On June 4, 2010, the Texas Supreme Court issued a highly unusual emergency stay in a case in which Beaumont trial judge Donald Floyd had ordered internet search giant Google to reveal the identities of two anonymous bloggers whose websites criticize notorious east Texas public figure Philip R. Klein. The high court’s order trumps the April 29, 2010, ruling by Beaumont’s Ninth Court of Appeals and prevents Judge Floyd’s order from being enforced.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court recognizes the important First Amendment right to criticize public figures anonymously,” said Houston constitutional attorney Jeffrey L. Dorrell, who represents the bloggers. Klein argued that websites operationkleinwatch.com and samtheeagle.com content were “pure defamation” and not entitled to constitutional protection.
“Satirical parody is sometimes harsh, but if Jay Leno or David Letterman were sued every time they cracked a joke about Barack Obama or Paris Hilton, television would be a pretty barren source of amusement,” said Dorrell. Today’s ruling was the latest in a lawsuit in which Klein alleges that he has been defamed for, among other things, a parody of Dog Fancy magazine in which he was depicted under the caption, “Fat Men Who Love Their Dogs Too Much.”
The backstory ...
A political blogger in Southeast Texas has alleged that two other local bloggers have defamed and harassed him through their Web sites.
Philip R. Klein writes the Southeast Texas Political Review, a site that includes news and commentary about area elected officials and community leaders. "The story behind the story in East Texas politics," reads a banner describing the Web site on its home page.
As PRK Enterprises and Klein Investments, Klein sued the Operation Kleinwatch and Sam the Eagle blogs, as well as Google and its subsidiary blogger.com on Aug. 26 in Jefferson County District Court.
In the suit, PRK and Klein Investments are asking Google and blogger.com to identify all people responsible for running www.operationkleinwatch.blogspot.com and www.samtheeagleusa.blogspot.com.
They are also asking for the identities of all people who provided money or literary substance to the Web sites, who posted comments on the Web sites and those who are in any way affiliated with the Web sites.
The Web address www.samtheeagleusa.blogspot.com, first leads to a page containing a beach scene, soothing music and the words "Welcome to Sam the Eagle Center for peaceful meditation." To access the actual site, a user must click on "learn more about meditation" or instead go directly to http://www.notthisonetoojacques.blogspot.com/.
Then a home page pops up that appears similar to the Southeast Texas Political Review's home page, but with various satiric remarks scattered throughout.
At the moment it's not a beach scene but a picture of puppies, and you have to click on the link that isn't for puppies. Nor kitties.
So anyway, if any my fellow bloghermanos are ever in need of a lawyer, I can recommend one. And if you think I'm a nasty bastard ...