by Greg Beck
Colorado infomercial company Video Professor this week dismissed its lawsuit against 100 anonymous defendants who had posted critical comments about its products and billing practices online. Earlier this month, the company withdrew subpoenas that had sought the identity of anonymous posters on the website infomercialscams.com. The company continued, however, to pursue a separate subpoena for the identity of a Wikipedia user who had allegedly written "flagrantly defamatory" (though unspecified) statements about the company in the online encyclopedia. Public Citizen this Monday filed an opposition to Video Professor's motion to extend the time for service of process, arguing that Video Professor's claims were too vague and that its pursuit of an entirely new subpoena threatened to turn the case into a roving commission, giving the company power to discover the identities of anyone criticizing it online. A day after the motion was filed, Video Professor dropped its case entirely.
Paul Alan Levy has a statement on Public Citizen's victory.