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Re: What are the penalties for astroturfing?

On Apr 5, 3:43 pm, Cyberiade.it Anonymous Remailer
<anonym...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Astroturfing on behalf of private commercial entities was recently made illegal in the United States. What are the penalties for corporations like Microsoft which pay or 'conjure' Wintrolls like Ezekiel and DFS to attack open source corporations, organizations and individuals? Can we start a class-action lawsuit against them, raking in billions of dollars in damages and distributing this amongst Linux and OSS organizations?

Probably not.  One of the problems is that usenet groups are
unmoderated, and as a result, topic related content would not be
considered a violation.  If we start seeing spam e-mail for
advertizing of Ford Trucks, trips to Disneyland, or invitations to
join various MLMs, those would probably be considered violations, and
could be prosecuted.

The charter of this group is to discuss Linux and it's competitors.
Since one of the major competitors is Microsoft, and we have many
negative things to say about the tactics Microsoft uses to exclude
Linux from the key distribution channels (preinstalled by the OEMs),
it gives Microsoft's advocates a legitimate right to respond.

I'd rather have guys like DFS and Zeke responding with their rants and
ad-homonim attacks, than have to deal with salaried employees of
Microsoft providing well defined and well reasoned arguments as to why
they engage in these exclusionary business practices.

I always enjoyed dialogues with Billg, Drestin Black, and some of
those who offered Microsoft's corporate policies as stated by top
executives like Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and Steve Alchin.  They
provided strong arguments, which made for far more interesting
discussions.  Unfortunately, most of these real advocates have left,
leaving Zeke and DFS to create a bunch of worthless noise, making
harder for researchers and other secondary relay sources to find an
interesting story in COLA.

Roy S still presents lots of great references to articles about Linux,
but there seems to be an effort to diffuse the Linux advocacy effort
into these secondary blogs, which are harder to counter, harder to
respond, and harder to get responses read.  It seems like most of
these artcles direct the reader to digg and other discussion sites
that are more 'theme-less', making it harder to find pro-Linux
documents in an organized way.

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