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WikiDefender Barnstar.png The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar
for your utmost courage and devotion in the face of classic fuggheadedness of the most mundane sort. Orange Mike | Talk 20:05, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The "Violet Blue" Affair[edit]


As those of you attending to this issue know, on July 30, 2008 I won the lawsuit brought against me by the writer who calls herself Violet Blue.

The Lawsuit[edit]

"Violet Blue" was seeking a restraining order to prevent me from ever editing her wikipedia entry again (or causing others to do so). She also sought an order that I could not "harass, attack, strike, threaten, assualt (sexually or otherwise), hit, follow, [or] stalk [her or her partner Jonathan Moore], destroy [their] personal property, keep [them] under surveillance, block [their] movements, [or] contact [them]." She asked the court to order me to stay away from them, their home, their workplaces, and their motor vehicles. She also sought to prohibit me from owning firearms.[1] She lost on all counts.[2]

In the denied lawsuit, "Violet Blue" accused me under oath of stalking her and said her request was "based on a credible threat of violence"! This, even though I live 2000 miles away. This, even though she was quoted four weeks ago in a police report as saying she didn't fear me because I live in Illinois, but she just didn't want me to "taint her name."[3] (She went back to the police a second time on Tuesday to change her story to say she really did fear me.[4]) Why would she accuse me of stalking her when I've never met the woman and haven't been to San Francisco since the 1990's? Note that the court does not charge ordinary court filing fees to people who legitimately fear violence or stalking. Since it is clear that any representation that I had threatened violence against her or that she had any legitmate reason to fear me has already been rejected by the court, a rational person could conclude that her accusation was merely to avoid paying the fee using a provision of the law meant to protect legitimate victims of domestic violence.

The Outcome[edit]

"Violet Blue" first asked the court for a temporary restraining order "ex parte" (without my being represented). The court denied her request but granted her a hearing with my amazing lawyer Mark Levine present (telephonically) on July 30. That day, the court threw out her suit and denied everything she had requested. While the court did not give the reasoning behind its ruling, it was clearly based on the facts and the law.

The Facts[edit]

I have never threatened any kind of violence to anyone, much less "Violet Blue." Her claimed fear of violence was, at best, misguided and, at worst, a lie to avoid paying a filing fee.

The Law[edit]

"Violet Blue" sought the most severe and unconstitutional restriction of First Amendment rights that exists in American law: a prior restraint on my free speech.[5] She sought to muzzle me: to prevent me from ever criticizing her or posting truthful information on her wikipedia page or anywhere on the Internet as a whole. But the law is clear on this. For over a century, the Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot censor someone and prevent them from speaking out, except in extremely rare cases of national security. Even then, as in the case of The Pentagon Papers Case, the courts usually find that prior restraint is unconstitutional. This is a core principle of our Constitutional system, a core principle of freedom of the press and not one to be abused to suppress true information that a petty public figure wishes was kept secret. It is astonishing to me that someone who writes in the press, and claims to be an advocate of freedom, could be so opposed to this most basic of First Amendment freedoms for the press.

The Truth[edit]

I have real and substantial reasons based on diligent research for believing that "Violet Blue" was not born Violet Blue. And yet "Violet Blue" told a court, through her attorney, that she had never changed her name.[6] I have no doubt this misrepresentation helped her in her ongoing trademark litigation against the adult film actress who has also been using the name Violet Blue since at least the year 2000.

Now it is possible that I am wrong. I don't think so, based on my substantial research, but it is possible. So I will here repeat part of my formal reply to her lawsuit.[7] This is a direct quote except where I have redacted her birth name due to Wikipedia policy:

"I have zero desire to say anything that is untrue. For example, if Plaintiff will disclose her birth certificate with the original name 'Violet Blue,' I will apologize publicly for saying - based on substantial research - that she had changed her name from [redacted - Wiki policy], a name change that, I believe (among other things), made Plaintiff's lawsuit against actress Violet Blue frivolous."

I sincerely doubt that "Violet Blue" will ever take me up on my offer to apologize. Because I will only apologize if she can show me I'm wrong. And I'm virtually certain I'm right. But the ball's in her court. Unless she shows me otherwise, I feel strongly in my contention that the information I have developed about her change of name directly contradicts representaions made to the court on her behalf by her lawyer in her trademark litigation, and that this contradiction is likely to be material to that ongoing case.

A Final Comment[edit]

I find the actions of "Violet Blue" in this case to be shameful and reprehensible and to show a profound lack of respect for the freedoms we inherited by the blood of our forefathers. I hope that all those who deal with this person now and in the future will remember this case and reflect upon how it reveals her character.

Having said this, I find it unlikely that I will return to editing Wikipedia. I will maintain this account in case anybody needs to communicate with me, and check it from time to time. Good luck to you all, and remember that you don't have to lay down and take it when somebody challenges your Rights.

This case will, I hope, set a precedent for Wikipedians in years to come. No one can stop us from saying truthful information about public figures based on substantial research, even if that person does not want the truth to come out. Feel free to copy this message and post anywhere you like.

Ben Burch

First Addendum[edit]

The final order in this case has been issued.[8]

From The "Way Too Funny" Department[edit]

Thank you, Google!

Thank you AVN!