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<<I was just posing my thoughts as a question for TMF Max to consider because CSFB is the first firm to go after posters critizing one of their analysts. >>

And, just to keep the record straight, the criticism aspect doesn't have a blessed thing to do with any justifiable legal case here. Criticism rocks -- I'm all for it. I dare say there probably isn't a single writer on staff here who has spent more time than I have publicly criticizing Wall Street's analysts within the editorial content of this site.

Leaving aside the specifics of any particular case, where there are differences of opinion that are explained through any public utterance that, "We differ on these things, and the source of the disagreement is I'm telling the truth and the other guy is a liar; I'm an honest citizen and the other guy is a criminal; I'm pure as the driven snow and the other guy is evil. Those are all just facts" -- well, there you've got something that the law treats quite differently than "this is a thing about which reasonable minds can differ, and I happen to be the one who's demonstrably right."

The law in this country always has treated those things differently. I hope that isn't news to anybody. You have a right to free speech. You also have a right not to be wrongly defamed through somebody else's free speech. You may very well not care at all about preserving that right, but you happen to have it, and so does the other guy.

It's kind of shocking when somebody actually bothers to think his reputation has been lessened in any way by message board chatter, but -- and let me reiterate -- any iota of justifiability here doesn't come from trying to shut people up. It's a matter of preservation of reputation against wrongful defamation about one's integrity -- about one's being an honest and law-abiding citizen. If somebody wants to publicly take on those who are saying he may not hold himself up to be honest and law-abiding, he's got an avenue within our legal system to do so. And the whole thing has nothing to do with who is "big" and who is "little" in my mind.

The Internet hasn't changed the right to defend your reputation in that manner, as far as I know.

Hope that helps,

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