Monsarrat v Zaiger - Order on Motion to Dismiss
by Susan Basko, Esq.
On December 21, 2017, Chief Judge Patti Saris entered an order dismissing the Copyright infringement complaint made by Boston video game developer, Jonathan Monsarrat, against Brian Zaiger, owner of Encyclopedia Dramatica, on the basis of the claim being time-barred, or beyond the statute of limitations. You can read the Order below. The Order allows the Defendant's Counterclaim to continue.
What's next? Jonathan Monsarrat has 30 days from the entry of the dismissal order to file a Notice of Appeal. That date would be about January 20, 2018. It looks like there would be a solid basis for an appeal, since Judge Saris went with the narrowest, oldest view of how to calculate the date of accrual on a Copyright claim, and newer methods of technology are involved in this case. As the saying goes, the opera is not over till the fat lady sings. If an appeal is filed, the question will be whether the counterclaim litigation is stayed until the outcome of the appeal, or if it will continue on.
Meanwhile, two big things have happened: Brian Zaiger claims he no longer owns Encyclopedia Dramatica. That might limit his capacity to engage in the counterclaim litigation. In more tragic news, an Encyclopedia Dramatica sysop or admin named William Edward Atchison terrorized a high school, shooting and killing two students and then killing himself. Atchison may have been radicalized online on Encyclopedia Dramatica, Kiwi Farms, and The Daily Stormer. Atchison was known to use a variety of screen names on those sites (see comment on linked page), making posts portending his final acts of terroristic violence.
Analysis: Encyclopedia Dramatica (ED) is a cesspool of lies, defamation, obscenity, and hate, operated in the most irresponsible way possible. According to one source, the site does contain a few satirical articles. With the news that Brian Zaiger no longer owns the site, and that a budding school killer used the site as his platform, a question arises of whether law enforcement might finally care that this site is being used to harm and cyberstalk so many innocent victims. Only time will tell.
I have long suggested to the people of Encyclopedia Dramatica that they have memberships, and then allow any member to write any lies or garbage about any other member -- and leave everyone else out of it. It's real simple -- if you think the site and what it does are good, then you join and all of you do it to each other, and leave the "normal" people out of it. Make ED a consensual activity.
This may sound silly to the "kids," who hang out on ED -- though many of them are actually adults, albeit immature ones. How would you "kids" like it if your friends on ED were calling your father a pedophile or posting sexual lies about your aunt? How would you like it if those lies were keeping your family member from getting a job, or a business opportunity, or a place to live? Do you understand the concept of empathy? How about the concept of respect for others? How about the idea of respecting the dignity of others and allowing them their good reputations, without you harming them? These are basic human rights you are being asked to respect.
For years, the ED site has been used by the very worst internet creeps and cyber criminals to post lies, defamation, revenge porn, revenge defamation, character assassination, racial hate and antisemitism, attacks and lies about peoples' sexual activities, etc. to coerce and extort and cyberstalk the victims. The ED site contains shocking obscene photographs.. The victims have their names and photos and reputations mixed up with all this filth generated by the users of ED. Jonathan Monsarrat was one of those victims. He tried to litigate this in a relatively weak sauce Copyright claim. This is what happens when law enforcement agencies have failed for so long to prosecute the owners of this website, which appears to be involved in internet crimes against so many victims.
Note: It's not just what is on the face of ED that makes it so dangerous -- it is also what goes on off the pages. For example, I was stalked and harassed for several years by "Jaime" Cochran, an admitted and known cyberstalker, who tried to extort and silence me about his/her crimes against me (such as posting my personal and financial information online and relentlessly stalking me) before s/he created an ED "page" in my name and loaded it down with defamation and cyberstalking materials. The face of the page may appear to be harassment and lies, but the crimes of extortion and cyberstalking underlie the page. Long-term internet stalkers like Cochran have relied on their victims being cowed into silence, while using sites such as Encyclopedia Dramatica to embed their lies and defamation and harassment of their victims. That is what makes ED a predatory extortion website. I am, by far, not the only such victim of the site. (Cochran admitted in at least one television interview, which can be seen on Youtube, that s/he cyberstalks and harasses people for fun and thinks it is funny. S/he blamed the victims for not enjoying having these crimes committed against them.)