A Strong Case for Free Speech and Against Bullying

A Strong Case for Free Speech and Against Bullying

By Robert Haugh

Many of you know about the lawsuit that Miles Barber filed against me personally. I think it’s a frivolous lawsuit and that’s why I filed an anti-SLAPP motion. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation and it’s an attempt to silence free speech.

I’m only able to fight back against Miles’ bullying effort because the community rallied behind me. My GoFundMe site raised almost $8,500 of my $10,000 goal in just one month. I was able to hire a top First Amendment lawyer, Kenneth White.

For the community’s support, I’m grateful and touched.

Word is getting around. It’s good to know that some knowledgeable, independent observers think I have a strong anti-SLAPP case. One example is a lengthy review of the case by TechDirt.com. The site was started in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick. It covers technology and innovation and the impact of government regulation and legal issues. It’s well respected:

  • “Techdirt has a tremendous influence on the Wall Street Journal.” — Kara Swisher, Executive Editor, The Wall Street Journal

  • “Just a quick note to say how much I’ve been enjoying Techdirt, which is now a daily must-read. The commentary is consistently smart. Keep up the great work!” — Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired

You can read the long review of my case or read some of the highlights below:

“I’m always surprised when publications themselves seem to go after others for speech. But here we are, with a weird legal battle involving two publishers in nearby Santa Clara, California. The lawsuit was filed by Santa Clara Eagle Publishing and its boss Miles Barber against a guy named Robert Haugh, who just recently started an online-only publication called “Santa Clara News Online.

“Rather tellingly, the complaint by Barber doesn’t cite a single blog post by Haugh, nor even quote a single statement. It doesn’t attach any of the actual posts, which you would kind of expect. Instead, it appears to paraphrase a bunch of things that Haugh’s site posted — mostly as clearly marked opinion — and takes it out of context in the lawsuit filing.

“In October, Haugh started publishing Santa Clara Online News. Less than a month later, Barber filed a fictitious business name application purporting that his company was using that name. Then, in the lawsuit, Barber argued that Haugh was “misappropriating” the name. That’s… bad. Really bad.

“This case has all the hallmarks of a standard SLAPP suit, and hopefully the court makes quick work of it thanks to California’s anti-SLAPP law. But, really, the most ridiculous part of all of this is why would a news publisher file such a lawsuit itself, in an age where a free press is under attack? It’s incredibly short sighted to try to undermine press freedoms yourself, just because someone made fun of you a little bit online.”

For those of who have contributed, you can see I have a strong case. For those of you who want to join the cause, you can stand up for free speech and against bullying by contributing.

Thanks again to the community. We’ll win this together.


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