This matter has been settled but feel free to have a read through this as some of it is pretty funny. Basically, two conspiracy theorists started a thread about their conspiracy book called “A Third Truth” and got flamed. Then attempted to sue us for $42.5 million.
Not only where they defeated when Greg Smith couldn’t provide any proof that the film was real, yet alone in production. But their reality TV show “Starwalker” was exposed as an alleged scam.
These guys chose the wrong site to mess with as we where able to defend ourselves and also expose these guys and their dodgy methods.
Click the read more for the whole story.
Please note! The Jonathan Nolan mentioned in this is NOT the creative genius Jonathan Nolan behind Memento, The Dark Knight and Inception. Although both share the same name these two people are entirely unrelated and the talented Jonathan Nolan has had nothing at all to do with these shenanigans.
So what’s this all about?
Despite complying with his lawyers demand Greg Smith of Myrmidon Enterprises with some legal help and goading by his friend Jonathan Nolan of Pisces All Media attempted to sue the owner (me) of ZGeek for $42.5 million. Yes. $42.5 million dollars.
What started it?
A user on the site posted a link to this book which claims to have proof that the 9/11 attacks and the Bali Bombing were done using nuclear bombs. Yes. They are serious.
Of course our users gave their opinions as to what they saw to be the shortcomings of this theory and Greg Smith and his friend Jonathan Nolan of Pisces All Media decided to join the site and defend it. Unfortunately it developed into a flame war and allegedly something defamatory was said. I should state here, it was not by me. I actually didn’t know of the thread or any problems until after they started legal proceedings against me.
At no point did either of these persons use the “report” function which is on EVERY SINGLE POST on the site or the “contact us” links at the bottom of EVERY SINGLE PAGE on this site to bring it to the attention of the site moderators or administration.
The first time we knew about the trouble was when Greg Smith emailed me with a rude and rambling letter which demanded my personal home address and the personal details of the poster of the comments. In his email, he failed to explain to which post he was referring to (we did figure this out eventually from the court documents and it shows they didn’t raise a complaint with us until ten days AFTER the allegedly defamatory post was made, they even continued posting in the thread!) and due to Australia’s privacy laws, I can’t hand that information over to any person without a court order.
He also wanted an apology and a retraction, but they were going to sue me anyway.
We should state here that the posts on ZGeek are the opinions of the poster. We have this disclaimer on every page of the site. Just like the report and contact links that Mr Smith failed to use to notify the site administration of the problem.
I should point out that up until the point I received the letter from the lawyers I considered these guys to be nothing more than forum trolls due to their immature behaviour on the site.
I don’t apologise to trolls as a matter of policy, besides I have nothing to apologise for as I was not the author of the comments he found offensive and which he now alleges were defamatory of him. And weirdly, the alleged post were not about him. I also didn’t believe him since I’ve never dealt with “professionals” who act in such a way. Usually when companies have a problem with a site they’ll contact the administration. Not just go and swap insults in a thread with other users. Greg Smith also posted his complaint in the thread for everyone to see. Not really a smart move considering he also posted his own name and address.
So I checked out both of these users via Google and saw that they were connected through Pisces All Media. Even though they originally claimed not to know each other in the thread (unfortunately you can edit your posts on this site and they removed this once everyone caught on). From what I saw I judged them to be nothing more than forum trolls so I ignored their demands. My mistake.
A few days later I got an email from a lawyer demanding the entire thread be removed. After seeking legal advice I removed it.
On the 28th of July we received an email from Greg Smith claiming he had ownership of the ZGeek trademark and we were to close the site immediately or face further legal trouble.
Greg Smith had applied for the trademark but it has not been granted. He did not have ownership of the ZGeek trademark. Just goes to show how honest this guy is.
Dear Sir / Madam
RE: TRADEMARK “ZGEEK”, Application number: 1307946
I write in reference to the above trademark, of which I am the registered assignee. You are using my trademark without authorisation or excuse. You are not the owner of the trademark.
You have never received permission from me, the owner of the trademark, that you may use my trademark in any way, nor will you.
You do not in fact even maintain a legal business and business name in relation to my trademark nor do you have a valid ABN or GST registration. These facts, taken together with your improper and potentially illegal use of my trademark, cause me and my trademark damage.
You are to IMMEDIATELY CEASE AND DESIST ANY AND ALL USE OF MY TRADEMARK.
The registration of this trademark was publicly and formally advertised on or before 24 July 2009. You are therefore constructively on notice as of that date, and by operation of this letter, now on formal notice as follows:
1. I am the registered assignee of the trademark “ZGEEK”.
2. You have no right or permission whatsoever to use that trademark in any way.
3. You are to IMMEDIATELY cease and desist all use of said trademark.
4. Further you are to IMMEDIATELY remove all reference to said trademark from all sites under your control on the internet, and further remove said trademark from all stationery, letterhead, invoices, advertising and any other publication of which you are any part in any way.
5. Review will be made within 24 hours to insure you have ended any and all unauthorised use of this trademark.
6. If you are found to be using this trademark at the expiration of
24 hours from the time and date of receipt of this communication legal action will commence against you without further reference, in the causes of passing off, unauthorised use of a trademark not your property, misrepresentation and the tort of inducing breach of contract, and such other causes and grounds as may reasonably apply.
7. You should note: all costs associated with enforcement of my rights as trademark holder as against YOU as an unauthorised user and operator of an unregistered business will be recovered from you in full through whatever legal means are available.
8. Any and all monies you have received or continue to receive as of 9am on 24 July 2009 and continuing until your use of my trademark ceases are MY monies, earned by virtue of your unauthorised use of MY trademark. I require a full accounting of all monies you have wrongly received and payment of all such monies to me IMMEDIATELY in any event.
This communication will be relied on in relation to orders for costs, damages, any bankruptcy proceedings taken out against you and where appropriate any criminal proceedings that may issue against you.
The Electronic Frontiers Australia have jumped onboard to help us fight this and had procured a lawyer pro-bono to fight this.
So why did they come after me?
No idea I am afraid, I think it is because I was the easiest target. These men have now stated (to my lawyer no less) that they intend to make a personal campaign to seek vengeance against me. So far they have labeled me a sociopath and worse. And posted my home address online and refused to remove it.
According to them it is because the comments on the site caused them to lose a movie deal they allege is worth $42 million and they wanted me to pay for it.
I should also mention they haven’t even bothered going after the person who made the comments. Which they could have easily done with a court order.
Just so you know, ZGeek was not a business. It was not a money making enterprise. The site has been around for 10 years and existed simply for the love of the internet, our community and all that is geek. ZGeek has no assets, the site barely generates enough revenue to pay its hosting fees. Yet these men want $42 million and are willing to ruin my life for it in spite of the fact that I did not personally defame them in any way. Ok, I admit it. I called them Greg and cock and a cunt. But that’s my opinion after they started legal proceedings against me. I’m sure you could understand where that is coming from. $42 million, trademark harassment and getting their friends to threaten me also!!!
How can they get away with this?
Unfortunately and unlike other more progressive jurisdictions such as (dare I say it) The United States of America, Australia’s internet laws are written by a half dead retarded luddite (now that’s just my personally held opinion as to the drafting of the legislation and the political agenda behind that drafting and not a statement that the office of the parliamentary draftsman is staffed by half dead retarded luddites (whether it is or not)). The Broadcasting Act allows people such as these to come after both the publisher of comments they consider defamatory and the person who made the comment. But also, they are yet to prove that I did any “publishing” as there is no editorial process in an open public forum. Unfortunately, these individuals have targeted me only and not the person who made the comments they allege to be defamatory or any of the other forums they have threatened with legal action.
How can I help?
Spread the word. The law needs to be changed so harassment’ like this can’t continue and, if they do have a defamation problem with someone, they go after the person who said it. Not the poor sap who runs the site. This is an issue that affects all Australian who have a blog or website that allows users to leave comment or messages. Write to your local federal member of parliament. Their email addresses and contact details are freely available and can be downloaded from here.
What’s happening now?
Nothing. The matter is settled.
Why this case is so important
Mr Smith was holding me responsible for the defamation as I am supposedly the “publisher” of all the content on this site. But as any forum user knows, this is not the case. The majority of forums are not moderated. On ZGeek alone we have hundreds of posts per day and I have a full time job. There is no way I can read and approve every posts and still have a successful site.
But it’s not just forums that this concerns. If I am found guilty of defamation, any unmoderated site in Australia has to worry. Any comment, tweet, blurb or post on a site could get the website owner into trouble.
So basically, if they win they destroy a large part of the Australian internet community overnight (I’m not just talking about ZGeek). As a result, it will take away a large part of our freedom of speech.
I’d like to say a big thanks to Clamenz Corporate Lawyers. They have gone above and beyond with their help on this matter. Not only providing legal help, but also with keeping the costs down and being awesome.
Clamenz Corporate Lawyers
Level 40, Governor Phillip Tower
1 Farrer Place Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 1300 763 215
Fax: 1300 763 285
Current News Updates
The Myrmidon friends send me another legal threat!
Update on Myrmidon Enterprises legal harassment of ZGeek
Starwaker scam exposed
Starwalker Back on
Myrmidon Enterprises caught red handed lying and sending fraudulent press releases.
Yet another threat from the Myrmidon friends.
Latest threat proves to be harassment.
ZGeek threatened with a third lawsuit.
Myrmidon Enterprises to send people into space.
Greg Smith misses the mediation deadline and gets a sick note to be excused
Greg Smith expresses a wish to meet and settle
Greg Smith issues us with a trademark infringement threat on a trademark he doesn’t own
Greg Smith issues Filmnet a Cease and Desist on a trademark he doesn’t own
Here they come again, Jonathan Nolan granted access to ISP records.
INTARWEB TROLLS COST ME JILLIONS!!!
Update in the ZGeek legal battle
It’s official. We are being sued
The threats begin
Jonathan Nolan tries to troll ZGeek’s owner.
Starwalker Off again
The Truth about Myrmidon contains some of the ridiculous claims against ZGeek. It also until recently had my name and address posted and that of my girl friend of the time who had nothing to do with this. Intimidation much?
Jonathan Nolan comments Includes a copy of the alleged defamatory posts. Notice that he is talking about two other forums it was posted on. Not ZGeek or Filmnet!
Jonathan Nolan unleashes the hate.
Jonathan Nolan gets excited about a big payday coming up. To the tune of $42 million!
Pisces All Media – Jonathan’s “Movies”…
Myrmidon Enterprises – We can’t find much about this company or it’s productions. Google it yourself. Which I think is a bit odd for a film company working on a multimillion dollar film. The company does exist, but was only registered late last year.
In the news:
Website of Robert Brand, a man ripped off by Jonathan Nolan and Greg Smith. Funny, they sued us because someone said Mr Nolan was a fraud and liar. That’s what they claimed in the defamation suit against us. Turns out, it’s true!
Australian Astronaut Reality TV Show One Big Scam – Gizmodo
Sydney Morning Herald on Starwalker scam
Starwalker is a fraud facebook group
Spacevidcast talk about Starwalker (fast forward to 7:00)
Starwalker Reality Show Headed by Disbarred Attorney
Is Jonathan Nolan qualified to make Starwalker?
Conspiracy theorists in space
Choice Magazine article
Indie Defamation War: Nolan’s discovery allowed, Smith’s deferred
Indie Defamation War: ZGeek raising defense dough online
Pisces vs Filmnet: defamation writ issued, more to come
Pisces vs Filmnet: defamation lawsuits break out among the independents
ZGeek defamation lawsuit struck out
Another defamation suit: ZGeek owner sued for alleged defamatory forum comments
Ain’t it Cool story
Online forum trolls cost me millions: filmmaker
Producer Greg Smith sues the internet for 40 million
The Sheriff of Nothing – part 1
The Sheriff of Nothing – part 2
The Sheriff of Nothing – part 3
Australian Website Bans … Australians