Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Will Freedom of Speech be Banned in America? Michael Robertson hopes so!

Will freedom of speech be banned in America? If Michael Robertson has his way it will be. He wants Freespire.com taken down because the site is critical of him and exposes many of his questionable business practices. Robertson is trying to use trademark law to shut down Freespire.com. Fortunately, America has a rich history of supporting freedom of speech on the Internet. Robertson already lost in summary judgment in the case, and it goes to full trial later this month. (If you're in the San Diego area and would like to attend the hearing, email me for details.)

For Robertson to shut Freespire.com down, he needs to prove I had bad faith intent to "profit" from the site, such as by confusing visitors. For example, show that people visiting Freespire.com would somehow be so daft that they would be confused and think the site was run by Xandros (the trademark holder for the term "Freespire") and that this confusion was created so that I would profit from the site.

If you visit http://freespire.com, you'll see first hand how ridiculous that argument is. There's clearly no confusion that this site is from Xandros (or Linspire), nor has there ever been any such confusion, and the site has never received one dime of revenue or profited. (Robertson's lawyers know the case is a dog, but they love taking Robertson's money and he's crazy enough to pay it. Doi!)

Xandros, the trademark holder, has never expressed to me any problem with the Freespire.com site or asked me to turn the domain name over to them. It's Robertson (who does NOT have the trademark) who is spending tens of thousands trying to take Freespire.com down and silence his detractors. Does anyone really think Robertson is looking out for Xandros? Robertson doesn't even look out for his OWN employees and shareholders, why would he care about Xandros? He clearly only cares about one thing--twisting trademark law to kill freedom of speech that is critical of him.

Robertson loves to whine about others who don't respect freedom of markets, speech, etc., and yet he's the one wasting loads of cash trying to do that very thing.

Long live freedom of speech. Hopefully the court will defend it later this month. I have every confidence they will. I'll be back to report when it does.