Guido Fawkes is a blogging nuisance


5:21 pm - February 7th 2008

by Sunny Hundal    


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Some of you may find this more amusing than others, but its worth highlighting as an example of how one “leading blogger” is trying to strangle any criticism of his activities.

Last week Tuesday Aaron linked to this blog post by Tim Ireland on Bloggerheads, which accused Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) of getting up to all sorts of things, including using the Conservative Party’s email systems for himself (incidentally, a security breach), using other people’s images without attribution and nicking their bandwidth.

Quick off the mark, although I didn’t read it until much later, I was sent an email by Staines threatening to take me to court for the link. He was: “not minded to not pursue this just because you withdraw it at a later date.” That is quite a threat. I was asked to get in touch soon or else. “And I won’t leave the pistol in the holster this time,” he ended.

Ooooh! He’s hard! He won’t leave the pistol in the holster this time he says. Big words. Some readers may know that Staines is referring to this episode when he threatened myself and other bloggers for asking questions about his past. It’ll come out in the open sooner or later I’m sure.

I didn’t bother replying or taking off the link and Staines hasn’t contacted me since. But he did get his lawyer mate Donal Blaney to send Tim an email promising legal reprecussions. More on that here. In case you don’t know Donal, he has a very interesting past (see the last 3 links) and expertise in “Debt Collection” and “Services for British Expats” among others. Maybe Schillings were too busy for Staines.

It is worth nothing how quickly Paul Staines, without asking simply to remove the allegation and providing his side of the story, went immediately for a lawyer.

What’s also interesting is a claim made by ‘object of obsession’ underneath Tim Ireland’s original post. I’m assuming its Staines because he starts issuing legal threats, though Staines made a similar claim here earlier.

The thing about us libertarians is that we believe strongly in the rule of law. This time I will not let your lies stand.

He said earlier:

As a capitalist I am a believer in property rights.

I do rip off images ftom the BBC website because I regard them as public property.

I do get sent a lot of images by people using photoshop and/or claiming original work. Beau Bo d’Or forinstance used Iain Dale, Recess Monkey and myself to advertise his briliance before he got picked up by the Guardian.

I would not knowingly try to profit from someone else’s work unjustly. If you see an unfairly used image on my blog, email and it will be removed.

I’m assuming Staines means he believes in the rule of law strongly enough not to use people’s images that are not in the public domain or he doesn’t have the permission to use. Except Paul Staines is lying. He has used images on his website that didn’t belong to him and without permission, despite being repeatedly warned he didn’t have permission. I know this for a fact.

Paul Staines is a nuisance. But more than that, he is a threat to free speech in the British blogosphere because he calls in his lawyer mates even when people have legitimate concerns about his activities. The more we highlight this, the better.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if he issues legal threats as a result of this piece.

More here
Matt Buck: Digital content in the blogosphere
Bartholomew : Staines Massive
Ministry of Truth : Cry libel! And let slip the dogs of wingnuttery

And support for Tim on: Chicken backup, Tom Watson, Yorkshire Ranter, Blairwatch, Mediawatchwatch, Tampon Teabag, Bob Piper, Blood and Treasure, Mike Ion (Labourhome), D-notice, Curly’s Cornershop, Chris Paul, Ten Percent, Craig Murray, Mike Power, Freeborn John, Jailhouselawyer, Francis Sedgemore, Howlingspoons, SF diplomat.

Adding more as they come in:Jim Bliss, Sim-O, Dave Cole, The Obscurer, Our Man in Newcastle, Small Beds and Large Bears

(If I’ve missed out any links, let me know)

Update: Hah! I’ve been informed that Paul Staines is speaking in favour of free speech at a Manifesto Club (previously of Revolutionary Community Party (RCP) / Living Marxism days) event! Wonders will never cease. A hypocritical libertarian joins up with former Marxists to lecture others on free speech.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Humour ,Media

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Reader comments


Further support for Tim, here: News from the Blog Wars

Sorry for dropping you in the shit, Sunny.

I do have this talent…

;o)

If any mischief makers out there are interested, I own the domain: PaulStaines.com

I never got around to doing anything with it but you’re more than welcome to use it to piss off ‘Guido’.
Just email me via my website.

It would be good to get a judgement on whether someone can be liable simply for linking to material that ia considered libellous. There’s a fear that it might be (based on an old case that involved someone pointing at a libellous sign), but I don’t think there has ever been an actual case. Also, it’s so easy to circumvent such a restriction with some well-chosen suggestions for a Google search that it’s just a pointless annoyance. It also seems to me that providing a link is really just the same thing as providing a reference to a source in a footnote.

It’s worth pointing out that, in legal terms, Guido’s comment that ‘I do rip off images from the BBC website because I regard them as public property’ is an utter nonsense.

For one thing, what Guido regards as public property and what the law regards as public property are two very different things, and the law regards the BBC as having the same rights to ownership of intellectual property as anyone else.

Second, there is every possibility that the material that Guido admits to ‘ripping off’ may well not be that of the BBC but that of a third party which the BBC is using under licence – although use of attributions on third party material is always good practice it is not obligatory unless the owner insists on an attribution as part of their terms of use and its a common enough practice for media organisations to pay the copyright owner a small premium for the rights to use third party material without attribution.

Something I hope to cover in a ‘long and boring’ discussion on UK libel law, Bartholomew. Along with a few other matters such as the legacy of the Duke of Brunswick.

Thanks again to everyone for their suuport.

I also offered my support here:

http://snipurl.com/1z8wv

I find this all very bizarre. As Staines has gotten more popular why does he feel the need to get more litigious? He’s making himself look like a laughing stock.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. The Obscurer

    A Penny For The Old Guy…

    A couple of years ago, when talking about Guido Fawkes and his role (or lack of it) in Mark Oaten’s withdrawal from that month’s Lib Dem leadership race, I signed off by saying that “with luck our paths won’t cross again”. Well, no such luck …

  2. Small Beds and Large Bears » Blog Archive » Buck up, Tim, or: what a total webring

    […] It’s happening again, of course, and in response I post this. This time, a lawyer acquanitance of Paul Guido Staines Fawkes is trying to compel Tim Ireland to reveal his home address. This request seems to be tied to some observations Tim made about image links between certain websites, and is eyepoppingly ironic in the circumstances. […]

  3. Brit Blog Wars: Police Contacted « Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion

    […] Staines has on more than one occasion made threats against bloggers (including, in one instance, demanding that the Liberal Conspiracy website remove a hyperlink to critical material, which is an area of […]

  4. New Statesman Blog Caught Between Threats From Iraqi Billionaire and Wikileaks « Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion

    […] been tested in court yet. Back in February the pseudo-libertarian blogger Paul Staines threatened to sue Liberal Conspiracy for linking to a posting about him on Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads, but […]





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