ESR Files Libel Lawsuit Against California Court

Fake News written by James Baughn on Friday, August 10, 2001

from the can-you-say-lawyerclysm? dept.

The small Pacific island nation of Tyridia has sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and one of the most draconian libel laws in the world. Eric S. Raymond, self-proclaimed leader of the Open Source movement, has filed a lawsuit in Tyridia against the California Sixth District Court of Appeals.

"If California thinks they have legal jurisdiction over somebody from Russia, then Tyridia has jurisdiction over California. So there!" ESR said.

At issue is a ruling made by the Sixth District Court as part of the ongoing DeCSS case. The ruling said, "At the time Pavlovich posted DeCSS on the Internet, he was a leader in the 'open source' movement, the purpose of which was to make as much material as possible available over the Internet."

ESR, naturally, isn't too thrilled about that statement. "The purpose of the Open Source movement is not to make as much material as possible available over the Internet. We're certainly not interested in Microsoft software, or worthless Adobe e-books, or overhyped Lucasfilms DVDs, or puke-inducing boy band CDs. To accuse the Open Source movement of associating itself with Redmond or Hollywood crap is simply intolerable."

He also said, "I am one of the senior technical cadre that makes the Internet work, and a core Linux and open-source developer. That Russian guy is not a leader of the Open Source movement, I am! I did not spend the last ten years of my life promoting free software only to have some clueless California judges treat me like a nobody! I will not stand for this! I demand justice!"

Under Tyridian law, libel is treated as a criminal offense punishable by fifteen (15) years of hard labor cracking coconuts open. Since the offending speech was published on the Internet for worldwide consumption, the Tyridia court system has jurisdiction. Certainly the California Appeals Court judges should have known better than to make available libelous material to a nation with harsh anti-libel laws.

Civil libertarians have mixed feelings about the ESR lawsuit. Said one, "On the one hand, I hate BECs (Big Evil Corporations) along with CJIBWBECs (Court Judges In Bed With Big Evil Corporations). But on the other hand, this could have a chilling effect on free speech. I don't want to go to a Tyridian prison just because I often refer to Bill Gates as 'Satan'."

ESR said in response, "You can't violate libel laws by telling the truth."

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