In the spring of 2005, the story of a quarrel between buycheapsoftware.com
and one of its customers reached my ears. There wasn't much to the quarrel
itself, it was about a customer who returned a defective webcam without
requesting an RMA first and the vendor stonewalling the refund. It became
interesting though when the customer published his correspondence with the
vendor on the web. The vendor threatened to sue the customer and actually
tried to get him fired from his job, a job which was totally unrelated to
the dispute. When that happened, I mirrored the threatened page
here. My mail to the vendor where I explain
why I mirrored the page is near the bottom of the mirrored page itself.|
I forgot all about it until September 2006, when the vendor's wife took a new go at the customer. The customer reacted the same way as before, putting the correspondence on the web. The wife reacted to that as her husband had done before, threatening to sue and to get the customer fired from his job. So I reacted the same as before too, mirrored the new page here and informed the wife through this mail:
Subject: Your threats to nowscape.com Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 13:37:24 From: Zenon Panoussis <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com An e-mail from me to your husband has been published at http://www.nowscape.com/suck/buycheapsoftware_webcam.htm for well over a year. It's a pity you never bothered to read it or ponder its significance. If you had, you wouldn't have repeated Glen's mistakes and I wouldn't have had to publish http://www.provocation.net/buycheapsoftware/BuyCheapSoftware_Rena_Durrant_2.htm Please pay attention to the following. I reserve the right to publish all your communications with me. If you don't like this, simply abstain from contacting me. You have been notified in advance, so screaming "NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS MESSAGE IS TO BE POSTED ONLINE" in all caps won't change anything. Mind you, "all communications" includes phone calls. It is generally not a good idea to threaten me. If you intend to sue me, I'd suggest you just do it without fanfare beforehand. In my opinion, this is not a fight that you can win. More importantly, it is not a fight that should be taking place to begin with. It is a total waste of everybody's time and it's damaging your business quite unnecessarily. If I were in your place, I'd consider mailing a few kind words to the guy at nowscape.com instead of threatening to sue him and I'd try to settle the dispute instead of escalating it. Of course, if you think that lawyers can solve your problem better, faster and cheaper than just talking kindly, you should by all means use them. ZP -- The best defence against logic is ignorance. The next best is stupidity. Both can be used simultaneously.I couldn't help thinking that the entire dispute was totally unnecessary, that the vendor, his wife and the customer were all being unduly stubborn and impolite and that they were all escalating the issue for no good reason at all. At the same time I couldn't quite understand why the wife was so rabid about having her name removed from the web. Google gave the answer to that. As it turned out, when the wife is not threatening her husband's customers to get them fired from their jobs, she works on her image as a trendy DJ, studies law and wants to be a DA.
So I mailed both her and the customer, thinking that I could make reason prevail:
Subject: Googling... Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 21:32:35 From: Zenon Panoussis <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org - Why she wants her name off your page... - Why she threatens lawsuits instead of talking sensibly... - Why she keeps hammering about DAs and libel law... http://www.satisfactionclub.com/djs/rena-la-reine/1.aspx Good thing she's married to an agent provocateur though, at least she'll appreciate my involvement in this ;) Rena, BTW, I don't mean to invade your mailbox, I'm just pointing out that your tone in the correspondence I'm now publishing is inconsistent with the PR image of a DJ as well as with the cool professionalism that might be expected of a DA. It also shows that you need to study harder. Take this for instance: Should [you not do as I said], the next communication you receive will be from my attorney. I will also report your activities to the appropriate criminal prosecutorial agency. So far, so well, your threats are fully legal and within your rights. But you shouldn't let yourself get carried away, which you did. Lastly, I will inform the relevant Utah educational office at which you are employed of your recent actions. Now, where I come from, this last sentence constitutes criminal extorsion. It cannot be construed in any other way than "if you don't do as I tell you, I'll do my best to make you lose your job". Compare for example to "if you don't do as I tell you, I'll tell your wife about your lover" or "if you don't do as I tell you, I'll tell your boss about your criminal past". It is legal to tell, but it is extorsion to use the threat of telling for the purpose of obtaining a benefit, even if that benefit in itself is legal too, unless there is a direct relation between the benefit and the threat (e.g. "if you don't do your job properly, I'll tell your boss"). To make things worse, you succeeded. The page you wanted removed was removed as a result of your threats, so the extorsion is not attempted any more, but accomplished. The fact that I mirrored the page on my server doesn't change this. Tsk, tsk, tsk. For a law student focusing on criminal law, this one was quite a slip. But OK, I'll try to use it for the best. Now that this affair is damaging to all of you and none of you has anything to gain from it, I would like to suggest once again that you apologise to Harald for your tone and your threats, that Glen apologises for shipping broken stuff and stonewalling the refund over a silly RMA, and that Harald in turn apologises for his impatience, his mastering tone and his English lessons, so that everyone involved, including myself, can move on to things more important and/or more pleasant than this. Z -- The best defence against logic is ignorance. The next best is stupidity. Both can be used simultaneously.Reason could prevail? I could just as well have mailed a parrot. Her reply came within hours:
Subject: Re: Googling... Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 20:09:59 From: Rena Durrant <email@example.com> To: Zenon Panoussis <firstname.lastname@example.org> To Whom it May Concern: I am writing this e-mail to request that you cease all future correspondences with me. Furthermore, should you have published any information that I have written in any form on the internet or otherwise, I request that you remove it. Rena Durrant NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS MESSAGE IS TO BE POSTED ONLINE, OR DISSEMINATED IN ANY OTHER FORMAT.Well, parrots can't read, so I guess she's excused for the last sentence, which of course also had to be in all caps.
Don't worry Rena dear, I will not mail you again. You should feel free to mail me though and if I have anything to tell you, you can read it on this page. And no, I will not remove anything of what you have written and I have published. The ball is yours now. Personally I think that you just fucked up an excellent opportunity to get this annoying stuff off the web and save both yourself and your husband the PR damage it does you. When (if) you grow up as a lawyer, you might understand that defending someone's interests means putting them before your own cockiness and not making things worse than before for your client. This is particularly true when your client happens to be your husband.
I guess what's next now is claims of copyright infringement for the mail and for the mirrored satisfactionclub page, claims which of course I won't be able to respond to because Rena has requested me to cease all correspondence with her. Notice to her lawyers and other representatives: your communications with me will be published too. If you object to this, abstain from communicating with me.