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Copyright Trolls Sue Bloggers, Defense Lawyers

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say dept.

The Courts 219

davecb writes "Prenda Law has commenced three defamation, libel and conspiracy suits against: defense lawyers, defendants and all the blogger and commentators at 'Die Troll Die' and 'Fight Copyright Trolls'. The suits, in different state courts, each attempt to identify anyone who has criticized Prenda, fine them $200,000 each for stating their opinions, and prohibit them from ever criticizing Prenda again."

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219 comments

Sorry, Prenda (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#43069207)

That is not how the world works.

Prepare to lose. Badly.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#43069323)

If they come - they need to come in person and be prepared to meet Mr. Mossberg.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (1, Offtopic)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#43069457)

Mr. Marlin only needs them to venture within 300 meters or so.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43069829)

You should check out the .270, preferably in a Remington 700 model. It reaches considerably further than 300 yards, or 300 meters, depending on your load.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070313)

Or if your budget doesn't allow for a .270, I recommend a .243win.
Also an excellent flat-trajectory cartridge, albeit with a bit less punch.
I hear .22-250 is fantastic at range as well.
Varmint rounds are fun :)

Re:Sorry, Prenda (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#43070329)

300 meters isn't the limit of the caliber or the rifle, merely my own skills, currently.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43070629)

Ahhh . . .

TBH, without a damned good scope, I'm not hitting anything at 300 yards anymore. I've always had bad vision, but it's deteriorating as I age. Given a good scope, though, even a mediocre marksman can reach out to around 500 yards with the .270. (I guess I should define "mediocre" as being able to consistently hit a target at 100 yards using a standard iron sight, as opposed to using a telescopic sight.) AC mentioned the .243, and I really like that round. But, the .270 carries more energy out to those long ranges. It depends on what you're shooting at, and how lethal you require the shot to be, which round is "better".

Re:Sorry, Prenda (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43069517)

Any judge that doesn't dismiss this immediately as frivolous with big fines should be impeached.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43069665)

Most judges are former litigators. Seems like a conflict of interest to me.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (2)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#43069895)

No, the legal system needs to be ridiculous enough that you can win millions on some spurious bullshit but not so ridiculous that people begin to see through it.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069897)

The entire "justice" system is a conflict of interest. Right up to the point where it becomes outright incestuous.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (5, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43070197)

No, these cases should be heard. They should be heard, lost, have legal fees shoved back on them, and marked as a warning to others.

When a judge dismisses a case, it can be refiled elsewhere. When it's dismissed with prejudice, someone else can raise the same sort of suit. When YOU FUCKING LOSE, the next guy will face a defense lawyer who says "oh, but in Dickhead vs. BK Joe, Dickhead was found to be a moron" and THAT GUY FUCKING LOSES TOO.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43069733)

That is not how the world works.

The chilling effect has already been imposed. It is how the world works.

It's not how the world ought to work, but somewhere along the line we decided that the lawyers should run society, and the results are predictable.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069887)

There are still two sides and one of them is going to lose badly. I'll take you'll say that the real winners are the lawyers anyway, as if the issue of this didn't matter.

Yet it's going to matter a lot. I'm willing to bet that Prenda is going to get owned pretty badly.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43069987)

I'm willing to bet that Prenda is going to get owned pretty badly.

If I were a copyright blogger I'd be interested in blogging, not putting out large sums of money (which I might not have) and being dragged through the court system to possibly be made whole in a counter-suit.

Prenda has raised the bar to exclude such blogging from people who are are unwilling to put up with that sort of abuse. Certainly kudos to those who can, but many cannot.

Sorry, Prenda? Why? (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#43069805)

Those douches need to be spanked, and spanked badly. Beat them until their mothers cry. (Alright, so that's unlikely to happen since they all climbed out of some puddle of primordial ooze.)

Re:Sorry, Prenda? Why? (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43069885)

Perhaps in a case like this the judge should fine the accuser if they lose and give the claimed damages to the defendants.There needs to be some sort of downside to this kind of abuse.

Re:Sorry, Prenda? Why? (4, Insightful)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year ago | (#43070525)

If that were to happen Prenda Law (http://wefightpiracy.com/) would fold, declare bankruptcy with no assets available to their creditors and simply start a new corporation.

I'm truly sorry you thought there was a possible outcome of justice.

Re:Sorry, Prenda? Why? (3, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#43070593)

The problem is that three of four years down the road, when the whole process finally wraps up, the defendants might well have been bankrupted by the whole mess. The mother of a former housemate actually lost her house because even though she won a lawsuit (the AMA sued her for 'practicing medicine without a license' in the 1970s for acting as a midwife) and was awarded damages in the meantime she had spent so much time in court she lost her job and then lost her house.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (5, Informative)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#43069893)

This is a SLAPP suit, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. They won't win it, and are quite aware of that fact. It's not a suit that's meant to be won, it's a suit meant to inconvenience the other party so much that they shut up. Normally you see this coming from the big petrochemical companies and food conglomerates to shut up the public activists, the suit is designed to inconvenience the activists and their friends/family/employers, keep them in court, keep them paying lawyers, keep them traveling to an inconvenient venue to appear in a courtroom as far from their home as possible, keep them out of their regular job until they're fired or laid off, require depositions from their boss/friends/in-laws at the most inconvenient times possible, etc. The ultimate goal is to bankrupt the activist if possible, so that not only do they have to drop whatever action they're currently taking but won't be able to afford any other activities in the future.

So much for the Rule Of Law. The rule is now that the deepest pockets always win.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year ago | (#43070321)

Inconvenience? I'm pretty sure that defending myself in court is easier than my current job, and in the UK at least I can claim loss of earnings from the litigant when I win the case. I could make quite a nice living from just sitting in court and winning cases which are meant to be inconveniencing me, and you can blog away while you're at it as long as you stay within the law.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year ago | (#43070529)

in the UK at least I can claim loss of earnings from the litigant when I win the case

Is that true in general, or only in specific circumstances?

I was called as a third party witness in a minor court case a while back. One of the things that surprised me was that the accused, having been found not guilty, did not seem to be entitled to much in the way of compensation at all. This was a criminal case, though, not a civil one.

In that case, the defendant had been charged with an offence, presumably suffered more than a year of distress with the case hanging over them before it was finally resolved, spent whatever time and money it cost them to mount their own defence (they represented themselves in court), and obviously incurred the lost time and inconvenience of having to attend court itself. I was genuinely disappointed in our legal system when it seemed they were sent on their way as if they should somehow be grateful that, after suffering all of that distress and inconvenience, at least they hadn't been found guilty of what they'd been charged with and fined/thrown in jail.

Re:Sorry, Prenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069913)

do you think maybe they are just crazy and really think they are in the right?

Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

swimboy (30943) | about a year ago | (#43069245)

Hornet's nest, meet boot.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

ottothecow (600101) | about a year ago | (#43069619)

Re:Good luck with that (4, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43069715)

Did the Heisenberg Principle save your life?

Yes and no.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43069877)

Yes and no.

So Schrödinger's cat saved your life? I find that unlikely. Unless, of course, an atom decayed.

Speaking of which, if an atom decays in the woods and no one is around to detect it, is the cat still dead?

Re:Good luck with that (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43069933)

Only Maxwell's demon can actually save your life. Unfortunately, due to technical issues, you're gonna die.

Thats a lot of lawsuits... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069247)

I wonder if the Troll knows they will probably have to pay all the defendents costs if they lose?

Re:Thats a lot of lawsuits... (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#43069767)

With what? They probably know a good bankruptcy attorney...

Re:Thats a lot of lawsuits... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070363)

Court judgments aren't always dischargable, it's up to the bankruptcy judge. If the judgments are the primary reason for the filing, it wouldn't surprise me if the judge told the company that they're stuck with it.

Re:Thats a lot of lawsuits... (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#43069907)

They don't care. It's just meant to inconvenience them so much that they shut up and hopefully go away.

Re:Thats a lot of lawsuits... (5, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year ago | (#43070185)

I wonder if the Troll knows they will probably have to pay all the defendents costs if they lose?

You don't live in the USA. Am I right?

That's how law works in the UK. My best friend is a lawyer (we're both Americans) and he's taught me a lot about how the law really works. One of the things he taught me is that it's incredibly difficult in the USA to get costs paid, even when the lawsuit is frivolous. The problem is that courts in general really don't like to award this kind of thing because all judges and lawyers feel that the system works pretty well, darn near close to perfect, as it is right now and anything that punishes people for bringing lawsuits and losing would "hurt the little man" who will be too afraid to pursue his justified lawsuit against some true injustice because he might lose and have to pay the other guy's court costs. So almost certainly this will not be a factor, although if the defendants are attorneys they might push for it anyway as they know the system well enough that it might give them a slightly better chance of getting it than would normally happen.

Re:Thats a lot of lawsuits... (3, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | about a year ago | (#43070513)

Not necessarily in this case. Anti-SLAPP act statutes in several states are harsh on the fees question.

Hooray (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069259)

Hooray for free speech!

Re:Hooray (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#43069343)

Funny thing is that free speech is for Governments to bend over for, private persons and corporations aren't bound by it.

Re:Hooray (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069521)

Except, by enforcing such restrictions on speech, the court is limiting your speech and thus violating the first amendment. There are other areas where the idea that a private party can do something but the court cannot enforce it applies as well, such as the enforcement of racist policies in housing (most notably Shelley v. Kraemer).

Oh man... (3)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#43069279)

They've just opened the gates of hell on themselves.

It's not going to end well for them; but if other peoples' pain is funny, this will be hilarious to watch.

Wait... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069281)

Isn't this the same law firm that is facing allegations of fraud and identity theft [slashdot.org] ?

Why yes, yes it is. And that case is scheduled for next week...

Re:Wait... (-1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43069693)

Sadly it isn't.

Corporations have a very neat shield against having to actually face justice. They sacrifice a scapegoat. They'll axe that Gibbs guy, maybe hand him some mighty nice "so you needn't worry for the rest of your life 'cause you can't work anymore" check and continue.

That's essentially the difference between this and the Jack Thompson problem. Jack cannot simply hack off his hand, grow it back and continue harassing people.

Re:Wait... (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43070011)

Point of order: If they are literally convicted of fraud, we can then get away with calling them frauds?

Until then "worthless scum-sucking sacks of shit" will have to do?

Re:Wait... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070213)

Point of order: If they are literally convicted of fraud, we can then get away with calling them frauds?

Until then "worthless scum-sucking sacks of shit" will have to do?

"Worthless scum-sucking sacks of shit" wouldn't work, because "being impaled as a warning for others" is a worth. The rest, however, is metaphorical, and should be fine.

stop breathing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069299)

Or breath slowly to make the Earth greener.

Why haven't Prenda's lawyers been disbarred yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069305)

Keep in mind it took nearly two decades to get Jack Thompson disbarred for being an idiot as well.

Re:Why haven't Prenda's lawyers been disbarred yet (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about a year ago | (#43069635)

Keep in mind it took nearly two decades to get Jack Thompson disbarred for being an idiot as well.

I think you answered your own question there...

Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069317)

The Streisand effect on this is going to be like a super nova.

Prenda's has boarded the ship of fail and it is about to st sail.

They know what they're doing (4, Insightful)

oic0 (1864384) | about a year ago | (#43069341)

Its a law firm full of blood sucking lawyers who specialize in suing people. As much as we may think we know about law and how they are going to get their butts kicked, I'm sure they have some sort of angle or strategy here.

Re:They know what they're doing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069461)

This is a different area of law, they're likely paying an outside firm to handle the suit. Remember, few attorneys are really qualified to handle more than just their area of specialty as the case law can vary significantly from area to area and district to district.

Re:They know what they're doing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069515)

In two of the three cases, the attorneys are representing themselves, according to this lawyer [wordpress.com] .

Re:They know what they're doing (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#43070027)

ah well, we all know what they say about attorneys that represent themselves... explains a lot in this case, actually.

Re:They know what they're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069473)

What you are trying to say is they are using it as a scare tactic. That's the only angle I see by the summary. RTFA would have been too much responsibility.

Re:They know what they're doing (2)

crashumbc (1221174) | about a year ago | (#43069821)

That and free publicity.

Like has been said before "there' no such thing as bad publicity..."

  In this case if the stiasand effect takes hold so much the better.

The lawyer will become a household name with copyright trolls everywhere...

Re:They know what they're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069499)

Actually I would say they don't what they are doing. They are really showing that the people that they are suing are hurting them.

Re:They know what they're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069643)

Yes, they are hurting them. However, not in the way that the Plaintiff's allege. Libel and defamation are not the problem for Prenda Law. The anti-copyright trolling community has surely cost these copyright trolls tens and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlement money... because the community educates those who receive threatening letters, making those who receive the letters less likely to settle claims. In most cases the copyright trolls never actually name defendants. Their business model revolves around scare tactics to get people to settle... educating the people means fewer settling.

Nope, they're just stupid (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43069565)

If they were smart people they wouldn't need to use this business model.

Prenda law I'm talking about (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43069675)

Just in case there's any confusion. Prenda Law is a group of loser's that couldn't make an honest living so they turned to extortion. Oh, and I'm in British Columbia and it'll cost Prenda $35,000 up front to launch an action here, and Prenda will lose here too. But they probably aren't smart enough to figure that out.

Re:They know what they're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069567)

Getting them all gunned down is less expensive than paying up US$ 200k. So there.

Not that IÂm advocating it, obviously, since God forbid such acts. But it would be the american way to go about it.

Re:They know what they're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069691)

Yeah. We're only fooling ourselves. I'm not a lawyer but i'm sure they can show damages.

Re:They know what they're doing (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43070483)

This may be a case of intentional harassment, and may be(depending on the judge and jury) grounds for some disbarment. That's a lot to hope for, but I would love to have these assholes lose their jobs for participating in abuse of station.

Of all the people (3, Insightful)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year ago | (#43069417)

Of all the people criticizing these copyright trolls, why would they strike back at the guys who know what they're talking about and have the means to defend themselves(lawyers). Waiting for someone to come here soon and say "And....it's gone" with a link to their statement about going bankrupt and closing shop.

Assholes. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069423)

Yep. Assholes they are.

Prenda Pretendah (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069465)

How do you libel or defame those who are under investigation for being pretending to be that which they are not?

A federal judge in Los Angeles has suggested serious penalties for Brett Gibbs, an attorney at porn copyright trolling firm Prenda Law. Facing allegations of fraud and identity theft, Gibbs will be required to explain himself at a March 11 hearing. And if Judge Otis Wright isn't satisfied with his answers, he may face fines and even jail time. (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/judge-hints-at-jail-time-for-porn-troll-prenda-law-over-identity-theft/)

My opinion is that they will be too busy staying out of jail to do anything worth $200,000 and some bothersome amendment about free speech.

Bad Lawyers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069489)

Let's not forget, this is the same Prenda Law that has made the front page of Slashdot twice in the past quarter. In December, identity theft and fraud was alleged by Prenda [slashdot.org] and a federal district court judge granted a defendant's motion to explore that. Additionally, last month, a federal judge in Los Angeles suggested serious penalties [slashdot.org] for Brett Gibbs, an attorney at porn copyright trolling firm Prenda Law - including possible jail time. It sounds like this is the final breath of Prenda Law. They are going down in flames, and this is their last, desperate cry, and an attempt to silence those who have brought their injustices to light.

Given that they've sued thousands of downloaders, and continued to do so despite judicially admitting that many of them were innocent, I can't really say I feel sorry for them. Consider the amount of emotional turmoil and grief they've extracted over the past few years from suing people. Think it's fun to be named in a federal lawsuit? Think again.

Hopefully, this goes nowhere.

Re:Bad Lawyers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069959)

Let's not forget, this is the same Prenda Law that has made the front page of Slashdot twice in the past quarter. In December, identity theft and fraud was alleged by Prenda [slashdot.org] and a federal district court judge granted a defendant's motion to explore that. Additionally, last month, a federal judge in Los Angeles suggested serious penalties [slashdot.org] for Brett Gibbs, an attorney at porn copyright trolling firm Prenda Law - including possible jail time. It sounds like this is the final breath of Prenda Law.

Why do I get a sickly feeling that Prenda Law is a law firm owned and managed by an Indian? Any stupid Indian, 99% of the population, caught perpetrating some crime or civil violation should be deported to cesspool Mumbai, India, under penalty of death if they attempt to re-enter a civilised country. Case closed. Indians purged. And this time it would be the right thing to do unlike the purging of persons of the First Nations in North America.

First Amendment (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069535)

One thing that I don't understand is why the blatant abuse of a individuals first amendment rights is not actively protected more than "don't do that" kind of slap on the wrist when legal entities who know it's a violation commit these acts. These kind of abuses should be treated more as criminal offenses as they violate what the US has defined as a human right and be treated with such weight. I don't mean a heafty fine, but more akin to dis-Bar and a felony charged on the grounds of violating basic human rights by way of abusing social position (IE Lawyers abusing their knowledge of laws and funding to hold back the public, who may lack of knowledge of law or are unable to protect themselves due to lack of funding).

Re:First Amendment (3, Interesting)

davecb (6526) | about a year ago | (#43069707)

In the era in which the Constitution was written, this wasn't a common practice. A good federal SLAPP law might classify then actions as an abuse of power, or a fraud upon the court, depending on whether one was a lawyer or a plaintiff, in order to make the punishment fit the crime.

Anyone want to start a White House petition for criminal sanctions against anyone who defrauds a court?

--dave (I can't, I'd have to start a 24 Sussex Drive petition) c-b

Correction.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069545)

TFS says "state courts", but the lawsuits have been moved to the federal level already.

Die Prenda Die! (3)

gravis777 (123605) | about a year ago | (#43069591)

Do I get sued now?

Re:Die Prenda Die! (5, Funny)

CodeHxr (2471822) | about a year ago | (#43069721)

As far as I know, speaking German isn't illegal anywhere...?

Re:Die Prenda Die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069813)

As far as I know, speaking German isn't illegal anywhere...?

So, there are German speaking people who are reading "Die Prenda Die!" as "The Prenda The!" and scratching their heads wondering what the fuss is about?

Re:Die Prenda Die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070241)

Thank you for making the joke unfunny.

Re:Die Prenda Die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070447)

No one who speaks German can be evil.

Removed to federal court? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069605)

Why would the defense want these cases removed to federal court? There are anti-SLAPP statutes in Illinois and Florida, where these suits were originally filed.

Re:Removed to federal court? (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43069687)

Probably because Prenda already has a case in Federal court where they're... well, to say they aren't doing well is like saying the Titanic was taking on a bit of water that night in 1912. My guess is the next move on the part of the defendants here is to ask to have these cases consolidated with the preexisting one.

Oy. (0)

DewDude (537374) | about a year ago | (#43069703)

First of all; the John Does should have first amendment protection. If the lawsuit works out in the trolls' favor; then kiss first amendment goodbye...because all future rulings will look back on this and say "yes, you can sue someone for sharing an opinion you don't like."

Isn't Prenda run by pedophiles? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43069867)

That's what I heard, Prenda is run by a child molesting ring of Nazi baby killers. Does anyone else know anything interesting about Prenda?

Next up, Prenda sues Judges (1)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#43070045)

For ruling against them!!! Technically, there's no end to this is your lawyers are slimey enough. Technically it may even be possible to sue the members of SCOTUS...

None of these will reach a courtroom (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year ago | (#43070053)

Prenda is just going to offer to settle for $3,000 or something with each of these people (along with a gag agreement), and drop the case against them if they let it go to court. Bank on it.

Ah, for the good old days... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about a year ago | (#43070075)

...when the result of pulling this kind of stunt would be having a couple of company executives dragged out into the street and shot...."pour encourager les autres".

Prenda, you're a bunch of unethical scum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070163)

And I'd like to meet you on the street.

I'll be the one carrying an axe.

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43070381)

.338 Lapua Magnum. After all, they're lawyers (an overpopulated species at best)

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