Tech Dirt’s EMAIL Libel Case Dismissed

Posted by at 1:08 pm on September 7, 2017

A US judge has dismissed a libel case that revolved around one man’s claim to have invented email in 1978.

Shiva Ayyadurai sued news website Tech Dirt earlier this year after it published several articles denying his claim.

The judge overseeing the case said email was impossible to define precisely, meaning Mr Ayyadurai’s claim could not be proven.

Mr Ayyadurai said he planned to appeal against the decision,

Mr Ayyadurai’s controversial claim revolves around a program he wrote in 1978, called EMAIL, that was used by staff at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He was granted a copyright for this program in 1982.

Mr Ayyadurai said Tech Dirt had libelled him, caused emotional distress and harmed his ability to make money from his accomplishment. He sought $15m  in damages.

The judge disagreed and said in his ruling that because the history of email was in doubt, questioning Mr Ayyadurai’s claim to be its inventor was not libellous.

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