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Drobe article comment clarification

By Chris Williams. Published: 8th Jul 2006, 14:05:08 | Permalink | Printable

Reader lands us in legal hot water

Drobe logoUnder a recent article, drobe.co.uk reader William Wetherall posted in a comment a number of allegations regarding the directors of two RISC OS companies. It's come to our attention that the claims were false.

Drobe is happy to set the record straight for all concerned, and stress that Castle's Peter Wild had no involvement in the GPL debacle with RISC OS 5. Also, RISCOS Ltd used appropriate lawyers during the licence negotiations to develop and sell RISC OS with E14, not Pace as originally stated by William, and they did indeed employ the use of a solicitor at the start of the ROL/Castle dispute. We apologise for any distress caused.

William has since offered an apology to both Paul Middleton and Peter Wild. Below is an email from one of them:

Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 18:22:20 +0700
From: NJMP
To: comments@drobe.co.uk
Subject: Incorrect allegations in your discussion forums

Dear Drobe,

I refer to the comments in your article "Why so much infighting?" Published: 1st Jul 2006, 22:00:20GMT referring to myself, "Peter Wild".

Whilst I am aware of the alleged incident with Castle and GPL I was not involved in the management of Castle/Tematic at that time and certainly never made any public comment on it. I have no compunction in instructing a solicitor when I have been libelled.

I trust you will ensure that an immediate retraction and apology are issued.

Yours faithfully

Peter Wild

While we thoroughly welcome everyone to get stuck into discussions and debates about RISC OS and computing, Drobe places a lot of trust in those who comment on articles on this site - please don't abuse this privilege, our lawyer is out of aspirin.


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Whilst it is only right that the erroneous comments concerning Peter W and Paul M should be rectified and apologised for (and they should of course be entitled to defend themselves and their reputations), I think it's also worth bearing in mind that people can make mistakes.

I don't really know any of the people concerned, but on reading the comments from the previous article it became very clear that the comments were not true, and Will's apologies came across as unreserved.

In my view (personal opinion), no reputations were damaged as a result.

(Hopfully drobe will remove this comment if it turns out to be libellous ;) )

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 8/7/06 2:29PM
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But not before google and archive.org cache it, and people quote it all in other comments

 is a RISC OS Userbobloblaw on 8/7/06 9:16PM
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If I'm not mistaken, the comments have all been removed now. Which I can understand, but still I feel a little sad to lose part of the record. I think a major issue with the claims was the shear confidence Wills had in their veracity. I think it was quite reassuring that everyone else challenged them relentlessly.

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 9/7/06 9:13AM
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"I think a major issue with the claims was the shear confidence Wills had in their veracity."


Of course, he's made other (non libellious) claims with equal confidence in the replies to other articles (or another article[1]), with nothing to back up his claims other than the confidence with which he made them. I've no idea (obviously) wether there is any truth in what he said or not - but assuming they were[2], he's shot himself in the foot by making the claims he did which led to the this discussion, since now whatever claims he makes have to be read with a nagging doubt in mind.

[1] [link] - statements about the code in Select 4, that it's entirely RISC OS Ltd code, nothing is subject to licence, etc.

[2] Which, TBH, I doubt anyway, but that's just pure opinion, with no evidence or inside knowledge to back it up.

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 9/7/06 12:01PM
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What really gets me is the speed people reach for the lawyers. What harm would there have been for the email to drobe if the threat of law had been omitted - you know, asking for an apology first and then saying "here comes the guns, last chance bucko". It's called making a mountain out of a molehill and really makes the one making the threat (idle or not) as being (IMHO) somewhat gun-ho. Of course, the emailer to drobe could claim that they have a reputation to uphold.

If the email had asked for a simple apology *without the lawyer threat*, then people would probably have said "he deserves an apology for what was said", the apology was made and all goes on with the world. No reputations tarnished. No-one injured. However, with the threat comes the line "he deserves an apology, but there is no way in hell that I'm going to apologise if someone holds a legal gun to my head" then sure, there is an apology, but the reputation of the emailer becomes tarnished.

Some claim to have been libelled without ever really knowing what libel is as well.

How can I say this, well, lets just say I had emails from certain RISC OS companies claiming I've libelled them for comments on usenet and of course, who can forget the number of times a certain loon claimed libel against me on usenet...

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 9/7/06 2:35PM
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