So now the Fudd Brigade member I mentioned the other day is claiming to have collected the paperwork to file a lawsuit against me in a N.H. court for defamation of character or libel or slander or copyright infringement or…well, something mean I did. You can follow the burgeoning discussion here, starting with this comment by Dennis Hamel.
Dennis, despite presenting his ideas with unrivaled eloquence, is not a legal scholar. He claims, for example, that
In New Hampshire, the conditions for a defamation lawsuit are fairly simple.
A non-public person (me) has his words taken for commercial use without consent and for an attempt to ridicule by a blogger (you) may present a civil lawsuit for punitive damages and may also seek criminal charges against the publisher.
There are countless obvious problems with this. For one thing, this isn’t a commercial blog. For another, the Concord Monitor terms of service, like those posted by any such online entity, state that anyone who submits content (such as comments) by definition cedes any rights he or she might have to exclusive use of the material. And as I pointed out on the Monitor site, one has to go a little beyond making a throwaway comment such as “[t]hese people are voting and having children–take your pick as to which is worse” in order to be guilty of slander.
It’s funny how guys like Dennis, who thrive on verbal tantrums and name-calling (a sampling) are the quickest to bristle when made to look like fools, and it’s seemingly always those in the “get the government out of our lives!” crew who are quickest to try to invoke the power of the state in an effort to shut people up.
I figure he’s lying about going to court today, but who knows. I don’t doubt that an idiot like him has no better way then to spend his time filing DOA lawsuits, so it’s possible. But if this is the same Dennis Hamel (the town of residence is the same), he hasn’t had a lot of luck acting as his own attorney in appealing a speeding ticket, so I guess now he’s shooting for a similar failures on the plaintiff side just to balance things out. In fact, he has a history of being quite the unsuccessful agitator.
11/5 UPDATE: The Concord Monitor has, not surprisingly but a little late, removed the above-linked comments from the site. However, some of the discussion is preserved in Google’s cache.