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HardOCP Sues Infinium Over Legal Threats 326

Posted by simoniker
from the fun-fun-fun dept.
Cebu writes "According to GameSpot, in a less than surprising move, Kyle Bennett of tech website HardOCP has decided to file a lawsuit against Infinium Labs, makers of the forthcoming Phantom PC-based 'console'. On February 27, a lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division under the Declaratory Judgment Act to force the issue of Infinium Labs' repeated legal threats against HardOCP for an allegedly defamatory article written last year."
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HardOCP Sues Infinium Over Legal Threats

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  • Lawyer Central? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:43PM (#8459504) Journal
    Has /. become a place where the geeks talk law?
    • by gatesh8r (182908) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:45PM (#8459523)
      Slashdot has now become... Grokdot! (er... well we could make it Slashlaw, but...)
      • Slashlaw would make more sense, anyway...
    • I think it's slow news day stuff. Some company is always suing some other company, so it's not hard to fill the gaps with lawsuit news. Personally I find these stories the least interesting part of Slashdot.
    • Re:Lawyer Central? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@uberm00. n e t> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:01PM (#8459650) Homepage Journal
      This isn't about law, it's about RIGHTS. I think most of us don't care (too much) about the particulars of the lawsuit but DO care that Infinium Labs is trying to silence HardOCP.com for posting a well-researched article that happens to go against what Infinium wants people to think about them.

      I think the point is that the truth is more important than an company's PR issues.
      • Re:Lawyer Central? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by August_zero (654282) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:35PM (#8459853)
        Couldn't have said it better myself really.

        Though infinium is a joke, the practice of using legal threats to silence bad press is something that is becoming more and more popular. I for one am glad that someone is playing hardball with them.

        I really look forward to watching Infinium go down the toilet, I think when the dirt surfaces its going to be some funny stuff, like Enron, only instead of a gigantic corporation it will be happening to a make-believe company run by elves and faeries. I can already see them circling the drain...
    • Re:Lawyer Central? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slycer (161341)
      There's always been articles like this, and, imo, always *should*..

      However, they *should* fall under the YRO category and not gaming.. this has a weak weak link to gaming in any regards (I mean, who REALLY believes that Infinium is coming out??).

    • It's just that litigation is shaping the implementation of technology in an unfavorable way. Especially in the name of consumer rights and innovation in the tech sector.

    • by krusadr (679804) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:38PM (#8459869)
      Oh come on, this is SPORTS for geeks.
  • by Dr Reducto (665121) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:43PM (#8459511) Journal
    Last night, I posted, and got flamed to a crisp for supporting Infinium Labs. People were posting my "Home Address" by looking at a review from 2000 and looking in the area for the name in my email address (BTW, way to go on noticing the date. You got the area of Maryland a little bit off because of that.). I know Infinium is a laughing stock among the Slashdot crowd, but here is what I have to say.

    I think this has gone a little bit too far. HardOCP posted an article that was quite misleading. I don't think they they maliciously *lied*, but definitely misled it's readers. I personnally don't feel it warrants a Libel case, however, it goes without saying: I am not a lawyer! Infinium sent the letter saying that it didn't like the article and was going to sue, and then HardOCp decided to escalate by countersueing. I bet that HardOCP could have let the "lawsuit" slide and an out of court settlement would have happened, if anything. Now there WILL be a messy legal battle.

    Additionally, I don't see how hard it is to believe in the Phantom's existence. It's just a small form factor PC tied to a VPN which is the only way to purchase games. Yes, it has VERY powerful DRM, and is Microsoft's TCPA wet-dream. If the back-end didn't come together, Infinium could still make a killing selling complete systems that compete in price with the Shuttle barebones kits. It's standard PC hardware, with a few custom add-ons to integrate the hardware&softwaresides of the DRM scheme.

    [Disclaimer: Views expressed are my own and not necessarily representative of those of Infinium Labs]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:52PM (#8459573)
      HardOCP posted an article that was quite misleading. I don't think they they maliciously *lied*, but definitely misled it's readers.

      On what points exactly do you feel that HardOCP misled their readers?

      Infinium sent the letter saying that it didn't like the article and was going to sue, and then HardOCp decided to escalate by countersueing.

      They didn't escalate, they just called Infinium's bluff. If I'm reading the news right, the legal action here concerns solely the matters that Infinium's original threats of legal action were based on. There is no escalation here at all, they've just moved the venue of discussion.

      It's standard PC hardware, with a few custom add-ons to integrate the hardware&softwaresides of the DRM scheme.

      I believe when people say the infinium doesn't exist they mean that the custom add-ons don't exist or do not have substance. I don't think anyone believes that Infinium doesn't have PC hardware.

      However I also think most people who've looked closely at what Infinium is saying believe that in the screenshot Infinium distributed where there's the kid playing Quake 3 on a TV with a phantom sitting in front of it, that you're looking at any sort of actual product Infinium has or will have.
    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:54PM (#8459595)
      I agree that neither side is coming into the dispute with clean hands here. HardOCP's first edition of the article was not perfect, even they admited that there were several points that needed to be retracted. However, HardOCP handled their mistakes gracefully by retracting what they were proven wrong on.

      Infinium thought they had weak prey, so they overreached and added a few threats that they wouldn't be able to follow through on either. They might have even been hoping that they could scare HardOCP into shutting down completely.

      It's hard to run a news organization of any kind without at least having a laywer within reach. Whenever you say bad things about businesses, you'll eventually run into somebody who thinks thye have more lawyers than you can ever afford...

      • Shut HardOCP down completely? Do you know how large the readership is??? How much money is involved? It would take a lot to get Kyle to flip the switch and turn HardOCP off... a hell of a lot...
      • by black mariah (654971) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:08AM (#8460051)
        Yes, by retracting some ambiguous statements and replacing them with some quite specific statements that basically were even more annoying than the originals, and completely in line with what Infinium was demanding.

        Notice how Infinium hasn't bothered to call Penny Arcade on their numerous articles on the Phantom. They probably know how big PA was and don't want to fuck with them. They probably had no clue about HardOCP and figured they'd be an easy target. Good guess, but wrong.
        • Actually, my guess is that they're underestimating the impact of PA. Since PA is basically talking smack, and HardOCP is talking facts, they're more worried about the effects on investors from actual dirt being dug up. Investors are unlikely to be swayed by PA's implications that Infinium's CEO is on LSD or kills dogs to orgasm, while the HardOCP article would make them look very hard at where they were going to put their money.

          On a side note, PA has been talking about going out to actually see the Phan
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:57PM (#8459615) Homepage
      I disagree. I think that at the time HardOCP did a great job. And for quite a while many here on /. (and elsewhere) have thought that the phantom was just... aptly named.

      That said, while I am still quite scepticle of the whole thing, I have to admit I no longer think the console is just vaporware. Between the press demo they did a few months ago for a few select members of the press (which at least had photos of the thing), to fact that they will have an 8,000 square foot booth [gamedaily.com] at E3 I think this might not be vaporware. It could still fail miserably and be nothing like they've promised, but at least they seem to be doing more than saying "we have a great console, we'll prove it later" like they did for so long.

      The proof is in the pudding. Nintendo's DS, the Phantom, and more are going to be shown at E3. It should be very intersting.

      And let's face it. Suing someone priting facts about you that don't look good more than a year after they were posted (and when you still haven't shown any real proof to anyone yet) just doesn't look good for your company.

      • by djrogers (153854) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:33PM (#8459842)
        Uhh, the link says that they will be 'setting up shop in' an 8000 sq ft section of a hall, not that the whole 8000 sq ft will be theirs! An 80x100ft booth at ANY trade show would be outrageous for all but the largest of companies... Shoot, does Infinium even have anough employees to man a booth that size?
      • by smcn (87571) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:43AM (#8460230)
        they will have an 8,000 square foot booth at E3

        You can find a layout of their booth here [penny-arcade.com]
    • by screwballicus (313964) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:58PM (#8459617)
      I bet that HardOCP could have let the "lawsuit" slide and an out of court settlement would have happened, if anything. Now there WILL be a messy legal battle.

      Well of course they could have settled on this attrocious claim. And that might perhaps be judged the reasonable thing to do, if concessions to outrageous litigiousness simply because it's litigious are to be the expectation of private bodies in our society. But as of now, many of us still value due process of law over concession to threat. And so be it, that due process of law take its course here.
    • About Your NDA. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DAldredge (2353)
      Doesn't your NDA prohibit you from talking about the product you are testing?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I don't think that goes into effect until they actually send out test units.
    • I bet that HardOCP could have let the "lawsuit" slide and an out of court settlement would have happened, if anything.

      But that would be taking "the easy and cheap way out of this situation," as Kyle Bennett said, and would be "throwing away [HardOCP.com's] credibility." The point of the countersuit is that HardOCP doesn't want to let this thing slide. That should have been pretty obvious when they posted the threatening letters from Infinium on their site.
    • I hope you'll pardon me for saying so, but if you felt "misled" after reading that article then you may have a reading comprehension problem. Whether you do or not, failing to recognize that it is fundamentally wrong for a corporation or individual to attempt to silence a free voice on the Internet is the reason why you got flamed so hard.

      The vocal majority is that way for a good reason. If you find that you have differing or opposing opinions, you should ask yourself why. If you truly feel you're correct

      • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:06AM (#8460032) Homepage
        Personally, I'm glad you got flamed; you deserve it if you spoke out against HardOCP in this issue. As an Internet journalist and writer I think it's of extreme importance that everyone recognize that HardOCP is in the right in this matter according to the facts as they have been presented, and that Infinium Labs was appallingly wrong for doing what they did.

        While I think Infinium labs is wrong, I have to completely disagree with the idea that this guy deserved to be flamed. While you stand up for HardOCP's rights, you encourage people to shout down this guy if they disagree. Why encourage him to think about his position and state it eliquently if you are just going to shout him down when he does so? HE has every right to state his opinion just as HardOCP does. Just as you have every right to disagree. But flaming is not disagreeing, it is badgering, shouting down, and harassing without any intelligent thought. And that is the last thing anyone should be encouraging.
    • I wisely see you have removed your sig.

      Oh wait, you haven't, despite the admission you haven't played anything on a phantom.

      Waspish comments aside, HardOCP do have the perfect right to sue them, and saying "I think this has gone a little bit too far" is rather counter-productive. HardOCP is forcing the issue here and now, to stop what could possibly be endless months of legal threats, with no action. No-one likes legal threats, and the HardOCP team have moved to clear this up.

      The blame lies solely on Inf
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:10PM (#8459711)
      HardOCp decided to escalate by countersueing [sic]

      No, what HardOCP did is file a declaratory lawsuit. This is a lawsuit that forces a court to decide a set of facts once and for all. In this case, the facts under dispute are those in HardOCP's article.

      This is NOT an escalation, it's a resolution.

      Btw, I am a law student.
    • by ChaoticLimbs (597275) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:11PM (#8459714) Journal
      If you ARE a phantom BETA tester I have to ask- Have you received your hardware? Have you played games on the system? What games?
    • Hang on, how did HardOCP mislead their readers? I read the article and now have the distinct impression that the phantom gaming console will remain just that: a phantom. It also appears that IL's claims of having many game developers signed up were at least premature if not completely false. It seems to me that this is exactly what someone should get out of the article and has been supported by independent sources. Malicious or not, Steve, the author, didn't lie as far as I can tell. What IL wants Kyle
    • I think this has gone a little bit too far. HardOCP posted an article that was quite misleading. I don't think they they maliciously *lied*, but definitely misled it's readers.

      Could you be more specific about which parts you found deliberately misleading?

      I read through the letter that Infinium sent HardOCP, and a lot of it was "he said-she said" where essentially Infinium seems to be complaining that they weren't given a chance to rebut points made in the article before it went to virtual "press" -- p

    • Well frankly i disagree. Based on what i saw on the IL site i didn't feel misled by the article at all.
    • I think this has gone a little bit too far. HardOCP posted an article that was quite misleading. I don't think they they maliciously *lied*, but definitely misled it's readers.

      How was it misleading? They got their facts from the Infinium CEO's own documents. Is there anything false in their article?

      I bet that HardOCP could have let the "lawsuit" slide and an out of court settlement would have happened, if anything. Now there WILL be a messy legal battle.

      A wha? An out of court settlement? What
  • Suggestion: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by niko9 (315647) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:43PM (#8459512)
    New section for this website: lawsuits
  • by paulschroeder (757739) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:44PM (#8459513)
    ...or does anyone else think of the organization from Robocop when they read "HardOCP?
    • No, it's not just you.

      DIRECTIVE 1 Serve the public trust

      DIRECTIVE 2 Protect the innocent

      DIRECTIVE 3 Uphold the law

      DIRECTIVE 4 Never oppose an OCP officer.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:44PM (#8459514)
    Word has it that the Infinium console is going to be bundled with Duke Nukem Forever.
  • Holy crap! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trillan (597339) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:45PM (#8459521) Homepage Journal

    Well, that's one way to completely fail to keep legal costs down.

    /me grabs a bag of popcorn and waits for the show...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:45PM (#8459527)
    ...if they want to keep up with HardOCP. Maybe they can put their lawsuit in the form of a cartoon.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:46PM (#8459532) Homepage Journal
    And in order to win, Infinitum Labs has to produce Phantom, that is all great, kicks major ass and generally proves all derogatory articles untrue. Case dismissed, gamers rejoice, console enters trade :)
    • Well not exactly. One would have to refute the claim made in the article at the time it was written. I said in another topic on this subject, i scoured their site and i haven't seen anything that doesn't look like a 3d rendering. Asking for Il to send pictures isn't relevant. hardOCP went on publicly available info.
  • by dirkdidit (550955) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:46PM (#8459535) Homepage
    So apparently nobody's business model revolves around selling anything anymore, just suing the shit out of everything that makes them pissed off?

    First SCO, now Infinium. They should merge and specialize in lawsuits.
  • Penny-Arcade (Score:5, Informative)

    by Digitus1337 (671442) <lk_digitus&hotmail,com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:46PM (#8459536) Homepage
    Penny-Arcade attacked them over this (infinitum); the strip can be seen here [penny-arcade.com]. The CEO also states this [penny-arcade.com] to which Penny-Arcade responded with "So Tim thinks we did that comic strip to get more traffic driven to our site. That's a nice thought Tim but you're way off. You see unlike Infinium Labs and your doomed console, Penny Arcade is successful. How can I say this without sounding like an asshole? Penny Arcade has more readers in a given second than your site will ever have even if it were to sit and rot on the internet until time ends and the universe implodes. Hmmm, I guess I can't. Tim also says we called him to let him know it's all in fun. This again is bullshit. I don't care if he likes the comic or not. I've certainly never called the guy and I have no intention of doing so. Bottom line, the guy is a lying huckster. I guess he figured he could post that on his forum and we'd never see it. This proves he has no concept of how huge PA is. Penny Arcade isn't just a comic and a news post Tim, PA is a community and we have agents everywhere. Chances are they're watching you even now." These guys love to get into this kind of stuff.
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:47PM (#8459538) Homepage
    The way it looked to me they weren't suing them, just asking for a declaratory judgement. I guess it's a kind of lawsuit, but it looked more like HardOCP just telling a judge "These people keep threatening to sue us and it's creating uncertainty. Could you just just decide, let's pretend they'd sued us over the stuff they're threatening to sue over, hypothetically then who would win?". I don't know. i don't really understand it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't know. i don't really understand it.

      Which is why, of course, you have a score of: 5, Informative. Makes perfect sense.
    • by Aerion (705544) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:15PM (#8459734)
      The Declaratory Judgment Act [findlaw.com], under which HardOCP is "suing," allows "any court of the United States, upon the filing of an appropriate pleading, may declare the rights and other legal relations of any interested party seeking such declaration, whether or not further relief is or could be sought."

      Also, "Any such declaration shall have the force and effect of a final judgment or decree and shall be reviewable as such." So even if this isn't technically a "lawsuit," its result will have the same effect as the result of a hypothetical suit against HardOCP.

      (You don't really need to be told that IANAL, do you?)
    • IANAL, but this seems like the only way for HardOCP to counter these legal threats. Note that the letters were written by an Infinium person, not a lawyer. A real lawyer wouldn't make threats like "remove THIS content or I'll sue." No lawyer would ever do it, they'd first write a cease and desist letter, then if no action was taken, they'd sue without further notice. You can't say things like "if you don't do X, I'll sue you." That is barratry, using a threat of lawsuit for extortion. You get disbarred for
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:47PM (#8459539)
    A little quick googling on the term Storm &Hemingway [google.com] reveals that the law firms primary business is usually on the plantiff's side of copyright and trademark disputes... they're the guys who go after those who are infringing.

    Nice to see that they can take a /. friendly position too...
    • by Amarok.Org (514102) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:01PM (#8459651)
      It's not such a strange move... if you're afraid that a particular firm might get used against you, you engage their services first. You prevent your opponent from being able to use them, as no firm can represent both sides in a dispute (it's just a minor conflict of interest).
      • Saying that it isn't a strange move is an understatement--large corps regularly retain counsel simply to monopolize the availability of the best firms. On the up side, that every large corp is attempting this tends to fragment the law firms--if Ford has a firm on retainer, then somebody else can hire that firm to fight Toyota, and vise versa. So the little guy isn't completely screwed, unless you'd like to sue an entire industry. But if you have that many enemies, you're SOL anyway...
    • Nice to see that they can take a /. friendly position too...

      Think more along the lines of a 'money friendly position'. They specialize in copyright and trademark disputes, so they get hired by people who want to sue people. No reason they can't defend.

      --Dan
  • After reading about SCO in the last news post, I can't help but be glad to see the idiot get the working end of the legal stick for a change.
  • Good job HardOCP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimbosworldorg (615112) <slashdotNO@SPAMjimbosworld.org> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:49PM (#8459553) Homepage
    I'm glad HardOCP is putting their money right where their mouth is. I'm sick and tired of seeing people back fearfully away from any jackass with a lawyer.

    After all, failure to stand up to legal badgering is exactly WHY we're such a litigious society today - because of the payoff.

  • Jimbo Jones: You let me down, man. Now I don't believe in nothing no more. I'm going to law school.

    Homer: Noooo!
  • by CovertBeaver (590749) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:53PM (#8459585)
    I think Infinium should be more worried about what the SPCA will have to say about this. [penny-arcade.com]
  • by phr2 (545169) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:54PM (#8459593)
    California does, so if this suit had happened there, HardOCP would be in a position to collect money damages, from what I understand. (SLAPP = Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, when someone exercises First Amendment rights and you sue them to intimidate them into shutting up).

    California Anti-SLAPP Project [casp.net]

  • by amuro98 (461673) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:56PM (#8459607)
    As SCO has shown us, when you can't make money by producing useful products, you can always make money by suing people.

    The article that Inifium is annoyed at is over a year old now. Wasn't Infium's Phantom supposed to have already hit the market by now?

    If anything, HardOCP's article should act as a warning to investors that infinium is just a scam.
    • As SCO has shown us, when you can't make money by producing useful products, you can always make money by suing people. Wouldn't they have to actually collect some of that money to show us that? Lawyering 101: don't sue anybody that doesn't have enough money to make it worthwhile. I once got sued for $500,000. I drove to court in my old, beat up motorhome, showed to the plaintiff's lawyer, told him "See that? I live in that. It's my only asset. You can try to take it away from me, but I owe far more on it
  • by cryptor3 (572787) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:08PM (#8459691) Journal
    Documents were served to Infinium Labs representatives in Florida yesterday.

    Wait, they found an address and someone to serve the papers to? Looks like Infinium Labs is making progress...

    • by Lando (9348) <lando2+slash.gmail@com> on Thursday March 04, 2004 @02:56AM (#8460816) Homepage Journal
      Not really making progress. They are a public company now due to some waving of stocks at the end of 2003, acquiring some guy's consulting firm.

      So they have had to have a viable business address to get the paperwork filed..

      Anyway... I find it interesting reading the SEC filings that their whole concept comes down to a VPN to deliver content which they haven't started on yet.

      Reading the latest reviews, where they actually show a box... Nice packaging, but couple of thoughts... If they are running a vpn and drm why do they need to communicate with ssl? Additional thoughts abound as to how long they expect their ssl encryption to be valid as one side the the communication is compromised...

      Shrug, must be one of those things like the sealed unit the console comes in. It's impossible to take the plastic appart to get at the insides... right?

      Anyway, all smoke and mirrors so far. I like how they have $5000 stock, no incoming capital, yet set the value of the stock to 5000 times it's starting price and run a 4 to 1 split on all outstanding stock... wow, instead of $5k they are now worth a cool $25 million... Oh and they say their chief competitors are xbox, nintendo and sony. Somehow I doubt even if they did have $25 million they could compete head to head with their competition...

      Just goes to show what I know about business... I always thought it was about trying to make a product which you then sold to make money.

  • by Roger Keith Barrett (712843) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:11PM (#8459712)
    I propose a reason for the decline of relevance of US: the amount of money used going for lawsuits (defending against bad claims and making those bad claims) vs. the amount of money that goes to new developing new ideas. so... basically, it's asshole businessmen and CEOs that see a better living from the civil law system than actually thinking themselves. Maybe if all this effort was refocused all these WELL TRAINED tech people would actually have a job. Time to expire ALL of tort law and begin again...
    • I propose a reason for the decline of relevance of US: the amount of money used going for lawsuits (defending against bad claims and making those bad claims)vs. the amount of money that goes to new developing new ideas

      a) what decline, and b) what operation are you trying to perform with the two variables?

      Time to expire ALL of tort law and begin again...

      So we should throw out 900 years of legal development because you don't like some of the people who file lawsuits?
  • by DangerSteel (749051) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:13PM (#8459726)
    I was on the Infinium/Phantom forums last week checking out what people were saying about HardOCP and what kind of games they hope come out and how they can't wait to order thier unit online starting March 31st. I tried to go to the forums today to see what new they had to say about the HardOCP lawsuit. And guess what?

    Thier forums are "down for maintenance" I guess that makes sense, they must need the hard drive in that server for the Phantom unit they will demo at E3 coming up. Well I sure hope after E3 they put the forum drive back in thier server !

  • by mobiux (118006) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:20PM (#8459769)
  • by krusadr (679804) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:41PM (#8459884)
    Ooooooh SCO.

    You are so in the shit.

    • But surely that's a good point. Quoting the article:

      In a press release soon to be made public, lawyers representing KB Networks (the Bennett-founded entity that owns HardOCP), refers to the suit as one based on a legal statue commonly referred to as the "Declaratory Judgment Act." HardOCP lawyers explain the act as one that "permits a person or entity being threatened with lawsuits from another party to force the issue to be decided, rather than having to operate under a cloud of uncertainty and intimida
  • by IgD (232964) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:41PM (#8459885)
    Shortly after this fiasco began, IL took their forums offline. One guy wrote he was a millionaire investor and wanted to tour IL so he could vouch for their credibility. Others questioned the lawsuit and asked specifically what was wrong with the HardOCP article. I don't think anyone ever got a meaningful reply. The former forums can be found at http://forum.phantom.net. All that is there now is a message that reads "We will be re-launching the forums soon. Down for maintainance, we are upgrading to new software and adding more features. Admin."
  • by Lunabean (758377) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:45PM (#8459910)
    I shared a few of my thoughts on the other Infinium Labs post, but as the day has gone on, I've thought more about it and have a few more questions.

    Now, as I understand libel, for the case to stand, two things need to be proven. First, the accused deliberately lied. Second, the accuser needs proof that they were damaged by said lies. Now, the first is hard enough to prove. I, personally, don't think HardOCP set out to mislead and lie in their article, but I could see how that could be debated. However, I don't think Infinium Labs has an iota of a chance proving HardOCP's article, published five months ago, has hurt their company. Infinium Labs doesn't even have a product on the market yet, and, as someone else pointed out, type in "Phantom Console" into Google and you'll find several slams on the company.

    If Infinium Labs doesn't get launch that it expects, they only have themselves and their sketchy business practices to blame. They are an enigma wrapped in a puzzle drizzled with secret sauce. They created the atmosphere for speculation...and people began to speculate.

    Now, I'm not someone who plans on linking to my site with every post I make here, but, again, I am linking to the message that was posted on my forums yesterday. It is a copy of the e-mail sent to HardOCP, before HardOCP made it public.

    I checked the e-mail of the poster, which began with "twcbinc". I Googled that and it led me to a user at the Console Gamer Network [ocgn.com]. The user's e-mail at the Network was timr@phantom.net. Now, this didn't mean much, but it was interesting. A mod on my boards also found the post odd and traced the IP to Infinium Labs.

    Now, I'm not saying this is illegal, or even bad, but I think it's sketchy, to say the least...and I think acts like this pretty much destroy any libel case they may have. Infinium Labs is hurting themselves with every step they make...and I think any judge who looks at their tactics and history will see that. Here's the link to the post on my boards: http://www.lunabean.com/forums/index.php?showtopic =2428 [lunabean.com]

  • by Satan's Librarian (581495) * <mike@codevis.com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:50PM (#8459943) Homepage
    Kinda funny, Phantom registered "Built by Gamers, for Gamers" - there's a "tm" at the end of the product sheet [phantom.net] on their site. Apparently, it actually is registered [uspto.gov], too.

    But, seems like that's a pretty [wiredlabs.com] common [rainhosting.com] phrase [cybereps.com] in the [xtreme-solutions.com] industry [zeuspc.com] and has [themultiplayer.com] been [ideazon.com] so for years [microsoft.com]....

    Hell, it's even used to refer to [H]ard|OCP's own RatPadz [thetechzone.com].

    A poster above suggested a new section on Slashdot for lawsuits... I think that's a great idea. SCO's newsworthy lawsuits may be dying out finally, but Phantom might keep the section viable for a year by itself. Especially if that "Pre-Order" link starts working and consumers get suckered as well as investors, or if they decide to defend their *cough* "Intellectual Property" *cough* by suing half the gaming industry for trademark infringement.

    Wonder if that's where they hope to make a profit?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:09AM (#8460055)
    Dear Friends,

    When I first heard about Infinium I was curious myself, especially since it's hq is my hometown. After reading the original article, I too drove down to longboat key and saw the supposed "hq" which indeed fit the description in the article. Shortly thereafter, they did acquire some very nice rental space on main st. I haven't been in the building, but rent is definitely not cheap in this area.

    The local paper has had a number of articles about Infinium and they might be of interest. You can find them at www.heraldtribune.com.

    I too looked for info on the founder, and his own resume which I found published on the Internet did indeed make him seem like a shady, take your money and run type. The fact that he lives on Longboat Key where the median family income is $107,983 shows that he's done pretty well. [wikipedia] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longboat_Key%2C_Flori da
  • by gserafini (76060) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:29AM (#8460147) Homepage Journal

    I worked for Tim Roberts at GlobalStreams under BIG. I was the webmaster for the only company that was purchased (rather than being created out of thin air) by BIG.

    My observation of the general business strategy that was followed at BIG could be summed up in one phrase: "Fake it 'til you make it." When we were working under the [BIG] umbrella, it was remarkable. At one point our company was instructed to hire people, not necessarily because we needed more people, but rather to increase headcount. They were still hiring until 1 or 2 weeks before BIG shut down.

    The often-expressed doubts surrounding this company and it's product (the name is completely telling) I believe are well founded. Simply reading the Phantom FAQ [phantom.net] and their product specs should be instant signs to any observant individual.

    Step 1: Create website. (See their job postings for 3d renderers, Flash developers, etc...) Make it cool, fill it with the latest (OBVIOUS) buzzwords. DRM. Pay-per-play. Promise to deliver the cool dream application that might be possible.

    Step 2: Try to [maybe] actually deliver a product. Image is everything here, gotta keep the investors happy and the money flowing.

    Step 3: ???

    Step 4: Prof^H^H^H Take the money and spend it / run. Anyone who might think about investing in this company, or who even really hopes that what they say or sell might be worth spending some money on should do some research, due diligence and move on with their life.

    I often had a hard time working in an atmosphere where it was more important to seem successful than to _BE_ successful.

    BIG didn't work out. A lot of people quit perfectly good jobs to work with Tim and were pissed when it didn't work out. They spent a LOT of money. After that experience for some reason I REALLY wanted to work in an environment where, say for example, a real product was worked on to solve a real problem, that had real customers.

    Ah, the bitch of the reputation economy. Hope I don't get sued for sharing my personal experience and opinions.

    --
    Gabriel

  • Suspicious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:56AM (#8460306)
    Something I noticed that raises doubts over how serious Infinium really is... If you look at the tech specs for the machine it specifies an nVidia chip for the graphics and the nVidia logo is displayed on the site but if you look at nVidia's press section there's no press release mentioning any kind of relationship with Infinium. Take a look at the kind of press releases they do make and you'll see that they announce pretty much any partnership, even pretty minor stuff. Seems that if they had some kind of agreement to supply Infinium with any significant number of chips they'd have made an announcement.
  • Infinium Stock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sandalwood (196527) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @02:25AM (#8460681)
    Imagine you are some non-tech-savvy investor, and all you know about Infiniujm Labs is what you see here [marketwatch.com]. Not so bad, right? So I think the reason Infinium is so intent on protecting its image is because of this fragile bubble they have built around the stock.
  • by Facekhan (445017) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @03:18AM (#8460908)
    Since among the many disputed statements in HARDOCP articles is whether the Phantom is vaporware, filing a suit is a great way to find out whether the thing actually exists. If Infinium challenges the statement that they don't really have a product, then they have to show that they do have a product and HARDOCP gets to see it.
  • by Walkiry (698192) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @06:14AM (#8461466) Homepage
    that the Phantom forums have been shut down for a while now? I guess *someone* saw this one coming and decided to conveniently tell the boss it'd be a good idea to "upgrade to a better forum software" as soon as possible.

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