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Video Professor Sues 100 Anonymous Critics

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the sco-business-model dept.

The Courts 261

Techdirt is reporting that the Video Professor Company is suing 100 anonymous critics of their company. The Video Professor is known for their television ads hawking DVDs that teach you various skills like how to use your computer. Most of the complaints center around how their "free" product offering automagically signs you up for a subscription. Instead of addressing the concerns the Video Professor has decided to take the litigious route.

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Calling all lawyers (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731691)

This is about the stupidest thing that Video Professor could do. They just got some PR that they didn't need.

Anybody smell a class action lawsuit?

Re:Calling all lawyers (4, Funny)

b1gk1tty (670514) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731713)

My Aunt got one of these video's once. She returned it after a couple of weeks... she could figure out how to put it into the computer. I didn't come with any instructions.

Re:Calling all lawyers (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731859)

I didn't come with any instructions, either.

Re:Calling all lawyers (2, Funny)

feed_me_cereal (452042) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732725)

You should seriously consider returning you.

Re:Calling all lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731917)

"She returned it after a couple of weeks..."

At least she got one. I ordered the Stage 1, Gentoo version of Video Professor and it never arrived!

Re:Calling all lawyers (1)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732669)

Are you joking? Do they really make a gentoo video?! I thought it was all ultra basic? Bah, bevermind, I looked it up.. heh, now I see what you did there!

Anybody smell a class action lawsuit? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731791)

Yes.

I predict the class will be awarded a voucher for a free credit report courtesy of freecreditreport.com.

Re:Calling all lawyers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731827)

Buy my product. Please. I'll suck your dick!

Re:Calling all lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732027)

This is about the stupidest thing that Video Professor could do. They just got some PR that they didn't need.

Anybody smell a class action lawsuit?
Oh, you are so going to be sued!

Who needs these classes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732895)

My other question would be, who the hell needs their classes? My local library teaches computer basics in the library computer lab for free. Hell, I used to be one of their teachers.

And we never charged anyone a dime for anything related to the class.

Re:Calling all lawyers (5, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732999)

They just got some PR that they didn't need.
Just like Alisher Usmanov [indymedia.org.uk] just found out [mattwardman.com] , in Britain, when hundreds of bloggers posted the story he was trying to suppress [chickyog.net] .

I would have thought that the issues raised by this are a lot more important (especially given that he has shut down blogs belonging to MP's, a candidate for Mayor of London [guardian.co.uk] etc.), but Slashdot is too US centric to care about what happens across the Atlantic (even though you can be sued for libel in the UK, if just one person in Britain views your website based anywhere in the world - so slashdot better not libel me!).

Of course (4, Insightful)

ls -la (937805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731699)

Instead of addressing the concerns the Video Professor has decided to take the litigious route.
That's pretty much the standard nowadays. Who is going to spend time and money making things better when you can just sue the whiners for complaining?

The right to screw (1)

Skreech (131543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731769)

Yeah, I guess that everybody has the right to take advantage of the public without being outed as a borderline fraud. That would be in-line with the rest of the corporate-friendly political environment, you know, the one that enacts legislation to protect horrible business models.

Re:The right to screw (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732363)

There's no fraud here. This is just like the book clubs, the CD clubs, and the movie clubs. Pay a penny, get 6 free books, and every month, unless you say otherwise, you buy two more. This business model has been around for ages.

If there are suckers who don't bother to read the print and take the steps necessary to opt out, and they go around telling people that the company is engaged in fraud when they aren't, those people should be sued. It's libel to make false statements like that, and there really isn't anything else that can be done to put a stop to it.

Re:The right to screw (4, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732657)

the problem is VP ads trumpet the "free cd" thing and do not mention that you will be paying for a subscription for X cds in this case the "fine print" is written on a stone tablet in the middle of the african jungle in an obscure dialect of sanscrit. (you ltierally only get the details after you have your "free disc")

Re:Of course (2, Interesting)

jrmcc (703725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731881)

Here is another example of why we need a "loser-pays" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loser_pays [wikipedia.org] system in US courts.

Re:Of course (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732107)

'Here is another example of why we need a "loser-pays"'

I wonder if settling a case before judgment counts as a loser for one of the parties in this system? What if some Mega-Corp goes after some Small-Fry and by pure wealth is able to get Small-Fry to concede or they go bankrupt. That would be even more incentive for Mega-Corps to go after Small-Frys. Free litigation.

Re:Of course (1)

jrmcc (703725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732975)

IANAL but isn't that the current strategy of many current deep pocket organizations? (MAFIAA?) Loser pays makes weak cases less attractive to bring but strong cases less attractive to defend against. There needs to be consequence when any person or organization tries to misuse the judicial system to punish competition or opposition.

Re:Of course (4, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732117)

That's ridiculous. Suppose some large IP-holding organization sues a sweet old lady for copyright infringement, and manages to, through sheer force of millions of dollars in lawyer-time, convince a court that she's guilty of a couple thousand dollars in infringement?

Heck, let's assume she was actually guilty and the fine was appropriate.

Is it really fair to saddle her with such a disproportionate level of compensation that she'll never be able to repay?

What about the reverse, wherein the little old lady is incapable of protecting her IP from being stolen by a larger organization because of millions of dollars of stalling and diversionary tactics?

No, what we need is a "stupid pays" system. Where an omniscient overlord assigns legal costs to the party that acted stupid or maliciously.

Re:Of course (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732277)

We just need a little old lady exception clause, and we're fine

Re:Of course (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732341)

<humor> Oh. Well I'm an omniscent overlord.... </humor>

Re:Of course (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732553)

I, for one, welcome you.

Re:Of course (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732405)

Judge Judy!

Although I think those shows (her, and Wapner, et. al) actually pay the parties out of a kitty based on judges ruling, then whatever is left over is split between them...

Re:Of course (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732417)

Let's say a little old Lady kills someone. Is it really fair to prosecute and throw her in jail where she'll die alone instead of being free and with her friends/family?

(Only because you assumed she was guilty in your example).

Maybe the stupid laws should be attacked rather than a defense based on personality/person. I don't want to see little old ladies becoming hitmen just because society deems them immune from the law.

Re:Of course (1)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732435)

The problem is that anyone with common sense enough to be qualified for the Omniscient Overlord position would wisely not want any part of that job. I'm pretty sure that type of gig would probably draw the same ilk that seem drawn to politics and law.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732761)

Where an omniscient overlord...

Hail, Bush!

Re:Of course (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732249)

Of course there are also trade offs. Because there are a lot of people with legit grievances but still still end up loosing the case. There is the intent of the law and the words in the law, many times they are in confect with loopholes in the wording that allows people to follow the law exactly as written but not as how it was meant. Also there is often room for interpretation of the Law. Or circumstances in the law that makes it invalid or unfair. So if someone wanted to sue someone for a legit reason and after a lot of debate you loose. Having you pay the other sides Legal Fees isn't always fair because the outcome really isn't cut dry.

Also by removing fees from winner can cause a negative repercussions where people can use legal battles to hurt people far more then what is legally considered fare. For example say a man mugged me or a company failed to pay me for quality work, I press charges hire the most expensive lawyers as possible just so after I win the case because I was 99.9% sure I would win I could financially devastate my opponent, just perhaps because he was stupid enough to loose some paperwork.

read the complaint, please. (2, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732045)

That's pretty much the standard nowadays. Who is going to spend time and money making things better when you can just sue the whiners for complaining?

No. If you read the original filing, they're complaining that it is possibly another company posting comments in a campaign against them AND that the reviews contain false information.

Given that legal action is fairly expensive, I presume that they had enough evidence of both claims to at least satisfy themselves it was worth the expense, risk of countersuit(s), and potential fallout (ie negative publicity and such.)

Even if you sue someone, the court isn't going to just hand you a big check because you say "they made up shit about us!"; you have to prove that the claims were false and malicious to qualify for libel.

Re:Of course (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732165)

so, are they (vidprof) upset over the alleged defamation and trademark violations or are they just pissed off that their scam has been exposed on the interweb and their business model is now and forever ruined?

too bad they don't have one called "public perception and the power of bloggers".. their business is hosed unless they can get their hands on "ethical and legal selling practices of tutorial videos".

Video Professor sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731721)

They are the worst company at whatever it is they do. Seriously, they suck balls.

Re:Video Professor sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732229)

now that is a scary image.

please... try my balls.

Try my product (3, Interesting)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731723)

That guy uses the word "product" more times in a minute than most people do all month. God, I hate that guy! Now I have one more reason.

Re:Try my product (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731839)

That guy uses the word "product" more times in a minute than most people do all month. God, I hate that guy! Now I have one more reason.
Could be worse. Instead of product, he could have said SKU.

Re:Try my product (1)

texaport (600120) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732359)

Almost as many times as a 30 minute infomercial for "hair product"
(which, by the way, there is no plural for the word 'PRODUCT' either)

--
Learn the computer.
In 20 easy minutes,
three times a week!

Re:Try my product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732503)

(which, by the way, there is no plural for the word 'PRODUCT' either)

Were you trying to type gibberish on purpose?

Disproving the notion... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731729)

...that all publicity is good publicity. "We're video professor. Some people think our products aren't very good. We want those people to shut the hell up."

Great! (5, Funny)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731739)

Anything to distract them from producing more of those really annoying TV ads! Hopefully the lawyers will suck up their entire marketing budget for the next few years!

Re:Great! (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731959)

You should consider turning off your TV. I did years ago, and I haven't seen a single TV ad ever since! It's better than adblock! Not only does it "block" the ads, but it also "blocks" all of the shit that passes for TV programming these days!

Re:Great! (1)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732085)

*clap* i'm really happy for you. If you haven't watched tv in years, how do you know all tv programming is shit nowadays? (as opposed to 10 years ago when it was all great, or what?)

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732115)

Oh it's easy, he does just like me, he hears all about it from the boring people around him.

Re:Great! (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732255)

You wouldn't believe the weird looks I get from co-workers when I tell them I don't watch TV.
Movies, sure, some kids shows on DVD, but no broadcast/cable/sat tv.
-nB

Re:Great! (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732389)

I'd imagine the weird looks they give you probably translate to something like "oh great, here comes that pretentious ass who always hovers over our conversations waiting for a chance to mention he doesn't watch TV."

Re:Great! (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732741)

Actually, the reverse is true for me.

I don't claim to watch no TV at all but I do see very little relative to most people I know. There aren't any shows on at present that I specifically take the time to watch and I only flip the thing on when I'm bored, which isn't often.

This keeps me from bringing up the subject of TV very often, and in the few cases where other people do I tend to just nod and agree. Once in a while people will want to know if I saw a particular episode of a particular show: "Did you see the Seinfeld where the guy couldn't find his pants?". When I tell them I haven't they'll ask about the week before, and before that, and when they are met with negative responses to all of those they assume I'm some kind of pretentious ass who thinks I'm better than them because I don't watch much TV.

You people are the ones who bring it up.

Re:Great! (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732809)

Heh. I am not pretentious about not watching TV, especially because it is not some moral high ground or anything, I simply prefer going out with friends or doing just about anything else than watching TV and I find nothing interesting is ever on. If I want some quality cinema I can simply use a DVD. But really, when you stop watching TV you realize that so many people spend so much time not only watching but even discussing it and it seems to be such a big waste to me. Anyway I keep quite a low profile about this, sometimes I am left out of the conversation and that's it. OK, in those cases I feel some smugness.
Some time ago a coworker asked me about some piece of hardware to watch TV on his notebook while away camping. I mean, come on.

Re:Great! (3, Funny)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732433)

You're this guy [theonion.com] , aren't you?

Re:Great! (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732355)

Like the other guy says... sheeple are always talking about what kind of crap they watched recently. Also, even supposedly decent online magazines, like Slate, are just filled with TV reviews. I know it's there. I even know what's on. I just choose not to watch it.

Re:Great! (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732877)

*clap* i'm really happy for you. If you haven't watched tv in years, how do you know all tv programming is shit nowadays? (as opposed to 10 years ago when it was all great, or what?)

bittorrent, of course! the good part is those nice pirates cut the commercials out for you.

I hope their lawyer . . . (4, Funny)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731743)

got his or her legal education from a series of DVDs.

Re:I hope their lawyer . . . (3, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731905)

I got mine at the Costco.

It's not just about the "free" CDs either. (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731747)

One guy, from this link in TFA [infomercialscams.com] , says that he tried to order the Quickbooks tutorial from the Video Professor. The website gave a confirmation page that listed some product other than what he ordered. Then, they start sending me other tutorials, but he never requested those. On top of it, he tries to order the Quickbooks tutorial again a couple months later, but this time he calls them. They tell him he already ordered that one, but offer to send him is order for free, since it was supposed to arrive back in March. In the end, he never got the product he actually ordered.

Doesn't sound like a company I'd do business with. Ever.

Re:It's not just about the "free" CDs either. (2, Interesting)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731943)

This sounds like the herbal supplements scams where you order free a bottle of "Memory Enhancer" or what have you, then they sign you up for a $300 supplement subscription for the next year and you spend two years trying to get your money back. ...except they're doing it with tech tutorials? Genius! What I really mean is, this is just bizarre, but at least now I understand their scam.

Re:It's not just about the "free" CDs either. (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732631)

That happened to me, but I don't remember ordering the damn pills in the first place!

Hey, Doctor... (4, Funny)

XanC (644172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731951)

My, uh, "friend" has this problem, see. What should I^H he do about it?

Re:Hey, Doctor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732563)

Judging from your ^H there, I think you need my Video Aggressor's "Shit, This Ain't vi?" video. So when you're untangled with that dude's stuff, try MY product!

The countermeasure: disposable credit card numbers (4, Informative)

KWTm (808824) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732617)

Regarding the parent post, and also the sibling post that says:

This sounds like the herbal supplements scams where you order free a bottle of "Memory Enhancer" or what have you, then they sign you up for a $300 supplement subscription for the next year

Looks like they get your credit card number when you sign up, promising not to charge you for the "free" service or something, and then later charge you because you forgot to cancel their subscription.

Several credit cards now let you generate disposable credit card numbers on the fly --just go to the web site and you can have a new credit card number with your specified credit limit and date of expiry. I'd like to see how they handle that! Maybe they'll send a message: "Dear Sir, your credit card number is no longer valid and we were unable to pull that scam on you. Please go to the following web page and enter your new credit card info, so that we can scam you."

In fact, something similar happened to me. Near the end of the tax year, I decided to make a donation to a charity, and figured out how much would be best given my tax situation. I donated through a web site using a disposable credit card. Somehow, they ended up charging only about 40% of the amount I said I would donate.

Fast forward to three months later, well into the new tax year, I get a phone call from the charity saying that my credit card wasn't working. I said,
"What are you talking about? You're not supposed to be charging my credit card."
"Yeah, we are --you made a donation."
"But that was last year! You charged it already!"
"But we didn't charge enough."
"So you tried to just charge more now and have some bill randomly show up on my credit card bill? If you want the rest of the donation, send me a receipt backdating the donation to the previous tax year."
"I'm sorry, we're not allowed to backdate receipts."
"Well, then, too bad. I offered my money and you screwed up. Next time charge the correct amount. And don't make unannounced corrections to your mistake a few months after I've reconciled my finances."

Re:It's not just about the "free" CDs either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732697)

Doesn't sound like a company I'd do business with. Ever.
Make that 101 critics being sued.

Well... (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731755)

If they didn't have a bad experience with Video Professor before, they sure will now!

- RG>

I wonder if (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731765)

November's DVD of the month is "how to create your own legal pleadings" with Video Professor's MS-Office accessories training 'product' ?

Re:I wonder if (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732457)

Hmm, maybe SCO would still have been in business if Darl had that DVD...

Please.... (3, Funny)

m93 (684512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731771)



don't try my product.

dirty lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731803)

I signed up for a video professor episode on how to secure my computer, and it signed me up for a bunch of gay porn filled with malware. :(

Only on TV Adds. (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731815)

It would seem that for a company such as Video Professor who does its sales primarily over the phone without selling to stores, they would be better served if they worked to improve their image. Something about their adds gives me the cheaps, Almost as much as the Cash Now guy. Companies in there type of sales need to work hard to show their credibility. History shows us that Sueing your customers just doesn't work. If you address the problems people will forget, Sueing them they will make sure they will never recommend the product and discorage people from doing so causing bad Word of mouth to be passed, which is normally more damaging then a bunch of anonymous posts. Who could be from one disgruntling poster.

Re:Only on TV Adds. (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732205)

I think that TV ads are comparable to spam. They have no need to work on their image, they just sell based on statistics. If enough people see their show, there will be a big enough group of (sorry to say this) dumb people buy their product, and their scheme is succesfull. How many people who watch these TV ads and are inclined to buy stuff from it will look it up on the internet before they buy?

If there was truth in advertising (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732455)

Their commercials would be:

"Are you a moron? Did you buy a computer and then say 'Now what?' Have you been known to sit in front of the monitor, drool and say 'nuuuuurrrrrr'? Then we have just the material for you! We will happily sell you DVDs of basic knowledge that you could get from any 12-year old with a functioning brain stem, but we charge you an arm and a leg for it! Come on, you obviously bought a computer for no freaking reason, so we're hoping you're just as clueless to buy our software!

Act now and we'll keep siphoning money from your bank account in easy monthly payments of $24.95!"

So sue me! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731831)

The Video Professor is a total jerkwad, an asshole, an asshat and an asstunnel. And just an ass. And his ads are garbage, and his "course" surely is as well.

-mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]

PS- Fuck you and the pig you rode in on, professor!

PPS- Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God Almighty, and apparently God responded to his lawsuit [go.com] . I guess you really CAN sue anybody! God should countersue, for slander.

Re:So sue me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731879)

Don't hold back. Let's hear your real opinion.

Shades of tSCOg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20731855)

They seem to be following in the path of tSCOg. Litigation for success! Wonder when the bankruptcy occurs?

In Soviet Russia.. (1, Insightful)

The Breeze (140484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731873)

in Soviet Russia, Video Professor sues YOU! - er, wait. That's what they're doing here. Oops. I guess the US *IS* Soviet Russia now.

Why put people in gulags when you can just bankrupt them if they foolishly insult respectable corporations?

Look online for reviews?! (2, Insightful)

Valiss (463641) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731923)

As someone of TFA site commented, if you know how to look for reviews online, do you really need video professor?

OK let me get this straight... (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731939)

A guy is whining (to courts, but still whining) because some guys are whining about him? Someone please give him a Video tutorial on "how to plummet your sales" starring the SCO execs. Sheesh.

this is why we have tort law (3, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20731949)

"Instead of addressing the concerns the Video Professor has decided to take the litigious route."

No, they brought their claims to civil court under tort law. Tort exists precisely for the purpose of settling claims like this.

The original complaint [typepad.com] , which is buried (thanks to linking to a blog, which links to a blog, etc...why can't you people cite original sources? Christ), asserts that customers, or a competitor, are maliciously posting reviews (ie, reverse astroturfing) with false information.

It's not up to a bunch of yahoos on the interbutt to decide if they meet the burden of proof in a civil case (which is much lower than a criminal case) on these two issues. The court decides whether to give them a court order seeking records on their posters.

It's also up to Video Professor to prove that the posts are false. If they are, guess what kiddies! That's libel, and yeah, shockingly, it is NOT legal to public false information maliciously.

In short, stop bitching and let the judiciary do their job, which is to dismiss the lawsuit if it is frivolous, or let it proceed to discovery, etc. Do any of you realize how stupid you sound complaining about tort law, which has existed as a key part of societies for several centuries, almost the world over?

Re:this is why we have tort law (2, Funny)

Flarg! (265195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732123)

Hey, now! Stop trying to wreck our fun with your logic and your grubby little facts! :P

Re:this is why we have tort law (4, Insightful)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732251)

It's not up to a bunch of yahoos on the interbutt to decide if they meet the burden of proof in a civil case

Not sure how the ramblings of us yahoos interferes with that. Sorry, but I always get a little miffed when it is implied that a discussion online (or elsewhere) is somehow obligated to grant the same rights as the court, or somehow is interefering with the court.

Also, you might want to check on the meaning of the word litigious before getting mad at how other people are using it.

Re:this is why we have tort law (4, Insightful)

snarkh (118018) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732495)

Let me guess, are you a lawyer?

The problem (as you must be aware) is that too many companies are using the law as their weapon,
to litigate legitimate opponents into bankruptcy and use legal actions to cover their own
shortcomings.

I have some unfortunate opportunities to observe such actions myself as some people I know were
intimidated by a real estate management company, which managed to extort a significant amount of money from them, threatening legal action. In all likelihood the claims would have been dismissed by a court, but they were too scared.

Re:this is why we have tort law (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732971)

Let me guess, are you a lawyer?

Unlikely. A real lawyer would have better things to do with his time. More likely, someone who took business law in community college and is desperate to show off his knowledge.

Re:this is why we have tort law (5, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732585)

Do any of you realize how stupid you sound complaining about tort law, which has existed as a key part of societies for several centuries, almost the world over?

That's why I also never complain about war, crime, poverty, disease, or dictatorships. If it's old, it must be good!

Re:this is why we have tort law (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732693)

That's why I also never complain about war, crime, poverty, disease, or dictatorships. If it's old, it must be good!

No, what's "old," here, is the technique of bad-mouthing/slandering your competition. I'm sure there was inter-witch-doctor FUD in neolithic times. Much, much more recent than that is having a legal framework for some recourse. If there are people posting BS complaints just to run down the company's reputation, then they deserve exactly what they get. If that's NOT what's happening here, then those same people should enjoy every bit of the punitive proceeds they can extract in a counter-suit handled by lawyers working for a cut.

Re:this is why we have tort law (2, Insightful)

drfireman (101623) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732931)

You write:

Tort exists precisely for the purpose of settling claims like this.
and then later: stop bitching and let the judiciary do their job You should take your own advice. Instead of asserting that this is a legitimate use of tort law, how about you let the court system sort it out. A lot of Slashdot readers obviously believe that, contra your assertion, this is going to turn out to be a flagrant abuse of the tort system, not (as you claim) the kind of thing for which tort law was created. Nobody's complaining about tort law, that I've seen. I have seen many comments complaining about what looks like it could be an egregious abuse of tort law. I don't know which it is, but your post doesn't provide either evidence or argument, just a very hollow claim.

SLAPP (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732025)

Perhaps one of the more legally-minded folks here will know: Does this sound like a strategic lawsuit against public participation? Do SLAPP-back rules apply even when it's not about a public issue?

In any event, I hope Video Professor gets their a$$es handed to them.

Re:SLAPP (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732941)

Considering that they're suing over bad reviews, it certainly sounds like SLAPP applies.

IANAL, but,,, (3, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732065)

It isn't defamation in most places unless it's a) untrue and b) used to harm the subject's reputation unfairly.

It isn't trademark infringement to include the name of a product you review in the review, although it's a good idea to include the proper marks and note that the marks and the product belong to a particular owner. The nature of a review should make it clear, I think, that no claim of ownership is being made by the reviewer. This is especially true of a negative review, I'd think, because who would expect a negative review from the product's vendor?

As always, law is stranger than common sense suggests, so nothing is certain. Hell, not even all lawyers can agree on things, or we wouldn't have lawsuits.

Interesting... (5, Funny)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732073)

Judge: "So who are you suing exactly?"
Video Professor: "Anonymous."
Judge: "Uh, clerk, who exactly is 'Anonymous?'"
Clerk: "Well Your Honor, I read slashdot and the only 'Anonymous' I know are cowards."
Video Professor: "They certainly are!"
Judge: "Would 'Anonymous' please stand and be recognized by the court."
One soul stands...
Clerk: "Please sit down CowboyNeal."

Re:Interesting... (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732621)

"I am CowboyNeal!"

"I am CowboyNeal!"

"I am Sparticus!"

"Psst... it's 'CowboyNeal.'"

"Oh... right. I am CowboyNeal?"

"And I'm his friend Jesus!"

(groan)

Re:Interesting... (1)

slacktide (796664) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732717)

Anonymous is Legion, and Anonymous does not forgive.

Thanks slashdot (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732075)

For linking to a blog that linked to a blog that linked to the actual complaint.

Once I finally got to the pot of gold at the end of the blog rainbow, it looks to my non-lawyer eye as if he has no case. Seems like just another SLAPP suit to me. Is he really claiming that a company can become immune to criticism by simply trademarking its name? Come on.

I've neard not so good things about them (4, Informative)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732161)

Did some research to see about getting some video tutorial stuff for basic computer use for elder family members. I knew about them from the ads but I didn't know about the bad until I started googling the name. Just take a look at the wiki entry on them:

For CD-ROM lessons, Video Professor uses a continuity sales model,[5] similar to the model for mail order book clubs. The subscription is started when a customer orders a tutorial on a subject of their chosing. This tutorial is often free except for shipping and handling. The customer then periodically receives other tutorials on subjects chosen by Video Professor automatically, until the subscription is cancelled. The cost ranges from $60-90 per tutorial.

For online lessons, the same lessons are provided to the customer through streaming media. These lessons are billed on a per-month basis; access to all lessons is available for a monthly subscription fee of approximately $30.

The company has been criticized[6] for its CD-ROM sales and advertising practice. Some complaints center on an alleged lack of clarity regarding the nature of the continuity sales model and the "free" CD-ROM, and in perceived difficulty in contacting the company for refunds. Others are based on the lack of choice the customer has in subsequent offerings. The company says that such complaints are rare, and promptly resolved. As of September 2007, the company has a "Satisfactory" rating by the Better Business Bureau.
Reading between the lines here, you can see how badly such a system can be abused. The online accounts I read about their business practices marked them as quite worrisome.

Is the USA legal system broken? (2, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732207)

Let's suppose VP sued you, and you fought them, and you won. As far as the USA legal is concerned, everything is just fine - you won, justice was served. Nevermind that the time, cost, and inconvenience of the lawsuit is far more the lawsuit was worth - the US legal system does not take that into account.

This is why SLAPP suits are so popular. Major corporations know that average citizens don't have a chance against them in court - it's just a matter of money. This huge loophole also makes extortion essentially legal for companies like scox. This also makes it easy for companies like msft to abuse the system for the "chilling effect."

It seems to me that as long as the legal leaves the doors wide open to such abuse, the the abuses will continue. The current system is like manna from heaven for lawyers, and vexatious litigants.

Re:Is the USA legal system broken? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732985)

Personally, I think part of the 'you're out of legal fees' is a deterent to needing to use the court system, as everybody loses if they have to go there.

Unfortuantly, we have a sue-happy culture here, many other countries can afford to be much nicer as their citizens are indoctrinated not to pursue suits unless absolutely necessary. This is present on both sides - the violating company or individual pays voluntarily because they know they're at fault.

Still, award of legal fees is often part of any settlement where the defendent was particularly bad.

His next DVD (2, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732209)

How to sue 10000 anonymous critics from Slashdot.

Video Professor Software May Contain Malware (3, Interesting)

Junior Samples (550792) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732235)

My wife installed some Video Professor software on my computer. The software would not uninstall normally with "Add/Remove Programs". I tried to remove the piece of crap manually, but some of the files wouldn't delete. The OS hasn't been acting the same ever since. I will probably end up reinstalling the OS to get the machine working properly again.

So be warned, Video professor software may contain malware or even a root kit. Symantec AV and Ad-Aware didn't find anything, nevertheless, a problem still remains.

Worse yet (4, Funny)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732241)

...Video Professor isn't available in HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. I mean really, what's up with that?

You are bastards, sue me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732257)

Yours AC.

Sounds like somebody needs to ... (1)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732259)

SLAPP [wikipedia.org] the professor up side of the head with a PR/legal cluestick.

Confusion about their core business (1)

tetranz (446973) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732319)

I remember someone (I think it was John Dvorak on TWIT) saying that these guys are not primarily in the technical education business. Their core business is assembling and selling mailing lists.

go back to law school (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732343)

My daughter knows more about the legal system than Video Professor does, and she's three and a half.

Spammity spam, wonderful spam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20732345)

Jesus Christ! Multi-level blog spam - pure genius! Digg must be green with envy. How long before there is actually no story, just spam?

Gotta love spam:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5627694446211716271 [google.com]

VIdeo 'master'? (1)

my_left_nut (1161359) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732411)

It sounds like our video "professor" is acting more like the video master [wordpress.com] . Can I get sued for saying that?

Anonymous Critics? (1)

rcrush (1143255) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732413)

If they are Anonymous how is Video Professor going to sue them? I must be missing something.

I seem to remember (2, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732423)

That is says like pretty much everyone else, in their commercial something to the effect: "try a free lesson, you will receive other lessons every month on such topics as ... . If you don't like the trial lesson, simply return it free of charge." The singlar on the free should imply that this is a subscription and the rest will cost you. Just like magazines, time life music collections, etc, etc.

I'm not saying I like the sales technique, just that it is common and it should go without saying that a company will charge you somehow for their services. Plus, if the customer is dumb enough to give them their credit card number for something they thought was free, they don't pass the "reasonible individual" test that litigation requires.

Ahh, the memories. (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20732599)

Anyone else remember the adds where the mustachioed Video Professor guy used to come on the screen saying "Just use my CD RAM and you'll be on your way," all the while holding up a CD ROM containing his course? I used to think, is he ignorant? Is that a crazy accented pronunciation of "ROM"? WTF? I've never known anyone who's used one of these either. Interesting.
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