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Support the Vlad Zablotskyy Legal Defense Fund: A real estate weblogger is being throttled by corporate bully ePerks.com. The free speech rights you will be fighting for are your own

Update: It seems likely that Vlad’s cost to defend himself from this specious claim (if you read the complaint, you will discover that the alleged offense is entirely absent from Exhibit A) is going to start with a $5,000 retainer. It seems unlikely to me that the matter will go to court, but, if it does, things will get really expensive. If you haven’t done so already, click on the “Donate” button. You’re not defending Vlad, you’re defending yourself.

 
The months’ long persecution of real estate weblogger Vlad Zablotskyy by ePerks.com’s Ben Behrouzi came to a head today. Behrouzi has served Zablotskyy with a lawsuit claiming that a post on Zablotskyy’s weblog caused Behrouzi to suffer “harm and damage.”

Behrouzi also claims that Zablotskyy has exposed him to “hatred, contempt, ridicule and disdain.” The petition itself is a bad joke, but it is beyond all doubt that that Behrouzi has exposed himself to “hatred, contempt, ridicule and disdain” by the months of ludicrous posturing he and his attorney have engaged in.

At some point the full petition will be available for us to read. [Amending this: You can read the complaint on Vlad's weblog.] In the mean time, Vlad Zablotskyy needs your help. The lawsuit was filed in California, but Vlad lives in New Jersey. He will have to fight a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages by remote control, paying law firms in both states. The suit itself is a complete joke — a Personal Injury law firm with a drive-up window comes to mind — but it will still cost serious money to defend.

I’ve set up a Vlad Zablotskyy Legal Defense Fund through our PayPal account — and I’m about to put the bite on you in two ways.

First, click on one of the “Donate” buttons you see in this post or on our sidebar and give as much as you can. I know that many Realtors and lenders are hurting for money right now, but there is no better cause for you to fight for than your own right to speak and write as you choose. If you happen to be flush with lucre or corporately endowed or otherwise awash in cash, don’t be afraid to hit the zero key a few times when you’re entering the amount of your donation. PayPal nicks donations by about 3% in processing fees. BloodhoundRealty.com, LLC, will make up the difference.

Second, grab one or the other of the buttons shown below to put on the sidebar of your own weblog or web site. To use this code, copy everything inside the text box and paste that where you want it to go. The code is built to inherit your own site’s style sheets, so everything should fit in fine.

Volodymyr Zablotskyy is a Ukrainian name, it should come as no surprise. Vlad is survivor of the Soviet Union, where liberty itself was throttled and where the smallest slip of the tongue could result in imprisonment or death. He had every good reason to think things were different in the United States, where the right to free speech is enshrined in our constitution. I hate the thought of anyone being coerced into silence by the abuse of our legal system, but if there is anyone who deserves better from America, it’s Vlad Zablotskyy. Glenn Reynolds wrote about An Army of Davids, but we are by now more like Cincinnatus — citizen soldiers who would rather farm than fight, and who, therefore, always fight to win. Together we can show Ben Behrouzi and every would-be tin-eared tyrant what comes of tyranny in the Web 2.0 world.

 
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Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund
Defend your own right to free speech!

 
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Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund
Defend your own right to free speech!

 
Linking frees slaves: Every bit of back-story…

Missing links? Speak up!

Related posts:
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  • Once more unto the breach for Vlad — and for your right to free speech
  • Don’t hang Vlad Zablotskyy out to dry: Making a donation to his legal defense fund is what matters most right now

  • 65 comments

    65 Comments so far

    1. Artur June 8th, 2008 12:05 am

      Great initiative Greg. Thank you.

    2. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 7:25 am

      Bless you, sir. Thank you, and thanks for your donation. Are you still active at Active Rain? It would be great if you could promote this over there. All of us are at risk from this type of thuggery.

    3. Cheryl Johnson June 8th, 2008 9:20 am

      Greg, I’ll promote it over at Active Rain (as long as you don’t might me copying and pasting some of your explanations)…. I would guess Dennis Pease might promote there, too.

      I would wonder if everyone who voiced an opinion will end up getting served.

      That could mean some pretty hefty legal fees on both sides.

      Not to mention a lawsuit always robs you of time and energy that could be better spent on other things.

    4. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 9:32 am

      > Greg, I’ll promote it over at Active Rain (as long as you don’t might me copying and pasting some of your explanations)….

      Feel free. And my thanks to Russell Shaw for allowing me to adapt his eJerks graphic.

      > I would wonder if everyone who voiced an opinion will end up getting served.

      I don’t see that happening. The complaint itself is a sad joke. If it cost more than $250 to prepare, Behrouzi should be suing his dingbat lawyer for malpractice. My take is that it’s face-saving follow-through from an irate jackass who can’t admit that he’s painted himself into a corner.

    5. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’sDefense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    6. Doug Quance June 8th, 2008 10:10 am

      I don’t jump in on every cause… but I did put this widget on my site.

      This kind of crap needs to be halted.

    7. Cheryl Johnson June 8th, 2008 10:12 am

      OK, it’s up at Active Rain.

    8. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 10:14 am

      Bless you, Doug. Thank you.

      Likewise you, Cheryl.

      Y’all are my kind of heroes.

    9. Dennis Pease June 8th, 2008 11:26 am

      Thanks Greg,

      I have added the link to that one post at Active Rain and I will post more.

      I also hit the PayPal Button, I encourage everyone to add what you can. Even if you can only donate a little it adds to the fund.

    10. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 11:28 am

      Good on ya, Dennis. Thank you for everything you’ve done!

    11. The Harriman Team June 8th, 2008 2:06 pm

      Thanks for doing this, Greg. I’ve hit the PayPal link also and will post one of the widgets on my blogs as well. This has to go down as one of the most assisine pieces of litigation ever filed. I hope Vlad can get the best legal team available to him and they can successfully countersue for damages and legal fees.

    12. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 3:14 pm

      > I hope Vlad can get the best legal team available to him and they can successfully countersue for damages and legal fees.

      From your mouth to god’s ear. Thanks for everything you’re doing.

    13. Judy Orr June 8th, 2008 3:18 pm

      I have also donated and I hope others do the same. Folks, it will all add up so donate whatever you can afford.

    14. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 3:23 pm

      Bless you, Judy. Thank you.

    15. Thomas Johnson June 8th, 2008 7:28 pm

      My first impulse is to inform every ePerks Realtor that their chosen “partner” (partner used here in the truliamazing vernacular) is such a scum ball. After all if we take the Realtor Code of Ethics seriously, don’t we owe it to our profession to help keep other Realtors from degrading our professional image by doing business with eJerks?

      My second impulse is to inform every ePerks Realtor that their chosen partner is such a scum ball, and encourage a public boycott of ePerks advertisers.

      We are Spartans!

    16. Greg Swann June 8th, 2008 8:07 pm

      Thanks, Tom, for these sweet remarks and for your donation. Bless you, sir.

    17. [...] Read the entire post here. [...]

    18. Artur June 8th, 2008 11:16 pm

      Done. I posted it on Active rain in addition to a few other posts already there. Thanks for doing it Greg.

    19. SEO Book.com June 9th, 2008 6:00 am

      Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent…

    20. [...] Donations – Greg Swann has set up a donation fund for Vlad [...]

    21. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund Defend your own right to free speech! [...]

    22. Dennis Blackmore June 10th, 2008 8:46 am

      I thought I was the only one who received a deceptive call to join this organization.

      I am donating – wish I had a billion to give.

    23. [...] Others Opine: Greg Swann spools up the Vlad Zablotskyy Defense Fund [...]

    24. [...] legal defense fund for the blogger has been set up by Greg Swann at BHB.  A noble deed. NOTE: To those who have been [...]

    25. [...] Community Reaction: Greg Swann at BloodHound has established the Vlad Zablotzkyy Defense Fund. [...]

    26. [...] Support the Vlad Zablotskyy Legal Defense Fund: A real estate weblogger is being throttled by corpor… [...]

    27. Lord Matt June 12th, 2008 6:32 am

      I was happily preparing to urinate on ejerks for their truly pathetic SEO (search spam) methods anyway. I redirected the post somewhat to make sure I covered this too.

    28. The fantastic site of Lord Matt June 13th, 2008 2:16 am

      Are eperks spammers?…

      Now I’m not talking about email spam (although that wouldn’t surprise me about eperks) no, I am talking about search engine spam.

      Search spam is simply where lots of low or no value content is……

    29. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    30. [...] more, start at Greg’s post and Joe’s and go from [...]

    31. Real Estate Blog Girl June 13th, 2008 5:47 pm

      This is wonderful, Greg.

      Note to ePerks and Ben from a “minion”: bloggers don’t take world class bullshit sitting down. If you thought one blogger was a problem, now you have thousands that WANT to be a problem for you. I’m thinking that right about now is when you are muttering to yourself, “geez, why didn’t we just hire a PR firm to handle this mess.” Too late now.

    32. Dennis Pease June 13th, 2008 7:05 pm
    33. [...] coin, Vlad will surely incur big legal expenses. So the good folks at Bloodhound Blog created the Support Vlad Zablotskyy Legal Defense Fund – click on the image below to see how you can [...]

    34. [...] Swan has setup a fund for Vlad’s legal defense (yeah, lawsuits are VERY expensive people), so you may donate what you can afford and hope if [...]

    35. [...] Greg Swann [...]

    36. [...] It doesn’t matter who says what about whom. It doesn’t matter if this issue draws more attention up the food chain. It doesn’t matter if people write posts or post the donation button. [...]

    37. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    38. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund Defend your own right to free speech! [...]

    39. Sean Giorgianni June 15th, 2008 11:46 am

      IT’s worth what it cost you (which is nothing), but I wrote this story in response to Mary’s challenge over at her RSS Pieces Blog.

      http://frclsrtv.com/2008/06/15/zablotskyy-the-scrivener/

      Enjoy!

    40. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    41. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund Defend your own right to free speech! [...]

    42. Real Estate Bloggers Take Note June 16th, 2008 10:15 am

      [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund Defend your own right to free speech! Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors specializes in upscale Florida real estate in and around Bonita Springs and Naples. Call us today at 888-617-3674. [...]

    43. [...] that he did not like and wrote another post that was critical of ePerks. Now bloggers being led by Greg Swann are coming to his aid with a defense fund and that is [...]

    44. Curtis Reddehase June 17th, 2008 11:31 am

      Free speech is a formidable opponent to attorney’s who use their knowledge of the law to scare people.

    45. Dan Auito June 17th, 2008 12:13 pm

      Everyone should contact eperks to let them know we are boycotting and spreading the word of their misdeeds.
      Dan Auito from http://www.magicbullets.com 4700 real estate investors strong! Stop on by.

    46. Jared Ritchey June 17th, 2008 12:15 pm

      I love this post. But honestly I’m surprised that its even a valid suit because if its based in truth you have the freedom of speech.

      ~ Jared

    47. [...] Donate to the Vlad Zablotzkyy Legal Defense Fund [...]

    48. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    49. [...] encourage people to grab a donation button, and don't forget to donate (the fund is being run / controlled by Greg Swann at the [...]

    50. The ePerks vs. Vlad Zablotskyy Fiasco June 21st, 2008 9:59 am

      [...] If you want to find links to everything that's been written, Google is your friend. To save you some trouble, the story can be gleaned from the links provided at "Support Vlad Zablotskyy's Defense Fund". [...]

    51. [...] comments would you believe!) Andy Beard and others have been supporting Vlad through his ordeal. Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense Fund Defend your own right to free [...]

    52. Christopher Myers July 16th, 2008 9:18 am

      Hilarious! I just received a call from eperks trying to sell me on their product/service. I told them that I would never get involved with eperks, solely based on Ben Behrouzi’s handling of the situation with Vlad. They tried telling me that Vlad was never an eperks client and that he is now begging Ben to call off the lawsuit because he knows he won’t win. They also try to claim that Vlad no longer owns his site and is selling it to Ben Behrouzi. Do they ever tell the truth?

      Another thing I found humorous was the fact that “exclusive” ownership of nearly every zip code in my area is available. I guess I’m not the only one telling them NO!

    53. Vlad July 16th, 2008 6:41 pm

      @Chris Myers,

      I still own my website. No plans on selling it either. :)

    54. [...] The attempted censorship of Vlad Zablotskyy by ePerks.com [...]

    55. [...] Greg Swann starting up a fund to help the blogger (Vlad) [...]

    56. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    57. Chris the Implementer September 1st, 2008 4:25 pm

      I wrote a pretty link-rich blog of my own urging support including to the Bill of Rights, and The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual.

      Please feel free to remove my link if you deem it inappropriate to add it to this thread.

      Vlad is an associate of mine on AR.

      The ‘good guys’ need to stick together

      Chris the Implementer

      http://www.MortgageChiliBlog.com

    58. [...] without attention this case received from few outstanding bloggers like Andy Beard, Aaron Wall, Greg Sawn, Trace Richardson, Jay Thompson, Wane Harriman, Mary McKnight, Barry Hurd and many others my case [...]

    59. Vlad September 9th, 2008 11:30 pm

      [...] What happened to freedom of speech? I not only write on my blog, I often comment on other blogs. Is the threat of being sued going to damper blogging and comments? If you want to read more about this, Greg Swan wrote an article about it with lots of links at the Bloodhound Blog. [...]

    60. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    61. [...] button you see below or in our sidebar. If you want to add a button to your own weblog or web site, you can find the HTML code here. But the most significant difference you can make in Vlad’s life, right now, is to make as [...]

    62. [...] encourage people to grab a donation button, and don’t forget to donate (the fund is being run / controlled by Greg Swann at the [...]

    63. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]

    64. [...] The power of this online wave was powerful and was a force to be reckoned with. Take a look at these support sites.  Andy Beards review, Inman news review, and Bloodhound Blog’s support. [...]

    65. [...] Support Vlad Zablotskyy’s Defense FundDefend your own right to free speech! [...]