CLBR #275: The Gawker Effect with Techdirt’s Mike Masnick

The Gawker Effect with Techdirt’s Mike Masnick



In March 2016, a Florida jury returned a $140 million verdict in favor of Terry Bollea aka Hulk Hogan against Gawker Media for publishing a tape of him having sex with the wife of his best friend (shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge) (see CLBR #264). Hogan’s lawyer, Charles Harder, filed a second suit against Gawker on behalf of Shiva Ayyadurai, former husband of actress Fran Drescher, who claims that he invented email in 1978 when he was a 14-year old high school student. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel paid $10 million to fund the Gawker suits.

Gawker, forced into bankruptcy by judgment, settled with Ayyadurai for $750,000. Techdirt’s response to the settlement was as follows:

For almost five years now, we’ve been among those explaining why Shiva Ayyadurai’s claim that he invented email is complete bullshit. It’s not true. Not even remotely.

Harder then sued Techdirt, Masnick and another contributor for $15 million, forcing it to fundraise to stay alive. In September, the court dismissed the lawsuit, but since it applied Massachusetts law, Masnick could not recoup his legal fees under the state’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation Law).


Despite the outcome of the Techdirt suit, the Gawker effect continues.

Mike Masnick

MASNICK TECHDIRTWeb: Techdirt / Tw: @mmasnick

Mike Masnick founded TechDirt in 1999. He coined the term “Streisand effect” in 2005 stemming from Barbra Streisand privacy lawsuit over aerial photographs taken of her Malibu estate.

By the turn of the decade, Techdirt was a central repository for all news relating to tech policy, and Masnick was one of the most prominent figures in a growing but-still-mostly-unorganized movement that cared fervently about issues relating to digital rights.”*

He is widely credited for being one of the leading media sources behind opposition to SOPA in 2012. Masnick was named a Hero by CLBR in 2012 and in September received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award as “an outspoken activist for digital rights, the First Amendment, and a free and open Internet.”

*Simon Owens, How this blogger became one of the most influential voices in tech policy


1898 – The United States accepts possession of Puerto Rico from Spain.



TechStars Mobility Demo Day is today!

The largest single-day startup & innovation event in Michigan, Techstars Mobility Demo Day will be coming back for its 3rd year on Oct 18, 2017. The event will take place at the Detroit Film Theatre, located inside of the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. The 2017 class of startups from around the world will take the stage in front of 1000+ investors, automotive & transportation industry professionals, community members, and family and friends.

Upcoming Shows

October 25 – Allen T. O’Rourke, The Law of Cyber Defense

November 15 – Eric Goldman on SESTA

November 22 – A Cyber Thanksgiving

Our annual show discussing website, apps etc we are thankful for and recommendations for Cyber Monday charities.

Upcoming Events


Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 12 noon – 1 p.m.

Presented by the Licensing Interest Group and the Technology, Internet and Privacy Interest Group
This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit.


Privacy has become a focal point in M&A transactions, including those in which data may not be one of the primary assets. This program will provide a framework, and discuss in practical terms, transaction due diligence, negotiating privacy terms in transaction documents, and the post-transaction integration process, including international data transfer options for cross-border transactions.

Moderator: Heather Antoine.
Speaker: John Pavolotsky READ MORE


42nd IP Institute: Answers To Your Ultimate IP Questions

Wednesday-Friday, November 1-3, 2017

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
1107 Jamboree Rd
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Info and Registration