a celebrity, might decide to sue.

    Freedom of Speech is in many ways the most fundamental of all freedoms, because without it repressions of the other freedoms cannot be corrected.

    • by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:58PM (#36392132) Journal

      Freedom of Speech is in many ways the most fundamental of all freedoms, because without it repressions of the other freedoms cannot be corrected.

      There's this habit in the US of regarding freedom of speech as a binary thing, where the US is regarded as traditionally having freedom of speech but "everywhere else" doesn't. This isn't true. The US has many federal and regional laws restricting speech from official secrets to copyright to inciting imminent lawless action. There are many civil and private consequences to speech from fines for libel or "harassment" (consider calling someone a "nigger" in the workplace just once) to losing your job for trying to form a union - again, it's all about the malleable definitions of "freedom" and "speech". I once heard a satellite Eastern European stalwart compliment the US for encouraging criticism of its government, then lament that American workers did not enjoy the similar encouragement and freedom to criticise his boss that he did. To a Westerner it may be perfectly reasonable that you can be fired for publicly calling your boss a cunt but unreasonable to have any action taken against you for calling your head of state a cunt. But this requires so many assumptions about the sort of society you want to live in, and no matter how hard the West tries to impose it, it isn't yet a universal view.

      We can have functioning societies with whole swathes of different regulations on speech, even though you may argue that more freedom of speech will produce a better society. But if we lack some semblance of rule of law, or if we lack much more fundamental rights such as the right to life or the right to eat (which is usually a consequence in Western nations of the rights to property and to social welfare), then speech doesn't matter so much.

      • by smelch (1988698)
        You have freedom to call anyone you want any words you want, and the government must allow the KKK room to speak at its facilities assuming it is used for speeches to other groups. Freedom of speech does not mean you lose your freedom to fire people you don't like [because they called you a cunt]. It just means there can be no government force behind the consequences of your actions. This is where I don't like libel/slander laws. As pertains to your theorized right to eat, I believe we do have the right to
        • You've typed out in enough detail that hopefully you see just how biased to your belief system your notion of "rights" is. To touch on one important mistake:

          It just means there can be no government force behind the consequences of your actions.

          I fire you because you called me a cunt. You turn up to work anyway. I call the police to force you to leave. There's your government force behind the consqeuences of your actions.

          • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @04:18PM (#36393076)
            The police are not there because you were called a cunt. The police are there because you called them and apparently reported someone on site who had no reason to be there and was refusing to leave.
            • It is intellectually dishonest to see an unambiguous, clear-cut chain of events and announce the cause to be somewhere in the middle of the chain, don't you think?

              • It is intellectually dishonest to see an unambiguous, clear-cut chain of events and announce the cause to be somewhere in the middle of the chain, don't you think?

                This is hardly a clear-cut chain of events. For example there is no casual link between "You get fired" and "You show up to work anyways". The actual chain of events is more like "You trespass" > "You get in trouble for trespassing." To pretend that calling your boss a name is absolutely intellectually dishonest.

              • by zieroh (307208)

                I think it's intellectually dishonest to jump from A to C when there is a very clearly-related B in between.

                To then accuse other people of being intellectually dishonest makes you either stupid or malicious. Take your pick.

                • Why did the government force me?
                  Because I was trespassing.

                  Why were my acts trespass?
                  Because my boss didn't want me working there.

                  Why didn't he want me working there?
                  Because I called him a cunt.

                  So, why am I trespassing?
                  Because I called my boss a cunt.

                  A particular system is chugging along. The new input yesterday is that I called my boss a cunt. The new output is that the government imposes some force on me. The processor of the input is my boss, and the fact he has taken into consideration is that I called h

              • It is intellectually dishonest to see an unambiguous, clear-cut chain of events and announce the cause to be somewhere in the middle of the chain, don't you think?

                Absolutely. When you come up with one, let me know.

              • by sjames (1099)

                By that argument, birth is the root of all crime. No crime would happen if there had been no births.

                • By sufficiently dogmatic philosophising, everything which happened a moment ago is the cause of everything which happens now, and so on as far back as you want. So if you like you can throw your arms up in fatalistic impotence.

                  The test here is much simpler: "Are you significantly adversely affected in context X as a direct result of doing Y?" If yes, then you don't have the freedom in context X to do Y.

                  Consider an example of a freedom you have:

                  Let X be employment.
                  For Y being certain religious speech, Y is a

                  • by sjames (1099)

                    You must have horribly mis-understood. You missed that I would consider birth=crime to be intellectually dishonest and silly.

              • by khallow (566160)

                It is intellectually dishonest to see an unambiguous, clear-cut chain of events and announce the cause to be somewhere in the middle of the chain, don't you think?

                It's also intellectually dishonest to link one or more unrelated events to the front of your sequence (that is, the initial act of firing in the example) and claim a "clear-cut chain of events."

                snspdaarf's interpretation is straight-forward. The ex-worker was not obligated by law or circumstance to stay on the property after his firing.

          • by smelch (1988698) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @04:20PM (#36393096)
            Well I just disagree with that. Showing up to a place you are not welcome against the wishes of the owner is not a right, and the government is not firing you, making sure you were fired, making sure you were not paid, helping you clean out your desk, and it is a secondary action to the free speech. Perhaps you see it differently. Tell me, just out of curiousity, do you believe in property rights? More importantly, do you believe the right to free speech is more important than the right to free association? It seems that assuming your example is government force behind the consequences of the initial action (calling your boss a cunt) is correct lead to the conclusion that there is no workable system of protecting all rights, therefore society and government require some rights to be given up. Am I correct in this line of logic?
            • there is no workable system of protecting all rights, therefore society and government require some rights to be given up. Am I correct in this line of logic?

              That's pretty much what I was suggesting in the initial post, yes. No workable society has overarching absolute-anything rights: anyone who claims this is achievable will inevitably be found guilty of narrowly redefining terms (freedom, right, etc.) to hide his intentions.

              You can only define some vague beliefs then create a weighted function with input constraints, changing your weights and constraints as society develops in line with the will of either the people or the special interests which gain disprop

          • by Bengie (1121981)

            What he meant is the government will defensively protect your rights, but not offensively.

            The government will protect your rights, so long as they don't step on other people's rights. You may have a right to call me a cunt, but you don't have a right to not be fired for it and you don't have a right to be at my work place, so I can have you removed for imposing on my right to remove anyone who is neither a customer nor a worker.

            Rights stop being rights once they impose on someone else's rights. eg You have

            • If I don't have the right not to be fired for calling you a cunt then in what way do I have the freedom to call you a cunt?

              Now everyone everywhere has the unfettered ability to declare in the middle of an isolated forest the need to kill the head of state, for example, but hardly anyone anywhere has the unfettered ability to do the same in the middle of a crowded street. It is the consequence of having an audience that is being punished.

              If the consequences for exercising the freedom are potentially serious

              • by yndrd1984 (730475)

                If the consequences for exercising the freedom are potentially serious to my life - in this case because other humans make it so - then I don't have that freedom at all.

                Then nobody has had, or can ever have, any freedom at all. Every action of any kind could somehow eventually lead to some serious consequence.

                You may proceed by insisting on an overly-broad definition of "freedom".

                • Experiencing a serious consequence "somehow eventually" is not the same thing as being immediately fired for saying something. The determining factor is whether a series of humans have made a series of decisions based on what was perceived to be a freedom. If you want to watch this applied, watch what happens when someone is fired on the basis of gender/race/religion.

                  • by yndrd1984 (730475)

                    Experiencing a serious consequence "somehow eventually" is not the same thing as being immediately fired for saying something.

                    Yes, the timeframe is different. How is that relevant?

                    The determining factor is whether a series of humans have made a series of decisions based on what was perceived to be a freedom.

                    At least you're no longer implying that gravity restricts your freedom.

                    If you want to watch this applied, watch what happens when someone is fired on the basis of gender/race/religion.

                    Yes, the government fails to recognize certain rights (notably freedom of association) in some situations (places of public accommodation, workplaces, etc). Again, how is this relevant?

                    • Yes, the timeframe is different. How is that relevant?

                      The "somehow" is very relevant to protection of freedoms. Example: assume I am ginger, and because I'm ginger I get skin cancer, and because I have skin cancer my job performance is diminished and I am asked to leave. Even if ginger people are more likely to get skin cancer so the consequence is "somehow eventually" related to my employment termination, this isn't why I was asked to leave: other factors can legitimately be taken into account.

                      Similarly, assume freedom of speech wrt/ reasonable criticism of b

                    • by yndrd1984 (730475)
                      Since we have two conversations running, I'll just point you here [slashdot.org]
          • by yndrd1984 (730475)

            I fire you because you called me a cunt. You turn up to work anyway. I call the police to force you to leave. There's your government force behind the consqeuences of your actions.

            I do X, which causes my girlfriend to no longer want to have sex with me, but I have sex with her anyway. She has me arrested, which is a government consequence for X. Therefore I don't really have a right to do X.

            X = called her a cunt, no freedom of speech.
            X = hung out with friends she doesn't like, no freedom of assembly
            X = wrote something she didn't like, no freedom of the press
            X = converted to religion Y, no freedom of religion
            X = did something under "human right Z", "human right Z" doesn't exis

            • You're also guilty of doing the assumption thing, in this case assuming that a freedom must apply everywhere and absolutely, when in fact all freedoms exist only to a limited extent and the extent depends on the context. To think of freedoms only in terms of government enumerations is biased and limiting.

              In particular, you do not have the freedom to behave as you want in a personal relationship with someone. Your freedom of speech, assembly, press and religion may be restricted by being in a relationship. T

              • by yndrd1984 (730475)

                To think of freedoms only in terms of government enumerations is biased and limiting.

                To think of freedoms only in terms of government enumerations is using the word in the manner that most people use the word.

                The First Amendment is a right not to have certain laws made, but does not give you the freedom to do anything at all in a general sense. Article 1 of the CA constitution, on the other hand, grants freedoms. Understand?

                The First Amendment recognizes a right to speak free of government restriction, which is a political freedom (yes, not an absolute freedom). California fails to recognize certain property rights under some circumstances, which allows people to do various speech-related things in more places.

                • To think of freedoms only in terms of government enumerations is using the word in the manner that most people use the word.

                  No, it isn't. It's been hijacked as you describe by some political interests and their adherents in the US, probably the result of propaganda to make people feel more free than they really are. But people build social relationships, personal and business, and that's where the majority of freedoms are granted or restricted.

                  The First Amendment recognizes a right to speak free of government restriction, which is a political freedom (yes, not an absolute freedom).

                  Sort of, but in a quite specific sense. This Amendment prevents laws being created which specifically target certain types of speech but it does not prohibit laws (e.g. right to eject tres

                  • by yndrd1984 (730475)

                    No, it isn't. It's been hijacked as you describe by some political interests and their adherents in the US...

                    Now I understand. You want to everybody to use a word only in a specific way favored by you, even if their meaning is still perfectly clear and not objectionable to most people.

                    I will now consider you posts as important as letters to the editor protesting against the use of the word "pleaded" rather than "pled", or the posts of a "grammar Nazi".

                    • In what world (but the US) is "people in the US who agree with my political stance" equivalent to "most people"?

                      The latest Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English is quite clear about the currently understood notion of freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

                      (Recall that English is descriptivist. This definition, especially in this dictionary, comes from observing real usage.)

                      Note the absence of "as listed by government". It is thoroughly dangerous

                    • by yndrd1984 (730475)

                      The latest Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English...

                      Yes, you are a pedant. Do you write The History Channel about how the slaves were never "freed" because they were still bound by gravity?

          • by martyros (588782)

            I fire you because you called me a cunt. You turn up to work anyway. I call the police to force you to leave. There's your government force behind the consqeuences of your actions.

            That's a ridiculous train of logic. Suppose this. You call your girlfriend a cunt. She breaks up with you. You show up at her house expecting to hang out anyway. The police force you to leave. There's government force behind the consequences of your actions. Does that mean you don't have the freedom to call your girlfriend

        • by Arker (91948)

          This is where all the twisting and warping of the notion of "rights" has lead us. I am not trying to criticise you personally, your post shows a person who thinks things through and has a good head on his shoulder. But you clearly, like many today, dont understand what a right is and is not.

          You say you have a right to eat, but no right to eat someone elses food. But the fact that eating requires food (something produced by labour) means there cannot be a right to eat per se, nor a right to housing, to healt

          • The right to ones own property (the fruits of ones own labour) is a real right - you can have and enforce that right without violating anyone elses rights.

            Almost every social/political/economic system agrees on some notion of property, from Marxist communism with its notions of "personal property" and "private property" to fee simple/temporary IP entitlement/etc of common law nations to childlike Randian possessiveness. The right to own property "without violating anyone else's rights" means everyone agreeing on what is ownable and how ownership is assigned.

            Stating that you intend to solve rights issues by declaring property rights is barely a restatement of

      • by t2t10 (1909766)

        To a Westerner it may be perfectly reasonable that you can be fired for publicly calling your boss a cunt

        Let's say I own the business and I hire you to do a job for me. If you start calling me names or are otherwise disruptive, of course I should be able to fire you: your behavior negatively affects your ability to do your job. In the US, you'll just get fired, in other democracies, you'll get slapped with a lawsuit for insulting someone on top of that.

        But if we lack some semblance of rule of law, or if w

        • Let's say I own the business and I hire you to do a job for me. If you start calling me names or are otherwise disruptive, of course I should be able to fire you: your behavior negatively affects your ability to do your job.

          If I call you a cunt then that negatively affects my ability to do your job? Please never hire anyone, as it's often the best people (which I do not claim to be) who throw out the occasional harsh and sometimes well-placed insult and you'll be losing out significantly. If your'e the boss and they never have a bad word to say to your face, it's because they're saying it behind your back.

          But, since it wasn't obvious to you from the whole post, the "cunt" was implying some form of criticism and the illustratio

          • by t2t10 (1909766)

            If I call you a cunt then that negatively affects my ability to do your job? Please never hire anyone, as it's often the best people (which I do not claim to be) who throw out the occasional harsh and sometimes well-placed insult and you'll be losing out significantly. If your'e the boss and they never have a bad word to say to your face, it's because they're saying it behind your back.

            Your logic is flawed. I didn't say that people must fire someone who behaves disruptively, I said they had the right to m

            • Your logic is flawed. I didn't say that people must fire someone who behaves disruptively, I said they had the right to make that choice.

              You said: "If you start calling me names [...] your behavior negatively affects your ability to do your job." This is what I was disputing. Say you're my boss and normally we get along. One day you do something really dickish and I call you out for it as I see it, my straight talking might be beneficial to you and/or the organisation.

              Your logic is flawed again. Just because your friend faced bureaucratic hurdles with one form of assistance doesn't mean he was deprived of his "right to eat".

              Contrary to what people seem to think, many social welfare programmes today are not means-based, rather behaviour-based - the problem is far more apparent today than 2-3 decade

      • by russotto (537200)

        There's this habit in the US of regarding freedom of speech as a binary thing

        In my experience, people who object to binary things are usually just trying to add enough noise to demonstrate that 1 is 0 and vice-versa. This appears to be no exception.

        The argument goes something like this
        Rakofsky: Hey, no calling me an asshat!
        Blogger: I can call you an asshat all I want, I have freedom of speech
        Rakofsky: Well, could you falsely yell "fire" in a crowded theatre and expect to go unpunished?
        Blogger: Well, I supp

      • The US has many federal and regional laws restricting speech from official secrets to ...

        Um. Kinda. There is no prior restraint of the press on official secrets. Whether or not they can be prosecuted after the fact is a separate issue, but they cannot be stopped before the fact; that's a matter of settled case law, I am to understand.

        C//

    • by Chmcginn (201645)

      The current situation in the UK was on my mind when reading up on this case. It seems like, at least currently, in the US defamation and libel suits have a hard time proceeding except when it's incredibly blatant, or when the plaintiff has far more in the way of resources than the defendant. Having done a bit of business in the UK, and having a few relatives who've done a lot more, I've been getting the feeling that media there would be scared to do a lot of the things that media in the US currently takes

    • Hasn't Britain ruled that as long as the newspaper is publishing what it believes to be the truth, it can't be sued for libel/defamation? In other words, if the newspaper checks their sources, and publishes facts it can verify to the best of its ability (but could still be false), it is protected. The libel can be filed against the source of the information, but not the newspaper itself. (and of course, as the 4th estate, the newspaper has a right to protect the identity of its sources)

      I'm pretty sure such

    • by mjwx (966435)

      The result is that Britain is suffering from a severe case of 'libel chill', where publishers and newspapers are afraid to publish a story because the subject, usually a celebrity, might decide to sue.

      Newspapers, I cant call them that, we aren't talking about reputable organisations like the Beeb, we are talking about papers like the Daily Mail...

      So tabloids have for so long been printing deliberately misleading and exaggerated stories often with pictures obtained using legally dubious means that the

  • by sxltrex (198448) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:30PM (#36391684)

    I have a feeling that his shit list is about to get a lot bigger.

  • in any society of human beings, free speech will always be threatened, for various arbitrary reasons, such as this asshole Joseph Rakofsky and his wounded ego

    freedom, in any society, for all time, will always erode, and must always be fought for, and maintained. concepts like freedom are not things that are fought for once, and then that's it: freedom established! happy ever after is here! real life is a not fairy tale kingdom

    no, freedom is constantly under attack, forever, and you, yes YOU have to keep fighting for it, or it will decay. depend upon someone else to fight for it, and if enough people do the same thing, it will also decay, since no one is actually fighting for freedom. so whose responsibility is freedom? YOURS. in a society where enough people think that, and you live in the best society on earth

    aside to Ratfuckski:

    grow up, scumbag: people say nasty things about people all the time. let it pass and move on. you only validate their opinion of you when you react to it. ignore it, and the insult loses power over you, and by extension, everyone else. even better, embrace it, make a joke, and laugh at yourself, and turn a negative into a positive impression about how smooth your are

    but give an insult attention, and you validate someone's poor opinion of you. to the extent it becomes truth. after all, if it wasn't the truth that you suck as a lawyer, why would you react so vigorously to the accusation? you're a loser Ratfuckski. now sue me, scumbag

    • ...no, freedom is constantly under attack, forever, and you, yes YOU have to keep fighting for it, or it will decay...

      Krieg macht frei?

      • peace and freedom require maintenance yes. the natural state of humanity is to slide to slavery and conflict. the notion that the implements that preserve peace and freedom are morally equivalent to the implements that extend slavery and conflict is an absurdity believed only be imbeciles

        show me a street where the police patrol. show me a street where they don't. you tell me which street is peaceful and free. yet that still won't stop stop some idiots from bemoaning the existence of the police

        face it: civil

  • Why THAT link? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ruke (857276) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:32PM (#36391704)
    There's actually an interesting article here [newyorkper...eyblog.com], but the link the summary just goes to a page explaining why he won't be expanding on his earlier, better post.
    • by grahamsz (150076)

      There's a reasonable summary from our co-defendant [bannination.com], a Mr. Tarrant Eightyfour

    • by Chmcginn (201645)

      Several of his earlier posts had already been up on Slashdot when they were new last month. Though the previous posts have more information, it seemed odd to link to them after having gone there from the newer post.

  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:38PM (#36391812) Homepage

    Okay I'm not trolling for any kind of political points here. I'm actually trying to point out that ol' Joe here will not have any effect on free speech because not only has he set up a "me vs the world" mentality, the world agrees and won't bother listening. In terms of the grand scheme of American politics, American society and the world in general, no one has a scrap of motivation to join his side.

    US Government intervention into free speech is an unlikely but serious thing to always think about. Joe affecting free speech ain't happening.

  • I wonder what that is? You mean the freedom to express an opinion about something or someone? I wish that were possible. This "free speech" stuff sounds great.

  • I'm part of the team that run banniNation.com which is a news aggregation site with a fairly similar model to slashhdot.

    While we haven't been officially served, our site and business are listed in the original complaint along with the handle of a user who mentioned Mr. Rakofsky.

    We've got an official statement of sort at http://www.bannination.com/s/lawsuit [bannination.com] and there's a link from there to a very level headed discussion about it. This definitely doesn't just affect bloggers and has further implications aroun

  • In countries which have a dictator, he's the biggest threat to free speech, and pretty well everything else.
    If one has an overweening government, like the Soviet Union did, they're the biggest threat.
    Similarly if one has an oligarchy, as the U.S. did in the "gilded age", they'll do their best to silence you.

    Countries which had their governments organized to provide for check and balances, and whose police powers were used to mitigate the rise of the oligarchs were the places where one legitimately had free

  • OK, having read the one blog post about Rakofsky, I have just one question. After he gets pummelled in court, what is he going to do for a living now that he has made sure that just about everyone knows what an incompetent lawyer he is?
    • by uncanny (954868)
      Same thing all rejects of morality do: write a book, get a TV show, or run for some kind of political position!
  • An entire guild of lawyers? Now that takes some balls.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @03:02PM (#36392166) Homepage

    That takes balls or stupidity ... seriously, who sues the American Bar Association? That's like ... suing all of the lawyers, isn't it?

    And, really, if I read the blog correctly ... it sounds that all this guy [newyorkper...eyblog.com] did was to voice an opinion (mirroring that of the trial judge) that this wet-behind-the-ears lawyer was out of his depth in this murder trial. And, ultimately did a very piss-poor job of it -- so much so the judge had to declare a mistrial.

    From the sounds of it, he doesn't have a pot to piss in (or a hat to shit in).

    Oh, and for Joseph Rakofsky ... Ha ha ... sue my ass punk, I'm not even in the US. Who is going to trust a lawyer with a Justin Bieber haircut?

    • I think it's his only way to earn a decent living now - if he can hype the lawsuit enough, then maybe - just maybe - the sheer magnitude of this stupidity earns him enough fame that he can write an autobiography and cash on that.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        I think he's just gunning for a CourtTV equivalent of MTV Jackass.

        You know, stupid embarrassing courtroom stunts. Midgets. Self-inflicted injuries. Scatological humor.

  • "if you would shoot at the king, you had better kill the king." I expect that the ABA and Thomson Reuters will eviscerate this poor fool. He will be begging the court to dismiss them as defendants but they will stick it out the better to beat him with a stick.
  • Which is a bigger threat to free speech â" direct government action, or fear of lawsuits for frivolous defamation charges?

    I would say a LACK of government direct action to stem frivolous defamation charges..

  • by retroworks (652802) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @04:27PM (#36393176) Homepage Journal
    He needs the work. It's not like anyone else is likely to hire him.

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw

Working...