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[ih] Defamation lawsuit brought by self-proclaimed email "inventor" settles

(Via Vint tweet)


May 17, 2019, 5:38 PM EDT
By Cyrus Farivar

A defamation lawsuit against tech news website Techdirt filed by a
Massachusetts man who questionably claimed to have invented email in
numerous articles has been settled.

Shiva Ayyadurai?s attorney, Charles Harder, released a statementearlier in
the week noting that no money had changed hands, and wrote that both
parties were ?pleased to have resolved this matter.?

Since 2011, Ayyadurai has put forward his claim that he invented email as a
teenager in 1978, and also claims he was the first to use the term ?EMAIL.?

He got attention in both Time and The Washington Post, in late 2011 and
early 2012, respectively, which repeated his claims, citing the
Smithsonian?s acceptance of 1978-era materials donated by Ayyadurai.

But in February 2012, the Smithsonian issued a statement, saying that
?Exchanging messages through computer systems, what most people call
?email,? predates the work of Ayyadurai.?

The Post?s ombudsman then admitted that the paper?s earlier coverage had
been inaccurate.Additionally, numerous scholars of the era, including John
Vittal, who authored an email program called MSG in 1975, and Vint Cerf, a
co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocol upon which the Internet is based, have
publicly dismissed Ayyadurai?s claims.

As part of the agreement, Techdirt must add links to a previous rebuttal
that Ayyadurai authored years ago, according to Harder.

Harder, a Beverly Hills-based attorney, also worked as Hulk Hogan?s
attorney in a lawsuit against the website Gawker, which ultimately drove
the site into bankruptcy.

On Friday, Techdirt founder Mike Masnick formally informed his readers of
the deal, writing that the ?entire process has been quite a pain for us.?

?We?re happy to have it behind us,? he also said in a separate phone

?I don?t think it will change the way we report. We do what we do and we
fought it the way we did because we believed in the way we reported on him
and I don?t see why we would change. We stand by what we wrote and we will
continue to report the way we report.?

Neither Ayyadurai nor Harder immediately responded to requests for comment.

Joly MacFie  218 565 9365 Skype:punkcast
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