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VICE Handed $300-million Lawsuit By a Surveillance Company

Last Monday, the complaint filed in a Delaware court by ShotSpotter was due to a series of Vice articles casting skepticism on the service’s practices and effectiveness.

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Vice finds itself in a lawsuit battle as The Daily Beast reports that a ShotSpotter, a technology surveillance company and the focal point of critical coverage by Vice, is suing for $300-million in damages. 

Last Monday, the complaint filed in a Delaware court by ShotSpotter was due to a series of Vice articles casting skepticism on the service’s practices and effectiveness.

“We want to correct the record, and we want to hold them to account for their defamatory campaign, which has caused damage, compromising future contracts, damaging business relationships and our reputation,” ShotSpotter CEO Ralph Clark said. “It has also damaged our company’s enterprise value causing our stock price to fall.”

The Daily Beast reached out to Vice for comment, but they did not immediately respond to the lawsuit. Vice’s tech news and investigations have drafted at least six reports concerning the surveillance service in the last several years. 

Vice’s stories lean massively on publicly available court records and testimony of experts and public defenders who have a perceived issue with the reliability of ShotSpotter’s technology.

However, the audio surveillance company insisted that Vice took the quotes out of context and neglected to highlight cases where the company’s technology was used successfully during both prosecutions and defenses.

“VICE’s defamatory implications about ShotSpotter are false,” the lawsuit alleged. “ShotSpotter does not fabricate gunshots or alter evidence. No court has ever concluded otherwise, nor have ShotSpotter’s experts ever testified otherwise.”

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Alex Jones Liable by Default in Sandy Hook Defamation Suit

The families of Sandy Hook victims are suing Jones in both Texas and Connecticut courts

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Infowars founder Alex Jones has lost another defamation lawsuit pertaining to his claims regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting. A Connecticut state court found Jones liable by default handing a victory to the families of eight people killed. 

The reason for Judge Barbara Bellis giving this verdict is due to Jones not handing over financial and analytics data requested on various occasions by the Sandy Hook family plaintiffs.

“All the defendants have failed to fully and fairly comply with their discovery obligations,” Bellis said.

The families of Sandy Hook victims are suing Jones in both Texas and Connecticut courts over his past claims where he stated that the tragedy was a hoax and that it was a staged event. Jones has since admitted that the shooting did occur.

“While the families are grateful for the Court’s ruling, they remain focused on uncovering the truth. As the Court noted, Alex Jones and his companies have deliberately concealed evidence of the relationship between what they publish and how they make money,” Chris Mattei of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, which represents the plaintiffs said. 

“Mr. Jones was given every opportunity to comply but, when he chose instead to withhold evidence for more than two years, the Court was left with no choice but to rule as it did today. While today’s ruling is a legal victory, the battle to shed light on how deeply Mr. Jones has harmed these families continues.”

The cases will now transition to a hearing and damages. Jones did address the verdict on his Monday show. “We need to defend all of our speech rights to say whatever it is we wish. That’s the First Amendment,” Jones said. 

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Substack Hits Milestone With One Million Paid Subscriptions

Co-founder Hamish McKenzie stated that the top 10 publications on Substack draw in over $20 million per year.

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Substack has reached a significant milestone in its history. The newsletter company announced that they hit 1 million paid subscriptions. In addition, co-founder Hamish McKenzie stated that the top 10 publications on Substack draw in over $20 million per year.

“These are subscriptions that didn’t exist before – they’re not being siphoned off from traditional media outlets or redistributed from other platforms,” McKenzie said.

“They represent a rush of new money into the media ecosystem, the vast majority of it going directly to writers.”

McKenzie notes that it’s not enough despite the growth, and the company wants to continue growing as they have become a vital source for media members. 

For example, Bari Weiss departed The New York Times to launch a newsletter, and Glenn Greenwald moved on from The Intercept, which he co-founded. 

“Our pitch to writers has always been: ‘We’ll take care of everything except the hard part.’ You don’t have to know anything about tech or business to succeed on Substack. You can set up your personal media empire in minutes,” McKenzie said. 

“With the subscription model, you can generate meaningful revenue without having to reach millions of readers. If you can convince a thousand people to subscribe for $5 a month, you’ll make more than $50,000 a year. A few thousand subscribers is enough for total financial security.”

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U.S. Journalist Danny Fenster Released From Myanmar Prison

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson had face-to-face negotiations where Fenster’s release was granted.

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Credit: AP

After a Myanmar court handed American journalist Danny Fenster an 11-year sentence, it seems as though those trying to get him released have paid off. 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson told The Associated Press that Fenster was released. Following a visit to Myanmar, Richardson had face-to-face negotiations where Fenster’s release was granted.

“This is the day that you hope will come when you do this work,” Richardson said. “We are so grateful that Danny will finally be able to reconnect with his loved ones, who have been advocating for him all this time, against immense odds.”

The U.S. State Department stated the imprisonment of Fenster “profoundly unjust” and had requested officials in Myanmar to release him. 

Fenster was detained in May, and last week, a court found him guilty of incitement for allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting criminal organizations, and breaking visa regulations.

“When Danny cleared Burmese airspace, and we knew he was free, this was probably the happiest moment of my time in Congress,” Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) said following the release of Fenster. 

The American journalist is more than 100 journalists, media officials, or publishers in custody following the military grabbing control of the country in February.

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