Someone threatens to sue!
In August 2000, I mentioned a web site which told how someone was claiming that the technology of the transistor had not been invented, discovered or developed by those to whom it has normally been attributed, some of whom received Nobel Prizes for the effort. Instead, the technology might, just might, have been brought here by aliens and the US government was covering this up. This seemed to me to be a quintessential case for inclusion in Quintessence of the Loon. The link I used was to an article in Nexus Magazine, an Australian journal of record and information which regularly carries authoritative articles on UFOs, free-energy devices, alternative medical modalities, spiritual matters and things that the authorities don't want people to know. According to my lawyer, it is a very fine magazine and there is no reason to doubt the truth of its contents or the integrity of the contributors and other people associated with it.
There was a solar eclipse on Christmas Day, 2000. During an eclipse it is as far from a full moon as it is possible to be and those who howl at the full moon may be left with little to do. This could explain why Christmas Day brought the following message to the Quintessence of the Loon mailbox:
Date sent: Mon, 25 Dec 2000 16:16:53 -0500
Your page is humorous, but remove my name from it anyway, because it is used by people to threaten my family, and I'll authorize immediatel legal action against you.
Nexus has been put on notice that the misquote that constitutes the basis of their article, is inaccurate, and severely misquotes me.
I never said it was alien. I said what it was remained to be seen, and that it was from a Top Secret Government Project. That project could have been anything from looted Nazi WWII materials to alien stuff, it all remains to be seen. But Nexus falsified the title and subject of their item.
My attorney will be suing any and all who knowingly misquote me in this fashion. Including Nexus.
Take yourself of the list. You don't have long.
Jack A. Shulman CEO
I thought that I had better check with Nexus and warn them of the imminent legal action against them, so I sent the following email to the editor, Mr Duncan Roads:
From: Peter Bowditch
I never thought I would ever be on the same side as Nexus, but I just received an email from Jack Shulman threatening to sue me for mentioning his name in Quintessence of the Loon. It seems he is getting death threats and is blaming you and me. He is obviously lowering his sights, because it was not so long ago that he reckoned the CIA and the Mafia (among others) were spreading the rumours and doing the harassing.
You can read what I said about him at http://www.ratbags.com/loon/aug00 The link there goes to the Nexus article about him but now he has approached me directly I will seek out one of his own loony pages. I hope I don't come across the looniest because there are limits to what I am prepared to expose myself to. His message to me is reproduced below.
<snip original message>
Mr Roads was not pleased.
Subject: Re: Jack Shulman
Your puerile efforts at smear and ridicule represent fascism at its worst! Thank god that at present we still live in a democracy allowing some freedoms of thought and exploration. If people want to believe in UFOs, let them. If people want to use crystals, let them. If people want to worship a man from 2000 years ago that performed things that modern science says is impossible, let them. It is their choice. Ridiculing what other people believe just because it does measure up to YOUR adopted yardstick, puts you firmly amongst those you ridicule. Even the 'experts' admit that 'consensus scientific reality' is transient, and that one day we will have science that transcends what we know today.
What you fail to realise is that you have become just like those you call ratbags. Ironic isn't it?
PS: I hope he sues you. With luck you will one day learn appreciation of diversity, and even some manners!
Duncan M. Roads
I'm a bad-mannered fascist?
For more information about what Mr Shulman thinks, see his sites
Grinding exceeding slow, the (pretend) lawyers finally got around to writing to me. From Jack Shulman's email address!
Date sent: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 10:06:10 -0400
Bowditch, Peter (PB9371) peterb@GEBESSE.COM.AU
Ratbags.com / Quintessance of the Loon
September 7, 2001
Dear Mr. Bowditch,
I am writing you on behalf of my client, CompAmerica Online, regarding your website, 'ratbags.com' and '/loon'.
It appears you have taken content and references from my client's entertainment website which do not belong to you, and further appears that you incorporated same and/or referenced same without my client's express written permission. That content has been copyrighted under US and Australian law, it is clearly identified as copyrighted and as the property of said website, and it is also clearly noticed on my client's website that such may not be referenced nor reproduced without my client's express written permission.
such includes references to "Roswell Internet" content, references which, incidentally, misrepresent the authorship of, and which unlawfully incorporate content from "Jack Shulman, Reverse-Engineering Roswell UFO Technology" and other various content stolen from the Imagination Internet section of my client's websites and online service, or used for the purposes of harassment, defamation and/or other illegal abuse, including electronic stalking.
Accordingly, if within 5 business days all of this duplication and references to same are not eliminated without further commentary on the subject, appropriate legal action will be authorized under USC Title 17 et seq. and such other applicable law as may apply. My client has authorized me to seek damages in an amount in excess of $1,000,000 in connection with libel and defamation from you, and if appropriate, to seek prosecution by the Authorities for electronic stalking and terrorism.
I must advise you that under New Jersey state law, recognized by the Australian legal system, recently passed legislation makes it a Felony to use a website, cell phone, fax machine or other electronic devices for the purposes of stalking, terrorizing, harassing, and otherwise interfering with an individual and/or business, and this statute has been recognized as binding upon all users of the web, whether inside of the United States or not. Similar law was also passed at the Federal level in the United States last year, and is before Australian lawmakers awaiting adoption at this moment. The penalties under New Jersey law include the possibility of imprisonment for a period of up to 7 years and a $500,000 fine. The US Federal penalties are much more serious.
Furthermore, under United States law, recognized by the Byrne Convention to apply in Australia, it is also felonious to unlawfully duplicate copyrighted materials, and such can result, if a serious violation, in fines and/or imprisonment.
Kindly respond by email in confirmation that you have removed all such offending content from your website at your earliest convenience.
Going along with the joke, I sent the following reply on September 9, 2001
There is no content on any web site owned or operated by me that comes from your client's sites, so the matter of copyright infringement does not apply. There was one image but that has been removed and replaced with an original image created by me which quotes some words written by William Shakespeare.
The complete text of the original entry at Quintessence of the Loon (see http://www.ratbags.com/loon/aug00/) is:
> Reverse-Engineering Roswell UFO Technology
added 17 August 2000
This is comment on an article on the web site of Nexus Magazine and the link goes to the Nexus page headed "Reverse-Engineering Roswell UFO Technology" (see http://www.nexusmagazine.com/ACCandRoswell.html ). If you have an issue with the content of material on the Nexus site then I suggest you take it up with them. I have had correspondence with the editor of Nexus Magazine and he assures me that the material on his site is drawn from a transcript of Mr Shulman's own words and that Mr Shulman has had the opportunity to refute that transcript. Again I must stress that I have no control over the content of the Nexus site and any problems you have with that site should be addressed appropriately.
I have said nothing defamatory about your client. All of my comments are drawn from what is in the Nexus article, and, as I said above, I have been assured that Mr Shulman approved the publication of that article.
The only interpretation I can place on your mention of "references" to your client's sites are that I have links to some of those sites on the page where I published Mr Shulman's first email to me and my correspondence with Mr Roads of Nexus Magazine. These links were placed there so that readers of my site could see Mr Shulman's words at first hand rather than through the filter of the Nexus article that I had first referenced. I cannot see how a hyperlink to a web site can be seen to be defamatory or objectionable in any way, especially as these were provided without comment.
You mention stalking, but I have had no communication with Mr Shulman at any time. I would assume that any court would require evidence of repeated communications from me to Mr Shulman before agreeing that stalking had taken place.
I am not sure what you mean when you mention terrorism, but I would suggest that pursuing such a charge in court would simply lead to both you and your client being exposed to ridicule.
As I said above, I have removed the image from my site that may have come from one of your client's sites. As all the other material was my original creation and neither infringed any of your client's copyrights nor could be interpreted as harassment or defamation by any reasonable person, it will remain on my site.
As is my normal practice, your email to me and this reply have been placed on my web site at http://www.ratbags.com/loon/mailbox/transistor.htm
Mr Shulman eventually sent me another email. It was the finest example of unhinged hate mail that I have ever seen. He also published it on a web site. You can see this wonderful stuff here.
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