The case is called Intel v. Hamidi and it's, frankly, surreal. Ken
Hamidi, an ex-employee of Intel, is now a member (and, by the looks of it,
the only member) of Former and Current Employees of Intel
(FACE Intel). They claim to reveal the
truth about Intel's evil business practices, callous layoffs, sweatshop
working conditions, subliminal mind control, etc, etc, etc. As part of his
FACE Intel activities, Hamidi fired off some 30,000 e-mails to current Intel
employees. Intel responded by slapping Hamidi with a suit for 'trespass to
Let's back up a moment here. Ken Hamidi sent e-mails -- packets of data read
by e-mail servers and sent to users on a network -- to Intel employees.
Nothing physical actually entered any Intel property. Fine, say the
"Hamidi's e-mail blitzes to its network after Intel told him to
stop...[used] the Intel system in a way that diminished its value."
The Intel lawyers are plainly bending over backwards in an attempt to
transplant a libel suit into a trespass suit in order to shut down Hamidi's
First Amendment right to speech. They write,
"Hamidi's activity amounts to leafleting inside Intel's plant, which
constitutes a real property trespass to which the First Amendment provides no
Despite the fact that the Intel lawyers don't seem to know the difference
between an electron and a trespasser, they've been disturbingly sucessful in
this case. The trial judge, in over his head, already ruled in favor of
Intel, and on December 11 a California Court of Appeal ruled 2-1 for Intel.
The dissenting judge wrote:
"Under Intel's theory, even lovers' quarrels could turn into trespass suits by
reason of the receipt of unsolicited letters or calls from the jilted lover.
Imagine what happens after the angry lover tells her fiancée not to call again
and violently hangs up the phone. Fifteen minutes later the phone rings. Her
fiancée wishing to make up? No, tresspass to chattel."
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