Judge Franklin R. Taft has issued a tentative decision denying Ml-implode's (defendents Aaron Krowne and Krowne Concepts, Inc.) motion to strike Loan Center of California's suit according to California's "Anti-SLAPP" statute.

The public-concern argument is affirmed; however, Judge Taft believes "much of the information is in the defendent's own words", and do not constitute "an index".

We find this ruling disappointing—and frankly, puzzling. Simply examining the record of the web page at the time of the alleged offense (see below) reveals that the specific "post" regarding LCC consisted of the submitted email, verbatim, and two sentences, which simply declared the anonymous source and the verbatim nature of the content.

We are also disappointed that the Judge, like LCC, has chosen to ignore the explanation and disclaimer on the "imploded" list, which was given directly adjacent to the LCC entry.

We believe that LCC and the court are confused regarding other terms on the page, such as "defunct" and "kaput". These terms were clearly not associated with LCC in specific, were given no technical definition, and were thus part-in-parcel with the satirical elements of the web site.

Documents relevant to the above developments in the case are as follows:

Our previous press release regarding the case is here .

If not reversed, this ruling will cause the case to proceed to litigation. Not only will this be an expensive prospect for both parties, but the failure to appropriately apply Anti-SLAPP could have chilling effects on similar internet commentary sites and discussion fora . Major corporations could interpret this as "open season" on bloggers and other conversants who criticize their companies (irrespective of merit).

Many have made donations to support us in fighting this case. We thank them sincerely. However, the donations (about $2,000 as of this writing) cover only about one-seventh of our legal costs for June alone. We estimate that costs since then will take the total to near $20,000. Further, if this case proceeds to litigation and trial, as now appears likely, our costs could push past $50,000. This is shaping up to be a critical case for free speech. We can only afford to fight one battle at a time, so we urgently need your help to deal with this additional one!

—Aaron Krowne, July 26th, 2007

(for Krowne Concepts, Inc., and ml-implode.com.)

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