Light Reading
Networking company sues anonymous Light Reading message board posters for libel and defamation

Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders

Phil Harvey
News Analysis
Phil Harvey
12/21/2005
50%
50%

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is taking a handful of Light Reading message board users to court, according to recent court filings.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company filed a lawsuit in the California Superior Court of Santa Clara on December 14 claiming that it had been defamed and libeled by up to 10 persons unknown. These persons, referred to as "Does 1-10" in the court complaint (as in "John Doe," or anonymous), are being accused by Juniper of posting harmful statements about the company and its executives on Light Reading's message boards.

Only two anonymous message board users are identified in the complaint. One goes by the name "infranet_rulz" and the other by "exJuniper981." Juniper admits in the complaint that it doesn't yet know the names of any of the folks it's suing, but it will update its complaint with the courts as it gets details.

Whether or not Juniper can identify the users will come down to the courts, and whether there is enough information to go on. In certain cases, Internet companies have been asked by courts to release information about registered message board users.

According to Light Reading Inc.'s published Terms of Use: "When requested, Light Reading will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies in any investigation of alleged illegal activity on the Internet."

Though public companies are often targets of rampant criticism and off-the-wall statements on Internet message boards, Juniper doesn't name any other message board provider in its suit. Indeed, the company appears to have homed in on Light Reading because of its notoriety in telecom circles.

"Light Reading is a popular source of information to individuals employed in the computer networking and security industry in which Juniper operates," the company says in its complaint.

One thing a lawsuit mentioning a media company won't do, experts say, is lessen the amount of attention such message board posts are likely to generate. "It seems sure to backfire if the intention was to silence their critics," says Jeff Ferrell, professor of criminal justice at TCU.

Ferrell also notes that, from outside a company, there's no easy way of knowing all the agendas involved in a decision to sue. Lawsuits of this type "will say as much about the company suing as it does about the message board users," he says.

On the other hand, Mike Lynn, a partner at Lynn Tillotson & Pinker says the threat the companies feel from message board posters is real. "As individuals involved in commercial speech become so powerful that they can move stocks and affect the value of companies, you'll see more of these lawsuits," he says.

Lynn, however, says proving that a company was hurt by message board posts is a tricky thing. His firm defended Visa in a case in which a plaintiff sought $670 million for Internet defamation in which an Internet firm claimed that posts on a Yahoo message board caused its stock to drop.

That company, Zixit, first sued "John Doe" and subpoenaed Yahoo for the user information, which it got. But even after the message poster was revealed, the jury in that case awarded nothing to the plaintiff.

So what messages have Juniper so upset? The complaint cites several messages, most of which allege that Juniper is bribing lawyers and spying on its employees.

The company's complaint cites an April 20 message that stated, "the man at the helm seems to be paying (off) attorneys all over the bay area to cover up the scandal which resulted in the terminations of many at the top including the VP of HR. 1) Board of director 2) CFO 3) GM 4) VP of engineering 5) VP of HR and more."

Another message cited in the complaint came a day later. According to the complaint, it said the "top management" at Juniper bribes attorneys, and that "the man at the top should join his buddy Bernie [Ebers (sic)]... "

Another message singled out in the complaint says: "This is a very unethical company."

Of course, Juniper critics can be found at other Internet message boards that aren't, as yet, mentioned in Juniper's complaint. "Arrogance coupled with timidity is a deadly combination in business. So, in short JNPR's problem is Kriens," said one Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) message board post taking aim at Juniper's CEO Scott Kriens.

Juniper's complaint says the still nameless defendents must be stopped because these statements could lead to a "material decline" in Juniper's "profits and could cause permanent harm to Plaintiff's good reputation."

Executives at Light Reading had no comment on the lawsuit.

A Juniper spokeswoman says the company can't comment on pending litigation.

Juniper shares were trading up 0.08 (0.36%) to $22.12 in morning trading on Wednesday.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

(79)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 8   >   >>
alcaseltzer
50%
50%
alcaseltzer,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:07 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
No. The messages quoted seem pretty clear - to the layperson - to border on libelous.
DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:07 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
So you'd define that as commercial speech, not protected by 1st amendment?

Another question: What do you think Juniper will do once it unmasks these posters? (I mean, "identifies." It's not clear that they were wearing masks).

ph
desiEngineer
50%
50%
desiEngineer,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:07 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
Does habeas corpus apply here? Is that what LR will have to cooperate with?

-desi
DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:07 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
Does anyone feel weird about posting under a story that details a lawsuit about people posting under stories?

ph
metro_boy
50%
50%
metro_boy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:06 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
The truth hurts, sticks and stones can break your bones but names will never hurt. So what Juniper has wronged poeple as well what goes around comes around.
LightGaugeGuitarString
50%
50%
LightGaugeGuitarString,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:06 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
Seems pretty obvious, they are looking to stop these users from posting. Even if they are not successful at getting any action or damages in court, it can result in extensive legal costs for the individuals.

The real question is what impact it will have on your posters?

LGGS
russ4br
50%
50%
russ4br,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:05 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
So what Juniper has wronged poeple as well what goes around comes around.

Might it be that they've wronged someone at LightReading? ... LR's coverage of JNPR has been pretty negative in the past few weeks. One example was selecting JNPR's "we have no M&A strategy" quote and displaying it on the main webpage. Disagreement over ad fees?

-russ
pastel
50%
50%
pastel,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:05 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
Phil - I can handle this one - MIB

First and foremost the said message boards of the public domain remain contentious and overburdensome, albeit of a private nature that was not to be condoned with the advent of the internet promoting the posting of said verbiage concerning Juniper or other companies either in or out of the forementioned afront to those that have posted.

It is imperative that the synerergies of the messages boards remain free from government intervention that could be considered subsequent to the nature of the post as accused by said company on those who impune free speech but don't understand the meaning of the constant change which requires us to rethink that of which came to pass before this in conjunction with the time change that is now upon us.

In conclusion the aftermath of the privacy considerations of the poster shall outweight that of the accuser unless the previous consideration has ramifications that would sustain the challenge of the courts that have brought to bear what the constitution has yet to challenge in accordance with the bill of rights as long as it is understood with the undoing seen before us.

I hope that clears up the situation. Thank you for allowing me to be clear & concise with you today.

-MIB
Mark Sebastyn
50%
50%
Mark Sebastyn,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:04 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders
I wrote the following post on my blog on TXCC. While it isn't nice, it is factual.

http://www.nyquistcapital.com/...

I have to admit that I was a little rattled when I got a website hit from TXCC's legal counsel. It showed up in the stat software as a recent referrer and I happened to catch it.

I'm not a big fan of anonymity on the internet. Particularly when it is used as a cover for libel and slander.
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 2:49:04 AM
re: Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders

I don't feel weird.

I think Juniper has to be really stretching here. The stock is off since the summer, but this does not seem to be related to a drop in business from a revenue or a gross profit standpoint.

To make a case stick one would have to show the damages. It is not clear that there are any actual damages. My guess is that Juniper wants people to post more appropriately. Does anybody know if the message board claims are valid or invalid?

seven
Page 1 / 8   >   >>
Flash Poll
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed