Electronic Frontier Foundation calls out VH1 ‘star’ for Internet censorship

Usually when we hear a news story about reality TV and/or tacky, frivolous litigation, we’d pass it up and be on to the next one. But throwing the book at a reality TV “star” to punish them for poorly planned, frivolous litigation? Yes please!

Corri McFadden (who?), star of VH1’s reality show “House of Consignment” (…no bells ringing) received some barbed criticism from Purseblog.com, directed at McFadden’s company eDrop-Off, “the nation’s premier eBay store specializing in reselling high end and luxury items.” According to a press release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Purseblog.com accused eDrop-off of “shill bidding,” which involves placing bogus bids on their online merchandise to drive up sales prices.

McFadden didn’t take too kindly to the accusations and filed a lawsuit in California federal court against the online forum. However, sometime soon after she must have realized California isn’t exactly keen on silencing or marginalizing “significant public discussion,” McFadden asked the court to dismiss her case so she could move on to more free speech-unfriendly territory (Illinois, apparently).

The EFF will have none of that. In an amicus curiae brief filed on Friday, the organization urged the federal court to make McFadden finish the fight she attempted to start.

“This is a classic SLAPP suit – strategic litigation against public participation – and McFadden should have to face California’s tough anti-SLAPP law, which lets defendants move to strike frivolous lawsuits and recover costs and fees if they win,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “The plaintiffs set the stage by choosing to file their suit in California. The court should finish the case there as well, protecting Purseblog.com’s speech rights by applying California law.”

The digital civil liberties organization wants to make sure McFadden doesn’t slip off the hook, giving her a “second bite at a more appealing apple after being called on their speech-chilling litigation tactics.”

If the California federal court is on board with defending Purseblog.com’s First Amendment rights, not even VH1 phenom Bret Michaels could rescue her (that’s what he’s most famous for, right?).