Brazil's authoritarians charge Glenn Greenwald with cybercrime for publishing leaks that revealed corruption at the highest levels

Last June Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept published and reported on a massive trove of explosive leaks that revealed that top prosecutors and the judge who eventually became the justice minister of Brazil conspired to rig the corruption trial of the beloved and incredibly popular leader Lula, sending him to prison as part of their plan to put the murderous, homophobic authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro in his place. Read the rest

Beaming mugshot of politician's wife booked into jail after pouring drink on journalist

Abbey Winters, the wife of Chattooga County, Georgia's sole county commissioner, was arrested Friday and charged with battery after pouring a drink on a reporter. The reporter had apparently asked her husband, Jason Winters, a difficult question about a trip to France. The drink was named as "soda", but the brand and flavor were not disclosed.

Below is embedded video of the public-meeting mayhem, posted by AllOnGeorgia. The victim, AllOnGeorgia reporter Casie Bryant, is out of shot, as is Abbey Winters, but you get the NSFW dialog and the hapless excuses about how she had it coming.

"I'm sick of it." "She brought it on herself." "She brought it on herself." "Nobody brings that on themself." "By saying he went to France?" "Oh, yes, bitch"

Read the rest

UK's oldest ISP blames DoS attack on attempt to suppress human rights report about West Papua (read it now!)

Greennet (previously) is the oldest ISP in the UK, tracing its origins back to Fidonet, where it was a hub for radical progressive political movements, which has attracted retaliations (in the form of DDoS attacks by repressive states) and surveillance (Greennet was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against GCHQ over surveillance activities that ended with the spy agency "admitting clandestine hacking activities"). Read the rest

Wonkette posts bizarre cease-and-desist letter it received from "Diamond and Silk"

Diamond and Silk are a social media duo famous for supporting Trump and claiming, without evidence, that Facebook "censored" them. Wonkette is a news, politics and culture website. Bianca DeLaRosa writes for it, and recently offered the opinion that Diamond and Silk were notable as "Black White Nationalists" due to their support of Trump's policies and their own ethnicity. Diamond and Silk threatened to sue Wonkette, it claims, over this opinion piece, and the cease-and-decist letter is amazing.

The consensus among lawyers on the internet is that the "Diamond and Silk Legal Team" is probably not, technically, a lawyer. I'm having trouble with the idea that the letter's even real. It's so strewn with spelling mistakes and mangled legal terminology that it reads like a joke about a stupid person pretending to be a lawyer—an exemplar of Poe's Law, the maxim that it is impossible to distinguish parody from authenticity on the Internet.

Read the rest

New Hampshire court to patent troll: it's not libel when someone calls you a "patent troll"

New Hampshire's Supreme Court has ruled that calling someone a "patent troll" is not defamatory because "patent troll" is a statement of opinion and can neither be factually proved nor disproved. Read the rest

Sponsor of the "Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act" sues Twitter cow-account for $250 million

Devin Nunes (previously) is a Trump-loyalist whose scandals have ranged from secretly moving his family farm to make it easier to hire undocumented workers to a bizarre obsession with the Steele Dossier; and like a lot of far-right types, he's big on "preventing frivolous lawsuits" (which is to say, he wants to make it harder for the public to sue companies that harm them, which is why he cosponsored last year's Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act. Read the rest

The "Reputation Management" industry continues to depend on forged legal documents

Back in 2016, a "reputation management" company called Profile Defenders was caught forging court orders in order to get complaints about its clients removed from the site Pissed Consumer. This was a monumentally stupid thing to do, as judges are consistently unamused with people who forge their signatures. Read the rest

Vox lawyers censored YouTubers who criticized The Verge's PC build videos

Vox's lawyers convinced YouTube to issue dreaded copyright strikes against two reaction videos that made fun of bad advice given by The Verge (owned by Vox Media) on how to build gaming PCs. The resulting backlash convinced The Verge's editor to ask YouTube to rescind the strikes.

From Ars Technica:

Last week, The Verge's lawyers suddenly asked YouTube to remove two reaction videos that had been online since September. Both videos reproduced the vast majority of the original Verge video, interspersed and overlaid with commentary, criticism, and ridicule.

These takedowns attracted widespread attention. Other prominent YouTubers posted videos weighing in on the controversy, with most blasting The Verge's decision.

[Verge editor Nilay Patel] says he wasn't involved in the initial decision to issue the copyright strikes. When he learned of the decision, he says, he requested that the strikes be retracted.

"When this was brought to my attention a few hours later, I told them that although I fully agreed with their legal argument, I did not think we should use copyright strikes against legitimate channels," Patel wrote in a Friday post.

Patel says that at his request, The Verge asked YouTube to retract the strikes against the two videos.

Still, Patel said The Verge's lawyers were on solid legal ground.

"I fully agree with our legal team that these videos crossed the line of fair use," he wrote.

Read the rest

Metal band Arch Enemy bans concert photographer after he complains their fashion designer swiped a shot

J Salmerón, a Netherlands-based concert photographer, took a fantastic shot of Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz at a festival gig in Nijmegen. He posted it to his Instagram, to White-Gluz and fans' general delight.

A company named Thunderball Clothing, operated by Marta Gabriel, reposted Salmerón's photo to their own Instagram account. Thunderball created the leather vest White-Gluz wore in the post, and used the photo, without the photographer's permission, to market its services.

Salmerón sent a request: give €100 euros to a charity, the normal licensing fee, and he wouldn't ding Thunderball with a €500 unauthorized use invoice.

So Gabriel told the band that Salmerón threatened her. And the band itself told him that, as far as they were concorned, they could also use his photos however they please.

Salmerón, who as luck would have it is also a lawyer, explains that this is a dangerous misunderstanding of copyright law:

This made no sense since, although there are some restrictions (for example, I can’t use a photo of Alissa to promote a product, unless she expressly authorizes me to do so) I am the only one who gets to decide how and where my work is used. To put it in legal terms: I own the copyright over my photos.

The message also sought to perpetuate the ridiculous system that some bands expect to have with photographers: They let them come into the pit, expect to have the absolute and perpetual right to use the photos in whatever way they want, and pay photographers in “exposure,” by using their work before a massive audience.

Read the rest

Legal threats force retraction of peer-reviewed article about the problems with private-equity-backed dermatologists

On October 5, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a peer-reviewed article by Drs Sailesh Konda and Joseph Francis, enumerating the problems with the burgeoning field of "corporatized," private-equity-backed dermatology practices, often affiliated with private-equity-backed pathology labs, showing data to support the conclusion that private equity investment flowed to dermatology practices that were "outliers" in performing rare, high-cost procedures, including some that generated outsized Medicare billings. Read the rest

Antivirus maker Sentinelone uses copyright claims to censor video of security research that revealed defects in its products

At this week's B-Sides Manchester security conference, James Williams gave a talk called "Next-gen AV vs my shitty code," in which he systematically revealed the dramatic shortcomings of anti-virus products that people pay good money for and trust to keep them safe -- making a strong case that these companies were selling defective goods. Read the rest

The future of "fake news": Pepsi gets Facebook to censor jokes about plastic in its Kurkure corn puffs

There is a conspiracy theory that Pepsico's Kurkure corn puffs -- developed and sold in India -- contain plastic; there's a much wider discussion in which people are making fun of this dumb theory (while simultaneously pointing out that Kurkure might as well be made of plastic, given their nutritional value and flavor). Read the rest

After London builders' bid to remove a complaint from Mumsnet failed, a mysterious Pakistani-American copyright claim did the job

Annabelle Narey hired a London construction firm called BuildTeam to do some work, which she found very unsatisfactory (she blames them for a potentially lethal roof collapse in a bedroom); so she did what many of us do when we're unhappy with a business: she wrote an online complaint, and it was joined by other people who said that they had hired BuildTeam and been unhappy with the work. Read the rest

Tesla pulls a Trump, smears critical press outlet as "extremists"

Tesla was extremely upset to learn that the employees who'd been injured and maimed in its factories spoke to Reveal News about the unsafe working conditions and culture of cover-ups at the Tesla plants. Read the rest

Deputy sheriff jails ex-wife after she complained on Facebook about him

Corey King, a sheriff's deputy in Washington County, Georgia put out an arrest warrant for his wife, Anne King, after she posted on Facebook: "That moment when everyone in your house has the flu and you ask your kid's dad to get them (not me) more Motrin and Tylenol and he refuses."

Anne King's friend, Susan Hines, commented on the post, calling Deputy King a "POS." "Give me an hour and check your mailbox," she wrote. "I'll be GLAD to pick up the slack."

Deputy King told his ex-wife to delete the post. When she didn't, he requested a warrant to arrest both women on a charge of "intent to defame another, communicate false matter which tends to expose one who is alive to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, and which tends to provoke a breach of peace.

CNN reports on what happened next, which shouldn't surprise you:

The next day, a Washington County court magistrate issued warrants for both Anne King and Hines.

The women were charged with "criminal defamation of character," processed and spent about four hours in jail before posting $1,000 bail.

At their hearing, state-court judge stated there was no basis for the arrest and the case was dropped.

"I don't even know why we're here," the judge said, according to the complaint.

Also not surprising, Anne King is suing for compensatory and punitive damages and Deputy King is saying it's not his fault; it's Magistrate Judge Ralph Todd's fault for actually issuing the warrants. Read the rest

Property developer caught using critic's photo in promotional materials, demands an end to criticism as a condition of paying for the use

"The Gentle Author" is the maintainer of Spitalfields Life, a blog that has featured a brilliant and moving series of essays about the history of East London; Author is also sharply critical of the plans by giant property developer Crest Nicholson to redevelop the site of a Victorian chest hospital and dig up an ancient tree called the Bethnal Green Mulberry. Read the rest

Fire and Fury lawyer responds to Trump's cease-and-desist letter: go pound sand

Trump seemed to think it would be a good idea to send the publisher of Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, a letter demanding it to cease publication and "issue a full and complete retraction and apology." The letter had the effect of boosting sales of the book, and also of giving Henry Holt's lawyer the opportunity to write a hilariously scathing response.

The best part is on the last page:

Lastly, the majority of your letter -- indeed, seven full pages -- is devoted to instructing Henry Holt and Mr. Wolff in meticulous detail about their obligations to preserve documents that relate in any way to the book, the article, President Trump, his family members, their businesses, and his Presidential campaign. While my clients do not adopt or subscribe to your description of their legal obligations, Henry Holt and Mr. Wolff will comply with any and all document preservation obligations that the law imposes upon them. At the same time, we must remind you that President Trump, in his personal and government capacity, must comply with the same legal obligations regarding himself, his family, their businesses, the Trump campaign, and his administration, and must ensure all appropriate measures to preserve such documents are in place... Should you pursue litigation against Henry Holt or Mr. Wolff, we are quite confident that documents related to the contents of the book in the possession of President Trump, his family members, his businesses, his campaign, and his administration will prove particularly relevant to our defense.

Read the rest

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