Today I received this email (it was in Spanish, I have translated it into English because that is the main language of this blog, and in order to give this issue the international coverage that it deserves – sorry for any translation mistake since I am not a lawyer and he writes like an old-fashioned one trying to sound intimidating; here is the original):

Mr. Cortell:

Currently I am suing Greg Prévôt in the Courts of Barcelona, author of a defamatory site which infringes upon my honor, whose link appears in which you administer, at the following address:

http://cortell.net/blog/es/2006/03/lo-que-con-dinero-publico-se-financia-no-puede-ni-debe-ser-patentado-ni-estar-restringido-a-copyright/ 

I presuppose your good faith and understand that the comment with the link to the defamatory web has so far escaped your supervision as editor and moderator. However, given the blatantly criminal content of the linked web, as soon as you gain knowledge of its existence, you are bound to not spread it, since otherwise you would breach the duty of minimum care required of every Internet service provider and would be criminally imputable as necessary collaborator to Greg Prévôt.

The content of the page object of the complaint, temporarily suspended by the author to prevent criminality, is available still using the “cached” function by Google:

http://webcache.googleusercontent. com/search?q=cache:ivHIoHvPdhsJ:esuntroll.blogspot.com.es/2005/06/daniel-vicente-carrillo-irichc-viccahr.html+&cd=5&hl=es&ct=clnk&gl=es 

I also have in my power a public deed also proving this point.

I hereby request that within five days you remove the link in your page to “Cyberspace trolls“, and notify me about it.

While I hope and wish for your immediate cooperation in order to solve this unpleasant matter amicably, I beg you not to underestimate my firm resolution to take all legal actions the law allows me in the legitimate defense of my interests.

Sincerely,

Daniel Vincent

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And this is what I answered:

Mr. Daniel Vincent, if that is your name,

Let me reply to your message.

I find it disgusting that Spanish law (or any other country’s) try to find web/blog administrators responsible for the comments of third parties, especially when these are non-profit and the administrator has not participated in the speech or debate.

While neither I nor my blog reside in Spain, and therefore your legal threat does not worry me in the least, your tone and attitude do bother me.

The referred link is inoperative. It does not lead to any website, so it not only can not be defamatory, but it can not be verified by me either.

Additionally, the link you provide as reference does not lead to any website, leaving me, again, unable to check anything.

You state in your message that you “also have in my power a public deed also proving this point” without even describing or giving proof, which is of no use to me.

You understand that under these circumstances, and since you are unable to prove your allegations, I flatly refuse to censor anyone.

Moreover, since you seem to show preference for threats (“you are bound to not spread it, since otherwise you would breach the duty of minimum care required of every Internet service provider and would be criminally chargeable as necessary collaborator”), belligerence (“given the blatantly criminal content”), ultimatums and poor grammar [in Spanish, corrected in English] (“I hereby request that within five days you remove the link in your page”), in your own words,” I beg you not to underestimate my firm resolution.”

In my case, my firm resolve to defend the presumption of innocence, to avoid censorship, to fight against unfair laws and those who abuse with them, and not to get intimidated by strangers, as you do not give any proof of your identity, especially writing from an email like irichc23@hotmail.com

Despite our profound differences of personal opinion, let me give you some advice from someone who has gone through slander and cyber disputes with ruthless mafias: let it be. Otherwise, do you know the “Streisand Effect?”, well, there you have it.

One last comment: I do not wish to receive further communications from you. I hope that as a connoisseur of telecommunications laws, you understand what this means.

Sincerely,

Jorge Cortell