Wednesday, 13 June 2018 09:12

Perens awarded costs and lawyers' fees in defamation suit

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Veteran open source advocate Bruce Perens has been awarded almost US$260,000 (A$343,343) in solicitors' fees and US$2403 as costs by San Francisco Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler over a defamation claim against him that went nowhere.

Perens was hit with the lawsuit last year by Open Source Security which is its trading name; it is better known as Grsecurity and sells a hardening patch for the Linux kernel.

Grsecurity and its owner, Brad Spengler, were offended at Perens' characterisation of its efforts as presenting "a contributory infringement and breach of contract risk" and sued him in August last year.

The case was dismissed in December 2017 and two months later Perens filed a motion seeking his lawyers' fees and costs.

When she dismissed the case, Magistrate Judge Beeler agreed with Perens, but denied his bid to invoke the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law in California.

This law deals with legal complaints that are directed at stopping public discussion and free speech. California put in place an anti-SLAPP law in 1992.

Spengler and his group have appealed the verdict to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; they had sought US$3 million in damages in the original lawsuit.

Perens had sought US$526,893.50 as his costs but Magistrate Judge Beeler cut this down to US$259,900.50 in costs and US$2403.12 for costs.

She said the money should be paid right away, denying a request by Spengler's lawyers that it be payable only after the appeal was decided.

iTWire has sought comments from Grsecurity.

Link to judgment: courtesy The Register

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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