It Doesn?t Suck.com

What started as the unofficial fan site of a Dallas shopping
mall has resulted in a legal victory for free speech. As Mark
Donald reports in the alt weekly Dallas Observer, computer
consultant Mark Mishkoff was only trying to promote a new local
mall when he created ShopsAtWillowBend.com in 1999, but mall
developer Taubman Co. accused him of ?cyber-squatting? and ordered
him to shut down his site. Mishkoff responded by creating six more
sites criticizing the developer, including WillowBendMallSucks.com,
sparking a nasty legal battle. ?Lawyers have this racket, and it is
nothing short of legalized blackmail,? says Mishkoff of the
litigation that followed. ?Every time you give into their threats,
you reward them for their behavior and tell them to go do it to
someone else.? Mishkoff lost the first round in court, but
persuaded Public Citizen, Ralph Nader?s public interest law firm,
to appeal the case. Last month, a Sixth District Court of Appeals
overturned the lower court ruling and vacated the injunction
against Mishkoff?s ?sucks sites.? The case will contribute to a
more concrete definition of what?s acceptable in the uncharted
cyber world, and was a huge win for Internet geeks
everywhere.
Nick Garafola

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http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues/2003-02-20/news.html/1/index.html

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