[SIGCIS-Members] Arguments in court re dismissal of "Inventor of Email" lawsuit

Thomas Haigh thomas.haigh at gmail.com
Wed Apr 26 12:11:33 PDT 2017



Here's your April update on email invention. After the filing of motions to
dismiss and objections to those motions, lawyers for Techdirt and Ayyadurai
recently swapped arguments before a judge. Full report at
in-trash-blog-says from a law blogger, Brian Amarai. 


According to the report the judge asked only one question:


Judge Saylor, in his only comments from the bench, almost immediately
questioned Ayyadurai's attorney: "To say he invented email requires we
define email. How do we do that?"

The judge continued: "If reasonable people could disagree about what is
email, even assuming they agree he invented some piece of it, how is that a
question of provable fact? If he didn't invent the @ symbol, a lot of people
would say that is a big component of it. If he didn't invent sending texts
from one computer to another, how can you say he invented email?"

Mirell responded that they'd set out in their legal papers what their
position was on what email is, and who its inventor was: Ayyadurai.

"Isn't that an opinion? You say that's what constitutes email," Judge Saylor

"Your honor," Mirell responded, "the question is ultimately a question for
the jury."


Like other reporters on the case, the blogger notes the importance of the
issue of whether Ayyadurai is a "public figure."


A public figure who wants to bring a libel claim - Ayyadurai calls himself a
"world-renowned" inventor in the second sentence of his complaint but hasn't
acknowledged that he's a public figure - has to show that the speaker acted
with knowledge that something was wrong or with a reckless disregard for the
truth, called actual malice.


According to another blog post earlier this month,
in-d-c-politicos-and-techies/, Techdirt is picking up some support in DC as
the Glen Echo Group hosted a fundraiser organized by "Facebook's Brooke
Oberwetter, former Facebook employee Tim Sparapani, former Sen. Ron Wyden
staffer Josh Lamel and PR pro Beau Phillips."


Finally, Techdirt posted a story earlier this month which embeds its most
recent legal filing, a reply to Ayyadurai's opposition to the dismissal of
the case.
ced.shtml . One exhibit is a tweet from Ayyadruai, saying that
"#FakeNewsMedia like TechShit need to be shutdown for their FAKE NEWS." It
would be interesting if, as with Trump's executive orders on immigration, a
judge uses tweets as evidence for motivations.


Best wishes,



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