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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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June 18, 2004

Microsoft - Marketplace of Ideas Only for the US, Not Brazil

Posted by Ernest Miller

According to Ubercyberlawprof Larry Lessig, Microsoft is threatening Sergio Amadeu, President of the National Institute of Information Technology (ITI) of Brazil, with a defamation lawsuit for comments he has made about Microsoft's business practices (the local ordinance we call the first amendment). According to a translation of the complaint (Microsoft Complaint [PDF]) Amadeu is apparently guilty of:

With purposes still to be clarified, the Defendant, at the condition of President of ITI, gave an intervitew to the magazine Carta Capital, in which he makes reference and imputations of offensive nature to the Plaintiff, using phrases and expressions from which defamation is inferred, under the terms of the article 21 of Statute 5.250/67, as follows:

In defending free software, Mr. Amadeu does not abstain from criticizing Microsoft, accusing the company of a "drug-dealer practice" for offering the operational system Windows to some governments and city administration for digital inclusion programs. "This is a trojan horse, a form of securing critical mass to continue constraining the country".

To Amadeu, this will be a decisive year to win the "strategy of fear, uncertainty and doubt", as he classifies the business model of Microsoft."

Apparently, in Brazil:

The offensive expressions launched by the Defendant at the interview violate the rule of Article 12 of the Press Law, which leads to the application of the aforementioned especial statute whenever there is an excess in freedom of speech and freedom of thought, by means of the dissemination of information.

Read the offending article here: The Penguin Advances [PDF].

As Lessig notes, perhaps this is defamation in Brazil, but this would not be considered defamation in the United States, thanks to First Amendment jurisprudence. I guess Microsoft only believes in the First Amendment when it has to.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Freedom of Expression


1. David Syes on June 20, 2004 03:55 AM writes...

I have been saying the same things, referring to windoze as "digital crack", calling it a Trojan horse, and accusing microsoft of "corporate homicide". I have done this for YEARS. I feel the Brazilian has the SAME right I do to express his opinion. He is only being assailed because microsoft is the target or object of his thoughts and expressions. For microsoft to pursue a foreigner on his/her own soil and slam that foreigner for speaking "too much" when a 'Merikun (an American) can legally (within some limits, even if tactlessly and tastelessly rendered) just goes to show non-US global citizens that microsoft can act as an extenson of US government or big-business will. This seems to make me think the Brazilian should appeal to the UN WIPO and other arms around the World Court.

So, COME AND SUE ME, TOO, microshaft! For YEARS, I and other 'Merikuns have assailed your tarnished, assault-worthy business practices and lying in the court rooms, and we to date have been VICTORIOUS, even if unchallenged. But, regime change begins AT HOME, and I call on ALL nations to review their policies of allowing cabinet officials and low-level functionaries and administrators to have power to hamstring their nations and governments and being BOUGHT OFF by microsoft. Reminds me of the dictators, gangsters and pirates, from Capone, Coll, Galante, Lansky, Nitti, and Lupo the Wolf, as well as Aragona, Baughe, Bodulgate (the reincarnated version is working at the behest of US intelligence communities, I suspect...), Boggs, (but not Chevalier de Grammant), Every, Gibbs, North, Cheng 1 (you retain a modern version in China), and others who could be fashioned into examples of microshafts global piracy hunt to steal the hearts and minds of governments and their treasures (independence, indigenous tech teams, sovereignty, privacy, and more...), and deny them their right to SLAP, KICK, IMPALE and dump microsoft on its ASS when the time comes to "just say no" to microshaft.

I have equated microshaft of being a risk to national, government, military, corporate, personal, AND global security. I have incessantly implored China to switch to Linux, or at least rid themselves of microsoft, for microsoft (yes, lower-casing/deprecation INTENTIONAL, as always, with me) is SURELY a USA National Security Agency (and other unamed/disavowed agencies') BACKDOOR into foreign governments.

Why the HELL ELSE has the US & UK (look to "common heritage") steadfastly played one hand publicly with "reigning in" irksomesoft and then letting the henchmen and leadership of ms get away with so MUCH CRAP.

It is obvious, fortunate, and the RIGHT THING that other agencies within even the US government, as well as other nations' governments, community and business infrastructure have openly and quietly brought Linux and Open Source into their view.

It is NOT enough to "mention" Linux to microsoft. You have to PURGE yourselves of that amoral, no, IMMORAL feckless, dirtwad whining corporation that is too greedy and stupid to straighten up its act.

I found it very heartening that in one poor neighborhood, somewhere in Brazil if I recall correctly, that even the rival GANGLORDS created a "no-fire" zone so that the children could make use of the Linux-based libraries set up to give them a future. That hardened criminals can recognize the value of not destroying children reinforces the feeling I have that were I stuck in a 2-person lifeboat faced with deciding to save an undeducated, poor, questionable individual, or giving that seat to gate, ballmer, or some henchman or henchwoman running, directing, advising, or supporting microsoft, I SURE A HELL not let them have that seat over an individual who has YET to cause or encourage global corruption, local destruction of mom and pop shops (forced them to pay for licensing even when they sold naked computers and never sold nor ever held any copies of windoze), lied to juries and courts (faked video testimony), interfered with the existence or operations of peripherals devices manufacturers, etc.

If ever there is an assault on CONUS for whatever reason, it should be a water and electromagnetic tsunami that takes out ms, its backups, and its future. The feckless little campus in redmond has wrought enough damage and it needs to be broken up, it's board enjoined from starting up or sitting on the board of any more technology companies, removed from banking, real estate, and entertainment, and more.

All too many fresh new players with fresh new ideas are anxiously awaiting their turn to play or work on the tech field. So long as they are stymied by microshaft, we shall NOT see innovation (contrary to the assertion of ms about their own "innovations" which really are mostly acquisitions rather than internal, original developments), we shall NOT see choice, and we shall NOT have stable computing.

I call on all who read this to pick up a laptop and ride the buses, sit in libraries, and anywhere else you can be in public and just fire up and run your laptop. It is what I do. People look, they ask questions, and I get to tell them without starting out as an evangelist. They ask, I tell.

It doesn't hurt to remind them that ms plagued with poor security policies, riddled with being attacked on almost any connection to the Internet, and full of perpetuating the worm, virus, and DOS attacks due to shoddy, selfish, profit-oriented "good enough" releases that force people to call for tech support.

It doesn't hurt ONE BIT to ask your local elected and selected officials why they are selling off your nation's or community's future when Open Source is today farther along and more greatly available than was microshaft when it hatched onto the world some 20 years ago. Sure, Linux and Open Source can't yet do EVERYthing a user can ask of windoze, but all enough users need to do is ask, show an interest, and show some token support. Try and get that from a board-driven, investor-pleasing company.

It doesn't hurt to show your audience how to use Google to search for and read:

"microsoft should be kicked out of schools"

"The Toll Road Ahead", and other documents written by balanced people who foresee the dangers of leaving microsoft left unchecked.

Come and SUE ME, microshaft. Try to make me proper-case your sh**ty (starred out to make rated G) name. Try to make me succumb to you. Try and make me stop using my legitimate copy of Win4Lin to stop me from non-natively running my legitimately-obtained piece of crap windoze 98 to run my legitimately-obtained copy of Lotus SmartSuite. Except for Lotus SmartSuite I have NO need for windoze. As soon as CrossOver Office or WINE or other tools permit me to do so, I will once and for all RID my computers of windoze. And, I SURE AS HELL will show others how to do so.

I despise, curse, and loathe you, microsoft until you have some dignity and live and die as a normal company. Your life span should NOT be artificially sustained via illegal, monopolistic, FUD-based, marketing machine method. The economy having tanked is the BEST thing for the world, despite many of us becoming jobless. Why? Because it is FORCING otherwise "autopilot" companies from endlessly and MINDlessly de-facto accepting "microshaft" into their infrastructures.

I thank all the companies making video, printer, storage, and input devices for accepting or using Linux and Open Source as a means of improving your bottom line and for helping us Linux users natively run Linux on new hardware.

I thank you for not any longer giving in to the premises searches conducted by ms reps who are trying to find out what Linux and Open Source software you're using and for blocking them from trying to forcefully or deceptively co-opt your common sense and due diligence.

I now await you to come and assail my right to my OPINION and to wave fact fragments leading to more facts that ms is a corrupt, obtuse, selfish, mean company that is schizoid by being ruthless to technology competitors yet "so generously" donating to Stanford and others locations to feign generosity. Giving society money but requiring its allegiance to windoze and all things microsoft is NO gift. It is a SALE onto them, a PURCHASE OF their soul, and a suppression of the right of others to try to fairly compete.

JUST TRY to sue me... Oh, I can see the subpoenas, resource-draining writs and discoveries, and more. That's all you KNOW, you and your jugular-grabbing counsels, how to do: don't fix a problem, fix a squealer.

David Syes

To borrow a now-aged signature file from circa 1997-99, a signature that is all over the Internet:

windows NT: "32-bit extensions and a graphical shell for a 16-bit patch to an 8-bit operating system originally coded for a 4-bit microprocessor written by a 2-bit company that can't stand 1-bit of competition".

A little tweaking will amend the statement to hold for tookay, hexed-pee, and long-self-horned.

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