Blogger vs. Alleged Cult Case Ends in Favorable Settlement

The precedent-setting trade infringement case that pitted a spiritual non-profit against two anonymous bloggers has finally reached a settlement, though the bloggers are calling it a victory. It began two years ago, when Art of Living Foundation subpoenaed the identities of two bloggers who claimed to have defected from the organization, and were now calling it a “cult.” In its complaint, Art of Living accused John Does Klim and Skywalker of disclosing the organization’s trade secrets, since Skywalker had published several documents and manuals on his site in order to prove they were a sham. Many free speech analysts — including lawyer Matt Zimmerman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation — say the organization used trade infringement as a legal avenue to suppress the bloggers’ free speech, since it didn’t actually have a foolproof libel case.

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