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Techdirt Asks Judge To Dismiss Another Lawsuit By That Guy Who Didn't Invent Email (arstechnica.com) 82

Three months ago Shiva Ayyadurai won a $750,000 settlement from Gawker (after they'd already gone bankrupt). He'd argued Gawker defamed him by mocking Ayyadurai's claim he'd invented email, and now he's also suing Techdirt founder Michael Masnick -- who is not bankrupt, and is fighting back. Long-time Slashdot reader walterbyrd quotes Ars Technica: In his motion, Masnick claims that Ayyadurai "is seeking to use the muzzle of a defamation action to silence those who question his claim to historical fame." He continues, "The 14 articles and 84 allegedly defamatory statements catalogued in the complaint all say essentially the same thing: that Defendants believe that because the critical elements of electronic mail were developed long before Ayyadurai's 1978 computer program, his claim to be the 'inventor of e-mail' is false"...

The motion skims the history of e-mail and points out that the well-known fields of e-mail messages, like "to," "from," "cc," "subject," "message," and "bcc," were used in ARPANET e-mail messages for years before Ayyadurai made his "EMAIL" program. Ayyadurai focuses on statements calling him a "fake," a "liar," or a "fraud" putting forth "bogus" claims. Masnick counters that such phrases are "rhetorical hyperbole" meant to express opinions and reminds the court that "[t]he law provides no redress for harsh name-calling."

The motion calls the lawsuit "a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai's grandiose claims." Ray Tomlinson has been dead for less than a year, but in this fascinating 1998 article recalled testing the early email protocols in 1971, remembering that "Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP."
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Techdirt Asks Judge To Dismiss Another Lawsuit By That Guy Who Didn't Invent Email

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  • Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @09:09AM (#53895491) Homepage

    As far as I am aware, "666BOX" by IPSharp had all the features he's claimed and was first written in 1974. That is, to, cc, bcc, reply etc.

    I'm sure others here can come up with other examples?

    • by c ( 8461 )

      I'm sure others here can come up with other examples?

      Probably, but it doesn't matter... there's already enough well-known prior art out there that this guy is well into "kook" territory. More evidence that he's a kook isn't going to change his opinion. A court slapdown might, although I suspect they'll drop the case before it gets to that point.

      • Masnick/Techdirt need to countersue (extortion or whatever) and NOT drop/settle that. Crowdfund and see it through until the end.
        • by c ( 8461 )

          That's a legit option if you don't mind dragging things out. On the other hand, the sooner the lawsuit is dropped the more money they save and the sooner they can start writing about "the coward who didn't invent e-mail".

    • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @01:09PM (#53895959) Journal

      Ray Tomlinson invented email if you're going to pick any single person who developed the email system we know today. Ayyadurai developed some dead end email system years after the header formats were developed for Arpanet email. Ayyadurai can try to sue people all he wants but a series of RFCs beginning with RFC 561 in 1973 laid out the Arpanet email system that we still use today (though the transmission protocols have evolved since the mid-70s). That's the most frustrating part of this fruitcake's claims, since one can delve into the RFCs from the early 70s onward and see how the Internet email system evolved as new features and logic were added.

    • I'm sure others here can come up with other examples?

      IBM was kicking around emails on their SNA based VNET system in the mid-70s.

      I dimly remember that if your "reader" (inbox) was too large, you needed to create a large temp disk, copy everything from your "A" disk to the temp disk, un-mount both, then mount the temp disk as your "A" disk, clean up your mail, then mount your "real" "A" disk as a temp disk, copy everything from the "temp" "A" disk to the "real" "A" disk, and then finally re-mount the "real" "A" disk ask the "A" disk, and then temp disk would

  • indo-chimp (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    He should claim to have invented street-shitting. That'd be a lot more credible.

  • by OldHawk777 ( 19923 ) * <adelovant&verizon,net> on Sunday February 19, 2017 @10:20AM (#53895619) Journal

    My first eMail was in the 1980s prior to DNS. name1986@IPv4

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday February 19, 2017 @12:26PM (#53895861) Journal
    One look at his website [vashiva.com], it is clear this guy is a simple kook, hawking "ginger can cure cancer" or "yoga improves your SAT score" stuff. His claim to fame rests on the "inventor of email" and that claim is his meal ticket.

    He cleverly won against a bankrupt company, which probably did not show up in court. He does not really have to win against TechDirt or anyone. He has already acquired enough blind followers who would shut out contradictory information, who are in the alternative facts realm. So he is in a no lose proposition. Win, he gets money and more credence. Lose, he would go back to "how big companies in big bad USA had stolen his invention and used high power and money to shut out a poor Indian immigrant". Either way his meal ticket is safe.

    So he is going sue me now? For defaming his character?

    • Either way his meal ticket is safe

      I'm not so sure, Fran Dresher could divorce him at any time.

      • They weren't actually married, but apparently she's dumped him. LOL.

        P.S. it's Drescher.

        • Yeah my bad on the spelling....also didn't realize she dumped him this past September.

          The most disgusting thing about this is that he waited till Tomlinson was dead to say that he "died a liar"
          (https://twitter.com/va_shiva/status/706670699713335297) and that he was a murderer because he worked for Raytheon (but MIT is somehow immune to that, even though they can also be lumped into the military-industrial complex (http://www2.needham.k12.ma.us/nhs/cur/wwII/WWII-p1-04/brooke_p1_kss_4_1_04/home.html). Somebo

  • This guy is pretty much equal to trump.
    • by forty-2 ( 145915 )

      If you file a $15M lawsuit because someone hurt your feelings, you forfeit the right to be addressed as a civilized human being. Someone should hurt his feelings with a 3' section of schedule 40 black iron pipe.

      • Nothing so violent. A judge should hurt his feelings by declaring him a vexatious litigant. That's the appropriate route for those who use (and abuse) the court system for idiotic and abusive lawsuits.

        But I think Ayyadurai is in the "there's no such thing as bad publicity" department. Doubtless he's thrilled that his claims are being talked about again.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kill him, put his head on a pike. Can't sue anyone when you're dead, can you? Leave the head for anyone who feels like it to use it as urinal. Problem solved.

  • Looking at the docket report on PACER I see continual references to the two named defendants and also "DOES 1-20". Cannot find any elaboration in the exhibits who the idiot is referring to.

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