February 23, 2010

IT’S DUMB TO PICK ON BLOGGERS (CONT’D): MagicJack dials wrong number in legal attack on Boing Boing.

Gadget maker MagicJack recently lost a defamation lawsuit that it filed against Boing Boing. The judge dismissed its case and ordered it to pay us more than $50,000 in legal costs.

The Florida-based VOIP company promotes a USB dongle that allows subscribers to make free or inexpensive phone calls over the internet. I posted in April 2008 about its terms of service—which include the right to analyze customers’ calls—and various iffy characteristics of its website.

We had no idea that it would file a baseless lawsuit to try and shut me up, that CEO Dan Borislow would offer to buy our silence after disparaging his own lawyers, or that MagicJack would ultimately face legal consequences for trying to intimidate critics.

At several points in the process, we could have taken a check and walked away: as it is, the award doesn’t quite cover our costs. But we don’t like being bullied, and we wanted the chance to tell anyone else threatened by this company what to expect.

And now the legal documents are online, to add . . . well, injury to injury, I guess. Really, legal attacks on bloggers are almost always stupid. I’ve written about this before, more than once.

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