In February this year we reported a situation whereby well-known computer help site, Bleeping Computer, was being sued by the Enigma Software Group (ESG) over a post which described ESG’s SpyHunter software in less than flattering terms. ESG’s lawsuit claims that its reputation was damaged by a disparaging review of its SpyHunter software posted by a volunteer on Bleeping’s site. A review which many believe was innocuous, merely reiterating and citing references from reputable sources.
Overwhelming public opinion is that ESG’s lawsuit is frivolous and contrary to the concepts of free speech and honesty in reporting. You can catch up with DCT’s earlier article here: A Bleeping Lawsuit That You Should Definitely Know About.
As is the way with lawsuits, things move slowly, and it’s been all quiet on the ESG vs Bleeping Computer front for some months. That is, until just recently when Bleeping Computer went on the offensive issuing a countersuit. Bleeping’s lawyers, which include Marc Randazza, a well known 1st Amendment lawyer, wrote in their filing:
Enigma’s lawsuit is plainly nothing more than an attempt to bully and censor Bleeping Computer, and to deter anyone who might criticize it—one more attempt in Enigma’s long pattern of threats, intimidation and litigation. Worse, however, is that all the while, Enigma has been engaged in aggressive, secretive, and cowardly attacks against Bleeping Computer, including ripping off Bleeping Computer’s content and pretending it was authored by Enigma, repeatedly misusing Bleeping’s registered trademark to trade upon its goodwill, and publishing blatantly false claims about Bleeping. As the following allegations demonstrate, Enigma conducts its business in a manner that is illegal, unethical and simply immoral, thereby demonstrating that Quietman7’s mildly critical statements about Enigma’s product, that so enraged Enigma and lead to this lawsuit, pale in comparison to the egregious misconduct Enigma perpetrates on a regular basis.
The countersuit also claims that ESG, or an entity acting on behalf of ESG, has registered a number of new domain names with infringing and ridiculous URLs which are detrimental to Bleeping Computer. These websites tend to suggest that Bleeping Computer’s own free anti-malware, called RKill, is itself malware, and specifically, that it can be removed using ESG’s SpyHunter software. One such site is quoted as describing RKill thus:
RKill is a high‐risk Trojan virus infection designed by cyber criminals recently, which bursts in the life of many computer users and causes serious damages to the infected computer. The hateful virus is brimful of mischief. Once it gets in the target computer, it is able to be hidden deep so as to undermine the entire system. Many computer users have no clue until the computer becomes worse and worse. It also can confuse antivirus programs with advanced technology so that it won’t be removed by any removal tools. The virus makers may use every opportunity to control the computer remotely. With the cover of the virus, they can remove or modify your important documents wantonly and steal or encrypt your personal data, resulting in inconvenience as well as unnecessary losses. Therefore, getting rid of rkill.com is quite urgent.
At this stage, neither side is showing signs of backing down and a trial by jury seems inevitable… probably some time in early 2017. I’m not sure what ESG’s end game is here, they are clearly on shaky ground. On the other hand, Bleeping’s lawyers appear to be building a very solid case, at least based on the claims contained in their countersuit.
Hopefully, ESG will see the futility of continuing on and call a halt to this insanity. If not, in the interests of maintaining the right to call a spade a spade, then justice must surely prevail.
Whenever I write a software review, I will not only point out the positive aspects but also any negatives as well, I simply see that as part of my duty. As far as I am concerned, Bleeping Computer is not only defending its right to present an honest and unbiased review but also defending the same right for everyone.
Bleeping Computer is still requiring help with funding its defense. You can donate to the cause here: Bleeping Computer Legal Defense Fund.