OK, here we are for the second half. Please keep in mind that it may be much shorter than the first….
1. Paul Staines used the servers of MessageSpace to host copyrighted material that he had no legal right to. I wrote an article about that.
2. Paul Staines then threatened me with litigation under comments on my website. I traced the IP address he used to leave these comments back to the same serviced-office building where MessageSpace was based at the time.
3. Instead of hiring an experienced libel lawyer, Staines used the services of Donal Blaney, a tax lawyer and – co-incidentally – a right-wing blogger with numerous personal, political and/or personal connections to many of the people referenced under #5
4. The correspondence from Blaney threatening litigation and big-heartedly promising not to chase me for damages (just ‘costs’) if I capitulated immediately was challenged, and the last I heard, Blaney was awaiting instructions from his client. That was almost 3 weeks ago (on the 31st of January).
5. I haven’t heard a thing back from either Paul Staines or Donal Blaney since. I have, however, been the subject of several personal attacks at the hands of other right-wing bloggers. Lowlife highlights can be seen here and here, with a full run-down here.
6. The only right-wing blogger who sought to take on the issue itself (while engaging in personal attacks, natch) was Praguetory, who failed to make his case.
7. More recently, I’ve been in touch with Jag Singh, the Chief Information Officer of MessageSpace, who limited his official response to: “We do not comment on rumours or speculation.”
8. As you no doubt already suspect, there was also some unofficial communication (from a number of parties tied to MessageSpace). It appealed to my better nature, making mention of those employees and bloggers who rely on MessageSpace for income.
9. On the 8th of February – almost 2 weeks ago – I sent an email to Jag Singh and Paul Staines, inviting them to review – prior to publication – an article written in response to Staines hiding behind MessageSpace and its employees/users whilst trying to keep this issue as far away from MessageSpace as possible. On paper, Staines appears to be an orbital figure at MessageSpace, but I have paperwork myself that would suggest otherwise. However, to make my case and reveal the illusion of Staines’ distance from that organisation, I would have to release a cat that would never again be allowed to return to the bag. Paul Staines did not even bother to acknowledge receipt of that email.
10. I don’t want to mess with MessageSpace any more than I have to, but I feel they are forcing my hand, especially with the threat of litigation still hanging in the air.
Paul Staines has – via the public threat of litigation – accused me of lying… and I doubt very much if he is going to withdraw the threat as publicly as he made it.
I’m not going to stand for that, but there is a way to resolve the issue without undue damage to MessageSpace and those who rely on it (in whole or in part) for income.
Paul Staines has 24 hours to either pursue litigation in earnest or forfeit.
If he says sweet bugger-all in the next 24 hours, then we’ll all know that it’s over.
Paul won’t be compelled to publish the same kind of apology on his weblog that his lawyer demanded of me, and will be able to continue – in some quarters – to keep playing Mr Tough Guy.
[If you’re at all concerned that Paul Staines won’t see this message (he claims not to read my website) then feel free to forward a copy to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org]