Monday, October 19, 2009

Michael Robertson Throws MP3tunes Customers Under The Bus As He Loses His SECOND Court Case This Week

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Michael Robertson isn't having a very good week.

After losing a motion for Summary Judgment earlier this week to try and see the Freespire.com website taken down, today Robertson was dealt a crushing blow. Judge William Pauley ruled that Michael Robertson can be rejoined as a defendant in the copyright infringement case against Robertson and his company MP3tunes. This means if the dozen plus record companies and publishing concerns who are suing Robertson for copyright infringement win, Robertson could be found personally liable. (Read here how Robertson prematurely claimed victory in this matter, only to have that earlier ruling reversed today.) Given the statutory damages in copyright infringement cases, this could be in the billions of dollars (as Robertson should know all too well, given his historical loss at MP3.com for copyright infringement). You can read the full ruling here.

But don't worry, Robertson has a defense. He's blaming the MP3tunes customers. THEY are the REAL copyright infringers, not him.

Michael Robertson throws MP3tunes customers under
the bus to defend himself against copyright infringement.

I have watched Robertson try to blame his employees for any copyright misdeeds at MP3tunes. Apparently he now has a new strategy, and Michael Robertson who likes to pretend to be the champion of consumer rights, is throwing MP3tunes customers under the bus as a way to defend himself from the alleged copyright infringement. From the ruling:

"MP3tunes argues that the Amended Complaint fails to allege any direct infringement by MP3tunes--that is, any volitional conduct by MP3tunes. Rather, the Amended Complaint establishes that MP3tunes' customers are the ones engaged in volitional acts of infringement."

In other words, "Hey, I didn't violate any copyright laws, MY CUSTOMERS DID!" Yikes!

Why would anyone want to be a customer of MP3tunes, given Robertson's position in this case? Do you really want to join a website, and if that site is sued for copyright violations, they then BLAME YOU for the infringement? The complaint goes on to say, "The person who actually presses the button to make the recoding supplies the necessary element of volition, not the person who manufactures, maintains, or, if distinct from the operator, owns the machine."

So Robertson creates a website, and because of how the site copies and stores files, YOU, an innocent, unsuspecting MP3tunes customer, could be blamed for any copyright infringement, simply for having used that site, because YOU "pushed the button." So much for Robertson defending his customers. I watched Robertson toss minority shareholders out of the way as he scrambled for a life raft as he sank Linspire. Now, he's tossing MP3tunes customers under the bus to defend his personal net worth. Not cool, but classic Robertson.

I would recommend to all my friends, family and associates to not be "pushing any buttons" at MP3tunes. If you do, Robertson will point the finger at you.

Kevin

Friday, October 16, 2009

Michael Robertson Loses in Court Again Today -- A Victory for Freedom of Speech!

Today, in a two-page ruling, Judge Steven R. Denton ruled against Michael Robertson in his motion for summary judgment with his lawsuit against me and the Freespire.com website. (Robertson wants to squash free speech and force freespire.com to be taken down because the site brings to light many of Robertson's questionable actions.) You can read the Tentative Ruling here, which was certified today in court.

Score: Freedom of Speech: 1 -- Michael Robertson: 0

In Judge Denton's ruling, he sites the nine different factors to be considered in such a trademark/domain name case, and then rightly concludes that the majority of these nine factors "weigh in the Defendant's favor." Score a point for freedom of speech.

A company can't force a site down on the basis of a trademark, just because the site is critical of that company or its management. Judge Denton addresses this concept in his ruling, "One of the ACPA's main objectives is the protection of consumers from slick internet peddlers who trade on the names and reputations of established brands. The practice of informing fellow consumers of one's experience with a particular service provider is surely not inconsistent with this ideal." For Robertson to prevail, he would have had to shown that I confused users at the Freespire.com website and that I then profited from that confusion. Considering I have never profited one dime from the Freespire.com site, that's a pretty ridiculous claim. Likewise, anyone can visit the freespire.com site and see if they think anyone could possibly be confused into assuming the site was part of Linspire.

I estimate (based on all the paper work filed by Robertson in the case), that so far Robertson has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 on this lawsuit. I have spent next to nothing in my defense, and yet today I prevailed. It's nice having the law on your side. Lawyers have a saying, "If the law is on your side, argue the law. If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If neither is on your side, pound the table." Today Robertson blew thousands of dollars having his legal team "pound the table," but fortunately, the law and the facts carried the day in Judge Denton's courtroom this morning.

Michael Robertson loses. Judge Denton keeps
free speech alive at Freespire.com website.


As I've reported previously in my blog, the Freespire.com website is "dedicated to shedding light on the REAL Michael Robertson." (Visit: Freespire.com) I have seen Robertson go to great lengths to try and create a public persona which is very different from the one you will hear about from those who know him. Therefore, at Freespire.com, visitors can learn about the REAL Michael Robertson, directly from those who have worked closely with him.

I'm sure Robertson's lawyers get tired of losing, but as long as Robertson is crazy enough to pay them, I'm sure they'll gladly keep taking his money, even when they know the cases are groundless, no-win cases for Robertson. We all know what they say about a fool and his money...

Kevin

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Have Skype and eBay Lost Their Minds?

I hope not.

As an avid Skype user and an eBay shareholder (NASDAQ: EBAY), I hope there is no truth to the rumor that Skype may be considering spending crazy money on acquiring the lackluster Gizmo5. As an eBay shareholder (Skype's current parent company), I can certainly think of better things to be spending capital on than a seemingly desperate competitor that I have to believe must be drowning in red ink. Even if Skype can use some of Gizmo5 tech, they shouldn't overpay.

Having worked with Michael Robertson for six years as President and CEO for Linspire (another Robertson company), I know all his pitch techniques. Skype (or any other possible suitors), as part of any due diligence, should email me to talk. They'll want to review the public history in other "deals" Robertson has made. Skype should get a full accounting of Gizmo5's engineering team and speak with each engineer personally to find out how long they have been there. If it's tech and engineers Skype is looking for, they should make sure Gizmo5 still has any.

Have eBay and Skype lost their minds?

I have to believe this is just a rumor. I simply can't believe eBay and Skype would be interested in Gizmo5, at least not at the ridiculous numbers eluded to in some articles. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Robertson himself floating the rumors that he has suitors, all in an effort to drum up speculation of an acquisition. When Robertson sold MP3.com to Vivendi Universal, it became apparent soon after that Vivendi had paid tens of millions too much. Hopefully eBay and Skype are smarter than Vivendi was back then.

If eBay/Skype would be crazy enough to pay ANYWHERE NEAR $50 M for Gizmo5, then I have some swampland in Afghanistan they might be interested in.

Call me,

Kevin