To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 30, 2008

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
4:00 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Below is a copy of the letter I sent to Paul Staines’ lawyer. I haven’t heard a damn thing since sending it over 3 hours ago, so I’m publishing it here in full to kick things along:

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:31 PM

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

1. Please immediately provide all original emails referred to in the supplied PDF. These can (and should) be forwarded as attachments. Currently all I have is a screen capture of an email from ‘Guy Fawkes’ to ‘Guy Fawkes’, and I do not regard this to be sufficient proof of verbatim correspondence between Paul Staines and Channel 4 News. But let’s address the contents regardless…

2. The letter and legal threat you sent refers only to a cartoon produced by the artist Matt Buck, but the correspondence you provide refers to an ‘informal arrangement’ referring quite specifically to the images produced by the artist Beau Bo D’Or. It does NOT contain any reference to any material produced by Matt Buck or even stray into a neighbourhood where such permission might be implied. Please reply with proof of correspondence (see: #1) that specifically grants permission for use of [any] cartoon(s) produced by Matt Buck.

3. In the correspondence provided (dated 14 Dec), Paul Staines promises to cease using the bandwidth of Beau Bo D’Or in the manner described in my article, but he clearly did not do so at the time. If he had ‘copied and uploaded’ a replacement as promised, Beau Bo D’Or would not have been able to enact the redirection code (on 28 Jan; over a month later) that prompted the relevant series of articles on my website:

4. In the correspondence provided, Paul Staines states that he does not understand Beau Bo D’Or’s bandwidth issues, bases his judgement of Beau Bo D’Or’s bandwidth issues on his relationship with an entirely different service provider, and even acknowledges the impact he has had on Beau Bo D’Or’s bandwidth, but seeks to dismiss it as inconsequential. With respect, ignorance is no defence, we are discussing server load and possible service/website suspension, not just bandwidth issues (as your client may or may not understand them) *AND* Paul Staines admits culpability in this exchange.

5. Channel 4 News has never advised Beau Bo D’Or that there is a transfer of copyright as part of their arrangement, therefore the copyright for any images (or animations) created by Beau Bo D’Or resides with that artist.

6. Regardless, as your client was advised yesterday by that artist, Beau Bo D’Or has an email from Channel 4 News stating emphatically that there is “no arrangement” regarding images/permission between Channel 4 News and Paul Staines.

7. Just as your client has been in direct contact with Beau Bo D’Or, so have I (since well before my 29 Jan article was published). Beau Bo D’Or assures me that he is willing to testify in court about any of the relevant evidence, and told your client so yesterday. Has your client informed you of this?

8. You do know that your client was on a “liquid lunch” yesterday, yes?

9. As things stand, I am well within my rights to describe the relevant images/animations as stolen, and refer to your client as a thief of images and of bandwidth. I am even well within my rights to describe your client as a serial offender. Below is a charming example involving an image stolen from Justin McKeating that also includes many false and vicious comments published by Paul Staines regarding my sexuality and state of mind. In short, your client is a thief and a scoundrel who publishes lies about me on his website, and I have archived and documented proof of multiple instances of such behaviour:

10. I will not be apologising to Paul Staines as you request and scoff at any ‘kind’ offer not to pursue damages if I roll over and do so immediately.

Tim Ireland

PS – I reserve the right to publish this correspondence in full, and even though I have every intention of doing so, a timely and satisfactory reply will be taken into account.

UPDATE (31 Jan, 12:15pm) – I eventually received a reply. As usual, it was marked PRIVATE/CONFIDENTIAL in big scary letters, but there’s nothing stopping me from showing you my correspondence. Below is my reply to Donal’s reply in full, sent at roughly 7:30 this morning:

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 7:36 AM

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

Sorry that your previous email did not get through; my server-side spam filter is getting smarter by the day. I’m willing to bet that it is seeing the legal content, comparing it with the personal/home (i.e. not professional) email address it is arriving from, and assuming that it’s some form of Nigerian 419 scam. I did receive this latest late-night email, though (you work such late hours, you poor lamb), and here is my reply:

I will not be retaining the services of a lawyer until I need one, and I am unwilling to share my home address with anyone who has a close relationship with Staines unless I absolutely have to.

So I must reject your request that I provide an address for service or the name and address of my solicitors just yet, because so far your case appears to be a total waste of my time… in fact, some might say a deliberate waste of my time.

Especially as Beau Bo D’Or said it, Matt Buck published it, and yet Staines is harassing *me* about it.

I think it’s pretty bloody obvious what’s going on here.

However, I am perfectly happy to continue communicating via email as you attempt to rebuild your case (or perhaps kick off with a new one). If you have trouble reaching me via this address, there is a well-publicised alternative address –

Tim Ireland

PS – I reserve the right to publish this correspondence in full, and even though I have every intention of doing so, a timely and satisfactory reply will be taken into account. (Hint: Your last reply, had it come through, would not have been deemed satisfactory, and it has now been proved that even a machine knows that.)

UPDATE (31 Jan, 5:00pm) – Another outgoing email for you. I didn’t wait around to publish this one, as my time is precious and too much of it has been wasted on this.

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: 31 January 2008 17:00

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

I really wish that you would read emails (and articles) in full before acting on them.

I do not intend to evade service of proceedings as you claim.

What I said was;

“I am unwilling to share my home address with anyone who has a close relationship with Staines unless I absolutely have to.”

And, right now, I don’t have to.

Up until now, you have only spoken of various possible potential proceedings in the abstract.

You have not stated that you wish to commence proceedings; you have merely threatened to commence proceedings. Even when you speak of ‘evading service’, you speak of intentions, not actions.

So tell me this… if there are no proceedings (as yet), how the hell can I evade them?

If I give you my address and you don’t intend to start proceedings, then you will be guilty of ‘phishing’; mining data that’s none of your damn business.

If you DO intend to start proceedings, then you’d best get on with it and show me that this is something more than a nuisance complaint.

All you’ve shown me so far is threats and questionable evidence for a deeply flawed claim. You can go fly a kite until you bring me something more substantial than this.

Tim Ireland

PS – I’m publishing this one immediately.

UPDATE (1 Feb, 8:40am) – Here’s the latest. It’s pretty straightforward:

To: Donal Blaney (Griffin Law)

From: Tim Ireland

Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 8:38 AM

Re: Your Letter of Claim: Paul Staines v Tim Ireland

Dear Sir,

1. Thank you for advising me after my last email that you were, in response, awaiting your client’s instructions. This confirms for me that, at time of receipt, you had no standing instruction to start proceedings, despite your attempts to badger me into revealing my home address or retain the services of a lawyer. Clearly neither action was necessary or required by law.

2. Please CC all correspondence to – just in case my primary spam filter decides that anything else you send me is a complete waste of time.

Tim Ireland

PS – This reply is also being published immediately.

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