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Thursday, September 06, 2007 

Anyone got a Schilling?

Stop! You can't link to that!

There's very little quite like the joy on returning home of an evening to find that you've been legally threatened in your absence. Last year this involved an injunction from the "dangerously deceitful, ruthless, exploitative and corrupt" Mr Mahzer Mahmood, courtesy of his lawyers, Farrer and Co. Imagine my excitement on finding the following in my inbox, this time from Schillings, acting on behalf of a certain Alisher Usmanov (you'll have to click to enlarge:)

Update: letter removed, not because I feel the need to bow to Schillings request that it be taken down or have to, but because I see no reason to prolong this pointless little affair.

I'm not the first to receive the delightful threats from Schillings on behalf of their client, nor probably the last: Julian Bond, owner of the UK blog aggregator voidstar.com also had Schillings on the phone telling him to remove Murray's post. His site had reproduced it verbatim: my original post, now edited to remove Craig's "false, indefensible and grossly defamatory" comments, only linked to Craig's while using his title as the hyperlink. It now only links to Craig's post. Having emailed Tim at Bloggerheads, it seems that Schillings have also now contacted Craig himself.

Schillings themselves aren't exactly very bright: here they are having apparently mailed/faxed a letter out to Dreamhost, based in the good old land of the free, and they're citing a legal precedent set in this country in order to threaten them. Good job Schillings; unless Mr Usmanov intends to sue Dreamhost in this country, I don't think you're going to get very far.

In any case, I've phoned up Schillings, discovered that those responsible for Mr Usmanov have left the office, and talked to the apparent work experience kid, who will relate my edits to the "false, indefensible and grossly defamatory" post to his superiors. There are however just a few other points to make:

1. Considering I currently have to my name somewhere in the region of £150.00 and no collateral whatsoever, neither Schillings nor Mr Usmanov if they pursued their action would get very rich off me.

2. That going after bloggers simply linking to a post because your big baby of a client has thrown his rattle out of the pram has to make you one of the most insufferable, sycophantic, brown-nosing little toadies on the face of the planet. Oh, I forgot, "you're only doing your job".

3. I would like to refer Schillings, although not their client, as he seems the kind who might be offended, to the precedent set by Arkell vs Pressdram, or indeed, to any of the legal responses from the Pirate Bay, such as this one. Thank you.

Update: Craig's original post has been temporarily removed pending legal advice.

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The best bit I find about these pointless libel actions against blogs is that they focus attention on the twat making the threats.

To be honest I didnt pay much attention to your story on this guy, now I plan to keep an eye out for him.

Have you considered passing on news of this to Private Eye? Its the sort of thing they usually follow up on well.

Best of luck.

It's normally the kind of thing Paul Staines objects to as well. I wonder why he's not flexing his supposedly libel-proof muscles.

Looking at Craig's site it says that his main post on Alisher has been removed due to threats from lawyers against the hosting company. However, a link from Wiki says it can still be found at http://www.alisherusmanov.blogspot.com

Point of order. Craig Murray's post appeared on my UK Political Aggregator which collects RSS from a large number of UK Political Blogs. http://www.voidstar.com/ukpoliblog
I don't censor the RSS, I just collect it.

My post describing my telephone conversation with someone claiming to be from Schilling can be found here.
http://www.voidstar.com/node.php?id=3014

Ironically, the post turned up in the RSS again and then got posted again. Damn robots!

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