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Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the citation-needed dept.
New submitter Andreas Kolbe writes: "Businessman, philanthropist and musician Yank Barry and the Global Village Champions Foundation are suing four Wikipedia editors for defamation, claiming they have maliciously conspired to keep Barry's Wikipedia biography unduly negative. The Daily Dot article includes a copy of the legal brief and quotes Barry as saying, "My page was so ridiculously false and made me sound like a terrible person and people believed it causing deals to fall through. I finally had enough."
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Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:15AM (#47312819)

    No, not at all.

    • by able1234au (995975) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:25AM (#47312865)

      Calling Barbara Streisand...

      • by Mr. Somey (1200447) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:33AM (#47313263)
        I'm not sure the Streisand Effect applies in this case. He's not actually trying to hide unpleasant or embarrassing aspects of his past - what he seems to want is for the article to reflect his own version of those events, or at least to contain his version (or "spin" if you prefer) in some way. And since he's a marginal figure to begin with, he's really in one of those "any publicity is good publicity" situations.

        And these days, among the people whose allegiance Barry seems to value most (i.e., former professional boxers and their fans), attacking Wikipedia is hardly seen as a bad thing to do - just the opposite in fact, and you could probably say that for a wide range of people and professions, especially celebrities. Wikipedia has always been seen by many of them as an illegitimate, irresponsible, self-appointed power-grab by anonymous nobodies - because after all, it is - and the passage of time (and the continued unctuous malfeasance of Wikipedians) has only cemented that impression in their minds.

        It's all rather unfortunate, but also inevitable, given the way Wikipedians often behave.
        • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @07:07AM (#47313691) Homepage

          I really don't know enough about this case to know whether the guy has a leg to stand on or not. I mean, sometimes blatantly false stuff is added on Wikipedia - remember the John Seigenthaler [wikipedia.org] incident way back when? Of course, even that had its backlash [wikia.com]. ;)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            One problem is that people will typically read the Wikipedia article first, and allow it to colour their perception. Big mistake if the article is biased to begin with, and a sort of kafkaesque situation for the victim. Wikipedia has known problems in this area, see e.g. Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia [salon.com] by Andrew Leonard; The tale of Mr Hari and Dr Rose – A false and malicious identity is admitted [newstatesman.com] by David Allen Green; the story of Taner Akcam, Any political filth or personal libel can be [umn.edu]
          • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @08:52AM (#47314123) Homepage

            It is not whether or not he has a crooked dogs hind leg to stand on, it is whether or not he can conspire via his lawyers to intimidate those person with the threat of court costs.

            Catch is those people will be able to call on the public for assistance in the gathering of evidence to substantiate their claims, hugely reducing their costs. Where as he will have to pay his lawyers to contest that evidence, in this case the more evidence the merrier. All none digitised, all hard copy, page after page, volume after volume, the more evidence his lawyers have to review the more his costs blow out. His intent is clearly to threaten all Wikipedia contributors with threats of civil suits by the wealthy. The most effective counter is tens of thousands of pages of evidence with his lawyers being paid to review and challenge every page at say something in the vicinity of $100 per page.

            • by Yakasha (42321) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @12:56PM (#47316319) Homepage

              It is not whether or not he has a crooked dogs hind leg to stand on, it is whether or not he can conspire via his lawyers to intimidate those person with the threat of court costs.

              Are you trying to be funny? I ask because after reading the article and some of the discussions and edits, that is exactly the kind of language that was going on his page that he is suing over. If the man is acquitted, especially because the case was "flimsy", why would you be referring to him with negative words like "crooked", "conspire", and "intimidate" and focus on that period of his life? Are you just a rich-hater? Anybody with money that tries to defend their reputation is "clearly intending to threaten all Wikipedia contributors with threats of civil suits by the wealthy"?

        • Wikipedia has always been seen by many of them as an illegitimate, irresponsible, self-appointed power-grab by anonymous nobodies - because after all, it is

          The best part? Any anonymous nobody can register a domain name and put up information on a Web site. Wikipedia allows others to remove your bullshit, eventually ending in an edit war and a fact finding cycle.

          Encyclopedias are effectively written by anonymous nobodies, too. Who wrote the lion article for Britannica? Oh sure you could look it up, but who does that? They're anonymous outside legal process: Nobody actually cares who the Britannica writers are unless they decide to sue them.

          Mostly, it'

    • by hax4bux (209237) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:45AM (#47312939)

      Or that attorney who tried to sue "the oatmeal" I forget his name...

    • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @05:47AM (#47313433) Homepage

      "The Wikipedia page said said I was an oversensitive litigious bastard!"

  • by bumba2014 (3564161) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:21AM (#47312851)
    I'm not sure about the English version, but the German version about Falun Gong / Falun Dafa contains a lot of negative lies, spread by the CCP. Every time someone corrects it, someone from china will change it back. At the end they didn't allow any changes anymore, and put half the truth and half the lies in it. Unfortunately a lot of people believe what is written in those articles. I can imagine this happening to a lot of subjects.
  • Who is that? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417)

    And why does he matter?

    Seriously, has anyone here even heard about this guy before today? Yank Barry sounds more like an invitation to some ribbing than a name...

    And, and here's the next question, how could this lawsuit fly? Anything short of outright libel is pretty much in the "don't care" area. Last time I checked Wikipedia was a privately owned entity. So, if push comes to shove, whatever is expressed there is an opinion. And last time I checked you're entitled to one in the US, and also to saying it.

    • Re:Who is that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:41AM (#47312921) Journal
      I don't think it can be considered opinion, WP advertises itself as an encyclopedia, it goes out of its way to base its claims on citations. I'm a strong supporter of WP and this guys sounds like a "flim-flam man", however that doesn't mean he is wrong and it does appear that at least one editor was hell bent on causing him financial damage. OTOH $10M is a ludicrous exaggeration of any real damages, or it would be were it not happening in the US.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Oligonicella (659917)
        From day one I've said that WIkipedia is a fools' encyc. With the ability for any jerk to edit, it is inevitable that this happens. The worst articles involve persons, beliefs and governments. Even the scientific articles are not immune. It's only good for a jumping off place.
        • by epine (68316) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @08:56AM (#47314145)

          It's only good for a jumping off place.

          So totally true. But once you allow that 99% of modern life is jumping off, I'm not sure what you're griping about.

          Just as one comparison, take every organization prominent enough to have it's own article in en.Wikipedia, go to their own websites (the vast majority will have one) and scrape all of the "about us" web pages these organizations authored about themselves, and imagine these as a collective "About Us"-apedia.

          This "About Us"-apedia would make MySpace's worst year look like an exercise in design consistency. I for one can live without the metric fuckton of Flash-based incoherence as my standard point of departure on the agencies of the world.

          It seems to me that all the people who hated Wikipedia on first sight share an underlying belief in knowledge as an authority network. The reason Wikipedia succeeded is that knowledge isn't what we thought it was. For the vast majority of purposes, authority is a boundary condition, not the thing itself.

          The first step in assimilating a new body of knowledge is to survey the field's lexicon: What words are used and roughly how are they linked together? This cognitive process takes place long before factual assertions amount to a hill of beans. When the facts do begin to matter, most smart people are well aware that in this world we're all fed baloney 24 hours a day. Wikipedia is one of the places where it becomes especially clear how the baloney is made. That doesn't make it worse baloney than Superbowl Sunday—America's national slick-baloney celebration day. Is iOS somehow less Orwellian than the IBM PC? So we were told through a non-linguistic medium.

          On Wikipedia, when I spot baloney, I click the magic button called "History" where I scan for edit wars and substantial discards. For the vast majority of articles, it's all there in plain view. The mythical, Orwellian-smashing parentage of iOS is harder to trace.

          In the upcoming era of Deep Watson, those Wikipedia crumb trails of sturm und churn will suddenly become interesting resources to expose to automated data mining. Perhaps then the present surface form of the articles will begin to fade in importance. There's nothing stopping this, except for the will to go there, which is depressingly thin in the general public for the 99% of the time they're merely jumping off.

    • Re:Who is that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:50AM (#47312961) Journal

      Oh good, I'll just print up a bunch of fliers saying you torture kittens and set fire to orphanages and post them around your home town. Because nobody has heard of you and I'm not a publicly listed company, it will be 'opinion' rather than 'libel'.

      I have no idea whether this guy's claims are justified, but neither do you. My liking Wikipedia does not therefore mean that the facts or the law are on the side of Wikipedia.

      • Go ahead. Those that know me will know better and the rest can kiss my shiny metal ass.

        • Re:Who is that? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @05:31AM (#47313373)

          I'm interested if you still think this would be the case if you were on the verge of a multi-million dollar deal which suddenly fell through because the other party thought that you actually do kill kittens.

          See complacency depends only on how much you have to lose. Now what if the lie cost you your reputation, and your job, and damaged your standing with other people?
          Doesn't happen? Just look at how peoples lives are absolutely ruined by an accusation of being a sex offender even if they are subsequently found innocent.

          To say that your horrible kitten massacre won't come back to hurt you is incredibly naive.

          • To say that your horrible kitten massacre won't come back to hurt you is incredibly naive.

            Well, what did he expect? Anyone who kills 37 (IIRC) kittens is probably not going to be looked upon favorably. I was amazed there were only the few criminal charges that were handed out. And the jail time was pretty minimal for the charges (to be fair).

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Mix the two.

        He set's fire to kitten orphanages! and goes on a yearly baby seal clubbing expedition!

    • by Urkki (668283)

      The news is about Wikipedia editors getting sued, not about the person who sues them. So it doesn't matter if he matters or not.

      If Wikipedia editors getting sued is "Stuff that matters" in /. or not, I don't know, but it sounds like it might fit.

    • Re:Who is that? (Score:5, Informative)

      by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:32AM (#47313259)

      Who is that?

      Yank Barry? He's a convicted extortionist who worked for the Mafia in Montreal in the '80s. After being released from prison, he founded a company that sells fake food to (sometimes fake) clients, through which he conned celebrity endorsements by promising to donate food via his fake charities.

      http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/04/15/yank-barry/ [nationalpost.com]

      • by higuita (129722)

        and now slashdot will be sued too!! :)

      • by Smallpond (221300)

        I won't believe it unless you link to the Wikipedia article.

      • Re:Who is that? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by oobayly (1056050) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @07:07AM (#47313689)

        What was more interesting was reading the comments for that article. Out of the 9 comments, one commented on the Nobel Peace Prize, one commented on show business (I didn't really understand the comment). The remaining 7 were scathing about the journalism, used the standard "well what have you done" argument and questioned the journalists motives. Interestingly enough, all 7 users have only made a single comment each. Clearly that article hit a nerve.

    • Re:Who is that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @05:28AM (#47313365)

      So, if push comes to shove, whatever is expressed there is an opinion. And last time I checked you're entitled to one in the US, and also to saying it.

      Actually you're not. That's the whole basis of libel laws. If you spread false or misleading information that could tarnish the reputation of another person you are most definitely not entitled to an opinion as far as the law is concerned.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "If you spread false or misleading information that could tarnish the reputation of another person you are most definitely not entitled to an opinion as far as the law is concerned."

        I think you do not understand what "OPINION" means.

        "I think thegarbs is killing kittens in blenders" That is opinion and you can not be sued for it and I am entitled to that opinion as far as the law is concerned.
        "thegarbs is killing kittens in blenders" That is not opinion and therefore not protected speech.

        If it is not conve

        • by Entrope (68843)

          A statement like "I think thegarbs is killing kittens in blenders" implies the existence of undisclosed defamatory facts that form the basis of that conclusion, and this makes it usually actionable (in the US) as defamation. A statement like "I think Lumpy is an alcoholic because I see him drinking beers on his porch for hours at a time and he frequently leaves for work at 11 AM" discloses the facts that underlie the conclusion "Lumpy is an alcoholic", and is therefore not actionable (in the US) because it

      • by nbauman (624611)

        So, if push comes to shove, whatever is expressed there is an opinion. And last time I checked you're entitled to one in the US, and also to saying it.

        Actually you're not. That's the whole basis of libel laws. If you spread false or misleading information that could tarnish the reputation of another person you are most definitely not entitled to an opinion as far as the law is concerned.

        Actually, under U.S. libel law, you are entitled to spread false and misleading information that can tarnish the reputation of another person, if that person is a public figure.

        That was the ruling in Times vs. Sullivan, which you can look up in, oh, I don't know, somewhere on the Internet.

        Sullivan was actually right in his complaint. He was indeed defamed. The Supreme Court decided that if a newspaper was requited to be right all the time, we couldn't have newspapers. They're immune from damages for their m

  • But is it false? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt.lynx@bc@ca> on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:26AM (#47312867) Journal
    I know that defamation suits can be filed (and sometimes even won) even if the information being published is true (if it's false, then one could further sue for libel) but it's my understanding that in the case where the published information is true, the onus is on the person who is suing to show that the *intent* of the publishers was to actually defame them... which of course is quite difficult to do in court. They would have to, using factual evidence, show how it was somehow considerably more probable that there was actually any malicious intent on the publisher's part than any claim the publisher the might make to contrary being true. Unless the publishers actually confess that this is the case, this will not be easy... no matter how good their lawyers are.
    • by BeerCat (685972)

      I know that defamation suits can be filed (and sometimes even won) even if the information being published is true... but it's my understanding that in the case where the published information is true, the onus is on the person who is suing to show that the *intent* of the publishers was to actually defame them... which of course is quite difficult to do in court. They would have to, using factual evidence, show how it was somehow considerably more probable that there was actually any malicious intent on the publisher's part than any claim the publisher the might make to contrary being true.

      Or, in short, to prove defamation, [citation needed]

    • by lucm (889690)

      I know that defamation suits can be filed (and sometimes even won) even if the information being published is true (if it's false, then one could further sue for libel) but it's my understanding that in the case where the published information is true, the onus is on the person who is suing to show that the *intent* of the publishers was to actually defame them... which of course is quite difficult to do in court. They would have to, using factual evidence, show how it was somehow considerably more probable that there was actually any malicious intent on the publisher's part than any claim the publisher the might make to contrary being true. Unless the publishers actually confess that this is the case, this will not be easy... no matter how good their lawyers are.

      All wrong. Defamation means that the information is false. Libel means written defamation (it's slander when spoken). And since this is civil law, intent is not relevant, only alleged damages.

      I didn't noticed if the lawsuit takes place in US or Canadian jurisdiction but it's basically the same rules in both countries on this kind of civil matter.

      • Re:But is it false? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sg_oneill (159032) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @03:17AM (#47313055)

        Defamation means that the information is false.

        No, it refers to speech that unfairly harms the reputation of someone. Truth is a *defence*, but its not the same thing.

        In most countries a statement being true is usually enough for the complaint not to stick but often a truth being used in a deceptive way can also qualify as defamation. Conversely often "Genuinely held belief" can be a defence for it (although often couple with an injunction to fix the error)

        Heres an example. Lets say Barack Obama has Asthma. I dont know if he does, but lets just pretend for the sake of this example. Lets also say that he really doesn't listen to his doctor and instead of using a preventitive he instead huffs on a ventolin puffer all day. Its something doctors consider poor asthma management and even counterproductive.

        Now heres a defamatory statement: Barack Obama abuses drugs. Assuming the "puffs ventolin all day" fact is true, then this statement is true.

        But its also defamatory, because a "reasonable person" (the usual standard in law) would deduce from the he's smoking blunts and blowing lines of coke. In other words I've unfairly hurt his reputation and created a false representation by telling the truth. And in Britain, and many other countries that would be defamation. But in the US? Judge probably won't even hear the case.

        • Re:But is it false? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by crossmr (957846) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:52AM (#47313301) Journal

          They should be glad they aren't in South Korea.
          After moving here and giving the laws a good read, it's quite interesting.

          Truth isn't a defense here. Simply saying something negative about someone is sufficient for defamation, and the only defense is "public interest". If you can prove it was in the public's best interest to know that information you're okay.

          Further defamation is part of criminal law here. 2 years for defaming someone with a true statement, 5 years for a false statement. There is a separate law for defaming the dead with a false statement.

          Korea also has public insult laws on the books. So if you insult someone publicly so that others can hear it, that's also a criminal offence.

          To a certain extent, the laws are somewhat interesting. they have a "keep your nose in your own business" kind of quality about them. I'm not sure what would happen to a thing like wikipedia if it was hosted here.

          • by Lennie (16154)

            If you think where it is hosted makes any difference, then you would be wrong.

            The person that starts the lawsuit can basically pick any country he likes out of at least these jurisdictions and more:
            - where it is hosted
            - where the domainname was registered
            - where the domainname is hosted
            - the country of the country top level domain: .to anyone ?
            - the country of the person or company being sued
            - the country of the person or company that is suing
            - whatever ever else you can think off.

            These can all be different

          • by bsolar (1176767)
            It' not something that uncommon, Italy has basically the same situation: truth can be used as defense only in very specific cases. The idea is protecting "honourability", so whether you are telling the truth or not doesn't matter. The fundamental question is whether your main intent is to harm someone's honourability, no matter the validity of your claims.
    • by BrookHarty (9119)

      If he tried to use the wikipedia procedures to correct some information and the editors would put the false facts back in, sounds like text book libel. If someone keeps fighting him on corrected information that sounds malicious to me...

      Anything to make wikipedia factual and not opinion of a few editors is good, sad it takes a lawsuit. Too many editors are using wikipedia as a political tool and not an encyclopedia. I have no love lost for the shenanigans going on over there by some editors.

      • Re:But is it false? (Score:5, Informative)

        by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:46AM (#47313285)

        There's nothing in the Wikipedia article that hasn't been printed in the press about Barry. And the page is actually pretty tame compared to what they could add. (Putting fake clients on the website for his fake-meat company, for example. His phony "nominations" for a Nobel Peace Prize. Etc. None of those things are mentioned in the article, yet they meet Wikipedia citation standards.)

        • Re:But is it false? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @09:28AM (#47314371)

          There's nothing in the Wikipedia article that hasn't been printed in the press about Barry.

          That isn't the standard for determining libel. In the U.S., the standard (for public figures, presumably would apply to Wikipedia entries) is that the information is published with actual malice [wikipedia.org], which, contrary to the term's name, does not legally require malicious intent. Instead, it only requires that those who published the information knew the information was false OR published it "with reckless disregard" for whether the information was true or false.

          In other words, if a media story appeared in the past that accidentally included false or misleading information (which was later corrected or clarified), but Wikipedia's editors insisted on RE-publishing the false information without regard to whether it was true or false (and did so in a reckless or deliberate fashion), they could be guilty of libel... even if the information had previously appeared in another source.

          Further, even if the information is TRUE, it is also possible for a suit to be brought under a false light [wikipedia.org] tort, particularly if true information is taken out of context to make it deliberately misleading. (Also, the implications must be "highly offensive" to a reasonable person.) Many courts look less kindly on false light suits than in the past, but it still can be relevant in some cases.

          I don't know whether either of these is likely in this particular case, but just because someone else has said something about someone in the past doesn't mean you can always publish it without any consequences in the future.

          • I was replying to a comment that strongly implied that the four editors were violating Wikipedia's own policies, and "it took a lawsuit" to expose them. On the contrary, everything the tried to put in the article seems to meet Wiki guidelines. And rather than malicious intent, they seem to have been "fighting the good fight" against attempts by sockpuppets to whitewash the article on behalf of Yank Barry.

            As for the libel case itself, can you point to anything that suggests the editors "insisted on RE-publis

        • by nbauman (624611)

          That's right. I read the legal papers and the talk archives of the Yank Barry article. It all seems to be well-documented with reliable sources like the Globe & Mail. It meets the Wikipedia Biographies of Living Persons standards. If it didn't Yank Barry could have complained and some admin would have come along and deleted it.

          I didn't even see anything on the Talk pages saying, "I'm Yank Barry and you got this wrong." I did see a lot of apparent sock puppets and Yank Barry fanboys arguing that the arti

  • Because to find about him, I'd naturally go to his Wiki page, which he alleges paints a wrong picture of him. I don't know anything about this person, so it would be good to hear from experienced commentators what the fuss is all about.
    • by SeaFox (739806) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:31AM (#47312883)

      I suspect he isn't half as famous as he thinks he is, and wants to blame Wikipedia for the lack of business opportunities banging down his door.

    • by Panoptes (1041206)
      My first reaction to this Wikipedia entry is that it's well (and very carefully) written; the content is supported by 29 detailed references to mostly legal and media sources. I cannot see any reasonable peg for Barry or his legal advisors to hang a lawsuit on. An accusation of bias would, I think, be problematic - several celebrities who like and respect him are mentioned (and quoted) at the beginning of the entry, without editorial comment.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @03:35AM (#47313105)

        That's what it looks like today -- after months of editwarring, followed by 2+ weeks of people trying to "fix" it, because of the bad publicity brought by the lawsuit.

        On 7 May, it looked like this [wikipedia.org].
        On 15 March, this [wikipedia.org] is how it looked.
        All because of the four people Barry is now suing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I see nothing in those prior versions that justifies a lawsuit either. The current version is certainly better written, and contains a few more of the accusations against him (such as conning celebrities), but there's nothing in any of the three that justifies a lawsuit.

          Given what's written in some of those cited newspaper articles, the WP article (and the two you link to) is quite tame.

        • by nbauman (624611)

          All the information in those two entries is well-sourced and legitimate comment.

          According to the Texas Supreme Court, "VitaPro did not fare well with the TDCJ staff or inmates. In its motion for summary judgment, TDCJ presented evidence that the frequent serving of VitaPro demoralized the staff and inmates and led to adverse health effects, including rampant flatulence."[

          That seems like legitimate information, sourced to a Texas Supreme Court decision.

  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:36AM (#47312899) Homepage

    Reading the Wikipedia article, it doesn't seem all that negative.
    There are some negative details in there, but these are simple facts, stated in a short and factual manner.
    If you don't want people to know of your extortion practices, then either don't extort people or do a better job at it so you don't get convicted for it in a public court.

    • by lucm (889690)

      If you don't want people to know of your extortion practices, then either don't extort people or do a better job at it so you don't get convicted for it in a public court.

      Maybe you should have posted that as an AC...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gavron (1300111)

      ...don't get convicted for it...

      If you read the original article... the daily dot says "Collins and Barry were acquitted in 2005, the AP added."
      If you read the AP article the headline "Former Prisons Chief, Viapro Exec Acquitted" gives you a clue that
      the content includes "A federal judge acquitted a former Texas prisons chief and a Canadian businessman..."

      Acquitted is LIKE convicted only just the exact opposite.

      E

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Try again. He was convicted then acquitted of bribery . He was convicted and served time for extortion . Two different cases.

        Reading comprehension is like stupidity, only just the exact opposite.

    • RTFA (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Once again......

      That's what it looks like today -- after months of editwarring, followed by 2+ weeks of people trying to "fix" it, because of the bad publicity brought by the lawsuit.

      Use the "History" tab yourself. It was an ugly war, and no one else noticed it until Barry made legal threats.

      And oh, BTW, Wikipediocracy people discovered [wikipediocracy.com] that a couple of the guys trying to attack Barry had also been doing COI editing of other Wikipedia articles. In addition, UC Berkeley's "official Wikipedian-In-Residence" K

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

      by kactusotp (2709311) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:18AM (#47313231)
      Well digging through some of the other pages I image it is stuff like this that he objects to http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde... [wikipedia.org]
    • by quantaman (517394)

      I heard about a guy who went through multiple marriages and divorces, did multiple stints in prison, and eventually got some political offices.

      I'm naturally talking about Nelson Mandela.

      Even if the facts are true and presented impartially the selection of which facts to present or emphasize can give an inaccurate total picture.

      I don't know enough about libel law or the guy in question to know if the case is legit, but you seem to have already formed an opinion of him as a scam artist based on the Wikipedia

  • by Alef (605149) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @02:37AM (#47312905)
    Obvious campaign slogan for his pursuit: "Yank Barry from Wikipedia!"
    • by lucm (889690)

      Obvious campaign slogan for his pursuit: "Yank Barry from Wikipedia!"

      Don't quit your day job... unless you're a comedian!

  • by Camembert (2891457) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @03:03AM (#47313013)
    In principle, I can imagine that wilfully wrong wikipedia information can ruin someone's business and career opportunities, and in that case a defamation suit seems appropriate, very similar to spreading defamation through other publication channels. Wikipedia, as much as I love it, should not be above the standards by which books or magazines are judged.
    However, in this case, if the negative information checks out true (and there are plenty of references), such as the convictions he received, then there is no good reason for him to sue. If he weren't convicted, it would not be in the article. As others have mentioned he should rather look up "Streisand Effect" before sueing.
    • Well, well, well, I don't suppose you're really Lee "Camembert [wikipedia.org]" Pilich, one of Wikipedia's earliest administrators and arbitrators, are you?

      If so, why did you more-or-less give up on Wikipedia in 2010? Did you finally realize that Jimbo Wales wasn't an "Internet Hero" or some bullshit like that, and that he had installed some very dishonest people in the admin ranks, and thence at the WMF? When did it dawn upon you that Wikipedia was declining?
    • You do know that he was acquitted on appeal in 2005 don't you? Or did you read the WP page and get a false impression. There maybe 100 links to references about legal issues, but if you keep deleting the final outcome ...
  • This is brilliant!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by snero3 (610114) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @03:10AM (#47313029) Homepage
    " I made a deal with God that whatever I save in tax, I give to kids.”[16]" I nearly chocked when I read that.
  • So, are you saying that the Wikipedia article on Metal Alloys is all Lies too? Say it ain't so...
  • Progress (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bazman (4849) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @03:44AM (#47313137) Journal

    He's suing the editors, the people who wrote the stuff. A few years back, people would have sued wikipedia for showing the page, the hosting company for hosting the page, the company that maintain the DNS record for WIkipedia and Dell (or whoever) for running the site on their servers.

    Not really news.

    • Re:Progress (Score:5, Interesting)

      by retroworks (652802) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @04:16AM (#47313225) Homepage Journal

      Agreed. I have no problem with Wikipedia editors being sued. I recently ran across a Wikipedia biography of El Salvador ex-presidente Jose Napolean Duarte which was written atrociously, basically accusing him of being a dictator behind a military coup. I corrected the article, noting he was actually popularly elected (a mayor of San Salvador, not a military coup leader), ousted in a coup, and then brought back in a counter coup, and then again popularly elected. Had to repost it twice, it kept getting "reverted" (it did get fixed but someone has since added "His military regime is noted for large-scale human rights abuses and massacres amongst the civilian population, supported by the Reagan Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency" to the first paragraph). Sure, Duarte was criticized for accepting the invitation of the second coup, but most people feel the human rights abuses were the work of the first junta and those opposed to the Salvadoran land reforms proposed by Duarte. But who has time to fight an idiot editor?

      This could get modded "off topic", I guess, but IMHO Wikipedia should encourage defamation lawsuits against its volunteer editors. The main problem is that people with extremely hostile views edit more perniciously, and moderate editors don't have time to fight about it. Unfortunately, that's a remedy of the rich, not for people who don't have the means to sue for defamation.

  • Maybe he should move to Europe and ask Google to remove his wikipedia entry from the search results (Right to be forgotten)
  • I have given up contributing to Wikipedia. My contributions are invariably reversed by an editor. Collectively, editors seem to spend their time annotating pages with [who?], [reference needed], etc, but then they revert any attempt to fill in the missing information.

  • I'm really curious if this guy is a legitimate businessman with a valid suit or some shady character trying to whitewash his reputation.

    *goes to check his bio on Wikipedia*

    Whoa! That guy looks pretty shady! The lawsuit must be a scam!!

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @05:11AM (#47313335)

    Yank Barry is a fucking asshole, and the "Global Village Champions Foundation" is a bunch of retarded morons.

    You may quote this entry on Wikipedia in case you need a citation.

  • by Andover Chick (1859494) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @08:51AM (#47314117)
    Non-profits are being used more and more as to either promote for-profit causes or enrich non-profit executives. This is why major non-profits and college presidents are earning million dollar plus compensation. Global Village Champions sounds like a perfect example of this. Separately, Yank Barry is a convict who did prison time for extortion, now he's trying to use his muscle on Wiki volunteers. How pretty of a picture does he expect?
  • by McGruber (1417641) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @09:29AM (#47314377)

    An April 15, 2012 National Post newspaper article by Joe O'Connor:

    The world according to Yank: Montrealer with checkered past gets Nobel nod, or does he? [nationalpost.com]

    Mr. Barry is never far from the spotlight. He was the focus of a 4,000-word investigative report by the Montreal Gazette in October 1998.

    The front page article delved into Global Village Market, a company through which he was selling VitaPro, and one he marketed to potential investors with the help of the motto: “doing well by doing good.”

    Mr. Barry’s pitch, backed by some celebrity punch, reportedly sold investors on the notion that the more money the company made the more food he would distribute to the needy.

    Celine Dion was one of the celebrities involved. She was led to believe that she was endorsing a humanitarian mission to Africa led by Mr. Ali, and engineered by Yank Barry. She taped a message trumpeting her support for a purely philanthropic cause. Said message, in audiotape form was then, unbeknownst to Ms. Dion, reportedly used by Mr. Barry as part of his promotional material selling investment units in Global Village Market, a for-profit business.

    Cracks appeared early in the enterprise. Promises of philanthropy dried up. Investors lost everything and several lodged complaints against Mr. Barry with the Quebec Securities Commission. The securities regulator did not sanction Mr. Barry, though the entire episode lingers as a sore spot for many, including Celine Dion.

    Her image still appears on the Global Village Champions Foundation website, a presence that irks Paul-Andre Martel, the Montreal lawyer representing the famous singer and husband, Rene Angelil.

    “My clients have absolutely no involvement with Mr. Barry or his organization,” Mr. Martel said. “What we think is that Mr. Barry is using the name and the fame of people that have spent time with Mr. Ali over the years.”

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @10:30AM (#47314775)
    It generally isn't a positive indication of how wholesome and wonderful a person you are when you sue one of the greatest achievements of the internet. If twitter, facebook, yelp, and even slashdot went away, there would be a loss but the loss of Wikipedia would be an epic loss for the internet.

    Also it is not the threat of a win that is a problem but Wikipedia's budget could be trashed by even just fighting a suit like this. So I hope that this guy gets horrifically Barbara Streisand'd to show that the cost to his reputation for suing Wikipedia will far exceed whatever gains he hopes to have.

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